Record shops you have known and loved

What were the big ones for you? Where you learned stuff, got the fear before going in, felt a sense of community.

In Bristol, Mike Shawe’s shops were the first I visited with any regularity. Around the same time I used to phone Flying and Ashely would recommend me stuff and play records, which I used to send off a postal order for as I had no cheque book. Then Inner Rhythm and Ugly in Brighton.

But I think most of my musical DNA comes from Vinyl Junkies basement store on Berwick Street, where I got a sense of how different types of music fitted together and started to get a feel for its history. Also, from visits to NYC’s Dance Tracks, the first place I heard Joe Claussell play.

After that, I mostly started paying record dealer’s mortgages (Pure Pleasure Music).

Nowadays the shop I visit most is Eldica… Andy and I come from completely different musical places, but he’s got a good feeling about what interests me and I love the freedom of the place… just being able to rummage and listen to your heart’s content.

Tell me about yours.

7 Likes

My first one was Elpees, Orpington… It was one of those shops that catered to mobile disco DJs in the main but if you went under the racks there was boxes of Detroit stuff and all sorts for £1 as they couldn’t shift it to the mobile mafia… It was ace to have ten minutes from your house.

Going to Soho with a list for us and running around trying to find the pre-release records you wanted aged 16 it was the usual suspects. Black Market, Quaff, Trax for the European imports, etc… Never really had one specific favourite as they were all within five minutes of each other. Good times.

5 Likes

My first forays into ‘proper’ record shops were Manic Hedgehog on Cowley Road in Oxford, and subsequently Massive Records, again in Oxford. But my best/most influential finds were at the back of a menswear shop called ‘Lucky in Love’ (which ironically Massive took over from when they moved to their second shop). It was here they used to have a little box of imported 12’s for sale, tucked away, and it’s where I scored my first copies of things like The House Music Anthem on Trax.

4 Likes

Manhattan Records and Dance Music Records (when it was in a basement) late 90s Tokyo.
Both had racks of records that Id only heard whispers of, things like David Axlerod records, it was like a dreamland of classic breaks and all the latest discoveries diggers were unearthing.
I sent hours looking though the racks reading the sleeve notes etc. Only problem is that period 1997-2000 I hardly had any money so there were all these crazy mad records in Tokyo and I had like £30-50 record spending budget per trip.

3 Likes

Vinyl Exchange Manchester basement in the 90s/early 00s, still have records I can remember Balearic Mike or Russ playing over the shop system. Not a dissimilar vibe in MVE Greenwich which is about the only shop I ever go to in London now

Max Rees’ shop ‘Hot Numbers’ in Cambridge was a bit of an Aladdin’s cave.

Haggle Vinyl on Essex Road felt like the kind of place that could no longer exist. I remember a sign saying you had to pay for a new turntable if it packed in while you were listening to something on it

8 Likes

Max Records in Eastbourne in the 80’s was my first. Very ‘cool’ yellow and green bags that you would fold round your school books to show the ‘Max’ logo.
Rounder, Inner Rhthym and Akashic in Brighton in the 90’s. So many great records from Darius at Akashic.
Mid 90’s in London, I bought a lot of techno from Unity and spent a lot of time in Tag, eventually being invited ‘downstairs’ though I’m sure that was through association rather than my own merit.
There was a record shop in a subway by Florence station that i used to visit a lot too. Lots of Italo House banging out which was a lot of fun.
I remember a big shop on a pedestrianised street in the centre of Amsterdam, lots of listening decks, lots of great music. Can’t for the life of me remember the name of it.

3 Likes

The Haggle guy was crackers. Signs reading NO DEALERS over certain racks. Didn’t he chuck out Gilles Peterson once?

5 Likes

Darius had (has?) excellent taste

1 Like

To begin with Rival in Bath, and also Revolver as I was a bit of an indie kid in those days, seem to remember them having an amazing Reggae selection too. Then Replay when I got into the house thing.

In London, Inner Rhythm in Streatham @KWizz …ended up working there for a while, easy D, happy days :grinning:

Record shops are a lot more matey these days though, although must admit I did get the fear at Hardwax in Berlin a couple of years back

3 Likes

Never bought any dnb but once popped my head downstairs at Black Market. That looked like a properly intimidating place to buy records. Customer service is great and all, but rites of passage meant a lot too.

4 Likes

Mi Price in Croydon with Colin Dale behind the counter. He was a nice person to buy records from. Tolerated all sorts of babbling descriptions of tunes from me back in the day, and even managed to identify a few of the things I was after.

4 Likes

+1 for Massive in Oxford. Jo was lovely and was generally happy for teenage me to sit with a stack of vinyl all afternoon. Also remember lucky in love too. Never really went into Manic Hedgehog. Also used to get loads of random finds upstairs in the music shop on Oxford High Street.

4 Likes

And another +1 for Vinyl Junkies basement. Also Koobla - pre-phonica. when it opened it was a bit of a weird time I think, as loads of stores seemed to be shutting - bought loads of nice bits in there. Also selectadisc in Nottingham. DiY had a shop for a bit too that I used to drop into.

3 Likes

Inner Rhythm (Darren) and Rounder in Brighton 1990s. Also a shop there called Joy For Life which didn’t last long but I remember buying Hardkiss records there and it was cool while it lasted. London was Islington so Disque in Chapel Market mainly and Haggle/Flashback in Essex Rd. Then kept buying from Ed Davies who used to be Disque. And now it’s mainly Bandcamp digital…not quite the same as that feeling of anticipation on a Saturday lunchtime when you could spend a couple of hours at the counter/listening decks. And the absolute joy of walking in and them saying they’d put aside a few things they knew you’d like. You knew you’d made it then!

3 Likes

Used to like buying imports with labels on in Tower at Piccadilly. World beats Wolverton, used to be where Picci and Steve Millar worked and sold slices that had been on in Outer limits at the weekend. Before that Spin Inn Manchester was pretty edgy but they served you if you knew what you were asking for

4 Likes

Bought my first 12’’ in Spin Inn, Machine There but for the Grace of God go I.

From there Quaff mostly, Breeze and Dom knew my taste.

Soul II Soul on TCR was 5 minutes from work Trev always had some nice stuff.

Then the usual round robin with a list on Saturday morning.

Paul for Music on Cambridge Heath was 2 minute stroll from home.

Flying on TCR was my last regular, Lofty had great stuff and Oli too.

Miss those days…

6 Likes

Bought my first album from Spin Inn when it was in the old undergound market, i’m sure Ultramagnetic MCs did an instore there.

2 Likes

Eastern Bloc in Manchester used to be pretty intimadating for a younger, not quite yet clued up, teenager, by far the moodiest, scowliest (if thats a word) bloke behind the counter was Moonboots.

4 Likes

For dance music, here in NYC, I could say something obvious like Vinylmania or Dance Tracks - and though they were biggies, the one the predated them all for me was the slightly less heralded Rock & Soul Electronics, weirdly located across the street from Macy’s in midtown Manhattan. (It’s still there, albeit in far less essential form.) This was the pre-house, barely-post-disco era, so lots of Paradise Garagey stuff, freestyle, all manner of imports…it’s where I got all my DAF 12s, for instance. For a skinny white kid fresh from the countryside, it was a bit intimidating but a super-good intro to NYC dance-music culture.

8 Likes

This place should have had its own tv show. I brought my mixer there for a repair once and they set it on fire right in front of me :joy:

7 Likes