Written by Julia DuBois

Photos taken by Preston Valles

Located at the northern end of Vista Avenue, just before the street blends into Capitol Boulevard and flows into Downtown Boise, lies the charming store, Modern Sounds Vinyl and Music. In this record store, a shopper can find new albums that are currently ranked at the top of the charts, or used records that their parents used to play when they were younger. This blend of music creates an enticing atmosphere for music lovers alike. No matter what the musical need, desire, or budget of the shopper is, this store has them covered.

Since the opening of the shop in December of 2019, the founder, owner, and current runner of Modern Sounds, Derek Anderson, has remained true to his vision for the store, while being flexible in his execution. In an interview that we–University Pulse Radio–had with Derek, he explained that he created this store to serve as an extension of his love for music, and to have the opportunity to share all of the joy and excitement he gets out of it. At the same time, he wanted to learn and grow from the people around him who share this common love for music. 

“I started this store with an idea in my head about the records and the music I would carry, but that got blown out the door the second it opened,” Derek states then elaborates further by saying, “…because the customers, and the people who support you, are going to tell you what they want.” He aims for his store to reflect the desires of his shoppers, instead of only showcasing his musical interests. He goes on by saying, “It’s exciting when you have the things people want and that they’re excited about. That’s probably the coolest thing.“

One way Modern Sounds ensures a varied assortment of music, which is sure to please all types of shoppers, is through where the records come from. In Derek’s own words when asked about the origins of his records, he responds with, “They come from all walks of life.” He explains how he goes to record shows, utilizes his relationships with other record stores or traders, and takes the time to dig through the albums brought in by members of the community. He emphasizes the fact that he selects music not just for its “face value,” but instead he picks music that is fun and interesting. He understands that the value of albums comes from the care and consideration that go into them, and not just the dollar bills.

Through playing an active role in the Boise music community for the past three years, and recognizing the different layers that compose this diverse community, Derek has been able to curate a space where everyone involved in the scene–new or old–can explore different genres and share their experiences with music. Looking forward, Derek would love to see Modern Sounds contain an even more diverse selection of music mediums, such as tapes, CDs, and possibly even laser discs, in order to contribute to inclusive access to tangible music. Also, he aspires to see Modern Sounds expand as a community space where all people can come together and create meaningful connections over a shared love of music. Derek seems to greatly appreciate the humanity behind what goes into a record store, and articulates this idea by saying, “Would be a shame if it was just a box with four walls and some records in it–waste of time.”

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