Our Favorite Record Stores

Artists' Picks, Part 1

by Arnold Pan

17 April 2012


I See Hawks in L.A. and more...

Eternal Summers’ Nicole Yun

In our hometown of Roanoke, we have The Bazaar, a consignment shop that has amazing vintage vinyl, as well as clothes and knick knacks. Plus, it looks like a basement from the ‘70s, which is creepy and awesome!

Academy Records in Brooklyn is a staple for us when we’re on tour. We never fail to find great records and can get lost in there for hours. Plus, the kitty cat there is adorable!


Photo by Samuel Lunsford

Wonder Records in Harrisonburg, VA is a fantastic new store connected with Wonder Skate Shop and the two parts really feed well into each other! Their discount vinyl is a great way to accrue classics on a budget!

Milk Crate in Philadelphia serves delicious fresh breakfast sandwiches upstairs while selling very well priced and eclectic vinyl downstairs. A gem!

Retrofit Records in Tallahassee is also a newer shop in a really up and coming part of the city. We were lucky enough to play a show here and their commitment to newer vinyl as well as classics is refreshing! The all-ages shows there are also an added benefit to a growing scene!

That’s it!

Eternal Summers are releasing a collection of their early singles, The Dawn of Eternal Summers (Kanine), on Record Store Day. Their sophomore album is due later this year.

Freakwater’s Catherine Irwin

My favorite record store is Mississippi Records on North Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon. It is a tiny little store with a completely amazing selection of used records, cassette tapes, and sometimes Vietnamese sandwiches. There is a turntable in the front window where you can listen to records with headphones. All record stores should have this kind of a set up. I think that maybe they did back in ancient times. I have a beautiful Washington Phillips record that came out on the Mississippi Records label about five years ago. They have an astonishing catalog of reissues that would otherwise be impossible to find and also some groovy records by folks who are still alive.

Last year, I would have said that ear X-tacy in Louisville was my favorite record store (even though I always hated that name), but it closed in October.

Freakwater is reissuing its 1993 album Feels Like the Third Time (Thrill Jockey) on vinyl as a Record Store Day exclusive.

Moe Green

For my entire life there has always been a independent record store chain called Rasputin Music in my area. There is one in Vallejo (my hometown and where I currently live) and I have been going there constantly for years. I like it because it’s an independently owned record store that gives local indie artists a chance to sell their music on their shelves. It’s a big thing when you’re first starting out around here to make the jump from just moving music out of your trunk to getting your product in an actual store. Not only is it a selling point because people take us artists more seriously, but it also provides a personally empowering aspect when you can recognize progress. One of my favorite Rasputin Music memories was when I went in there to buy music as I regularly do and I saw my CD sitting on the display case right next to register where you checkout. I had known that we dropped some off to the main location to get put in the store, but I didn’t know that they were already in there and for it to be in my hometown was a big thing for me. So now I can tell folks who ask for my music, “You can get it at Rasputin.”

Moe Green has recently released a mixtape presented by OnSMASH and BRWTNSS.

Hieroglyphics crew member Pep Love

My favorite record store no longer exists. It was Leopold Records in Berkeley, CA. Anyone from the East Bay that’s old enough to remember Leopold knows what I’m talking about. For a long time, Bay Area hip-hop radio personality and journalist Davey D was broadcasting his show from UC Berkeley’s college radio station KALX right around the corner. Some of your favorite rappers used to hustle their cassette tapes and CDs in front of Leopold and Del [the Funky Homosapien] used to work there. The store’s magazine section was reason enough to walk in to see what was going on in the world of music.

Pep Love has a new album Rigamarole (Hieroglyphics Imperium), which was released in March.

Homeboy Sandman

I always loved Record Store Day at Fat Beats. Even though there was no air conditioning and the place would be a crowded sweatbox, it was always a great time. DJs would be spinning quality hip-hop for hours, broken up by special guest performers, the best NYC had to offer, from underground dudes to surprise worldwide superstars. DJ Eclipse on the wheels or DJ Spinna or Evil Dee or DJ Premier or whoever. When Fat Beats closed, I was crazy sad, but they still do Record Store Day in their warehouse. Not quite the same—sometimes the sound can be pretty dreadful—but the energy and the love is still there. People that went to Fat Beats were real authentic hip-hop fans, the type that always made for the best crowd. So whenever something was rocking during Record Store Day, the energy was dope. Yeah, Fat Beats really held it down on Record Store Day.

Homeboy Sandman has released two EPs of new material this year Subject: Matter and Chimera (Stones Throw).

Hospitality’s Nathan Michel

My favorite record store is, hands down, the Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ. It has everything I want in a record store: rows of frequently refreshed new arrival bins filled with all used vinyl (I hate when used records are mixed with new records); a super-knowledgeable and friendly staff; cheap prices; more dollar bins than I ever have time to go through, filled with backup copies of Tusk or Something/Anything; and lots of used, super-cheap classical CDs. They frequently also get large collections of records from downsizing individuals. The last time I was there, they’d just gotten a huge cache of contemporary classical and electronic records from a retired Princeton music professor, and I scored big-time.

Hospitality released its self-debut album on Merge earlier in 2012. The band will be playing an in-store at Horizon Records in Greenville, SC for Record Store Day.

I See Hawks in L.A.‘s Paul Lacques

Amoeba Records is at the top of our record store list because they buy CDs from local artists. You walk in the store, and they buy the CDs. No consignment, no cautious perusing of product and whom you might be—they buy them on the spot.

Amoeba also runs a top notch live concert series, with great sound and video recording. They’ll feature big league acts like Tinariwen or Nickel Creek, and, again, local artists. Our band I See Hawks in L.A. has done three in-store concerts at Amoeba Los Angeles, acoustic and electric, and each was a memorable experience. If you can get serious collectors to look up from their journey through the aisles, you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

I See Hawks in L.A. recently released a new album, New Kind of Lonely (Western Seeds).

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s Brian Haas

My favorite record store in America right now is Music Millennium in Portland. JFJO has been lucky enough to play two great in-store performances at MM and because of their amazing variety of sonic happiness, we always spend our jazz millions there as well.

Jacob Fred Jazz Orchestra is currently touring in support of its recent album The Race Riot Suite (The Royal Potato Family).

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