July 19 Reviews / Best Music Stores...

As always, feel free to comment on any or none of the reviews (or albums that you may have purchased from past reviews or whatever).

For a topic of discussion, I thought I would try to start a thread about best music stores by geographical location. Hit it!

Commenting has been closed on this article.

Glad that you're liking the Melnyk. It's one of those rare releases that comes along and really breaks through becuase it sounds so different than anything being created. Hopefully the other people that ordered a copy are getting some reward from it as well.

To answer your question, I do have the newest Blackshaw album. I just picked it up recently, so I'm still familiarizing myself with it (although I have "O True Believers" as well). Maybe I'll sneak a review of it in here somewhere in the near future.

Finally got the Melnyk and it's so, so beautiful. It's going to get a lot of listens.

It reminds me a bit of the some of the fast, shimmering guitar pieces on James Blackshaw's The Clouds of Unknowing album - different instrument but similar, hypnotically repetitious effect. Have you heard this?

dear editor, i would like to get in touch with you. i tried to find an email adress on your page but seem to miss it. if you kindly could get back to me at redenz at cocoon dot net i would be most grateful and promise not to waste your time :-)

Time-Lag is amzng.

It's not that I made a point of not reviewing Hawk And A Hacksaw before, they're just one of those groups that kinda slipped through the cracks a couple times. I've heard past work from the group and like I mentioned in the review, I think this is their most solid (if still a bit inconsistent) work to date. I'll be curious to see what Barnes and the gang does next.

I have heard the Keene on Poeta Negra. It's something I might still get around to reviewing.

Oh, and I meant to comment on it before, but Carl's post about record stores is awesome! It makes me want to fly into London just to hunt down music.

Good to see a hawk and a hacksaw getting a good write up here. I loved their last album.

Also, have you heard Keene from Poeta Negra?

Yes! You finally reviewed A Hawk and a Hacksaw!

re: Bubbachups
I loved Get Records. Fantastic shop and I miss it dearly (though I don't miss the European album prices). Oh Amsterdam!

I live in a town of 20,000 in southern Oregon (Ashland), so suffice it to say there ain't sh*t here unless you like billboard artists. When I go to Portland, I always drop by Music Millenium, and Ranch Records in Bend isn't bad either. Other than that, thank god for the internet.

Well, isn't this perfect? To address the topic question: anyone who lives anywhere near Maine, I this may be a new choice record shop, yes? A Time-Lag record store!

578 congress st. 2nd floor, portland, maine.
(right upstairs from strange maine)

opening friday july 27th!

OPEN 11:00am till 6:00pm or later WEDNESDAY thru SUNDAY (closed monday/tuesday)

*all time-lag releases.
*extensive contemporary underground vinyl/cdrs/cds/tapes/books/imports/art/etc.
*extensive vinyl reissues.
*choice vintage vinyl.
*vintage/analog/tube hi-fi.
*psych/garage/acidfolk/drone/underground/folk/weird/raga/private press/mono/and more..."

Music & Video Exchange, Notting Hill, London
It's a haven of minimal, yet perfect, organisation. Prices steadily decrease on bits of paper as demand falls for the CD, as displayed by its paper sleeve, removed from its jewel case and placed in a plastic wallet - a true music meritocracy. Tremendous vinyl catalogue, from British Invasion to Kraut Rock - with an equally respectable CD archive. The bare, bones and disheveled appearance of the shop, its staff and its equipment all lend to emotions of record buying first experienced as a teenager and thanks to MVE, never forgotten. It's effectively a musical pawn emporium so don't expect up-to-date obscurities. Popular current left field and most historical niches, post, around a decade are normally easy to come by.

Cheapo Cheapo, Soho, London
A haven of musical anarchism. After travelling across North America about 5 years ago looking for a CD (not specifically for that purpose) from an unsigned band I'd heard off New Music Canada, I found the CD in Cheapo Cheapo. It was to be found in a vertical black wall mounted case, with several leaves of half a dozen discs per side that turned like a book. The sheer unexpected joy of finding such a bizarre and minimally printed Vancouver album in a London back alley was was more than doubled since the unparticular order of the wall mounted case was the single most organised thing in the place. Less a music shop and more a meandering store, nay, dump of plastic cases, boxes, bags and tea chests - St Anthony willing, you might just uncover the unrecoverable.

Rhythm Division, Roman Road, London
Roman Road is unique. I lived in the area for some time whilst it was becoming the diverse hive it is today and it was always satisfying to appreciate the ungentrified pleasures of actual diversity. Unlike most of London's East Village esque boho chique communities, Roman Road is far too far from Tube stations, wine bars or decent schools to ever appeal to vacuous types from 'new media' industries and far too depressing to generate the excitement and fervour that Brixton creates. What you're left with is hardy, honest and typically gutsy artists, musicians and locals who, in the absence of what we'd generally call 'twats' or 'wankers' lead happy, creative and relaxed lives on the doorstep of London's most chilled-out park. The organic gastro pub, despite its good intentions, may have proved too expensive for the art students, however, with the current heavy dub and electro scene, the huge selection of fresh mixes will keep you spinning.

Sound 323, Highgate, London
On the edge of Queen's Wood, Sound 323 is somewhere I infrequently get to visit since it's right on the other side of town. It is however one of the most innovative and worthy music shops in London, with selections of avant jazz, modern composition, sound art and electronica so mashed up the folks at Time Out can't even listen to it; its the sort of place where you can go and feel very, very happy either uncovering entire new ways of making music or ostracising friends who don't understand Faust.

I´m living in Berkeley these days, so nothing touches Amoeba.
From my time in Vancouver, BC, I grew to love Zulu Records. Actually, it is my favorite anywhere: I grew to know the staff, and their wall of staff pics, and the layout is pretty great too.

Austin, TX
Waterloo Records

Groningen, the Netherlands
For the regular Pitchfork albums (only cd) you'd be best off at Plato on Oude Ebbingestraat. Nothing really spectacular but they have everything the casual indie-fan might want. The staff here is friendly but don't expect them to discuss music with you, they're just there to close the deal. Has a very good dvd section with international arthouse movies. Elpee on Oosterstraat is much smaller but their inventory (cd and vinyl) goes a bit deeper, especially with garagerock and post-rock. Totally independent store where it's clear that the owner and staff live for the music and their store, very friendly and you'll see them often at gigs in town. My favourite record store is The Magic Buzz on Steentilstraat. Small store specialized in rare 60s and 70s psych/folk/rock and modern rarities. Small labels with limited editions like Time-Lag, Qbico, Destijl, Wahwah, Boweavil, etc. is all in stock here. Mostly vinyl. Very helpful owner, I'm often there discussing music for several hours. Also worth mentioning is Swingmaster on Kruitlaan. Specialized in jazz but also carries blues, country and rock and roll. Jazz cats will be in heaven in this store, fully packed with vinyl.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Best store in Amsterdam for me is Get Records, carries both cd and vinyl. They have the regular Pitchfork albums but also very good ambient/electronics/avant-garde section with hard to find releases. The biggest store in Amsterdam is Concerto, right across Get Records on Utrechtsestraat. They basically have every genre you can imagine and lots of it (cd+vinyl), but of course, if you really want to go deep in one particular genre you'd be better off in a more specialized store. Then there's also Distortion on Westerstraat which has to be the biggest mess you can imagine. Large stacks of vinyl and cds piled upon each other. The place (although small) is fully packed. But if you have the patience to go through the mess then you'll often find real gems, in just about any genre you can imagine.

CD Alley _ Carborro / Chapel Hill, NC

I forgot all about Monorail Dave, thats the best one in Glasgow and you can also have a few beers too in Mono after making your purchases!

im from LA and there are a lot of good record stores, of course amoeba is at the top.

then there is a little known cd store called cd trader and they are probably my favorite due to the fact that they are absolutely naive. everything they dont understand or cant identify usually gets priced at 3.99 or 5.99. i have found incredibly hard to find cds for this cheap as well as cds that have yet to come out with full artwork(deerhoof's friend oppurtunity, found it in nov of 06 with complete packaging for 5.99) this has happened many times. just awesome stuff that slips under them. tons of imports(new dizzee rascal for 10 bucks sealed) kind of ridiculous.

also honorable mention goes to aquarius in san francisco...they have the hardest to find stuff period.

Athens, Ohio: The only record store in Athens is called Haffa's. Considering Athens is a small town, this place is great. Small, but impressive selection, and the two guys that work there are really good at figuring out what their regulars like and thus make fantastic recommendations.

Columbus, Ohio: The two best record stores are on the same street (High St.) which makes a shopping trip a bit easier. Magnolia Thunderpussy is closer to the downtown area and they have a really good selection of new cds and vinyl. Lots of band t-shirts and a decent used section. Also reasonably priced. The other store is called Used Kids and it's basically on the Ohio State campus. Unbelievable used cd and vinyl selection. You could spend all day in there and still not have looked through everything.

I also picked up the new Interpol album this week...made it about two songs in so far and I like it. Also picked up the new Justice album and I haven't been able to stop playing it.

Minneapolis/St. Paul - The Electric Fetus & Cheapo (both in Uptown).

St. Louis - Vintage Vinyl

Elwin Rijken
In the Netherlands
Van Leest in Eindhoven, they always have the coolest INDIE import :)

In Glasgow you can't look past Monorail Music for the best cutting edge independent records. Avalanche is alright but half the store is taken up by Goths...

In Montreal: surprisingly, the record store situation here is less than ideal. But Cheap Thrills has always been a good place. Beatnick is also pretty good. Here's a good link for those visiting Montreal: www.laventure.net/tourist/montreal.htm.

I still say that Park Ave CDs in Orlando, FL is one of the best record stores ever, and I will also mention Pure Pop in Burlington, Vt. Good selection.

Avalanche Records here in Glasgow. The owner recommended Sigur Ros to me back in 99 and I havent looked back since

Record stores in my part of the world are pretty much a complete bag of balls, so I buy nearly everything on-line from the likes of Volcanic Tongue (I will visit the shop one day, I promise), Boa Melody Bar, or directly from the labels themselves.
I am sad that the standard of record shops has dropped so low over the years. The loss/lack of independent stores, and the increasing number of supermarkets stocking the marketable releases only and selling them dirt cheap just shows that very few people actually care anymore. I long for the days when once again I can talk to someone who actually knows their music and has a bit of bloody passion about it.
I fear those days are dwindling rapidly.

I second the comment concerning The Love Garden. Though I've only been there once, it is most certainly the most bad-ass record store I've yet been to!

For the Austin area: I usually go to Waterloo because they will, generally, have what I'm looking for. However, the atmosphere is rather lacking...definitely no custom-made band-name dividers or cats like at Love Garden!

End of an Ear is a pretty cool store here in Austin, though they're a bit further away for me (thus the reason I'm usually at Waterloo). More eclectic selection and they have some great in-store performances: got to see Dosh in February!

I live in the midwest, so most of my experience is with local stores in the area...

Omaha, Nebraska
This town has a ton of music stores still, but the best ones are both downtown. Drastic Plastic is a mainstay that was recently remodeled and has all kinds of great music both on vinyl and CD. They also have a slew of excellent music-related t-shirts (many for cheap). The other great store in Omaha at least used to be in the basement of a bookstore called The Antiquarium. Like Drastic Plastic, they have a tonne of great stuff on both vinyl and CD.

Lawrence, Kansas
Best store is hands-down The Love Garden. Crazy insane selections for a store in the middle of Kansas, with all kinds of just about any genre and a massive used selection. Plus, they have cats running around the store.

Iowa City, Iowa
It may have changed in the past couple years, but when I went to college nearby the crown always went to The Record Collector. This is the store that basically set me on the musical path I'm on now, with a great selection of electronic music and other random weirdness.