Here are seven records that are incredible and will give you sweet cred at the record store. These are probably bands and records that you have never heard of, even though I hope you have. You'd be closer to being a better human. Buying what's on this list will make you look really cool and give you some cool jams to listen to while looking cool.
  1. Institute - Salt 12" EP (Sacred Bones Records)
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    These shredders from Austin, TX will make you rethink all things post-punk. I saw these guys smash heads in a basement bar in Atlanta, GA in 2013, and they have been putting out solid stuff since (even the live recorded cassette is awesome). This EP solidified my love for Institute and will definitely make you look extra rad (get it delivered to your door or buy it at your local record store and take pics of it in natural light to make sure everyone knows that you can rock some sweet tunes).
  2. Bolt Thrower - Realm of Chaos (Earache Records)
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    Stay with me here. I know that if you love metal, you know Bolt Thrower, but their 1989 release is amazing. The local record store's metal-head cashier will happily ring you up for this beast of a record and probably chat your ear off about their love for Bolt Thrower. It has punishing riffs and charging drums that will turn anyone into a battle ready warrior, willing or not. Stick this on if you want to head bang until your eyes pop out. Let it crush you.
  3. The King Kahn & BBQ Show - The King Kahn & BBQ Show (Hazelwood Records)
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    Amazing album by the garage rock duo that every single person on planet Earth should own. I don't know if the dude at the register will be winkin' at you on this one. I can't guarantee he's heard it. I saw these two play at Dante's in Portland and tear roof off the joint. Spin this thing for good times and tell your friends that you can't believe they haven't heard this record. They'll smile and hug you in sheer amazement of your coolness.
  4. Loudon Wainwright III - Attempted Mustache (Columbia)
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    Folky goodness from a man that was bustin' stereotypes in 1973, way before you were born (probably). Attempted Mustache's unique songs are a guaranteed solid cred bumper. Pick this up and jam it all year long with the windows open. It is essential that people hear you listening to this.
  5. Wire - Pink Flag (Harvest)
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    Post-punk heroes' Pink Flag is essential to any cool record person's collection. This definitely going to get you a thumbs up on the way out of the store, maybe even a chuckle and a "good job". Make sure to opt for no bag so people can see what you're carrying home with you.
  6. Waxahatchee - American Weekend (Don Giovanni Records)
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    Don't ever sleep on great artists making beautiful music. This will make you look so rad walking up to the counter showing your support for a great female song maker. American Weekend will make you jam out crying in bed or on the floor. Get your friends pumped on this and make them buy the record too. Everyone loves a record pusher. Buy all of her other records too. You won't be disappointed.
  7. Charles Mingus - The Clown (Atlantic)
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    Mingus is a jazz great. Sure, you can be kinda cool and grab some Miles Davis and John Coltrane from the shop, but you know that everyone knows that stuff. You need to find a lot more "obscure" stuff if you want the people lurking the store to think you know what is up. Grab this record and jam so hard that even your cool friends, the cooler than you cool friends, will envy you.