This Great Record Store Sends DC Tracks To Your Front Door

Jon Lottman needs a record store. Strictly speaking, he already has one – Spin Time Records, which he runs, specializes in music from the DC region (as well as his other deep love, reggae). But it’s an online store for now, and Lottman wants to make it a physical space.

Meanwhile, the virtual store, which opened last June, has quickly become one of Washington’s most exciting retailers, offering an impeccably curated selection of DMV sounds. Place an order on the website and Lottman will ship your purchases or, if you live near Capitol Hill, he will place your order himself.

Recently, we stopped by the townhouse he operates from (and also lives in – it’s the house he grew up in). Sitting in the headquarters of his store upstairs, with thousands of LPs on shelves surrounding his desk, Lottman came across as a classics enthusiast, recommending a series of records with such conviction that a journalist was compelled to produce his credit card and get a stack of albums.

Like so many other recent endeavors, Spin Time was born in the wake of the pandemic, after Lottman’s previous gig — working as a videographer and documentary filmmaker focused on environmental issues — suddenly dried up. His new free time led him to think about how to turn his hobby of buying and selling reggae records into a full-time occupation. Lottman soon had the idea of ​​specializing in local music as well. “Everybody knows Marvin Gaye around here, and Roberta Flack and go-go and punk and all that,” he says. But there are tons of great records out there beyond the most well-known DC music, and Lottman is eager to share them with the city and the world. Discover for example the two albums recorded by Bo Diddley in the District or that of Miles Davis Vive-Mal, which was partly recorded at the Cellar Door in Georgetown. The albums that jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd participated in during his 1970s tenure at Howard University are also Lottman’s favorites.

While you can’t currently hang out and talk music with the owner of Spin Time in person, his site is designed to encourage browsing, with photos, really helpful descriptions, and audio clips. Still, Lottman aspires to deliver a real-world experience. “To really get people into the concept, I have to open in person,” he says. Because introducing new music to music fans is kind of the goal. In fact, Lottman would love the occasional client to ask him to curate an entire collection for them. “I wish!” he says. “I would go crazy.”

This article appears in the July 2022 issue of The Washingtonian.

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