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Old 04-12-2014, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is/was your favourite PHYSICAL music shop or store?

Of course I don't go to those anymore (quiet, young 'uns! The adults are reminiscing!) but what is or was your favourite? For me it was The Sound Cellar in Dublin's Nassau Street. A veritable shrine to hard rock and heavy metal, which you reached from a small doorway, down a narrow staircase past a wall plastered with concert tickets and posters, getting darker and more smokier as you went, till you ended up in a basement that was badly lit and from which the thump of drums and the pulse of bass issued, along with the wailing of guitar solos and the growl of vocals with the odd keyboard solo thrown in.

A wonderland of metal, and you could browse through the albums, talk to the owner, listen to the latest releases or just chill with your mates. The owner, a guy called Tommy, was totally into the scene and would make regular weekly trips across the water to England to pick up all the latest imports, so if you wanted something you could ask him and he would get it for you. Unlike most record stores then or now, you could if you want ask him to put on an album --- new or old --- and he'd play it. You weren't expected to buy it (though he'd be happier if you did and would always try to convince you to buy something) but if you did the prices were always reasonable. He was (probably still is) always up for a discussion about music.

Hours would go by there, and I learned a lot just hanging around. It's still there --- probably only selling CDs now --- but I just don't buy albums in a shop any more. I hope he's still doing well though. Hope he's still alive: he was about ten years older than me I think, so he probably is.

The other one was Freebird, where you could pick up second-hand albums and often rare ones too cheap, and where when you bought the album they would let you examine it for scratches and marks. See any record shop still in existence doing this now?

I miss those places. Anyone else any stories about their favourite hangout?
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hours would go by there, and I learned a lot just hanging around. It's still there --- probably only selling CDs now --- but I just don't buy albums in a shop any more. I hope he's still doing well though. Hope he's still alive: he was about ten years older than me I think, so he probably is.
Don't be so sure. CD's aren't really selling all that well anymore, but vinyl's making a comeback (relatively speaking of course). There's a hole-in-the-wall metal shop where I live that's selling less and less CD's and becoming more of a vinyl shop. If your shop's going through similar woes they may be going that way too.


Oh yeah, and my hole-in-the-wall place is Skinnie's Records in Norfolk, VA. The dude who runs it, Skinnie I assume, has been there for god knows how long and probably looks exactly like he did in 1986: long hair, grungy band shirt with sleeves cut off, and a general air of beerness.


Spoiler for Skinnie's:




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Old 04-12-2014, 12:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've been to Amoeba Records and their selection was pretty damn sexy. Apart from that there's this record store in Carlsbad I used to frequent called Spin Records that had a really good selection, especially given that it was a smaller shop. Cool employees too, hipster guys that were always like "whoah someone bought THIS album" and **** like that.
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Long gone but not forgotten, Free Being Records 129 2nd Ave. NYC. Use to go there weekly back in the early 70s. Located just two blocks from the Fillmore East. They specialized in used albums costing either $1 or $2. A significant portion of my collection came from this wonderful store.

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Old 04-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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The other one was Freebird, where you could pick up second-hand albums and often rare ones too cheap, and where when you bought the album they would let you examine it for scratches and marks. See any record shop still in existence doing this now?
Freebird still exists, down a corridor off Wicklow St. Plenty of vinyl and second-hand CDs to be found there. I've never actually set foot in The Sound Cellar, I've always imagined it to be full of elitist metalheads.

My favourite would be Tower Records in Dublin. It has the right balance between being a large high street store and being a proper record store run by people who know their music and are very helpful. It has a huge selection of CDs and vinyl that caters for everyone's tastes, a nice selection of books, posters, DVDs, headphones, gifts and you can even get some tea or coffee.
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Freebird still exists, down a corridor off Wicklow St. Plenty of vinyl and second-hand CDs to be found there. I've never actually set foot in The Sound Cellar, I've always imagined it to be full of elitist metalheads.

My favourite would be Tower Records in Dublin. It has the right balance between being a large high street store and being a proper record store run by people who know their music and are very helpful. It has a huge selection of CDs and vinyl that caters for everyone's tastes, a nice selection of books, posters, DVDs, headphones, gifts and you can even get some tea or coffee.
I've been in Tower (the one inside Easons right?) a few times and would agree, the staff there seem like the type you could actually chat to rather than the likes of HMV or Virgin (when they were here), although having said that I must credit a guy in HMV for sorting out my search which led to my discovering the music of Josh Groban. Fair play to him.

Sound Cellar was just pretty relaxed and Tommy was always a decent guy. I wouldn't fear going in there. Mind you, I haven't been there for a long long long time. Do you remember when Freebird was upstairs in Grafton Street, and you'd be accosted on the way up by mildly annoying skinheads who would ask for change, and if you said no they'd shrug and just leave you alone? Ah, good times...
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There isn't as many left standing around here as there used to be but we still have a few. My favourite is Beatdown Records. It's in a much smaller unit than now it used to be. It used to be in a unit over the other side of the city, with a CD room downstairs and a huge vinyl floor upstairs. They also had a lot more sales and clearances then, when I could go in with my £10 or whatever it was and leave with as much as I could carry from all the overstock.

It's still a great little shop. Very simple looking, very easy to miss or walk past, you walk down a few steps and they have CDs infront of you (more than you can see in the photos below, to be fair) and then out the back they have a very nice vinyl room.

What I like most about it is the staff. I can open the door there and hear some Electric Wizard blasting, have a Wizard chat with the guy there and then go out the back and rake through some vinyl with the guy in there, where he'll tell me what they just got in and play some of it for me, or I can talk about the gig I saw him at over the weekend. It has a really good vibe.





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Old 04-12-2014, 05:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Disclaimer: I'm not that old but I still want to participate! I miss music shops, but sadly, even if they were still around I'm not sure I'd have the time to go hang out and visit them anyway! In between work and life and family and ****, it's much more convenient to buy all of my music and media digitally

When I was a teenager I worked at Missing Link Records in the heart of Melbourne city (I have a feeling it is still around and kicking but not 100%).



I have the best memories there! I started off doing "work experience" there where I was paid $5 a day and then later ended up getting a casual job there. All the people that worked there were these seemingly intimidating, heavily tattooed and pierced dudes but they were so nice, even if they did give me all the ****ty jobs like sitting out the back peeling price stickers off. Music shops do indeed have such good vibes about them.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, you were lucky Astronomer. I would have paid to have worked in a record shop --- "High Fidelity" anyone? Talk about loving your job! I'd have been first in the door and last out every day.

Mojo, they had people busking in that shop? That is ultra cool and laidback!
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