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Ranking U.S. metro areas for record shopping

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by steelydanguy, Jan 15, 2015.

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  1. Nightswimmer

    Nightswimmer Forum Resident

    Asheville is alive with music like all of Western NC and Harvest Records is a great place to buy new and used music.

    Not bad at all. A bit dark and dusty, but worth a visit, if you are in town.

    My greatest surprise though was that Greenville, SC has three big record stores.

    There is Cabin Floor Records which has mostly used vinyl and offers some real gems.

    There is Horizon Records which is sells mostly new vinyl but also offers plenty of used records.

    And there is earshot music which might not be the greatest store in the world, but is a very decent No3 in town:
    steelydanguy likes this.
  2. steelydanguy

    steelydanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for the note on these record stores. I haven't lived in the Twin Cities since 2010 (though I still get back at least once a year to see family), and I haven't been to either of those shops. They're both in St. Paul and opened last year, right?

    I'll have to try to check them out sometime. It's great to hear that St. Paul is adding record stores. Minneapolis has had the more interesting record stores for as long as I can remember, but it would be cool if St. Paul could have some great shops, too.

  3. Rodz42

    Rodz42 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for that. The only reason that I pop into Laurie's at all is because a close friend of mine lives within walking distance. If it wasn't for that I'd probably go in there like once a year.

    Yup, you can't really go wrong with any of the Reckless stops.

    And yes, that's why I love Logan Hardware so much. The staff are so nice and the arcade is a fantastic bonus. It has the best intangibles of any of the Chicago shops.
    mmart1 likes this.
  4. fluffskul

    fluffskul Would rather be at a concert

    albany, ny
    Asheville is a much better city for live music than record hunting... at least it was before I moved out (2010). There were three record stores downtown when I was there... my fave was the one on Lexington with the "Turn On Your Lovelight" lyrics on the side of the building. But it was overpriced. I remember they had some Beatles US Pressings in the window for $100. And this was before vinyl prices got ridiculous everywhere.
  5. Nightswimmer

    Nightswimmer Forum Resident

    That is probably true. After all, making live music fits well with the community spirit of the town.

    What about Greenville, SC? Has anyone ever been there?
  6. Jeff Edwards

    Jeff Edwards Senior Member

    Sure, I live nearby. I think Greenville is surprisingly good for a town of its size for record shopping.

    For live music, it has declined somewhat since we lost one of the primary venues, a club called the Handlebar.
  7. Nightswimmer

    Nightswimmer Forum Resident

    The city seems to be afloat with new money, courtesy of BMW and Michelin. Some of the surrounding area seems to be exceptionally poor though.
  8. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Fresno, California
    One more shop to add to Fresno, CA—Freebird is a shop that sells more than just LPs but has a good selection at good prices of mostly pop/rock LPs.


    The local Rasputin's is one of the better stores in the chain, wider variety of stock than most stores in the chain. Tower District Records has more LPs than any other shop in town, a lot more avant-garde Classical and Jazz than anywhere outside of an Amoeba branch, at least in recent experience.
    steelydanguy likes this.
  9. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident


    Lots of research, thanks. Ive been considering doing this myself. Thank You
  10. MKHopkins

    MKHopkins Cool Aid Chemist

    Beaver Falls, PA
    Visited Blue Arrow in Cleveland today. Nice store, gets the best Yelp reviews in the city. Found some good stuff but... as always I'm spoiled by the shops in Pittsburgh.
    Northwind, DarkAudit and Rodz42 like this.
  11. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    In what area of Kentucky?
  12. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    adding to Baltimore, in addition to Soundgarden, right around the corner is another excellent used record store..

    Own Guru Records 1635 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21231
  13. steveharris

    steveharris Forum Resident

    That`s okay,I`m not going to be passing through there.Thanks though.
  14. Rodz42

    Rodz42 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    I checked out Blue Arrow this summer. I really liked it. Bought a ton of records there, at prices a fraction of Chicago for the same titles
  15. MKHopkins

    MKHopkins Cool Aid Chemist

    Beaver Falls, PA
    It's a nice little store. Love the floor tiled with album covers.
    Rodz42 likes this.
  16. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

  17. HominyRhodes

    HominyRhodes Forum Resident

    Great work, thanks. I think you're spot on. Many years ago, Beverly Records was like a candy store -- they had everything (bought my copy of John Lennon's Rock N' Roll there) so I'm sorry to read that it's no longer a viable option.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention -- Radio Doctors in Milwaukee was probably one of the best shops in the country before its demise.
    Rodz42 likes this.
  18. Rodz42

    Rodz42 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Thank you.

    Maybe if you have the patience to dig deep Beverly could still be good. But from my experience (last went there 4 years ago) --lame pricing (any record not priced was 6 bucks, which was the cheapest price point, so records that typically would run 2-4 dollars at Reckless are 6 dollars here), extremely spotty condition records (much of the stock was 'Good' condition--some stock was even missing covers!?), loads and loads of common titles in multiple quantities taking up a lot of space, and terribly cramped and dusty, which makes it extremely difficult to flip through the bins in any good way. Records were piled on top of records and it was hard to even move around. It looked like it could've been good back in the day, but when I was last there it looked like the store that time forgot
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
    HominyRhodes likes this.
  19. BrokenByAudio

    BrokenByAudio Forum Resident

    The Downtown Music Gallery in Chinatown is not to be ignored by people into modern jazz and progressive stuff. High esoteric factor.
    seaisletim likes this.
  20. BrokenByAudio

    BrokenByAudio Forum Resident

    Add in Record Baron on Delaware in Kenmore and mention there are two Record Theaters on Main Street. The Lafayette store has a large used vinyl section in a back room where they examine records for grading and list records for online sale. Front of the store is all used CD stock. The main, rearward part of the store proper is new CDs and new vinyl.
  21. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    Great thread idea. For me no.1 was and still probably is Tampa/St. Pete, simply for the kinds of stuff you could find for dirt cheap. Vinyl Fever (sadly no more) was the best for their massive and extensive .99-2.99 section, none of which was crap. Former employees opened Microgroove, but the other biggie is Sound Exchange and their massive selection of .99-1.99 vinyl in addition to a well organized main aisle packed with original issue for cheap. This is where I found stuff like a NM/NM original Hotel California for .99, and an Artisan LA Woman for only $14.

    Here in Nashville it has finally gotten better. The hipsters usually go for the brand new reissues etc. leaving us regulars to dig through the bins. Grimey's opened a second store next door for the used items, which has allowed for a much greater influx of items coming through. Now one doesn't have to dig through the boxes on the floor while people stand all over you. The Great Escape's best location is on Charlotte and their New Arrivals section will usually give up a gem on each visit. The real interesting one is The Groove in East Nashville--when it opened it was ok for new stuff but recently some really nice finds have begun appearing in the used section, mostly classic rock in good shape which isn't too common in town.
    The prices have started to come back down from the "revival", they're better but still not as low as they should be. Murfreesboro has a surprisingly good store, Little Shop of Records, and I've found some really good things in here (some West Coast stuff, a Monarch, and my RL Deguello) but being in a college town the prices can be sky high.

    I went through Atlanta in November, hitting many of the stores I hadn't been to in years. Wax N' Facts is always a good choice but be prepared to dig through a lot. The real surprise was Wuxtry Atlanta, filled to the brim with goodies for very good prices. I've only been to the Athens store before (on the pilgrimage) and both are excellent choices. The latter coughed up some huge R.E.M. rarities for me.

    My choice for best city today though? None of the above.


    The stores are numerous, quite packed, with two standing out. Basement Records is a treasure trove for popular material in great condition and reasonable prices. The big winner is Lost and Found Records. Extremely friendly and helpful staff who are very forthcoming and conversable (something becoming more and more rare these days) in addition to having multitudes of rare and vintage vinyl across formats-all in very good condition, bagged, properly organized and very very well priced. I've found everything from an original Violator to vintage HTF 60's soundtracks to Steve's preferred Parallel Lines picture disc here. They have a good amount of 80's era throughout and a great assortment of imports.
  22. adamdube

    adamdube Forum Resident

    Elyria, OH USA

    Blue Arrow is an excellent shop for sure. Pete is a nice guy, who if asked, will go out back and find more copies than in the racks. Lots of good luck there in the past. Try to go once a month for sure. The rest over there on Waterloo are kind of a waste for classic rock, jazz and blues fans. Music Saves is good for new indie stuff if that's your thing.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    Northwind likes this.
  23. adamdube

    adamdube Forum Resident

    Elyria, OH USA
    For Cleveland....

    Loop is a Coffee shop with about 300 used records max, maybe 1/2 worth looking at. Good Coffee though
    On the west side of Cleveland there is Manson Records....some good stuff with some local flair.
    My Minds Eye specializes is hard rock.....about a 50/50 split with vinyl/CD. Charles might be the best source of Black Sabbath information ever. His inventory turns over pretty regular.
    Hausfrau is near W65th, smaller but usually pretty good quality. More of an eclectic inventory.
    A Separate Reality is on w14th, not very well lit, but I usually find a couple things there. Just make sure you find the front window for some good lighting.
    While the exchanges are a chain, and perhaps not for this list, if you are persistent it's a gold mine. They recently ended up with a travelling vinyl guy, and the prices have risen, but often times they put stuff out with no clue how to price it.

    The one I really miss is Hodads, closed due to lack of foot traffic and rising child card costs.....the owner would often put stuff aside for me from my wish list. Miss that place!

    Records Per Minute in Columbus is terrible....the owner gets irritated when you open the LPs to inspect, but since he used GR (great) for a grade, you HAVE to see what the heck that might be.
    Used Kids recently cleaned things up and it's like a different store now, highly recommended.
    Northwind likes this.
  24. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Aloha, OR
    No one has chimed in on Portland yet, so here's my $0.02 regarding the shops I frequent, for what it's worth:

    1. Music Millenium - my first stop on a day of record shopping. The nicest all-around store that feels like a good old-fashioned record store. They are usually pretty short on the "new arrivals" for used vinyl, but I've absolutely found some treasures there. They rarely overcharge, even if it's in fact rare vinyl.

    2. 2nd Ave Records - I don't stop in as much because they don't seem to have a big influx of used LPs and that's what I'm mostly after. For new stuff, however, they have the best price in town. It doesn't get much more local than this place. I love spending my money there when they have something I want. Family run.

    3. Jackpot Records - the downtown location closed it's doors not that long ago. The remaining location is more boutique than actual record store. Prices are very high. Little-to-no used LPs. I don't go here anymore.

    4. Crossroads Music - a bit overwhelming for me, as the format is multiple vendors in multiple spots. Looking for used Stones LPs in 15 different spots gets a little daunting. Super friendly atmosphere. Forum member Lord Hawthorne is a big cheese for this place.

    5. Everyday Music (Sandy location) - they seem to have the greatest influx of used LPs in the entire city. I check the used bins once per week. While there is a LOT of crap, there is usually always something hidden in the racks. I've found some incredibly great/coveted copies here. The problem with EM (all locations) is that they have no idea how to grade or price vinyl. It really seems to depend on the person who's in charge of it for the day it's getting done. Also, most of the employees here are the epitome of obnoxious record store clerks. I honestly don't think anyone is in charge or gives a hoot about customer service. Customer wise, there are a lot of sycophants and nuts that shop here. Don't go in hungover.

    6. Everyday Music (Downtown) - a shrinking recent arrivals for used vinyl, but I'll still find occasional prizes. They have a pretty huge selection of new/used. New stuff is priced fairly. They're very prone to drastically overpricing/overgrading used LPs, however. They tend to price things based on the notoriety of the artist on the cover. $20-$30 for a copy of "Thriller" is ridiculous, guys.

    7. Everyday Music (Beaverton) - much smaller than the other two, but I almost always find something great in their new arrivals bin. It's tiny, but it makes me think there are still a ton of people in the suburbs who are slowly turning in their collections. Who would have thought I'd find a pristine early UK copy of Hunky Dory here for a reasonable price? Otherwise, basically the same as the other two with generally friendlier staff.

    I do not regularly shop Mississippi Records because I do not carry cash around in the volume needed to satisfy my purchasing. They have great reviews from what I've heard.
  25. KenJ

    KenJ Forum Resident

    Flower Mound, TX
    I have been traveling the world visiting stores for the past 10+ years so I have visited many on this list.

    I would say that it depends on what you are seeking from a record store.
    - hot new obscure titles that are high on the hipster list?
    - rare used items talked about on the forum?
    - rare items that aren't maked up to match on line prices?
    - which genres?

    I rank Dallas/Ft Worth much higher than this list for frequent shopping but perhaps not as high for travelers looking to visit 2 spots with an amoeba like selection. I like DFW music shopping because I live there and shop about 8 places frequentLy plus there are over 10 Half Price Books (and a few weaker movie trading company) where the pricing varies and there are 50% off days. Dallas hpb stores can get some obscure and interesting items. Any one trip may be worthless but collectively the odds of finding rare things cheap are good. You also find a lot of rare things expensive and in low grade. Compare that to shopping amoeba (which I do as I work in The Bay Area). Amoeba sf is highly skilled at matching online prices but a great place to find things...but I often feel I could have stayed home and just purchased from Amazon marketplace or ebay. Forever Young in DFW is a lot like a higher priced Amoeba but more used records and less used CDs (a lot of new). Too bad the prices are so high. Cd source has closed but had a very large used cd stock. Dead Wax is good for new vinyl, Alternative 7" records and pot luck on used vinyl . Josey is evolving and growing with the used new arrivals producing a few times from time to time. Overall Due to size DFW has over 20 places to make hunting locally a fruitful and enjoyable place full of surprises.

    I agree that LA is strong (#1 on my list) and NYC has declined.

    Denver has a well stocked mini Amoeba like store plus Black and Read which is often good for used vinyl.

    I also agree sF / San Jose / Berkeley are also good with big name stores and small local shops but I miss the wide open spaces and parking of DFW:)
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    LordThanos1969 likes this.
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