101 Musicians Discuss Their Favorite Record Stores

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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
Thumbnail image for Emily-Wells.jpg

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

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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
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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
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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.