Generator’s Guide To The Best Record Shops in London
Rummaging through rows of vinyl sometimes feels like the only way to connect with music in a physical way in these days of ethereal mp3′s and intangible downloads. Thumbing through much loved covers can be the best way to discover artists forgotten or never really picked up by the mainstream.
In honour of the ancient art of hanging around record stores looking cool, here our favourite places to do just that!
Music & Video Exchange – 95 Berwick Street
It may be in a grotty market area of Soho (if you’re unhappy with grotty you can go back to your iPod!) but this ancient record shop has been kicking around for decades – and there’s a good reason for that. A cracking collection of rare, not so rare and cheap as chips records, videos and CDs are on offer. The staff and clientèle are friendly and knowledgeable, sometimes worryingly so! Spend a little time rummaging for a gem – or if your pride is up to it, ask!
BM Soho (previously known as Black Market Records) – 25 D’Arblay St
Round the corner from Music & Video Exchange is BM Soho, the home of house music. If your taste for vinyl comes from behind the decks rather than worshipping before it there’s few better places to be. In addition to the varying flavours of house there’s a cracking D&B section downstairs.
Wyld Pytch Records – 51 Lexington Street
Hip-hop, funk, soul, break-beat and electronica fill this tiny shop. The staff are famous for their friendliness – making it a great place to get an education without feeling like you’re going to be kicked out for not being cool enough (you’re not anyway, and they don’t mind). They’ve also got some great tees for your torso.
Sister Ray – 34 Berwick Street
Getting the feeling that there’s more vinyl in Soho than behind the doors of it’s equally as numerous *ahem* members clubs? It’s probably a tough call. Sister Ray might be the biggest record store in Soho and will cover you for absolutely everything from rock and jazz through to electronica. Sometimes dirt cheap with the occasional gem it’s worth a rummage through the crates!
Rough Trade East – 91 Brick Lane
Okay, so there is an option beyond grotty Soho – and this is it, albeit in hipster central of the capital. A warehouse conversion which sells more CD’s than vinyl and focuses a little more on the modern and electronic. Don’t worry though, you won’t be disappointed as it offers over 5000 square feet of music to peruse. Additionally there’s coffee!