Behind the Counter: POPshop & Spazz Records (West Monroe, LA)

Each week, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

POPshop & Spazz Records in West Monroe, Louisiana, is a record store and art boutique run by Brad and Leslie Richman. With a focus on metal and punk, the dual-purpose storefront is, according to its owners, the only store in the area to carry new vinyl releases. For its favorite-record photos, Brad, Leslie, and employee Erica Hijazi went all out, coordinating their clothing (and beverages) with their picks. It’s that attention to detail that makes POPshop & Spazz the focus of this week’s column.

What is Spazz Records, and how does POPshop figure into the equation?

Spazz Records has been in existence for about four years. It began as a small record store and venue for weekly open mic performances, band shows, and other events. We’ve recently moved and expanded to become both a record shop (with used and new vinyl, CDs, and cassettes) and a unique boutique, POPshop, full of local art, handmade goods, and other cool stuff. We still host free monthly all-ages shows for local bands, and participate in local events and charities.

Pop Shop & Spazz Records

What is the musical community like West Monroe, Louisiana?

Our area is made up of Monroe, West Monroe, and several other smaller towns in Northeast Louisiana. There has always been a strong musical presence at any given time, with styles and bands changing through the years. We have outdoor festivals such as Delta Fest and Celtic Fest, as well as year-round schedules of local and touring bands playing at various bars, clubs, and other venues. We are proud to carry several local bands’ releases, and we are active in helping promote local music.

Brad Richman holds Iron Maiden's Somewhere Back in Time
Brad Richman holds Iron Maiden's Somewhere Back in Time

Do you have a musical specialty — any particular areas of expertise?

The new vinyl in our shop tends to lean towards punk and metal, with a good showing of indie bands and pop as well. We love offering new releases on vinyl, and, as far as we know, we are the only shop in this area doing so. The shop also includes a healthy stock of used vinyl with everything from hardcore to new wave to country, and everything in between. We tend to select new music that we enjoy, but as we get to know our clientele, we are able to expand and offer a much wider selection based on what our friends and customers are interested in. We also offer special orders, and we’re always excited to help people get their hands on records they’ve been searching for.

Leslie Richman holds Le Tigre's This Island
Leslie Richman holds Le Tigre's This Island

What are three great albums that you’ve enjoyed lately?

The Corin Tucker Band
: 1,000 Years
Ani DiFranco: Live @ Bull Moose (Record Store Day)
: Off Our Backs EP

The Flatliners: Cavalcade
Slayer: Vinyl Conflict box set

Erica Hijazi holds TSOL's self-titled EP
Erica Hijazi holds TSOL's self-titled EP

How do you support visual art and local artists/musicians?

We have a great selection of local bands’ merchandise and music. Sponsoring and participating in local music events is also important to us. In the shop, we display and sell local art and handmade goods from people in the area and in the state. The shop also hosts the Northeast Louisiana Knitters and Crocheters every other week — this is a great group of crafters, and we love being a community space.

Brad Richman holds Slayer's The Vinyl Conflict
Brad Richman holds Slayer's The Vinyl Conflict

What is the strangest request you’ve ever received?

Hmmmm. We get some odd ones, but only relatively speaking. We both really like some obscure and strange music, so it’s hard to throw us off with any requests. In our shop, it’s actually the very mainstream requests that may be met with a weird look or confusion!

Any big future plans for POPshop and Spazz?

We have all sorts of plans for the shop. We want to get even more involved in local music, and we’re looking into pressing local bands on vinyl for a regional compilation album. We are constantly working on building up our music selection and bringing in more unique merchandise. We’d also like to create our own line of artists’ series T-shirts and put on more live events.

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