Saturday, January 28, 2012

Where to buy vinyl records

Note: I update this post from time to time, but best to check the store is still there before you set out. 

On my travels, I am always searching for places to buy good quality records. Of course there are second hand record shops all over the place, but here's a list of physical vinyl stores I have visited in the UK, the US, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Most of these stores sell new and second hand pressings. Happy hunting!

LONDON
Flashback - 50 Essex Road, London, N1 8LR. A five minute walk from Angel tube station
The basement of the store is all vinyl and they have a really good and varied selection, and not over-priced like the Soho stores tend to be. Well worth a visit.

Out on the Floor - 10 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ. Close to Camden Town tube station.  This three-level, three-shop operation has a good selection of 60s and 70s rock, folk and soul. For bargain basement vinyl on Camden High Street there is also Record & Tape Exchange.
  
(Now moved across the road) Sister Ray - 34-35 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8RP. Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus tubes. Along this one stretch in Soho, you have three choices. Sister Ray has a good quality vinyl selection (but pricey) and a few doors down there is Revival Records with a good stock of rock, soul and jazz vinyl. 

Record & Tape Exchange - Notting Hill Gate. Rock and folk downstairs, soul and jazz upstairs. Worth investigating. 

The best shops for old vinyl in Portobello are Rough Trade on Talbot Road, just off Portobello Rd and Intoxica! at 231 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LT.

Honest Jon's - 278 Portobello Road, London, W10 5TE
The vast majority of the vinyl here is new pressings - the store specialises in soul, reggae and jazz. 

There are also several market stalls selling second hand vinyl under the Westway flyover.  

MANCHESTER
Empire Exchange - 1 Newton Street, Manchester M1 1HW
A real collectors record shop. Have a look at this website for details: http://www.recordshopcity.co.uk/the-shops/empire-exchange

Vinyl Revival - 5 Hilton Street, Manchester, M4 1LP
Much of the shop is focused on local bands but they have a good selection of different styles of music

Sifters - 177 Fog Lane, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6FJ (Nr Burnage Station)
Bargain hunters and Oasis fans should head for Sifters, which was immortalised in the song Shakermaker on ‘Definitely Maybe’

CARDIFF
Spillers -
31, The Morgan Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1AFA long-established oasis for record collectors. I first went there in the 1980s to buy a CD copy of Todd Rundgren's 'Todd' for £4.  http://www.spillersrecords.co.uk/


NEW YORK CITY
Bleecker Street Records – 239 Bleecker St, Greenwich Village
Downstairs they have a vast array of vinyl. It is worth taking the time to look around because while some of the records are expensive, especially new pressings, you can find some absolute bargains, old vinyl, often mint for a two or three dollars.

And not far away in the East Village, two other shops worth visiting:
Good Records – 218 East 5th Street, New York, NY 10003
Gimme Gimme – 345 E. 5th St. New York, NY 10003

HONG KONG
There are two good second-hand vinyl shops in Central district. One is on Cochrane Street at the junction with Lyndhurst Terrace, just down from the Lush store. You can see it from the escalator. It's called Wall of Sound. It's up 3 flights of stairs. 

The other store is at 74 Stanley Street, opposite the street food vendors, on the second floor. It's called Classic Shop and also sells hi-fi gear.

There's also a second-hand book and CD shop, Collectables – 2/F 11 Queen Victoria Street, Central (walk west along Queens Road from Central MTR) which has a lot of second hand vinyl, not very well categorised, so you will just have to browse through the whole lot. Quality varies too.  

Then there's the HMV store in Causeway Bay, which has a large stock of second hand rock and pop albums of varying quality. The value is in the jazz vinyl, which is mostly Japanese imports, in better condition that the rock vinyl and reasonably priced. 

NEW  ZEALAND
Real Groovy - 438 Queen Street, Auckland
Auckland may be a bit out of your way, but if you are in the city and looking for a top class vinyl emporium, you would be hard-pressed to find a better one anywhere. All the vinyl is well categorised, with sale items separated from quality and collectable items. Very good pricing policy and an additional 10% discount for every NZ$200 you spend. 

In Wellington, check out Slow Boat Records (183 Cuba Street), who have a good stock of classic and collectible vinyl. Of course, you don't need to be in NZ to check them out. Both these NZ stores have good websites where you can browse their stock.

AUSTRALIA
Sydney 
Mojo Music - 73 York Street (near Wynyard Station)
This store has second hand vinyl only and a club in the basement playing vintage records. It is well worth a visit as they have a good selection of jazz, blues, funk and soul, as well as many good quality rock rareties. 
Red Eye Records - 143 York Street (behind the QVB)
Here you will find a mix of new and used vinyl - a wide selection including bootlegs. Not the cheapest place but worth visiting if you are also interested in unofficial live DVDs.

JAPAN
Tokyo

I have found many amazing rare bootlegs in the shops around the Nishi-Shinjuku area of Tokyo. Shops such as Back Trip, Airs and Shinjuku Records. This blog page has a comprehensive guide to record shops in the city. 
http://www.vinylrecordcollector.net/2012_11_01_archive.html

I will update this listing whenever I find new shops worth checking out.
Here's a list of
'18 record stores every music lover needs to visit at least once':

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-greatest-record-stores-in-the-world-2014-2

And here's a list of websites dedicated to vinyl enthusiasts:







For a list of quality vinyl classics to look out for, check out this blog post:
http://bangnzdrum.blogspot.hk/2012/07/classic-vinyl-album-recommendations.html

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's a Drive-In Saturday

Other-worldly. David Bowie really was that rock hero from another planet for much of the 1970s. His words and music sparked our imagination in a way that no other pop star had ever done. The images from the Ziggy period in 1972 and 73 show an artist taking the superficial stylings of Glam Rock to a whole different level. The cover of the Ziggy Stardust album plays up the other-worldliness perfectly, as if Bowie had just fallen to earth. This advert for his 1973 single 'Drive-in Saturday' plays on the other-worldly persona; a cleverly cultivated image and a perfect complement to the music. Drive-in Saturday  is one of the stand-out tracks on the 'Aladdin Sane' album and, for some fans it is one of Bowie's greatest songs. Its setting is a futuristic world where people have forgotten how to make love. When he he played the song live, soon after he wrote it, Bowie said, "This is after a catastrophe of some kind, and some people are living on the streets and some people are living in domes, and they borrow from one another and try to learn how to pick up the pieces."