The editors of Departures share their favorite vinyl record stores across America.Less
One of the oldest record shops still operating in NYC, Academy Records is located in the East Village, with a second shop, Academy Record Annex, in Brooklyn. With an amazing selection of used vinyl, this is the place to score used rare rock, electronic, jazz, and more. There’s also a large selection of rare NYC-centric music magazines from the late 1970s and ’80s, and flyers from ’80s CBGB shows.
This place is an intimate record shop in Austin, Texas, that has a lot of great vinyl packed in a small footprint. Kind of feels like a classic indie record store. They also sell some vintage hi-fi bits. We went there when we were in Austin and got a couple of killer reggae 45s.
They have three stores, all in California. It’s kind of on another level — new and used LPs, and it’s massive. They remind me of Mondo Kim’s in New York City (RIP). Even the dollar bins have gems in them.
Owner Doyle Davis described his motivation to open Grimey’s as wanting to bring a truly great record store experience to Nashville (he’d always had to travel out of town to fill that void). And, by every measure, he succeeds. Grimey’s boasts a real community atmosphere with terrific service, and calls itself “The Other Church,” which I can absolutely get behind.
This is the record shop my husband (who grew up in Nashville) would always hit up in Memphis when he’d go see bands as a teen; it’s been there for 30-plus years. Vibes heavy with a B-52s aesthetic, a kind of kitsch-punk ’50s-meets-’80s thing. Find hits from the Sun Records catalog next to self-released 45s by garage bands. A place you would only find in the South — a kind of safehouse for music freaks in the Bible Belt.
Swing by Love Garden Sounds, an institution in Lawrence, seven days a week. Here they buy and sell vinyl records, CDs, tapes, and stereo equipment which means they have an expansive selection of both new and used music. They have a friendly knowledgeable staff who is willing to search for whatever you’re looking for if they don’t have it in stock.
Guestroom Records was started by two college buddies who were delivering pizzas together at Pizza Shuttle nearly twenty years ago. Shop their incredible selection at one of their two locations in either Oklahoma City or Norman, or browse their well curated online shop. I especially love their staff picks section for finding new and old favorites.
Turntable Lab might be the most gorgeous vinyl record store I’ve ever seen. They started in 1999, and we’re the first ever dj-focused online shop. Musicians rave about this spot, and you can find everything from records to turntables and stereos under one roof. Their quality standards are high here, so you can ensure your purchases are worth every penny.
For 25 years Sonic Boom Records has been Seattle’s go-to source for independent music. The founders are avid music lovers, particularly northwest indie rock, and even landed Death Cab for Cutie for an in-store performance after releasing their debut album Something About Airplanes back in 1998. Come by for CDs, cassettes, and new and used vinyl records, and stay for the countless stories.
Shop Vinyl Dreams extensive online store if you please, or visit this cozy music shop on Haight Street in San Francisco where they specialize in house, techno, disco, and balearic vinyl records. For a deal, snag one of their pre-loved jams and enjoy.