The world’s best record shops
Humble independent record shops like Reckless Records are celebrated annually on 21 April. (Charles Cook/LPI)
Saturday 21 April 2012 marks an important date for music fans worldwide: International Record Store Day (IRSD).
Now in its fifth year, IRSD is a celebration of the humble independent record shop and everything associated with it: the music nerds and vinyl records, the obscure bands nobody’s heard of and a cheerfully anti-mainstream attitude. Festivities vary according to the store, with special commemorative releases, one-off discounts and free pizza being popular choices.
In recognition of this great day, we’ve compiled a shortlist of record shops that should be on every musically-inclined traveller’s itinerary.
Euclid Records, New Orleans
Behind Euclid’s eye-popping pink and yellow exterior lies a veritable wonderland of musical possibilities. Endless rows of new and used records and CDs — soul, rock’n’roll, country, old-school R’n’B, jazz, indie and more — cry out to be explored, colourful gig posters plaster the walls and a dedicated performance space sets the scene for regular in-store gigs. Far from the tourist trail and very affordable, Euclid delivers.
Bringing wild and groovy sounds to London’s famous Portobello Road since 1994, Intoxica is a vinyl junkie’s dream fix. Renowned for its tasty range of collectible and hard-to-find records, this shop plays by its own rules and dances to its own swinging beat. Not the cheapest, but certainly one of the best — opinionated staff included.
Wah Wah, Barcelona
Take a deep breath: you are about to bid adios to your hard-earned euros. Disproportionately well-stocked for its petite size, this legendary shop in the heart of edgy El Raval isn’t designed for ease of browsing (racks are so jam-packed it can be difficult to flick through them) — but that just adds to the experience. Practically every musical genre is represented here; leaving empty-handed is inconceivable.
Waterloo Records, Austin
Since opening its doors 30 years ago, Waterloo’s reputation as a source of sensational music has grown along with Austin’s own. Allow a couple of hours -- this store is huge, with an exhaustive inventory (including a mighty Texan selection) that demands in-depth investigation. An accessible set-up, multiple listening stations and unusually friendly staff seal the deal.
Moogy’s Mobile Record Store, Perth
Setting up anywhere that’ll take him, Perth’s most loveable curmudgeon Moogy plies his vinyl-only trade to a devoted following. Expect to find everything from psychedelia to electronica among the cherry-picked stock, plus a strong local selection. In this era of high overheads and retail slumps, there’s something intriguingly genius about a record shop on wheels.