Someone started a thread a while ago about North Carolina record shops, which made me think that it would be interesting to hear what people had to say about the record shops in their area. I find that the on line information about these things is really hit or miss in terms of accuracy.
It would be good to hear what people have to say about their favorite local shop in terms of:
1. types of music they specialize in
2. general price range
3. typical condition of records in the shop
4. how well organized they are
5. how often they turn over their stock
6. street address and hours
I'm mostly into rock starting with British Invasion, and proceeding through punk, new wave and 80s indie rock. I live in southern California and go both to LA and San Diego, so I'll name my favorite shop in each:
LA - Rockaway Records
2395 Glendale Blvd, Silver Lake. Not sure the hours other than they open at 11 on Saturday
They sell mostly pretty much what I like plus soul and jazz, psych and some metal.
Prices are reasonable - they have many boxes of $2 records in great condition that sometimes have some real good finds in them, and on the upper end they have collectors records that you can pay a thousand dollars for. But you can find a lot of very good stuff in the range of $5-$20. They also have collector 45s that you have to ask to see so they don't get as beat up as 45s do in other shops.
They are well organized with respect to stock that's been there for a while, but they have a pretty big new arrivals section - about 10 bins - where all genres are mixed together in no order whatever, and that's where you'll want to spend your first hour in the shop. The new arrivals turn over pretty fast - probably every couple months it completely changes over. The rest of the shop moves much more slowly. For my money these guys are WAY better than Amoeba, which is far more widely known.
San Diego - Record City
6th Ave, Hillcrest 11-7 M-Sa, 11-6 Su
Rock of most eras, except the manager's interest flattens out during 80s indie and he doesn't tend to buy much of that beyond the best known bands. Very good new wave, soul and 60s sections.
Prices are really good - large dollar bin area that's actually sorted at least to the extent that all bands beginning with a given letter are in the same bin. These used to have a lot of good finds in them, but lately they are more pedestrian, but there are a lot in good condition. There's a smaller $2 bin area where the records are more interesting and generally in really good shape. Most records are in the $5-$10 range, and condition is usually really good. They're sorted into major categories and then alphabetical by artist, and the staff regularly goes through the bins themselves and re-sorts them. A handful of scarcer records are on the wall, but these are rarely above $30 and are priced well enough that unlike most shops they actually turn over pretty quickly. The new arrivals section is small (a couple boxes) and turns over every 2-4 weeks. There's quite a lot of 45s, including a lot of chart singles that go back to the late 60s and are in surprisingly good condition, although most aren't in plastic sleeves so it probably won't stay that way.
There are many amazing record shops in Los Angeles. My favorite is Atomic Records. Vinyl and covers are in great condition and the prices VERY reasonable. Everyone mentions Amoeba and it's a great place for used CDs at terrific prices but the vinyl is often over priced.
Now a place to absolutely avoid-- Wax Trax records in Las Vegas, not to be confused with Wax Trax in Denver. The guy has great records. But he prices based on the NM/NM values that one finds in price guides or on popsike. He starts off at at triple the fair value of a record and then will try to squeeze every penny from you . I'm a very (so I thought) savvy buyer of vinyl and he said $300 based on the NM/NM prices (vinyl for those records was VG+ and covers G+ to VG+). I said $150 not including one record that we didn't know the value of, and it took 15 minutes to get him to agree to $150 because it was clear that I was about to leave the store. I had my iPhone with me but this was all happening in real time and I didn't bother (stupidly) checking Discogs or Musicstack. I checked eBay and popsike which meant that I was looking at records in much better condition than the ones he was selling me. There are NO bargains to be found there. Perhaps by looking at discogs/musicstack and showing him the prices you can get a fair deal. Caveat emptor is at play in that store more than anywhere else I've ever shopped. His shelves are well organized. No prices on records. That's done in real time when you bring your records to the register and he takes his time to look up prices online.
Also in Vegas is Record City. The one near the strip is very good with great prices. The one a little further out was good but not quite the number of original pressings as the store nearer to the strip.
Record Surplus in Santa Monica is good - I found Budgie's "Never turn your back on a friend" and John Phillips "Wolfking of LA" there.
Fingerprints in Long Beach is killer - Huge Punk and Metal section
I have a few 90's Hip-Hop records that I've gotten from musicstack and discogs which are from Rockaway Records. Always wanted to go there!
Went to Off The Record in San Diego the other day. Gets completely horrible reviews, but I have to say I found it quite pleasant. As a shopper I tend to keep to myself in these places. Maybe I get less interaction with employees that way, good or ill. It's worth checking out.
Living here in a small military town of Elizabeth City, NC...there are zero record or even music stores. Hampton roads is an hour north is speckled with several good finds though. Skinnies Records of Norfolk speciallizes in mainly harder rock, metal and punk records. Some people argue that the clerks are rude and brash, I've never seen this the few times I've been in here. Vinyl Daze of Virginia Beach is excellant when it comes to artist knowledge and overall customer service, decent selection of all sorts. My favorite would have to be American Oldies Records in Newport News, kind of a trek out there but they have an excellent selection of rare gems for unbeatable price. An old hippie guy named Chuck works here and is just a blast to talk to. He's very knowledgeable about almost any kind of music, and can order almost anything you need. Pretty small when it comes to physical size of the store but makes for a cozy atmosphere. Excellent background tunes as well :)
There's several, several more in the VA Hampton Roads area but these would have to be my fav.
Disclaimer: The words and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author(s) of the postings and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of MusicStack and/or its employees. Publication on this website should not be considered an endorsement. MusicStack and/or its employees do not express or imply any warranty or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information on this website. MusicStack and/or its employees will not be held liable for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising under this disclaimer or in connection with our website. By using our website, you accept this disclaimer in full.