Los Angeles area record stores

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by jamesc, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident

    Amoeba isn't in downtown LA.
  2. MrGrumpy

    MrGrumpy Forum Resident

    But what is downtown - which is not as much of a "cesspool" as it used to be, btw, nor more of a "traffic nightmare" than anywhere else on the planet - is the Last Bookstore, which has a useful vinyl section. And the books and overall layout are pretty good too. Former LA types will be pleasantly surprised by what is going on downtown. And maybe they will bump into Page and Plant this week.

    I second Fingerprints in Long Beach - pleasant location with knowledgeable staff.

    Not getting the hate for Amoeba, quite frankly. Tall poppy syndrome?
  3. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    What's was the option in the late seventies for buying vinyl?
  4. Partyslammer

    Partyslammer Lord Of The New Church

    I like Fingerprints, but they have a lot of thrashed used vinyl vs quality vintage stuff which is often overpriced. Rockaway has a decent selection of classic rock era collectable vinyl, most of which is reasonably priced. I was just at Atomic Records in Burbank (after visiting Creature Features nearby) last week and found that store to be mostly junk. The Record Collector in Fairfax is.... interesting, mainly because the owner is frankly insane and will likely drive you out of his store if you look like an "undesirable" customer.

    The problem with SoCal in general is everything is so spread out and it's really impossible to hit even the 5-10 best record stores in the LA area over a weekend. I've lived here all my life and still have yet to hits some local places like Record Surplus or Freak Beat records.

    Amoeba honestly isn't a good source for vintage vinyl. Like it was mentioned above, it seems really picked over despite the obvious high influx of used stuff and the quality is often hit or miss even when an album looks visually decent. And yeah, their pricing, especially for really collectable music is usually astronomically high. Amoeba's allure for me is that I find just as much if not more often rare DVDs and Blu-rays new and used there. I will say they have a great selection of new and recent releases and imports and their used CD selection is almost always really good. In fact, I've found most of the DCC, MFSL, DVD-Audio and SACD titles I've been looking for over the last 5 years there below typical eBay prices.

    Quite honestly, the best place to hunt for vintage vinyl in the SoCal area remains the monthly OC Record Show on the last Sunday of most months in Buena Park near Knotts Berry Farm. You can easily spend the whole day there. But you gotta be a digger.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  5. tremspeed

    tremspeed Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    That's gotta be The Record Collector on Melrose. I've long been curious and I'm often killing time near there but the reviews have scared me away.
    chacha likes this.
  6. tremspeed

    tremspeed Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah the owner (of both Touch and Cinefile) is an incredibly nice dude. Cinefile is an INCREDIBLE video store indeed. If you live nearby, and have any interest in renting movies they are the best.
    lightbulb, Critter and Beamish13 like this.
  7. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Senior Member

    SF Bay Area
    Another vote for Atomic in Burbank, though I should say that I haven't been there in many years (as I don't get down to LA that often).
  8. tremspeed

    tremspeed Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    From what the old timers tell me, Tower and Aaron's.
    lightbulb and alexpop like this.
  9. bopdd

    bopdd Senior Member

    Portland, OR
    I haven't been there in a few years, but when it comes to record stores the Record Recycler in Torrance was in my opinion the best kept secret in Southern California. This was a pure no-frills kind of place with a modest selection of primarily used titles that were generally in highly playable VG condition. But what really separated Recycler from the pack were the unbeatable prices. A $20 record was an anomaly and most selections were in the $4-$10 range, even when other stores were completely jacking up prices. Bagatelle Records in Long Beach was similar but the owner wizened up and began raising his prices as the vinyl craze surged. Both stores were basically just four plain walls and a bunch of records. Again, I don't know what they're like now.
  10. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident

    I can only vouche for the SF amoeba location. I found their pricing on used classic rock Lps to be substantially lower than what I encountered elsewhere in my travels . Zep, Floyd, Santana, Hendrix, Doors, etc. Maybe I got lucky. It happens.
    tremspeed likes this.
  11. tremspeed

    tremspeed Well-Known Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I've found reasonably priced stuff there as well (and Berkeley, and Hollywood- the best of the 3 IMO). It's just so heavily trafficked that low priced, in-demand product sells immediately leaving only the overpriced stuff (and a lot of used LPs there just isn't much demand for).
  12. J Vanarsdale

    J Vanarsdale Forum Resident

    Surprised nobody has mentioned Permanent Records on York Blvd.
  13. supersquonk

    supersquonk Forum Resident

    Amoeba: Great for anything new, the sheer size, the energy. Not sure why people say the used records are picked over..... Downside is you can't listen to a record on a turntable to test it out, and they seal up anything over $10. So you have to ask to get it unsealed and check visually. For used, the key is to find the unmarked recent arrivals bins they have scattered around. My favorite aspect is that if a new release comes out, they will probably have it. Right now it is great if you want to buy cheap used CDs. Vinyl is a little overpriced, but not as bad as people say.

    Atomic: Good prices, good rotation of stock. Very busy lately. I usually buy more records here than other spots. Downside of no listening turntable.

    Freakbeat: Smaller, great store. Like a classic neighborhood spot.

    Rockaway: Overpriced and slower rotation, but good to check out. Fun to look at the rare records like Butcher covers, Beatles lunch boxes... You can listen to CDs to test, but no turntable, which is odd. They seem to have a lot of expensive "still sealed" records.

    Fingerprints/Bagatelle: Fun to do the 1-2 punch with these two next-door places in Long Beach. The latter is super funky and super tiny with records jammed in bookcases shelves with only spines visible.

    Record Surplus: Like this place. Small and friendly. Selection changes regularly.

    Soundsations: I find fewer records I want to buy here, but it's a nice little store if you're in that area.

    Counterpoint: Occasionally will go in here, but the records seem to sit forever. Feels like an old record store in Cambridge, MA circa 1960s or something.
    lightbulb, Our Andall and CybrKhatru like this.
  14. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident In Memoriam

    mill valley CA USA
    But they barely have anything. Great selection of new vinyl though.
  15. segue

    segue Senior Abstract Member

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  16. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    Sorry to those who live there, it's in the middle of LA which I loosely call downtown. I have to take the deplorable 5 and 101 freeways to get there and the congestion is way worse than other parts of the general area. The homeless in front of the store, streets that don't allow left turns, parking difficulties, pot holes, etc. I'm guessing the rest of LA is just as bad so maybe you are correct, the whole place is turning into a third world sesspool :p
  17. Dodgytc

    Dodgytc Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    The 2 times I went into Record Collector, the minute I walked in the door I was followed around by the shop employee who hovered about 5 feet away at all times. Not a place for browsing.
    I pass by that place a lot, I have to assume they do a lot of online trade as you barely see anyone in the shop.

  18. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Hollywood, CA
    Run by two old geezers who charge exorbitant prices for their collection. They do not negotiate. They will soon be gone and hopefully their heirs will realize this and have a great sell-off at acceptable prices. These old goats will die with a huge collection and not much else to show for it. Good for those remaining.
  19. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident

    I don't think you've been around the area in awhile. That area of Cahuenga is super trendy. CNN is directly across the street. That area of Hollywood is actually quite tidy. Yikes.
    AaronW likes this.
  20. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    I was there a month ago, my comments still apply. And the store name is appropriate, Amoeba as you will catch Zika or some other outbreak due to all the unwashed store patrons that finger through the records...bring your own Purell as they don't offer it in store (BUT you can ask for it at the counter because the employees know better!)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
    Tjazz likes this.
  21. jamesc

    jamesc Senior Member Thread Starter

    Dallas, TX
    I know it's tough giving away the location of a favorite store so I really appreciate all the tips and suggestions. I collect mostly 80s and 90s vinyl and CDs and don't buy new vinyl very much these days so all the used recommendations are particularly helpful.

    There was another store I used to love for used stuff. I think it was on Reseda near Sherman Way. Record Trader maybe? I'm guessing that's gone too.

    Looking forward to the visit but I'm going to need to find something to distract the girlfriend while I hit some of these shops!
    lightbulb likes this.
  22. Marry a Carrot

    Marry a Carrot Interesting blues gets a convincing reading.

    Los Angeles
    Shouldn't you be focusing on your presidential campaign?
  23. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    I suppose I am disappointed that we didn't feel the Bern in CA :(
  24. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA

    Yup, Record Trader. Closed for many years now. Was a great store (best in the Valley): Huge turnover, good prices.
    CybrKhatru and jamesc like this.
  25. I333I

    I333I Forum Resident

    I'm disappointed. I thought a fellow Bernie fan would be a lot more tolerant.
    eran levy, lightbulb and Elton like this.

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