It's ugly out there, but in here it sounds so sweet.
Fellow Americans, it's that time of year again. The time of year where we all question our faith in humanity as every insipid cover of "All I Want For Christmas" infects our eardrums with insidious vigor (no disrespect to Mariah's original "All I Want For Christmas," mind you). If you're related to someone who thought last night was best spent at Target, we're sorry. If you are someone who thought last night was best spent at Target, you should be sorry.
However, if you have taste in music and respect for the fabric of society, you are not without options for where to spend your hard-earned dollar. For the first time ever, the wonderful souls behind Record Store Day are bringing their seal of approval (and some legit discounts) to local record shops around the country. So rather than "Shop Small Saturday" or "Big Box Black Friday" or "Cry in Your Leftover Pumpkin Pie Sunday," you can save yourself with some decent tunes in physical form.
The Record Store Day folks have a full list of wax and plastic wonders, but below is a list of ten of our faves. Good luck and happy hunting!
A1 Records, 439 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Just about every 'New York Classic' disco or house record has been stockpiled for some time at A1. While the staff some days can be short, on a good day they're all incredibly knowledgeable and Toshi (Dance/Disco buyer) is a human encyclopedia of jams.
Detroit Threads, 10238 Joseph Campau Ave, Hamtramck, MI 48212
Yes, it's a clothing store, but Threads boasts the "largest selection of techno, house and other electronic music in Detroit." This means you can cop a Hamtramck varsity swim team t-shirt along with KDJ's old disco singles. Ka-ching!
Friends of Sound Records, 1704 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704
Friends of Sound is where record junkies in this music-filled city go to get their fix. You'll find tucked-away treasures ranging from funk to disco and beyond. The shelves make for nooks and corners you'll love hiding in, scouring tracklistings and inhaling the sweet smell of good sound.
Gramophone Records, 2843 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
Gramaphone first opened as a jazz and folk shop in 1969 but went on to become one of the first shops in the Chicago area to sell house music. Currently owned by DJ Michael Serafini, it remains an important institution not just in the city, but for house heads all around the world.
Halcyon the Shop, 57 Pearl St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
You need a damn good reason to go to Dumbo (especially on a weekend), but great dance buyers (like local DJ and BlkMarket owner Taimur Agha) and very friendly staff make it worth it. With an impressive array of house, techno, and bass music Halcyon is a gem we hope never goes away.
Joe's Record Paradise, 8216 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Paradise is a word that shouldn't be thrown around lightly but Joe's, in the metro DC area, is pretty heavenly. If you fancy yourself a true crate digger, there's plenty to navigate, though keep your EDM proclivities out of here; Joe's wins biggest with soul, classic hip-hop, and old school house.
Mount Analog, 5906 1/2 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Much love to the juggernaut that is Amoeba, but when it comes to meticulous curation for the more untz-aimed collectors, Mount Analog is worth the drive to Highland Park. Thanks to passionate and knowledgable buyers and a quaint and charming vibe this store is a summit of a score.
Spin Cycle, 321 Broadway Ave, Seattle, WA, 98102
Seattle is rich in record stores, but Spin Cycle keeps things fresh (Aphex Twin) and recycled (hard to find pressings of things like Danger Mouse's Gray Album). There's a true appreciation of vinyl here with the staff as true celebrants of the rare and the art of collecting.
Vinyl Dreams, 593 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
A small, but very well-curated electronic-focused store in the Lower Haight/Hayes run by Mike Battaglia (aka Mike Bee), the former overlord of Amoeba SF's dance section, Vinyl Dreams is a wax reality. Hard-to-find wax ranging from jungle to forgotten disco rest their grooves here.