101 Musicians Discuss Their Favorite Record Stores

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101 Musicians Discuss Their Favorite Record Stores

For almost any music fan, record store memories are unforgettable. Personally, I remember Evanston’s Second Hand Tunes being my first. I started my vinyl record collection with a purchase from Reckless Records in Chicago (TV on the Radio’s Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes). Decatur CD has been my home record store for the past six years. It’s these kind of moments that make our experience with the music we consume all the more meaningful. Record Store Day attempts to perserve those traditions, ones which have become threatened over the years.

To celebrate the fifth annual Record Store Day, we spoke with 101 musicians about their beloved record stores and what these institutions mean to them. Hear what members of The Black Keys, Superchunk, My Morning Jacket and others remember the most about their favorite music retailers.

1. Damien Jurado

Store: Second Time Around
Location: Seattle, Wash.

My favorite record store was a place located in the University District of Seattle called Second Time Around. The first records I bought there were The Cramps’ Bad Music For Bad People, Dead Kennedys’ In God We Trust, Inc., Black FlagDamaged, and Crass’ Yes Sir, I Will.

I was 15 years old and had just purchased a used record player from a thrift store not far from my house. Having never bought punk records before, I asked a friend’s older brother where he bought his records at, and he suggested Second Time Around. So, I boarded a bus and made an intimidating adventure to what would be my first outing looking for punk-rock albums. Not knowing really what to get, I solely bought albums based on band names and album covers I found interesting. The record store itself was, “p u n k r o c k” to a T. Used leather jackets hung from the ceiling already covered in spikes and white, hand painted logos of bands I’ve never ever heard of. They also had t-shirts and albums I assumed were collectors items based on the price tags and hard-to-reach distance. The staff was also very friendly and helpful, making suggestions and even throwing in a free Misfits pin. I pinned it to my shirt immediately even though I had not even heard a Misfits song. After my first trip there would be many more visits throughout the years. As time went on Second Time Around went on to carry used movies and video games. The store itself would go through many different owners and would eventually change its name.

2. Brett Nelson
Built To Spill, The Electronic Anthology Project

Store: The Record Exchange
Location: Boise, Idaho

I grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho (120 miles east of Boise) where there wasn’t an independent record store, only chains full of Top 40 music. I was a sophomore in High School, so 15 or 16 years old, when I discovered The Record Exchange in Boise. It was the first record store I ever went to where I could buy music like Dinosaur Jr., fIREHOSE, Bad Brains and The Replacements without having to special order them. I remember making lists of the records I wanted because I’d get into The Record Exchange and be so overwhelmed by the amount of records I’d browse for hours and forget what I wanted in the first place.

3. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel
Mates of State

Store: Love Garden Sounds
Location: Lawrence, Kan.

[I remember] walking up the steep, creaky wooden stairs, petting the two friendly cats, seeing everyone from every local or passing-through-town-band picking out records. The old Love Garden (new location now) was a frequented, beloved place for us. I remember once handing over change, pennies included, for a Helium record and a Blonde Redhead record after seeing them the night before at the Replay lounge. I knew the only place to even look for the records I wanted was the Love Garden.

4. Jim James
My Morning Jacket

Store: ear X-tacy
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Too many great memories to even begin to mention… played a really fun in-store there once, and bought pretty much every single record of my formative years and beyond there until they closed recently sadly. God bless ‘em.

Patrick Hallahan

Store: ear X-tacy
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Aside from the obvious “I bought pretty much every album I own there” answer, I love looking back on that store as a social haven. In its prime, the gravity of ear X-tacy was immense. Within its walls or outside of the store, minds were met, friendships were forged, plans were made. Many, many memories were made on that property.

5. Jana Hunter
Lower Dens

Store: Sound Exchange
Location: Houston, Texas

It was really my first record store I spent any amount of time in at all. There weren’t record stores in the town that I grew up in and I never got to go to the big cities nearby where they had record stores. I moved to Houston and I had this very long, amazing relationship with this record store. In conjunction with working at a college radio station, this record store taught me everything about what I know about great, weird music and also filled me in about what was going on around town.

It definitely still exists and I imagine it’s one of those record stores that be around for a while because a whole lot of people have the same debt and gratitude towards them. They tend to bring great music toward to the area and have a great selection of music in their store.

6. Langhorne Slim

Store: Princeton Record Exchange, Grimey’s
Location: Princeton, N.J.; Nashville, Tenn.

My favorite two record stores are Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton N.J. (the closest and coolest independent record store to where I grew up) and Grimey’s in Nashville.

Best memory would be taking a ride with my brother Jon to Princeton Record Exchange when I was about 15. I remember being blown away by the fact that I had never heard of so many of the bands that were in there, and that the ones I did know had so much more music available then what was being sold at The Wall or Sam Goodies in the Oxford Valley Mall. Nirvana was my favorite at the time and they had at least two full rows. I bought a Japanese import called Mañana that had a song “Dimension 7” on it and a killer live version of “Aneurysm.” I did a lot of dancing alone in my mom’s basement to that record and I still have it!

7. Patrick Carney
The Black Keys

Store: Amoeba Records (Haight-Ashbury)
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

Record I purchased: I bought The Shaggs album Philosophy of the World there. :(

8. Adam Cohen

Store: Tower Records on Sunset Blvd.
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.

Tower Records on Sunset Blvd—now closed of course. I once waited in line for a record with Elvis Costello behind me. And as I walked out was told by the doorman to stay; a minute later Bruce Springsteen did an in-store with an acoustic guitar. It was midnight.

9. David Baker
Mercury Rev

Store: Laurie’s Planet of Sound
Location: Chicago, Ill.

For my fifth birthday, my mom had every friend I knew come over for a wild-screaming-kid-and-cake party. After the usual games and chaos everyone calmed down long enough so I could open my presents. There among the toys and coloring books was a gift which came courtesy of one friend’s Dad who worked at a local record store. An album!

It changed my little life. I was baffled by The Union Gap staring at me from the cover in Civil War attire, and yet from there I was hooked. I needed and wanted to go to that record store. The place’s long-haired music elite tripped out on cool big-kid psychedelic music, and of course The Beatles and The Doors just had to hang out there.

Through the years and hundreds of stores, I have always felt at home at record shops more so than any kind of store. Pre-Internet, the cool record store clerk was your info source, your search engine and even social network friend. I love record stores. I even chose Chicago as my hometown because it had and still has the coolest variety of independent stores anywhere.

Laurie’s Planet of Sound is my hometown favorite amongst favorites because they were always kind and nice and knowledgeable, and John the owner actually even let me work there on Sundays for a while.

This store has vinyl and CDs and pins and DVDs and books and collectibles and toys and is filled with joy and well…it’s my fifth birthday every time I go there.

10. Jesse Elliott
These United States

Store: Rediscover Records
Location: 207 E. Chicago St, downtown Elgin, Ill.

I grew up mostly in a Midwestern industrial river town called Elgin. Great buildings thick with brick, parks, libraries, VFW halls, church steeples, ancient dive bars, the Fox River flowing right through the middle of it all. The mega-mall moved in 15 miles down the road just before I was born and killed off downtown Elgin, so I knew mostly Sam Goodies and Best Buys as a kid. It was amazing to pass back through Elgin a few years ago and see one of many flowers springing back up through the rubble: Rediscover Records. In-stores, community events, old music memorabilia galore—best of all, the owner Rich takes the time to personally review all the new vinyl that comes in. A miracle of modern sonic and city rebirth.

11. Bethany Consentino
Best Coast

Store: Rooky Ricardo’s
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

I love Rooky Ricardo’s in SF. We filmed something there for Yours Truly about two years ago and it was so much fun. It’s a record store that sells all old-school vinyl, and the owner makes these comps of lost tracks from the ‘50s and ‘60s. I try to go there every time I’m in SF.

12. Brent Knopf
Ramona Falls, Menomena

Store: Music Saves
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

I didn’t think anybody would find the anagram fragments we hid inside Menomena’s Friend and Foe artwork, piece them together, and decode them all, but Melanie and Kevin of Music Saves did just that. Later, they invited me to Music Saves’ 5th Anniversary, where I performed the first ever concert under the name Ramona Falls. So nurturing, so gracious, so exceptional.

13. Zach Carothers
Portugal. The Man

Store: Music Millennium
Location: Portland, Ore.

It’s our hometown store, we’ve done a bunch of in-stores there, and the last one we did was absolutely huge. It feels better when it’s your favorite store and the one that you go to see other bands and to buy records at.

14. Peter Silberman
The Antlers

Store: Streetlight Records
Location: Santa Cruz, Calif.

I had my first record-buying experience here when I was maybe 16 and visiting my sister who had just moved out to Santa Cruz from New York. I spent that trip absorbing a totally unfamiliar boardwalk mini-city of leftover hippies and willfully-but-necessarily homeless kids. I found Streetlight wandering down the main drag and killed a few hours there entertaining the idea of buying a record, despite not really owning a turntable. After a lot of deliberation, I bought My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything and flew back home to New York with it a few days later, taking care not to let it get fucked up on the trip home.

15. Glenn Tilbrook

Store: Rough Trade East
Location: Brick Lane, East London, United Kingdom

Best memory: Seeing Tame Impala.

Chris Difford

Store: Grammar School Records
Location: Rye, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Buying a Prefab Sprout album—a very happy record which I enjoyed listening to.

16. Michael Benjamin Lerner

Store: Sonic Boom Records
Location: 15th Ave. E on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Wash. (now closed)

I am so partial to this store, mainly because I worked there for a year. I was sad when it shut its doors (though a wonderful sonic boom still resides in Ballard, Wash.). I learned so much about all kinds of music working here. I heard Guided By Voices for the first time. Fell in love with every Kinks record. Listened to Talk Talk when no one was around and felt like a character in the movie Empire Records. It was a very formative time in my life! Hooray for Sonic Boom in Capitol Hill, may you R.I.P.

17. Shayde Sartin
The Fresh & Onlys

Store: Amoeba Music (1855 Haight Street)
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

I have far too many memories with that store. One memory that sticks out immediately is the time they loaned me a thousand bucks to move in to an apartment. Took forever to pay that off.

18. Michael Timmins
Cowboy Junkies

Store: The Record Peddler (original location on Queen Street East)
Location: Toronto, Ontario

[Cowboy Junkies’ bass player] Alan [Anton] and I would make a weekly trek over to the Peddler to go through the weekly influx of indie imports from the UK. This was in the late ‘70s. If an album had a cover that struck us we would buy it to see what lay inside. And then one day, there on the wall, was an album with a textured black cover and this odd squiggly pattern in the center… and that was how we were introduced to Joy Divisions’ Unknown Pleasures.

19. Rich Aucoin

Store: TAZ
Location: Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia

While Obsolete Records in Halifax has started a new legacy, TAZ is an undeniable staple in the musical hearts of Haligonians. I grew up listening to and bonding with the then surly owner over our mutual love of Dick Dale, Ventures and other surf instrumental groups. Since then, the store has not only been an amazing source for discovering older music but has embraced the current waves of new musical genres so it’s really a store where you can get anything you’d ever want on vinyl.

Maybe the day I bought the majority of my Motown records, I remember just leaving with a stack of records which I went home and immediately consumed. I still can’t get over how amazing that era of recordings and songwriting is.

20. Kamtin Mohager
The Chain Gang of 1974

Store: Amoeba Records
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.

To be honest, my favorite memory was seeing my album have its own vinyl section and as a ‘Staff Pick.’ Having so much respect for a store and what they’re all about made that moment very special.

21. Patterson Hood
The Drive-By Truckers

Store: Deep Groove Records
Location: Richmond, Va.

Jay Leavitt, who owns it, used to manage the better record stores in my hometown growing up (Muscle Shoals and Florence, Ala.) and was the guy who turned me onto Springsteen, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, among many others. Deep Groove is a tiny, vinyl-only store but has the best selection imaginable for its size, great prices and Jay curates it like a record museum or something.

He’s the last of that breed of record store guy. Knowledgable and super friendly. It’s worth seeking out.

22. Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir
Of Monsters and Men

Store: Smekkleysa
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland

It’s just a great record shop. And when I was about 19, I remember being really excited about going and buying tickets to Iceland Airwaves Festival for me and my friend, who was in India at the time. I remember riding my bike up the huge hill from the Kindergarten school I was working at then to the store on the main shopping street. I got the tickets, was so excited, and then she ended up staying in India longer. I was so mad! That damn hill!

Árni Guðjónsson

Store: Lucky Records
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland

Lucky is probably the largest second hand vinyl store in Iceland and it’s just a really great store to go to and look through vinyl. And it’s open every day! Most of the bigger record stores only have the newest vinyl, they do not have old records so if you want to find old records, you have to go to Lucky. Once I was able to find full symphony LPs for 500 kronur (which is really cheap!), so I bought 30 of them!

23. Sean Carey
Bon Iver, S. Carey

Store: Electric Fetus
Location: Minneapolis, Minn. (oh, I love the one in Duluth, Minn. too)

Bon Iver  played an in-store at the Fetus in February of 2008 and that was the first time we got store credit, which I thought was the coolest thing (keep in mind this was the day before I left on my very first tour, I was 22). With the credit, I got two records: There Will Be Blood soundtrack (super intense), Fat Kid Wednesdays record with spoken word (also really intense, mostly because I spun the van into the ditch while listening to it… so haven’t touched that one since). Anyway, it’s a great store and the one in Duluth is equally as good.

24. Gemma Ray

Store: Mr. Dead and Mrs. Free
Location: Bülowstrasse 5, Berlin, Germany

On the day I moved to Berlin, I decided to check out this record store as my labelmates Joe Gideon and The Shark named a song after it. When I walked in, I realized I had been there before in a dream. Every record on display had huge significance to me, and when I heard that they were playing Melody Nelson, I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place, at the right time.

25. Craig Finn
The Hold Steady

Store: Treehouse Records/Oarfolkjokeopus Records
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.

I bought most of my favorite early records from the earlier incarnation of this store (Oarfolk): Suicide Commandos’ Make a Record, The Replacements’ Let it Be, Husker Du’s Zen Arcade and The RamonesToo Tough to Die are all vivid record-buying memories. It remains an amazing store after rebranding to Treehouse Records, and I just had the honor of playing a really fun morning in-store there. Great selection and a super friendly and knowledgeable staff. Long may they run!

26. Hanni El Khatib

Store: 101 Music
Location: North Beach on Grant and Green, San Francisco, Calif.

When I was 18 or so, my best friend Ricky and I would go into that place religiously and spend hours downstairs in the basement digging for records with our portable turntables. Imagine a garage bursting at the seems with vinyl. Nothing was organized and they were all in crates and piles. It was like a treasure hunt.

27. Shelby Lynne

Store: Tower Records
Location: Nashville, Tenn.

I spent more time in the long-gone Tower Records store in Nashville. I never really started buying a lot of records until I started making records myself. My tastes varied but I needed an education on popular records that I had heard about but had never listened to. So one evening, late after spending a week making a list of important records I needed to educate myself on, I went to Tower and dropped about $600 on music like R.E.M.’s first album, Let It Bleed and The Ramones.

28. Jon Foreman

Store: Lou’s Records
Location: Luecadia, Calif.

I’ve had many amazing moments at Lou’s Records, but my favorite memory would probably be selling my first record there. I was in high school playing music with my brother in a three piece band called “etc…” I saved up all my money and recorded a CD. I did the math that we only needed to sell 300 to break even. So every week I would roll into Lou’s records to see if any of our CDs sold (on consignment). Unfortunately, I spent most the money we earned buying used CDs across the alley.

29. Shawn Rosenblatt

Store: Princeton Record Exchange
Location: Princeton, N.J.

I would drive there a lot from my parents’ house in Pennsylvania during the summer. I was about 17 or 18 years old and would drop over $80 on records. I remember the employees being pleasantly rude to me and my high school friends and would make fun of our t-shirts and read the name on the records out loud while we checked out. I still loved spending many hours perusing the bins of used jazz and pop records.

30. Nicole Atkins

Store: Jack’s Music
Location: Red Bank, N.J.

They have this really cool guy named Tim, who’s in a band called the Ribeye Brothers, that works there. He’s super friendly and cool and when I was a lot younger I went up and asked him what would be something cool to get. He gave me Can’s Tago Mago. Shit blew my mind right up.

31. Laura Ballance

Store: Record Bar
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

One of the first record stores I can recall going to was the Record Bar at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Ga. back in the early ‘80s. I was probably 14 or 15. I was easily intimidated, because I did not know anything, I just knew that I had heard some songs I really liked on WRAS and I had recently gotten a job elsewhere in the mall selling horrid baked goods, so I had a little pocket money. For a long time I would just go in there and wander around looking at record covers and try to make sense of what I saw. I was too scared to ask for any advice for a long time. Sometimes I knew what I was looking for and would pick out an Adam and the Ants or Duran Duran record to buy (kid’s stuff!), and eventually I was there enough that this guy who worked there started talking to me. I remember being impressed with the blondness of his hair. He was very fair and I remember him as being almost transparent. I don’t think he ever set foot in the sun. He suggested some new records for me to try that I might like. It was so enlightening and awesome, and I bought things that I might not have discovered for many more years thanks to him. I am so grateful I had a record store clerk like that in my neighborhood. I don’t know how kids figure out the world of music now! Back then there were way fewer records coming out on any given week, and still it was mystifying.

32. Daniel Pujol

Store: Sound System
Location: Northgate Mall, 1600 N Jackson St, Tullahoma, Coffee, Tenn.

I grew up in almost-the-middle-of-nowhere. We had this one record store in a mall that had about four-to-five stores in it. Now that I’m older, I realize this one record store had a pretty eclectic selection. The records were usually too expensive, but one time I bought a copy of Big Audio Dynamite II’s The Globe on cassette tape and it blew my mind in half and that’s why this store is my favorite. Later on, when the town was taken over by franchising Internet tycoons, there were others. But the thrill was gone and we both knew it.

33. Ben Jaffe
Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Store: Louisiana Music Factory
Location: New Orleans, La.

I’ve spent many of my waking hours digging through the shelves of this store dedicated to Louisiana music. It’s my library. The staff have an encyclopedic knowledge of local music. They specialize in local music that you can’t get anywhere else. And it’s still open!!!! Long live vinyl!!!

34. Steve Terebecki
White Denim

Store: Wax ‘N’ Facts
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Just the smell of this store is so great. I got so many of my first records there. When I was 15 or 16, I was really into Eberhard Weber, the jazz bassist. I also had just recently acquired my first cassette player for a while (can’t remember what happened to my old one). One day I walked into Wax ‘N’ Facts and they had Eberhard Weber’s Pendulum on cassette and I don’t think I have been so excited in a record store as that moment. It was perfect timing.

35. Jake Orrall
JEFF The Brotherhood

Store: Grimey’s
Location: Nashville, Tenn.

Every day is a new favorite memory at Grimey’s. I go every week and have a great time.

36. Catherine Irwin

Store: River Town Records
Location: Louisville, Ky.

I always hated record stores. When my brother went into Karma Records, he would be in there for like an hour. I would wait for him over at The Circus arcade which was a really good place to smoke cigarettes and watch redneck hippie boys play pinball. River Town Records was on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. My brother and I started going there in around 1976 and I think the store was closed by 1980.

I loved it there. It was really filthy. The records were so cheap that we could buy things just because the cover was cool or the band looked like the Manson Family. It was the greatest super musty, dimly-lit used record store ever. Records were stacked up all over the floor and the bins were all jammed really full. We found all of The Incredible String Band records there. They had a lot of trippy English freaky folk. There were always tons of old Folkways records and lots of records that were so weird that I have never seen them again anywhere.

After River Town Records closed the building became a lesbian bar called The Unicorn and then for a while it was a pet store.

37. Tony Ruland
The Lonely Forest

Store: The Business
Location: Anacortes, Wash.

I grew up about eight blocks away from The Business. It was an everyday after-school trip for me starting at age 10. It’s hard to pick a favorite memory as I’ve seen dozens of great shows there and bought numerous life-changing records. However, seeing Death Cab For Cutie in ‘98 play to about 10 or 20 people ranks pretty high on the list. I remember just knowing that they would be a big deal someday.

38. Dent May

Store: The End Of All Music
Location: Oxford, Miss., just around the corner from my residence at the Cats Purring Dude Ranch.

This store just opened earlier this year, but my favorite memory would be Dead Gaze playing their in-store show. My good friends David and Bruce did an amazing job opening this place. I think it’ll be known as one of the best around very soon.

39. Eric Hutchinson

Store: CDepot
Location: College Park, Md.

This is a great new-and-used shop next to University of Maryland that wasn’t too far from where I grew up. It’s a huge room, stuffed wall to wall with CDs of every genre, waiting to be filed away, which makes the crate digging even more fun. Never knew what I was gonna find. Had some great grabs over the years, from out-of-print Prince albums to random Bach cello recordings to Indian Sitar funk compilations. Nothing like seeing that album you’ve been trying to track down. Like the holy grail!

I used to carry a list in my wallet of all the music I was looking for and I’d systemically check it all out, read over the liner notes, double check the song titles. My friends went with me at first, but after a while they told me to go on my own. They couldn’t handle the three-hour visits!

40. Steve Marion
Delicate Steve

Store: Eyeconik Records
Location: Franklin, N.J.

The closest record store to the woods of my hometown, run by a young guy named Justin. He had a playpen for his daughter back behind the cash register. He used to let us put on shows there and also let us sell albums in his store that my friends and I made. There were two really tall trees you could climb back behind the store which I always did when shows were going on. I bought Innervisions there.

41. Todd Bell
Braid, Hey Mercedes

Store: Philadelphia Record Exchange
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.

There are almost too many great record stores to list, but this is the store I always choose to go to if my time is tight and I’m passing through Philly. They have a good variety of genres and the basement selection is not too overwhelming—you can make a pretty good sweep of the place in about an hour if you move fast.

Last time I was there, I got an original copy of The Ramones Rocket To Russia for $20 and about 10 years ago I stumbled upon an extremely rare promo only vinyl copy of Failure’s Comfort on Slash. I don’t think it ever had a proper vinyl release and the store obviously didn’t know what it was. This was a moment a record-nerd dreams about and I wasn’t even sure it existed at this point. It was in a white DJ jacket with a sticker on it. It was marked $3.98.

42. Rollie Pemberton
Cadence Weapon

Store: Phonopolis
Location: Montreal, Quebec

I spent a lot of time at Phonopolis. There’s a very accommodating staff. They have a lot of in-stores and I have a lot of memories of people play. I saw an artist named Mozart’s Sister. It was a very memorable show, and it’s a cornerstone of Montreal. It’s really cool to see local records prominently displayed there. It’s exciting to see when your friend’s record comes out and they get the front display.

43. Jamie Stewart
Xiu Xiu

Store: Streetlight Records
Location: San Jose, Calif.

I used to work there and then asking a fellow employee to find me some depressing classical music and being introduced to Shostakovich. It changed my life. Also, they played the record Jerusalem by Sleep almost everyday. It was good to have my then-whimpy mind blown by it day after day.

44. Brendan Benson

Store: Off the Record
Location: Royal Oak, Mich.

I worked, for a long time, at a record store in Royal Oak, Michigan called Off The Record. I was obsessed with collecting records. My paycheck went to buying records. So, needless to say, I’ll always an affinity for that place.

45. Parker Gispert
The Whigs

Store: Schoolkids Records
Location: Athens, Ga.

Many great memories of drinking coffee/listening to whatever records Ross Shapiro put on the stereo.

46. Zakk Wylde
Black Label Society

Store: Amoeba Music
Location: Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, Calif.

Brings back so many memories—they have all the great records I had as a kid. Great childhood memories with bands that I can only find there.

47. Tommy Siegel
Jukebox the Ghost

Store: Plan 9
Location: Carytown in Richmond, Va.

In high school, I remember seeing an in-store performance of Lake Trout, one my favorite bands at the time. At some point, I remember wandering downstairs and finding their gigantic used vinyl section and thinking, “Why would anyone ever buy vinyl?” A question that seems funny now. Ten years and 250 records later, I’m only regretting that I didn’t start my collection sooner.

48. Hugo Manuel

Store: Avid Records (RIP)
Location: Gloucester Green, Oxford, United Kingdom

A huge, three-level affair—dance music in the basement and everything else on the groud floor and weird old stuff upstairs. I used to go there a hell of a lot and would only very occasionally buy anything. The stock never seemed to change over the five or six years I would frequent the place, but it seemed like an absolute haven to me. I would normally be too scared to go to the dance basement, and would spend most of my time looking through the weird world music and the uncategorizables upstairs.

49. Tom Nguyen
The Tontons

Store: Sound Exchange
Location: Houston, Texas

Sound Exchange is this rad little house that was converted into a record shop; it was the first record store that I ever went to. They have a sick collection of rare and obscure records. I was 15 when I started going there and I remember all these posters on the walls of bands I’ve never heard of at the time. There was this one poster with a chick half-nude eating a banana (I think), and I always thought the guys working there were gonna catch me staring at it. It was hard because it was right in the front next to the register. I remember going there to buy The Flaming LipsZaireeka with a friend and both of us being really excited. They were the only store in town that had it. We tried to sync it for hours never getting it quite right.

50. Caitlin Rose

Store: Grimey’s
Location: Nashville, Tenn.

Several Record Store Days ago, Charlie Louvin showed up at the Grimey’s Day Party in Nashville, Tenn., where I live. He sang a couple songs with one of my favorite Kansas bands, Drakkar Sauna, who happened to be swinging through Nashville at the time. They had just put out a Louvin Brothers tribute album so it was pretty exciting show for them.

He was carrying around the albums he’d picked up that day in a bread bag and looked terribly charming. After shaking his hand and getting our picture taken together, he said I had a nice smile, which I don’t, but it made my year anyway. Grimey’s is undoubtedly a magical little place. Nashville is lucky to have it. We’re playing the Record Store Day party this month so I’m hoping history will repeat itself and something as fabulous as this will happen again.

51. Buzz Osborne
The Melvins

Store: Amoeba Records
Location: San Francisco, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif.

In the SF Amoeba I was looking at a Latin Playboys record and the second I picked it up THAT VERY SAME RECORD came on over the store PA. I quickly placed it back in the bin and then burned my copies of it when I got home…

In L.A., The Melvins played an in-store at Amoeba and soon after, Paul McCartney did one there as well… I’d like to think it was because of us! Ha!

52. Alex Toth

Store: Princeton Record Exchange
Location: Princeton N.J.

First record I purchased there was Pharoah Sanders’ album Thembi when I was in high school. It was a breakthrough album for me musically and spiritually. More recently, we were shooting a music video at midnight in the nearby Princeton Cemetery on a very rainy night. An employee from the store stopped by to chat. When we discovered we were missing a crucial projector cable he opened up the store to help us find one. Lots of love there!

53. Emily Wells

Store: Luna Music
Location: Indianapolis, Ind.

At the age of 17, I woke up one morning at a friends house listening to a record she had put on, “Here Comes the Sun” as sung by Nina Simone. I’d never heard this voice before and was struck. I drove immediately to Luna Music and bought Nina Simone’s Compact Jazz, went back to my car and listened to the entire thing sitting in the parking lot. When the horns on the second song “Feeling Good” came on I think my musical world was forever changed… I was at once wild and completely at home.

54. Anthony D’Amato

Store: Princeton Record Exchange
Location: Princeton, N.J.

I would spend hours flipping through the discount CDs and LPs at the Record Exchange in college. My roommate kept a record player in our room, so we’d make regular trips to pick up old, beat-up $1 vinyl albums from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, etc. We’d also compete to see who could find the weirdest/worst artwork and use those for decoration. The gatefold art from The Village People’s Live & Sleazy had a prominent place above our mantel.

55. Scott Tournet
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Store: The Turning Point
Location: 411 Cooper St. Ottawa, Ontario

The band formed at St. Lawrence University in upstate N.Y., which is like 10 minutes from the Canadian border. I think it took about an hour to get to Ottawa. Grace, Matt (Burr) and I used to drive up to the Turning Point. We had just met each other and were becoming friends partly because we were all interested in older music and in particular vinyl. We’d spend the day up there and about half of it would consist of us digging through bins of dusty old records. It was great because all the used vinyl sold for $3 to $5 so we’d all come back with at least 10 albums.

We’d go back to Matt’s place (where we also rehearsed) and each of us would get a turn to play a record. We’d make it through about four or five rounds until we’d had our fill of tunes (and red wine) and then we’d get on our instruments and have at it. Sometimes we’d learn a new song we’d heard, sometimes we’d play our songs, and sometimes we’d just go off and play something new. George Harrison, The Band, Little Feat, Otis Redding, Neil Young, John Lennon, JJ Cale, John Lee Hooker, Booker T and the MG’s, Stevie Wonder… it went on and on and it was all new to us at that time. Coming home with those stacks of vinyl always felt like Christmas.

56. Josh Malerman
The High Strung

Store: UHF Records
Location: 512 S. Washington Ave. Royal Oak, Mich.

I’d just gotten my first apartment, living alone, and for no good reason I started decorating the place like a total sleaze-ball bachelor would. Palm fronds on the walls, massive pictures of sunsets, bamboo, flower patterned drink glasses, and a roving bar on wheels. Once I looked up, I realized I’d been entrenched in some kind of Tom Selleck fantasy-land and I gasped. But instead of resisting this, I kind of went with it. Entering UHF, I quietly asked the fella Scotty behind the counter if he had anything “that swings”. Justifiably he led me to the swing section and I just had to come out with it. “Actually, I’m looking for something a little sleazier.” Without hesitation, Scotty directed me to two albums: How to Strip for Your Husband (Vol. 2) and Martin Denny’s Hawaii Tattoo. Sure, I felt strange, but what of it?

At home, I played them straight off and was kind of surprised. Martin Denny is good! Now, it’s an awkward failure when I play them around women, but who cares. And every time I see Scotty at UHF, no matter what I bring up to the counter, I know that he knows I once came in there looking for an audio aphrodisiac. And sometimes I wonder, “How did he know exactly what I wanted?”

57. Brad Hale
Now, Now

Store: Treehouse Records
Location: Minneapolis, Minn.

Treehouse is a super-tiny record store, but I think it has the best selection in town. It’s the best for when you need to buy Christmas presents for your friends but you have no idea what to get them (an annual problem of mine). The 45 section keeps me interested for hours and always turns out something that I didn’t expect to find when I walked in.

58. Jeff Innes
Yukon Blonde

Store: Red Cat, Zulu, Neptoon
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

I know I’m cheating by having three choices but I love all three equally. All three are cheap and have amazing people running the stores. Viva vinyl!

59. Matt Hines
The Eastern Sea

Store: The Electric Fetus
Location: Duluth, Minn.

My favorite memory from the store is the look on my mom’s face when I told her to meet me down the street at The Electric Fetus.

60. Asher Lack
Ravens & Chimes

Store: Tower Records
Location: 4th St. and Broadway, New York, N.Y.

Before you could buy concert tickets on the internet, I remember cutting school and waiting outside at seven in the morning to get tickets to David Bowie at Roseland.

In high school, my friends and I used to go there on Tuesdays after class to get new albums the day they came out. I remember buying Pinkerton there. I was always blown away by how much music there was in the store. I would cruise the racks looking at albums by bands I had never heard of. That was how I found out about The Pixies.

Having a place where you could go to be around other people who cared about music in the same obsessive way I did was what I loved the most about that store.

61. David Gedge
The Wedding Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

71. Dante Schwebel

Store: Grimey’s*
Location: Nashville, Tenn.

It’s going to sound very cliché most likely, but I have to say Grimey’s Preloved Records in Nashville. I’m sure it’s been selected a bazillion times but there’s a reason for that.

Great in-store performances (Natural Child, The Greenhornes) and if they don’t have something, they’ll get it quick. I’ve bought hard-to-find stuff there before like Floating Action and Pete Molinari. And hell, our best tour manager even works there too (Mia!!!). The staff there know more than you, but they don’t make you feel like a dick about it. It’s the joint! Big up!!!

*Honorable mention: The Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho of all places. Mega!

72. Jim White

Store: Euclid Records
Location: New Orleans, La.

I’m older than most of you, so I remember the mom-and-pop record stores that used to populate the South before the chains came in and washed them to oblivion. Colorful places. Most are gone.

In New Orleans, I once spoke with a store owner who claimed he had a chance to sign Elvis Presley before he hit it big. The taciturn man said he passed, as “that kid had no talent.” I asked him if he regretted his decision, but he held firm, “Nope. Kid had no talent.”

My favorite record store presently is also located in New Orleans. Euclid Records. There’s a hand-lettered sign on the bathroom door that reads, “Do not shoot heroin in the bathroom.” You can’t buy that kind of character.

73. David Krohn
Kopecky Family Band

Store: Twist and Shout
Location: Denver, Colo.

My favorite memory of Twist and Shout is buying my first LP. It doesn’t matter how rare or expensive those additions to my record collection have been, no additions beat the excitement of getting my first record. The second I walked into Twist and Shout I felt like a kid in a candy store. I perused all of the classics The Beatles and The Stones before I settled on my choice: a copy of the first print of Combat Rock by The Clash. The record was only $1.99, but it still remains one of my favorite possessions because it signifies the start of a new era for me, an era where I can physically hold and admire the album artwork, where each scratch in the record has a story to tell and most importantly, an era where skipping from favorite song to song is nearly impossible.

74. Allyson Baker
Dirty Ghosts

Store: Rotate This
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Rotate was legendary when I was in high school. The first time I went there was a big deal. I went alone and I was super intimidated. After flipping through everything in sight, I stumbled across The Mummies LP Never Been Caught. I had no idea what it was but judging by the cover (five grown men wrapped in mummy costumes standing on a hearse), it had to be amazing. I nervously brought it up to the counter. The guy took the record out of my hand and sized me up and down—your classic record store clerk behavior. I probably started sweating at this point. He leaned in and said “Hey, wanna tip? This record is for sale used down the street for about $4 less.” I had been so excited to buy a record on my first trip to Rotate that it kind of took the wind out of my sails. I became conflicted. I didn’t want to go buy the other copy, but I felt like I should obey the record store guy and do what he had commanded (suggested) I do. I skiddishly made up a bunch of excuses not to go to the other store. He seemed disappointed, yet accepting. However, had it been four years later, I woulda’ been outta’ there runnin’ for that cheaper copy faster than you could say “free fudge samples.” A few summers and several thousands of visits later they actually let me work there and to this day it was my favorite job, even though it lasted two months.

75. John Cafiero
Osaka Popstar

Store: Kim’s Video & Music, (the original Mondo Kim’s location on St. Marks Place in NYC)
Location: Formerly at 6 St. Marks Place in NYC, but since moved and downsized to 124 1st Avenue, New York, N.Y.

At Kim’s in NYC (the original location on St. Marks before it was moved & downsized), running into prolific director Jim Jarmusch shortly after directing my first feature film—which was a low-budget ‘70s exploitation homage. We stopped and talked for a bit. It felt ironically reminiscent (and in retrospect still does) to the scene in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, when Ed Wood meets Orson Welles and they have a casual exchange of mutual disgust for the system—despite being on projects that would be perceived as worlds apart in the eye’s of the public—but not necessarily in the hearts and minds of their creators.

76. Mlny Parsonz
Royal Thunder

Store: Criminal Records
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Seeing Withered play live in the comic book section of Criminal Records, back when Criminal was to the right of Junkman’s. Couldn’t see shit (it was packed!), but you could hear it. They sounded fucking great.

77. Nick Krill
The Spinto Band

Store: Tie between Rainbow Records and Bert’s
Location: Wilmington, Del.; Newark, Del.

Bert’s probably had the best selection of independent music before it shut down. I remember being real young and spending hours looking at album covers and band names… just getting a sense of what was cooking. Rainbow holds a special place in my inner ear though. I remember listening to Zaireeka by The Flaming Lips the day it was released over at my bandmate Thomas’ house. He had gotten just about the only copy that made its way to Delaware. Right after we finished listening to it (four boomboxes and all), I convinced my mom to drive me over to Rainbow to order a copy. While I was there I also picked up Clouds Taste Metallic on vinyl. When I got home and opened up the record I was amazed to see it was pressed on translucent green vinyl! I didn’t even listen to it right away… I just sat there thinking how cool this artifact was. This is a special memory because both Zaireeka and Clouds Taste Metallic really opened up my ears. They were some of the first records that made me stop and think about sound recording and record production.

Another funny story was when a kid on my block asked for a Green Day CD for his birthday. I remember being embarrassed to buy it and making a point to the clerk that, “Oh yeah, this is for my buddy. I can’t really stand these guys.” All youngsters should have a judgmental record store clerk in their life to rough ‘em up a bit. Some less fortunate kids these days may only have judgmental blogs… which doesn’t seem as fun.

78. John Michael Rouchell

Store: Grimey’s
Location: Nashville, Tenn.

As of recent, I’ve spent a great deal of time in Nashville. My home is in New Orleans and there are some great record stores here. Nonetheless, Grimey’s has become my favorite record store. Your favorite record store is like your favorite bar, in that, they know what you want when you walk in. Of course, this takes time. I had gone to Grimey’s several times before we created a bond. It took our band playing The Basement for the real connection to take place. It feels great to go to a place where they know what you’re looking for and aren’t judgemental about your taste. The strangest thing is that I have found more weird New Orleans R&B records there than in New Orleans. Crazy. It always feels like home. You should go. They’re amazing people.

79. Owen Ashworth
Advance Base, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone

Store: Aquarius Records
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

Back when I was a college student in the late ‘90s, I shared an apartment at 24th and Valencia, right down the street from Aquarius Records. Thanks to them, most of the money that I should have been spending on books and groceries was spent on albums by mysterious bands like the Supreme Dicks, Harvey Milk and the Dead C. Music was exciting and strange back then, and Aquarius lead me into new worlds of weirdness. I couldn’t imagine a friendlier record store staff, and I’ll always be grateful of how supportive they were of my first band, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. Aquarius is forever my favorite record store.

80. Jamison
Teen Daze

Store: Champion Jack’s Emporium
Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia

Abbotsford is the town I live in (just an hour outside of Vancouver), and Champion Jack’s is our only record store. It has an amazing collection of new/used records, as well as vintage clothing and accessories. Jason and Amelia, who run it, are so supportive of local art and invited me to play the first show they hosted. It’s really great to see some arts and culture formulating in a smaller, more rural town like Abbotsford, and Champion Jack’s is becoming a very important part of that. Plus, Jason has asked me to curate the electronic section of the records, so I basically have a record store at my disposal.

81. Alec Empire
Atari Teenage Riot

Store: Los Apson Records
Location: Toyko, Japan

I discovered the store in 1996, when I performed in Japan for the first time. It was like no other store I had ever seen. Very small…like somebody’s flat. You had to take the stairs a few floors up to get there. No shop window. Very unusual for a record store at the time. Artists like Boredoms, Merzbow and all the Japanese underground music legends brought rare vinyl, cassette tapes there to sell. Often in quantities not more than 50 copies. Handmade sleeves… you felt like you were given music by a friend of yours. The most commercial release you would find in there, was maybe a Sun Ra record or something by The Pop Group or Neu!

When I think back to that time, then I realize how far ahead those guys were. They dealt with music like most bands do now. A lot of effort went into packaging, the focus was only on the music because there seemed to be no budgets for ‘marketing’... only those who really really love music went there. The best thing about those types of stores were, that you met with like-minded people…in person. There is a lot more info, like body language, character, etc., transmitted when you communicate with people in the non-virtual world. I think we should get back to that because it was just more fun. One had to experience it to understand.

82. Andrew Dost

Store: UHF
Location: Royal Oak, Mich.

I never feel ashamed or guilty for not knowing certain albums when I go into UHF. The people there are friendly and eager to share their knowledge, which makes it that much more rewarding to go in and discover something. Also their selection is great, and in immaculate shape. My favorite purchase there is probably a pristine copy of Nilsson Sings Newman. I got it on an extremely windy, rainy day, and I had to walk about a mile in it. They gave me a few extra plastic bags to make sure it got home intact.

83. Matt Sumrow

Store: CD Alley
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.

CD Alley is the main record store in Chapel Hill, N.C., where I went to college. In about 1998 when it first opened, I can remember seeing the coolest posters hanging in there from local bands, bands I started to emulate. Chapel Hill has such an amazing local music scene, and CD Alley is the center of it all. Best vinyl collection in the south—there I said it—[it’s] my favorite record store.

84. Nick Loss-Eaton
Leland Sundries

Store: In Your Ear
Location: Cambridge, Mass.

Oh, man. I used to scour their cheap tape bin and pick up things I was curious about for $1. They have LPs stacked literally to the ceiling. You used to be able to find the same record in the same condition there for two different prices if you looked hard enough. I bought a lot of the basics there: Stones, Dylan, Talking Heads, a cheap Best of the Animals. The whole place smelled like used records and they used to play a lot of soul music on the turntable in the store. Went back recently and it hadn’t changed. I found a La’s CD for $1.

85. Emily Jane White

Store: The Last Record Store
Location: Santa Rosa, Calif.

I have multiple favorite memories of this store. One favorite memory was buying the Dutch reissue of PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love. I’d been waiting for years for a vinyl copy. Another favorite thing about the store is my favorite employee, Gerry Stumbaugh, who is also the owner of St. Rose Records. His enthusiasm for music of all types, especially local music and musicians is boundless and wonderful.

86. Victor Le Masne
Housse de Racket

Store: People’s Records
Location: 4100 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Mich.

People’s Records in Detroit was really something! We are huge fans of the Motown and being in Detroit was all about it. This shop was just across the street of the venue and we went there totally randomly. They’re really nice and have the best Motown collection ever.

It was so small but so full of records! We took all the early Stevie Wonder as possible and went directly to the Motown Museum!

87. Mikey Post
Robbers on High Street

Store: Record Stop (R.I.P.)
Location: Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

Arguably the best $1 record selection that existed post 1980’s, Record Stop was absolutely the catalyst to my severe addiction/love affair with vinyl. I started shopping there in 1997 with maybe a handful of records in my collection, and by the summer of 1998 I probably had 250 records. Record Stop put off many people, because of their high priced LPs in the bins—but anyone with a little time on their hands would discover that every LP they had in the bins for $25 you could find in the $1 selection that snaked around entire perimeter of the store. I can’t tell you how many hours I made my ass numb filling through countless dusty stacks. Yes, a lot of it was garbage, everything from Ambrosia to Zebra (as well as 750 copies of Sergio Mendes’ Whipped Delights), but with a little patience you could pull out some really amazing records.

At the time I was buying mostly Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson records (they had 100s), but I also found $1 copies of Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum, The Music Machine’s Turn On and via one of my best buds, MC5’s Back In The USA (He found it in the $1 bin, but then traded it to me—so that one has a disclaimer)—all of which turned me on to a whole different world of music. They also had a 3 for $1 45s section that I found countless good singles in—I once found an instructional 45 on how to teach your parrot to talk—ha!

But the cherry on top, was Big Mike behind the counter. He always wore a slightly silken button down shirt, that had just enough buttons undone to display this immaculately sleazy gold medallion, which hung from a gold chain like it was the fucking Holy Grail of Ronkonkoma. Mike unfortunately didn’t have a great memory, so I had introduce myself every time I was there, and I probably heard his story about being friends with the Psychedelic Furs 150 times. He was a nice guy, but just condescending enough to make you think he knew his shit—and for a 17-year old kid in Long Island to be able to go into a local record shop and talk to an adult about The Jam and The Buzzcocks was priceless (he of course had played shows with both!). Record Stop was the last of its kind and I miss it dearly… Mike too!

88. Benjamin Wesley

Store: Cactus Music and The Record Ranch
Location: Houston, Texas

My favorite record store would be Cactus Music and The Record Ranch. This was one of the first stores in the big city that I went to that sold everything! Vinyl records, music documentaries, CDs, gag gifts, magazines—everything a good record store should have. Before they relocated down the street, and before Netflix, they would also rent out movies so it was a one-stop shop for entertainment. I loved going in there and spending a good solid hour browsing through records and movies. It was like going to a bad-ass library. I remember seeing a few in-store performances there, but one of the cooler moments I had was when Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels did a set there. I happened to be hanging out front when this long haired rocker came in trying to carry an amp and a guitar and several other things. I asked if I could help and he graciously accepted, so I got to carry this awesome vintage amp through the store. It sounds silly but when he was playing and they were grooving I thought to myself, “Man, good thing I was there to bring that amp up.” Haha. Cactus Music is such a great place. Kinda wild to being playing in-store performances there now myself. Life is such a trip.

89. Anya Marina

Store: Tower Records (R.I.P.)
Location: Mountain View, Calif.

I remember getting nervous to go to Tower Records in Mountain View. It was like going to a kegger at the cool kids’ house in high school except that it was afternoon, instead of beer it was a latte from Big City Coffee next door, and the cool kids weren’t jocks or cheerleaders—they were pierced, dyed, tattooed misfits listening to Siouxsie and the Pixies.

It was heaven.

90. Aaron Beam
Red Fang

Store: ABCD’s
Location: Fort Collins, Colo.

One of the guys who worked there was a local drummer called Lance, who was a few years older than us. He turned us on to so much good music. He was sort of like our connection to the outside world, in a way. There was no such thing as the Internet back then, so you had to rely on the expertise of people like Lance! Also, as cheesy as it was, I loved the name.

91. Jon Jameson
Delta Spirit

Store: Lou’s Records
Location: Encinitas, Calif.

Lou’s was one of those spots where you knew that everyone working behind the counter was way cooler than you. I remember getting nervous when I would ask them if they had some hardcore CD that I wanted, or trying to figure out what the coolest Belle & Sebastian album was. When I first got my car, I would literally come to Lou’s three to five times a week to dig through the bargain bin. When we put our first EP out they had us do an in-store in the parking lot. It was an early highlight for us. Sadly they have had to downsize the store, but they are still fighting the good fight! Keep it up Lou!

92. Dallas Good
The Sadies

Store: Record Land; Rotate This
Location: Calgary, Alberta; Toronto, Ontario

I want to have my ashes scattered at Record Land in Calgary.

My favorite record store is Rotate This in Toronto and I have my reasons, but they’re far too personal to share. Not every record store is good, but every record store is great. Recently I got a copy of a very rare 45 by the Quiet Jungle. My particular copy is blank on both sides, making it even rarer. I’m willing to make you a tape.

93. Robbie Arnett
Milo Greene

Store: Amoeba Records
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

As a kid, I remember telling my mother I was going to the city (San Francisco) to hang out with my cousin, but really went to Amoeba. I would try to pick a discounted vinyl from each section in the store purely based on cover art. I found Astrud Gilberto’s Beach Samba that way, and it’s still one of my favorite records.

94. Page Campbell
Hope For Agoldensummer and Dream Boat

Store: Strictly Discs
Location: Madison, Wis.

My favorite record store right now is Strictly Discs in Madison, Wis. The basement is an incredibly organized and well-stocked vinyl paradise! The jazz section is for-REAL rad and you can explore and listen to any weird thing from any place, time or genre there is. There’s even a keg of free beer in the corner and a DJ for maximum hanging-outness.

My favorite memory is finding one of those obscure psych-folk ‘60s deals with an amazing hand-written letter—an account of a drug trip in a barn or something—tucked into the gatefold. Yes, please :)

Claire Campbell

Store: Criminal Records
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Well, as many folks will tell you, Criminal Records in Atlanta is pretty dang rad. We’ve had plenty of good times shopping there because we [sure] do like to shop. And for some reason, our most-watched music video of all time is the performance we did there on Record Store Day of 2008. We covered “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah (ft. Timbaland).

95. Jesse Marchant

Store: Landlocked Music
Location: Bloomington, Ind.

I had a day off tour in Bloomington for my first visit there, and after an very intense game of ultimate frisbee in the park with some tourmates, I stumbled into this store just in time to catch a live set from tUnE-yArDs. I had never seen her perform before and it was quite a vivid experience. I like this store a lot and I like the town it is in.

96. James Wilson
Sons of Bill

Store: Sidetracks Music
Location: Charlottesville, Va.

The biggest thing that I miss in the iTunes culture is the importance of the ‘used section’ as a corner stone for any true music fan. Sidetracks Music always had a massive used section—so as a teenager you could spend hours searching for gems and discovering bands. It was all time well spent. I bought Life’s Rich Pageant because I thought the cover looked cool. Best decision I ever made. It’d be a good thing for rock ‘n’ roll if kids read fewer blogs and bought more records because the cover looked cool.

97. Erik Gage
The Memories

Store: Exiled Records
Location: 4628 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, Ore. (in the little strip between the deli and the liquor store!)

Besides shootin’ the shit and swappin’ sounds with the owners and the small but wise set of PT employees, the most excellent (and dangerous) thing about Exiled is knowing that no matter when you pop in, you’re gonna find at least seven things you want. Reissues up and down, anything you need, Royal Trux, old punk shit, amazing and rare reggae and dub, New Zealand guitar-pop shit, all the new cool and weirdo records, etc. Dividers for Sublime Frequencies AND Siltbreeze! Best paycheck spot, right next to the sandwich spot and the liquor store.

98. Rees Juenger
Beat Connection

Store: Amoeba Records (on Haight)
Location: San Francisco, Calif.

On our way back from SXSW, we stopped here and stayed for multiple hours and all of us got a lot of awesome stuff you can’t usually find in Seattle. It was also part of a great road trip we did with some of our closest friends, so that probably heightened the experience. There is also a really rad one in Seattle called Wall of Sound that has a lot of really cool small-run records.

99. Wade Ryff

Store: Origami Vinyl (Vinyl-only record store directly next door to The Echo)
Location: 1818 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, Calif.

I bought Cass McCombsWit’s End on vinyl. We also recently did a feature for Origami Vinyl’s upcoming zine where we interviewed our friends in So Many Wizards inside the store and vice versa. Wound up talking about music for almost an hour.

100. Kelly Pratt
Bright Moments

Store: ear X-tacy
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Ear X-Tacy was one of the grandaddies of independent record stores. Unfortunately, they went out of business last year after about 25 years. I am from Lexington and would make the trek to Louisville once every few weeks, primarily to go to ear X-tacy. It was an enormous store, with pretty much everything you could want. There was a ton of underground music, and a nice selection of local music too. I bought Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese there when it came out—an album that changed my life.

101. Brian Hannon

Store: 52.5 Records (closed)
Location: Charleston, S.C.

52.5 was my first ever show trying to play as a band. We never rehearsed, and I remember we would go back and forth between me playing solo folk songs to these improvised jams, and it was just awful. I put up all these flyers but I didn’t know you could only put them in certain areas, so the owner of 52.5, Clay Scales, totally bitched me out a few days after the show to take the posters down, otherwise he would have to pay fines. Clay and I are friends now, but it was a pretty shaky start to being in a band and playing shows.

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