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101 Musicians Discuss Their Favorite Record Stores

April 21, 2012  |  10:40am
61. David Gedge
The Wedding Present
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Store: Amoeba Records
Location: Hollywood, Calif.

This is my favorite store, essentially because of the size! Whenever you browse in Amoeba you find stuff you didn’t even know you wanted. It’s hard to walk out of there without spending $80 beforehand.

62. Julie Ann Baenziger
Sea of Bees
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Store: Rough Trade East (London)
Location: Shoreditch in London, United Kingdom

Seeing Edwyn Collins play a live in-store before his last album was released. I like that song “Losing Sleep” and he played it. It was my first trip to London and I’d performed an in-store at the original Rough Trade shop in West London, Notting Hill area, but that store was much smaller. I had no idea how big the East Store was and it was all neat independent and vintage music. I was excited to see that a record by Ganglians, a band from my hometown, was there. There was so much cool art on the walls and it just blew my mind, it was like eye candy, I just loved it. It just made my worlds smaller in a really neat way. It made me feel like I could do whatever I wanted to if you just worked hard at it.

63. Kyle Wilson
Milagres
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Store: Rare Bear
Location: Santa Fe, N.M. It closed right around the time Borders moved into our small town.

When I was a kid I would go to Rare Bear, where the local record store dudes became my mentors. One of them in particular played a big role in me becoming a musician. His name was Tom, he played in a rad punk band and he seemed to me to know everything there was to know about rock ‘n’ roll. He started simple, turning me on to The Ramones and The Velvet Underground, but by the time I was in junior high, Tom had me listening to early albums by Pavement, Sonic Youth, Blues Explosion and even some crazier stuff like Roky Erikson and Nick Cave. By the time I’d started my own band, Tom was my biggest supporter, braving the crowds of nerdy teenagers almost every time we could get a gig. Once he pulled me aside after a show, grabbed both my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, “Man, YOU FUCKING ROCK!” I honestly don’t think I would have been able to make music through those incredibly awkward years had it not been for his education and encouragement, and I’ll bet you I wasn’t the only one. I know there were other kids who went to him for their musical advice too. I don’t think you find many people like him in the big-box stores that have taken over most of the US, and you certainly don’t find them in the MP3 store either.

64. Lizzie Ellison
Radiation City
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Store: Misissippi Records
Location: 4007 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland, Ore.

We had a record player of ours repaired there recently and though it took twice as long as it ought to have taken, they did twice the work we asked for, and for half the price. In searching for where it had been stowed away, I had the chance to see the basement, which is about twice as big as the shop itself, a veritable treasure trove of record players and records, stacked floor to ceiling both. It’s a carefully curated collection in the shop, and as such we love the steady supply of rare gems, and their continual pursuit of finding and releasing even rarer, gemier jams (the store also has its own imprint).

65. Hardy Morris
Dead Confederate, Diamond Rugs
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Store: Twist & Shout Records
Location: Denver, Colo.

HUGE place that you could easily spend a few days in. I bought a Dead Moon record there that didn’t have a sleeve, so I don’t know what album it is, but it’s good. There is also a great bookstore next door where I bought Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms. Amazing.

66. Rusty Matyas
Imaginary Cities
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Store: Music Trader
Location: 97 Osborne St, Winnipeg, Manitoba

This is a true independent music store, like the one in High Fidelity. The big difference is you won’t find any condescending attitudes or be made to feel silly for searching for an out of print guilty pleasure. It’s more like the Cheers of music stores, a neighborhood hangout. They support local music with a big rack right by the entrance, and always greet with a smile. Also, they can and will special-order anything you’re looking for, and have a wide selection of new and old releases on vinyl. Favorite recent vinyl purchase: Travelers in Space and Time by Apples in Stereo.

67. AJ Molyneaux
Wheeler Brothers

Store: Cheapo’s Discs
Location: Austin, Texas

Great place to get used CDs, huge selection for cheap and open late. You can get a really good deal if you look through the pile of unsorted discs. It’s a great way to stumble upon something you didn’t know or just couldn’t pass up because it was only four dollars.

68. Luke Wyland
AU
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Store: Turn It Up! Records
Location: Keene, N.H.

I spent high school with my best friend Nick meandering through this little used record store off of Main St. in Keene, N.H., weekly. Most often times we’d walk in after already having been stoned and dazedly searching through their selections of used CDs and records hoping to stumble across some hidden gem—maybe not the best state of mind to be procuring a high percentage of albums that would be lasting articles in my collection, but nonetheless expansive. We’d sort through the stacks picking out several records each and both recede into the land of headphones monopolizing the few listening stations they had. To be honest (and I’m sure it was the combination of things), outside of an actual venue I haven’t had such ecstatic and expansive public listening experiences since. One distinctly hazy day, I recall finding some fusion album produced by Bill Laswell and almost overflowing with pubescent glee.

69. Andrew Elstner
Torche
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Store: Vintage Vinyl
Location: St Louis, Mo.

Being from St. Louis originally, and having worked at Streetside, Now Playing and even Camelot back in the day, AND not to discount great stores like Euclid Records and Record Exchange among many other hardy survivors… I still have to pick Vintage Vinyl as my favorite.

While I worked there, I saw in-store performances from Brant Bjork and the Bros, Blowfly, Har Mar Superstar, Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age—whose in-store performance was immortalized on the two-disc Songs For The Deaf—and a squillion other artists I’m drawing a blank on at the moment.

They cater to a seriously mixed crowd which is awesome and made most days there a trip. The store isn’t short on accolades, so I’m not going to retell what everyone already knows. The store is great and though they’ve had to make some tough decisions over the years, that they’ve managed to survive and continue to kick ass speaks volumes.

70. Jenks Miller
Mount Moriah
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Store: CD Alley
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.

I work here, making memories every day.

Heather McEntire

Store: Bull City Records
Location: Durham, N.C.

Sweet shop dog, Rothko. Chaz, the owner, is really one of the best folks around. The store is intimate and not pretentious. There are occasional free shows there too. You can even buy screen-printing ink, and the local sections are always prominently featured.

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