Selector’s choice

Outpatient Records celebrates five years of selling and spinning vinyl in Chico

Matthew Garcia hosting an Outpatient pop-up shop at the Winchester Goose.

Matthew Garcia hosting an Outpatient pop-up shop at the Winchester Goose.

photo courtesy of Outpatient Records

Outpatient DJs and live music (with The False Face Society): tonight, Aug. 15, 9 p.m., at Argus Bar + Patio (212 W. Second St.)
Outpatient Records Summer Pop-Up Shop, Saturday, Aug. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Naked Lounge (118 W. Second St.)
Outpatient Records five-year anniversary with DJs plus live music by Howlin’ Rain, Horse the Hunter and WRVNG, Sept. 12, at Argus, $10/advance tickets (

When Matthew Garcia sets up one of his Outpatient Records pop-up shops, it’s more than just a sale. The small-business owner also brings along turntables and plays his favorite records while customers dig through the vinyl.

But Garcia doesn’t spin for the duration. Every hour, a new DJ takes over, and as he says, “it’s always selector’s choice.” It isn’t your typical DJ party, however, with dancer requests and well-worn favorites. Rather, much like creating a mix CD for a road trip or curating a personal Spotify playlist, Garcia sees it as a chance for music fanatics—himself included—to share the music they like.

“If I’m the person having the best time, then people will get it.”

And Garcia isn’t a snob about who takes over the turntables; everyone is welcome. “I can teach anybody how to DJ in less than five minutes,” he said.

That kind of connection with fellow music fans was exactly what Garcia was after when he started Outpatient Records (that and providing a means to support his vinyl habit), and this month marks five years he’s been sharing music with Chico.

“For me, it’s [about] community interaction. I have not gone to Discogs or eBay,” he said, preferring the social model he’s created.

Now 34 years old and with a day job as a children’s therapist, Garcia originally moved here from his hometown of Visalia in 2010 to pursue a master’s in social work at Chico State.

Outpatient Records originally was conceived as a business that Garcia and his brother (also a therapist) would open: a record shop that had a private counseling practice in the back. But after his first Chico pop-up gig during a Mixed Media Mixer at 1078 Gallery, Garcia usurped the name. From there he branched out to setting up shop at various hip social businesses around town, including the old Winchester Goose beer bar and the Naked Lounge coffeehouse downtown. He’s continued to post up at the latter every other month since (see infobox).

To stock up for his shop, as well as satisfy his own cravings, Garcia goes on “digs” all over the Western states, and like many vinyl junkies he’s surrendered a good chunk of real estate in his home for record storage (though he says he’s always “in constant purge mode”).

While talking with the CN&R, he thumbed through the neatly organized boxes and shelves and played the kinds of music that he prefers listening to—whether at home or at a gig. It’s mostly stuff that takes him back to his roots, both his Mexican heritage and his years as a jazz DJ at Fresno State. The session started off with No Room for Squares, a hard bop classic by tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley. From there, Garcia moved on to a groovy Latin-funk mash-up by Fresno-raised Ray Camacho, and then an album he said was one of his most treasured, a disc his mom had given him titled Noche Bohemia, the 1961 debut by the late Chavela Vargas. The passionate voice of the much-loved ranchera singer—whom Garcia called “the Mexican Billie Holiday”—popped from the grooves and the uncompromising legend came alive.

For the last two or three years of Outpatient, Garcia has expanded the scope of his musical endeavors beyond just sharing records; he added live music to the equation. He and co-promoter Boris Breckenridge (of Mockingbyrd Coffee) have promoted a wide range of visiting and local artists alongside the pop-ups—most often on the patio of Argus Bar + Patio—including Nigerien guitar wizard Mdou Moctar and So Cal garage rockers OC Hurricanes.

“I just want to bring things that I’d be into,” Garcia said, adding that they are trying to add something atypical to the scene, including many Latin and female artists.

The next live show will function as the official Outpatient five-year anniversary party, with local all-female crew WRVNG joining San Francisco rockers Howlin’ Rain Sept. 12 at Argus.