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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:30 PM
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Record shops

Since getting back into vinyl after a long hiatus I've fallen in love with independent record shops. Along with used book shops, they're among the most soulful places a city can have, in my opinion (see this thread here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...ight=book+shop).

What shops do you go to for the selection, the vibe, or just because walking around stacks of records makes you feel good? Yeah, I read High Fidelity and watched the movie too. Loved both.

Stratford's got two places that are well worth a look if you're into vinyl.

Diamond Dogs: Obviously a Bowie aficionado. Fairly sizable used selection with obscure gems to be found if you have the time to hunt. Some nice new stuff at the standard nice new prices (i.e. $35 or more--yikes).


https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.36917...7i13312!8i6656

Sound Fixation: Small but with a startlingly eclectic selection. Stooges, Can, Pixies, Coltrane, you name it.


https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.37073...7i13312!8i6656

Pro tip: Baby boomer high school music teachers have been and are continuing to retire in droves, and they're liquidating their record collections. If you're into classical music (or just getting into it, like I am) you can find all kinds of amazing used stuff for $5 or less.
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:36 PM
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i'm not into vinyl but the one place that comes to mind for Vancouver is Zulu records on west 4th. It has recently shrunk in size, used to be twice as big.



London drugs is a bc based chain, it has a pretty big vinyl records collection

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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:40 PM
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Love record stores! Worked in an independent music store during undergrad and it was only slightly like High Fidelity though... "this won't be like High Fidelity" was actually one of the lines from the interview.

Still like to buy vinyl even though I am currently lacking a pre-amp for my turntable. Luckily most new records come with download codes. As one can imagine there are plenty of options in Toronto depending on what you are looking for.

My all around favourite is Sonic Boom: http://sonicboommusic.com/ Probably the best overall selection with decent prices.

The best "hipster record store" is Rotate This: http://www.rotate.com/ Pretty much what you'd expect - a fair amount of harder to find stuff but it also isn't cheap. Have a reputation for staff having attitude but I've never experienced it. Also the go-to for buying concert tickets.


This list is also pretty good though a little dated. I really like June on there as well. http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_be...es_in_toronto/
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:00 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
My all around favourite is Sonic Boom: http://sonicboommusic.com/ Probably the best overall selection with decent prices.
I picked up a used copy of XTC's Black Sea there, and when I pulled out the sleeve to check the record I discovered a 45 rpm single inside the jacket as well!

Someone at Sonic Boom must have slipped that in as a secret bonus. On the sly, without telling the manager.

Sonic Boom has my undying love.
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:01 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
Love record stores! Worked in an independent music store during undergrad and it was only slightly like High Fidelity though... "this won't be like High Fidelity" was actually one of the lines from the interview.
So, do tell. What's it like working in a record shop?
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:17 PM
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So, do tell. What's it like working in a record shop?
A lot like working in any retail job most of the time really. You have to look busy and do a lot of boring work that nobody really likes to do (cleaning floors etc.). BUT - you get to deal with amazing product. Also are generally expected to know about obscure music that you have probably never actually listened to, which is always interesting. It certainly expanded my appreciation of music genres beyond indie rock at the time!

One highlight is the bizarre gamut of regular customers you get. In that respect it IS very much like High Fidelity. You have the ones who want to talk to you about obscure stuff only they know about for hours on end; the slightly creepy dude who calls every day to get you to see if certain things that will never be in stock are in stock; the jazz guy who only wants Japanese imports regardless of what they cost... And so on. Everyone I've met who has worked in a music store has shared similar experiences.
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:30 PM
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Fred's on Duckworth Street is the main one in St. John's. Happened to take a snap of it driving by this morning...



It has beloved staff and serves as a sort of community centre like The Ship (music) or LSPU Hall (performing arts). It has lots of album launches, live performances, other events, etc.

They will get you absolutely any album in any format that can possibly be obtained. It might cost a fortune and take weeks, but you can get it.

Personally, it's my go-to for their Newfoundland music section. It's inexhaustible - so complete you could almost use it for genealogical research. It gets enough tourists, Newfoundland music fans, and actual musicians that it doesn't feel full hipster, though it can certainly come dangerously close on a dead Tuesday morning.


Katie and Ilia 1 by Zach Bonnell, on Flickr - REPARTEE at Fred's Records ... ; (c)rebfoto by rebfoto, on Flickr

Matthew Hornell at Fred's Records 2 by Zach Bonnell, on Flickr

The website is pretty good for finding stuff as well. The staff put up their latest favourites all the time, and after a while you get used to which ones share the same taste in music (Matt and Tasha for me, for example). Two of the guys have been there since the 1970s:

http://www.fredsrecords.com/site/staff/
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Feb 17, 2017 at 10:48 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:33 PM
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Seems like in retail stores in general you often get confronted by a lot of unpleasantness, because people are often shits, but I always thought that record stores would be better than that.

Or at least more interesting. As per your recollection about your experience.

Then again, obsessive collectors can probably be disturbing at times no matter what they're collecting, I imagine.
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Seems like in retail stores in general you often get confronted by a lot of unpleasantness, because people are often shits, but I always thought that record stores would be better than that.

Or at least more interesting. As per your recollection about your experience.

Then again, obsessive collectors can probably be disturbing at times no matter what they're collecting, I imagine.


It could be frustrating but all and all I'd say it was one of my favourite jobs. Everyone who worked there was great too and still keep in touch with a few people via facebook.

I'm fortunate in never having to really work a corporate chain retail job so haven't seen the worst of the worst. People could certainly be annoying but it was at least interesting.

One interaction I remember with a slightly annoying regular who was very specific about his jazz music:
"What's that awful music playing right now?"
"Oh, that's the remaster of the Sonic Youth album Daydream Nation"
*Audible groan and look of disgust* "Well that sounds like something that someone who dropped out of highschool would listen to!"
"Huh... I actually just graduated from engineering the other week actually"
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
One interaction I remember with a slightly annoying regular who was very specific about his jazz music:
"What's that awful music playing right now?"
"Oh, that's the remaster of the Sonic Youth album Daydream Nation"
*Audible groan and look of disgust* "Well that sounds like something that someone who dropped out of highschool would listen to!"
"Huh... I actually just graduated from engineering the other week actually"
Which is spectacularly out to lunch, because Sonic Youth is precisely the kind of band that is lionized by the university crowd. But it was probably all noise to him.

That's actually really funny, because Sonic Youth would be just about the best answer to the question: name the least likely favourite band of anyone who dropped out of high school between the 1980s and now!
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 10:44 PM
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One that's near me that I've been meaning to go to is Apollo Music. When CBC Radio Vancouver decided to get rid of their vinyl in 2012, Apollo Music bought them all.
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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 11:05 PM
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I'm sure this will be unpopular, but I'm going to go ahead and quote myself here:

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Old Posted Feb 17, 2017, 11:14 PM
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Not into vinyl, but did get my mother a record player for Christmas this year and went record shopping with her in Grande Prairie afterwards. There's a spectacular store called The Rabbit Hole, right on the main drag downtown, that's part bookstore, part record store. Their collection was pretty big and rivals a lot of the full-on record stores I've seen here. Mostly seemed to be secondhand junk donations or something, but pretty much any country or classic rock/pop albums, especially obscure Canadian stuff from the 70s/80s could be found there. I had fun browsing.
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Old Posted Feb 18, 2017, 12:30 AM
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I'm sure this will be unpopular, but I'm going to go ahead and quote myself here:
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I find it hard to believe that anyone would have a name like "Hipster nonsense," much less one so eccentrically capitalized.
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Old Posted Feb 18, 2017, 12:47 AM
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I do love exploring the neighbourhood hardware store which are always crammed full to the rafters. I go to the butcher if I want to socialize.
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Old Posted Feb 18, 2017, 7:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
Fred's on Duckworth Street is the main one in St. John's. Happened to take a snap of it driving by this morning...

...
Fred's has been there since the early 70s, I shopped there as a teenager. It may be one of the longest surviving in Canada.

I guess nobody cares that HMV is closing, but it's a sad event. In Vancouver I think there are no record stores left in the better parts of the downtown core. The ones I'm familiar with are not downtown; Zulu in Kits, and a concentration of a few others around Main and Commercial, including Red Cat and Neptoon.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2017, 9:00 AM
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urban outfitters downtown sells records. I look at it as more of a novelty these days than anything else.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2017, 10:07 AM
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I grew up around records for a good period of time, and I find that there's a certain inauthenticity to "how it was" when I happen into a record store nowadays.

What I mean is that it we all went down to Records on Wheels or Sam The Record Man on pay days from our part time or summer jobs and bought 45 singles or the latest album from Foreigner, Def Leppard, "the Rezillos" or whatever at the time, got home, admired the inner sleeve workings and played the shit out of them..If you had a few brothers and sisters with friends coming over all the time like our household, then your turntable became a de facto juke box with everyone's singles or albums stacked up jockeying for position. Carefully preserving them like we are seeing collector's doing nowadays wasn't a thing.

Sure we all had our milk crates of neatly stacked albums or 45's stacked on those holders, but in reality records became scratched and warped really easily, especially amongst us careless youths. Sure, there was always that one anal audiophile kid on the block, or rather that older anal brother of that kid who always had that diamond record needle, cleaning cloth, and bottle of record cleaner, but he was never any fun no matter how great of a sound he was milking out of his Sansui's turntable system. The enterprising ones became the resident DJ at the youth dances.

Try as we may, albums and singles were rarely kept in pristine condition.They were played and enjoyed and were eventually either thrown out after they got too scratched or stored away in boxes after people got tired of listening to them.

Now when I trip past one of these record stores and see these cork sniffing collectors gingerly thumbing through all these same albums that we misused I can't help but think to myself. "Were there really that many browsing meticulous music aficionados then, or did I just miss them because I was just an inattentive kid?"

Obviously, there's a romantic novelty market for old albums otherwise you wouldn't see these stores still in business. I'm not knocking them , but I just don't get it. Different strokes I suppose. Instantaneous digital through my studio monitors works fine for me. I can appreciate people wanting that vinyl sound though. It's just that records were originally mishandled and ultimately thrown away from most people, and the care you see towards handling them from collectors nowadays certainly wasn't in keeping with the original reckless norm. It goes with the collecting territory I suppose. Stamp collectors are the same.

Last edited by Razor; Feb 19, 2017 at 9:52 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2017, 5:21 AM
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When in Calgary check out "Recordland" in Inglewood. I spent many enjoyable hours there in my youth hunting for items to cross off my want list and was often rewarded with unexpected treasures.

As a side note, my 15 year old daughter asked for and received a "record player" this Christmas. This thing looks like it's straight out of the 1950's. Anyway, she warmed my heart the other day when she asked if I would take her and some friends to "Recordland".
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Old Posted Feb 21, 2017, 7:14 AM
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I never got the whole "vibe" or "atmosphere" requirements for record stores. I'm not old enough to remember the days that record stores sold quantities of new releases on vinyl, just cassettes and cds. When I lived in Edmonton, my parents came to stay at my place, and all the records I owned were hiphop so after work I popped by blackbyrd on whyte en route from my office to look for some albums my parents liked. I think I ended up finding Harry Chapin's Greatest Stories Live (love that album) for like... $5, Graceland, and maybe a Jim Croce album?

Nonetheless, when I went to purchase them the hipster chick with some skrillex looking haircut just kinda scoffed at me for merely being there. When she asked if I wanted a bag, I said no (because my car was parked right down the street). She says "oh, so everyone can see what records you bought?" I'm like "No, because I care about the fucking environment?". I dunno why some innocuous encounter at a music store rubbed me the wrong way, but I never went back there. I may have purchased like 3-4 records since then, and they were all new released hip hop albums straight from the musicians website. Honestly, unless you're buying physical copies of new releases to support the musicians you're better off just downloading it anyway.
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