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Vintage Records Hot Spots – Places you don’t want to miss in America

With the coming of the modern age, vintage records are kind of suppressed by Sci-Fi gear like MP4s, wireless soundgear, and similar urban sound contraptions. Anyway, records have something that you just can’t snuff out – they have a soul.

People are still into turntables and records, and if you happened to be one of them, you might be interested in “where” can you find the best places to supply yourself with the latest records.

We’ve searched far and wide, and we’ve decided to make a list of the best record venues you can find in America.

What makes the record shops different?

“Since most of the work is done by singers and performers, there’s little that record shops can do – all you need to do is simply choose the record and buy it”. This statement is everything but true – there are a lot of different reasons why record shops are different, and there’s a manifold of things that make them different:

  • Availability

Small record venues are often low in stock, especially when it comes to the latest, hot records. On the contrary, larger venues have larger stocks, so you don’t have to worry about finding your favorite vinyl records.

  • Keeping up with the trend

Urban record shops are well-informed about the latest trends, and they tend to keep up with time. There are cases when underground musicians emerge on the stage right next to the superstars, and top venues already have their stocks filled with their records.

  • Decoration and customer service

It’s pretty self-explanatory – if a shop is well decorated, you’d feel more inclined to check it out. On the other hand, a good customer service is always better than the place that’s beautiful, but fails to accommodate their valued customers.

  • Prices

Records may, or may not be cheap, but there’s no reason to overpay your stuff. One of the key-elements that make record shops different is the price of their records.

America’s Top Record Shops

1.Princeton Record Exchange

princeton record exchange

Princeton Record Exchange is located at Princeton (obviously), a small provincial town in the US. This is, essentially, a small record shop that you simply don’t want to miss if you’re passing by Princeton. This shop has professional staff that really know their work – they’re experienced, fast, and, most importantly, friendly to new faces.

One of the best things about this small record shop is that they offer occasional sales on some of their records. For instance, you can easily get your favorite copy for less than $5. They also offer a variety of used records.

Pros:

  • Great staff – professional and friendly, these people will help you find what you need with ease;
  • Cheap prices – occasional discounts and used records don’t cost too much;

Cons:

  • The location – Princeton is pretty far away from the capital and famous towns;

2. Double-Decker Records
double decker records

If you’re in Allentown, make sure to visit the Double Decker Records. This little shop is pretty well organized, the prices shouldn’t be a problem, and their staff is very good. Even though the shop itself is quite small, there are a lot of vinyl records to choose from.

Apart from the categorized sections, there’s a lot of unmarked territory – stacks and stacks of unmarked vinyl record crates for you to explore if you’re feeling lucky.

Pros:

  • Well-organized – there’s a lot to choose from, and you’ll have help from the staff if you’re uncertain;
  • A manifold of records – great variety of various music genres;
  • Unsorted vinyl records – when you don’t know what you want, simply rummage through unsorted crates;

Cons:

  • Some records are pretty high up – the lines actually go all the way up to the ceiling, making them hard to reach;

3. Hello Records
hello records

Hello Records are one of Detroit’s main attractions for music lovers. The shop is decorated with hanging records, the lines are easily accessible, and the stocks are filled with various soul, blues, reggae, rock, and jazz vinyl records.

The vast majority of records are pretty old, making them even more valuable, and some records date back to early 50s, so if you’re into some reminiscence, make sure to check Hello Records out.

Pros:

  • A lot of variety – reggae, rock, blues, pop, jazz, and more;
  • Old Gold records – some records date back to early 50s;
  • Great Location – you just can’t miss it if you’re in Detroit;

Cons:

  • Medium prices – provincial shops are way cheaper;

4. My Mind’s Eye
my minds eye records

My Mind’s Eye is nested in Lakewood, and you can find a lot of rare vinyl records there. Metal, Punk, and Rock lovers should check it out, as their stocks are filled with 80s metal, glam metal, post-punk, hard-rock, and blues records.

Pros:

  • Metal & Rock venue – punkers, rockers, and metalheads heaven;
  • A large shop – there’s a lot of room for you to explore the records freely;
  • Moderate prices – the prices of records are decently affordable;

Cons:

  • Extremely popular – even though this is not a flaw, there will be more people rummaging for vinyl records;

5. Double Nickels Collective
double nickel collective records

Double Nickels Collective is found in Phoenix Valley, and it’s practically the best shop out there. Even though most shops categorize their lines in a similar way, Double Nickels lines are simply organized better. Even when the shop is full, you can easily see the stocks of your favorite music genre from afar. The staff is nice, the air-conditioner works 24/7, and their prices are pretty good.

Pros:

  • Great prices – affordable records, just for you;
  • A medium-size shop – lots of vinyl records, and lots of space for you to explore freely;
  • Polite work staff – the workers at Double Nickels Collective are very friendly;

Vinyl Stores Chicago – Where to go and what to look out for

Introduction

We can all agree that vintage records aren’t too hard to find. There are record stores all around the globe that offer a wide list of products in their catalog. Now, is there anything special about record stores?

These venues aren’t just places where you go to buy your vintage CD. They’re a part of the actual living history and they often have a certain aura around them.

Chicago – A city of vintage treasures

There are several reasons why Chicago is a place where you should look out for your Vintage Records:

  • It’s swarming with prestigious record stores;

The whole point of this review is to get you acquainted with some of the best record stores in Chicago, and it’s swarming with them. The list of vinyl record stores is practically endless, as you can find them at nearly every corner.

  • You’ll get surprised every once in a while;

Most of the time, the most prestigious stores will be crowded with people that are searching for their CDs. Now, this usually means that some of the rarest records are out of stock or unavailable for any other reason, but that’s not a rule.

You should even consider visiting some of the “underground” stores (less known, not literally under the ground) as they have a tendency of hoarding some of the rarest CDs and vintage records.

  • Chicago Record stores usually host special themed events;

A record store wouldn’t be any different from the regular hardware store if they only sold their products. Some of the best record stores from Chicago are a host to special events. For instance, “Reckless Records” sometimes call renowned musicians to practice in their store.

  • Some of the biggest stars came from Chicago;

The distribution and the mixing of vintage records had nothing to do with the birthplace of these stars. However, it would definitely mean something if you purchased a record from a store where some of the biggest stars used to buy their records as well.

First of all, Muddy Waters, a famous jazz musician was from Chicago. Willie Dixon, the famous Styx, and James Young as well. Among the new-scene musicians we could name Rise Against, Ministry, Disturbed, and Andrew Bird.

Top 7 Vintage record stores to look out for in Chicago

Permanent Records

good turntable for playing recordsPermanent Records is one of the venues where you will feel like at home. The outside of the store is pretty urban, but welcoming. They have a logo that you can hardly miss, so you don’t have to worry about pinpointing their location.
1960s record playersNow, they are usually pretty crowded, and there are times when some of the locals organize a public gig, so it’s definitely dynamic with them. As their name implies, the Permanent Records are here to stay, and they boast quite a wide catalog of CDs and LPs.

Where can you find them?

Permanent Records can be located at 1914W Chicago Avenue right across the gap between the Wolcott and Winchester Avenues. They’re open from Monday to Sunday (from noon until 8 p.m.).

Shuga Records

turntable discsNow, Shuga records are all about rock & roll lifestyle. Their interior is decorated with various graffiti spots, and they have a catalog of nearly 20000 vintage records. Their menu involves a wide variety of turntable models, posters, and more.
vinyl record player ukEven though their records are neatly stored in the organized rows, there are strong chances that some of the less-known (but gold) albums are still in their stock, so hipsters, get ready! They offer a special delivery for locals who order items beyond $100.

Where can you find them?

You can find the Shuga records in the Milwaukee Avenue 1272N right across the Paulina Street. They’re open from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm.

Gramophone Records

vinyl mp3 playerGramophone records is a small shop of vinyl records that is favored by professionals & amateurs alike when it comes to electronics. The main reason why people like them so much is because they offer a versatile stock of records that include the latest (and the oldest) records in disco, microhouse, dance, trance, techno, and similar electronics sub-genres.
record player mp3 playerNow, this shop is pretty small, so don’t be dissuaded by the size of this venue. Their menu is huge, so if you’re into electronic music, this might be the best place to search for your vinyl records.

Where can you find them?

Clark Street 2843 N across the Surf street is where you can find the Gramophone Records. You can take both the brown or purple 22 (or 76) buses to Diversey from the El stop to get there with the public transport.

606 Records

usb phonograph playerThis record venue is a home for a vast catalog of vintage records. Their main focus is on the smaller labels (Exiles from Buenos Aires, for example), so if you’re into catching up to some fresh tunes, this might be a good place to start.
The house of 606 Records is pretty large when compared to a standard venue, so you could expect a lot of people to be there at all times, searching for their CDs. Their catalog includes a wide menu of turntables, various records, slipmats, and similar products.

Where can you find them?

Just across the 18th street is the Allport street (1808 S), and that’s just where the 606 Records are. Public transport Buses 9, 18 & 60 can take you there.

Laurie’s Planet of Sound

discount record playersLaurie’s Planet of Sound will take you down the memory lane – 90’s kids and hipsters would be delighted to hear that this record store is outfitted with all the oldies, but it also has a lot of new-urban records in stock.
The interior design of Laurie’s Planet of Sound resembles that of the old-school record venue, and it’s safe to say that rock & roll lovers would feel at home here. You can find the iconic records and CDs here, but they also offer a wide array of action figures and pop culture toys.

Where can you find them?

This record venue is located in the 4639 Lincoln Avenue across the Eastwood & Leland Avenues.

Bucket O’ Blood Records

how to buy record playerIf the name of this venue didn’t catch your attention, the interior sure will. Bucket O’ Blood has a catalog which includes books of fantasy, horror, Sci-Fi, literary fiction, biographies, creative non-fiction, popular science, but you could also find the latest rock, metal, punk, and pop vinyl records.
The interior is simply amazing – lots and lots of books are stacked neatly on the manifold of shelves, records are stacked in rows, and it’s safe to say that this record venue is one of the best places to be when you want a vintage record.

Some of the reasons why people like them so much include their budget price books and records, and the melancholy (if not nostalgic) atmosphere. There are only a couple of venues which could be compared to Bucket O’ Blood when it comes to the price, but there are hardly any record stores which could top their catalog.

Where can I find them?

This vintage record store is located at the 3182 Elston Avenue across the California Avenue. Their working hours are from Monday to Sunday (from noon to 9 pm).

Pinwheel Records

where to buy a good record playerPinwheel records is the 1st vintage store that opened up in Pilsen, and they’ve been kicking for a couple of decades now. The interior of the Pinwheel Records building is quite plain – green walls are decorated with the posters from various artists, a long shelf houses the latest records, the rows of vintage CDs create a heartwarming aura, and the arcade machine sits quietly in the back.
Pinwheel records is the place to be if you’re out there searching for the latest vinyl records, but even hipsters and old-school people could find what they’re after here – the menu is big, and there’s something for everyone.

Where can you find them?

This record venue is located at the 1722 18th street, right across the Paulina Street.

The Final Verdict

We’ve already told you why Chicago is the best place if you want to browse for a vintage record, but which store is the best? It’s pretty hard to say. Now, the stores we’ve mentioned are all great, but it’d be nearly impossible to compare them between each other – some are big, some offer a wide catalog of products while some are quite cheap. Hit these venues and see for yourself if you happen to be in Chicago.

Record store Day 2015

Well, RSD 2015 was Epic!

For the ones who do not know Record Store Day; it is the day that we celebrate the independent record stores, the third Saturday of April. Each year this day is graced by new releases. So this day is a biggie for vinyl collectors.

After the success of 2014, 2015 was aiming for even more. In 2014 Rolling Stone calculated that 58% more records were sold. With vinyl becoming more and more popular, the scene is on the rise. Some say however that this is also the Achilles heel of RSD, the focus is more and more on making sales. The new releases are becoming so exclusive that they become commercial again..

Some of the big releases in 2015 where:2015 record store day rsd

  • Foo Fighters – Songs From the Laundry Room
  • The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
  • The Doors – Strange Days
  • Paul McCartney – The Family Way
  • U2 – Songs of Innocence

 

But not only is this day about new releases, also the culture of vinyl music and more specific of independent music stores is celebrated. With more and more commercial influence from the big labels, it can be hard for stores to have their own collection instead of all the mainstream songs. This leads to less diversity and thereby less quality. RSD is a chance to really dig through the whole variety of music. The aim is therefore not promote the mainstream big labels, but to discover some new music in the classic stores that bring us vinyl albums for decades and decades.

Numbers of records sold for RSD 2015

Still the numbers of sold records are decent:

  • In 2011 182.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Ozzy Osbourne)
  • In 2012 192.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Iggy Pop)
  • In 2013 244.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Jack White)
  • In 2014 400.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Chuck D, 58% grow!)
  • In 2015 500.000 extra records in the week of RSD (Ambassador Dave Grohl)

 

So, one could say that the RSD´s are a success. But there is also criticism. With the focus originally on independent stores, RSD is more and more captured by the big brands and labels. Making it still a great event for vinyl, but not with the focus on the gems in small stores. This is giving RSD a double character, yes the vinyl gets attention but that attention is shifting to the same big names we find anywhere in the music branch.

How to continue Record Store Day

So, in what way should RSD 2016 be presented. Are we still able to promote the ones that started this event, the small independent store owner?

Well, lets be fair, it won’t be easy. With the ambassadors being big artist with huge contracts with the main stream labels and brands, there is a lot of money on the line. And with that money, the game is played at a whole new level. With the big names representing RSD, the big money will stay. And that money is not interested in diversity and creativity. Nope big labels want to sell as many as possible. Therefore, with choosing each year ambassadors which sell millions of albums, nothing will change for the good.

It may be time to give RSD back to people who started it, the obscure small stores with numerous crates full of lp’s, those still make the backbone of R(SD).