Amoeba Records, San Francisco
Amoeba’s sheer scale might be unmatched on this list. Not only is their LP collection impressive, but it includes the nearly extinct 78 format, as well as freshly pressed 45s from all over the world. Every genre is represented and kept up to date with new releases and flushed with rarities. Truly impressive.
Gramaphone Records, Chicago
Known as perhaps the greatest house music shop on earth, Gramaphone maintains and caters to professional DJs.
Their store stocks all sub-genres of dance, as well as DJ equipment like needles and turntables. Gramaphone is a landmark in the house music scene.
Wah Wah Records Barcelona
If you asked a vinyl freak to paint a picture of their ideal record shop, you’d get something that looked a whole lot like the awesomely named Wah Wah Records in Barcelona’s Raval neighborhood. They stock both classic LPs and the latest dance records, and the stock is continuously evolving.
Vinyl Junkies, London
Vinyl Junkies has the latest and rarest records. Professional DJs can often be found digging the stacks, but the store’s relaxed atmosphere makes all customers feel welcome and it enjoys a good reputation in dance music circles.
Fat Beats, New York
[edit, Feb. 2010: Apparently, Fat Beats is now closed.]
Fat Beats is legendary for east coast hip hop heads. Strangely, the shop is almost hidden from pedestrians, located on the second floor of a nondescript building on Sixth Avenue.
A flight of stairs leads up to one of the most impressive hip hop collections on earth, from new releases to old school tracks and battle records. When I stopped in there was a DJ cutting in the corner.
Hard to Find Records
Hard to Find has broken down their collection into every possible sub genre, and has fully stocked listening stations with snacks, sodas, and couches near a wall of turntables. They also cater to the professional dj, and allow for in-store demos of their gear.
What record stores deserve shouts out from your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments!
And if you’re just a music head looking for more sounds, check out this collection of music blogs where you can get free playlists.