shops in town to cater to the town's music fans. I took a break from
the office to spend an afternoon at both stores, Sound Spectrum and
Sound Spectrum, next to the Pottery Shack on South Coast Highway,
is almost like a time capsule to the Laguna of the 1960s and 70s. A fusion of hippy and Rasta-influenced art and decorations give the
place a mellow old-school feel. As clerk Greg White put it, the place
is a "blast to the past."
The store has been in Laguna since 1967, but much of the music on
sale is new. As I looked around, the store's sound system played the
reggae sounds of the band Midnite, the laid-back Jamaican rhythms
felt like a good fit on a hot California day. Owner Jim Otto takes
pride in the eclectic selection at the store.
"You can come in and find someone who knows all about different
types of music," Otto said.
For cheapskates like me, the collection of used CDs at Sound
Spectrum can be tempting, but as I scanned the shelves, I had to
wonder: Who unloads CDs by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Santana?
The store also sells a variety of posters and T-shirts in keeping
with the place's psychedelic and reggae vibes. There's plenty of
shirts that depict reggae star Bob Marley, as well as funny little
leaves that have a way of being mentioned in my police blotter.
I may have been under the influence myself, though in a strictly
legal way. Perhaps inspired by the store's atmosphere, I picked up a
couple of ska CDs by the English Beat and the Slackers on my way out.
They make for good mellow listening while driving home on the San
A few blocks north of on South Coast Highway lies Underdog
Records, where listeners can trade relaxing beach rhythms for the
electric frenzy of hardcore punk. On the inside, the place looks like
the lyrics to a Dropkick Murphys tune -- empty cans of Pabst Blue
Ribbon and discarded liquor bottles function as decorations. The look
is only matched by the cacophony of punk blaring on the speakers.
What Underdog has, a rarity among record stores, are records.
Vinyl lovers can find original pressings of underground classics like