Words by Tom Parker
From head to toe, here are all the local record stores you can support during lockdown.
It’s been a thrill checking in with Melbourne’s record stores as they navigate these peculiar times. Many of these businesses flaunt age-old, tried and tested business techniques that capitalise on relationships and loyalty.
Greville Records owner Warwick Brown has enjoyed delivering vinyl door-to-door as a way of evading the postal gridlock while also catching up with his customers, many of whom he regards as friends rather than shoppers.
Suzanne Bennett from CBD record store, The Basement Discs, has been similarly creative during the crisis, gazing laterally to online sales, social media and email newsletters as ways of communicating with their record-lovers.
While for Dutch Vinyl’s Mark Reuten, online sales have taken a jump as the Dutch expat made a swift transition once the regular stream of punters were cut off from his store.
Nevertheless, everyone is faced with different scenarios and situations and everyone is approaching this unique period with alternate blueprints. There’s no one way to approach this crisis and sympathy and compassion should be given to all no matter how well their business is faring.
So here we are in lockdown 2.0, reverting back to the cosiness of Netflix and Stan; the well of privacy and personal introspection. Some are still baking bread, others are just happy watching TV, not pressuring themselves of any expectation. One thing’s for certain – the appetite for music hasn’t waned and as our Melbourne institutions continue slinging fresh wax, the buyers remain.
To celebrate our perpetuating record stores that make the city proud, we’ve put together a list of some you should consider buying from as we continue riding this rollercoaster.
Oh! Jean Records
The ever-approachable Oh! Jean Records are all about good times. They foster fun, not just through their expansive new and used record collection but through their attitude to music. The owner of the store, Zach Powell, is an absolute legend and loves talking NBA if you’re a sport buff too. Make a purchase and pick up your record from the store.
Beat’s record pick: Avantdale Bowling Club’s self-titled Avantdale Bowling Club (2018) from their New Zealand collection.
Check ’em out here.
Thornbury Records – Melbourne’s masters of vinyl and turntable repair. Standing on High Street at the heart of Melbourne’s inner-north, Thornbury Records are often the guys to hit up if all else fails. My girlfriend was after The Books’ lesser-known 2005 LP, Lost and Safe, and there it was. The store is currently closed to the public but if you live within 5km of the shop, they’ll drop off your record for free.
Beat’s record pick: Amen Dunes’ endlessly-intimate Freedom from 2018.
Give them a whirl here.
A Melbourne institution, Goldmine Records spans two locations on St Georges Road and Nicholson Street and has been offering a stellar array of new and used vinyl since 1992. You can also get your hands on a bunch of equipment, including turntables, amps, speakers and other hi-fi accessories. Goldmine’s St Georges Road store is closed but they are offering in-store browsing at Nicholson Street by appointment only.
Beat’s record pick: Dr. Dre’s 2001. Whaddya say we get the party started?
Head to their website here.
Round & Round
Sydney Road wouldn’t be the same without the ever-illustrious Round & Round Records. Before my head starts spinning too much, I’ll give you the lowdown. These guys are experts and can sort you a record from all genres and eras of music. While their physical store ain’t open for the moment, you can order vinyl through their website and get it delivered for free if you’re in surrounding suburbs.
Beat’s record pick: Alien Nosejob’s Suddenly Everything Is Twice As Loud. Stellar 2020 record.
Get involved here.
These guys need no further introduction and if you’d read our recent interview with Warwick Brown, you’d be right across Greville Records. With a fervent nod to local talent, Greville also stock a large slew of classics, featuring everyone from The Beach Boys to The Prodigy and Yo La Tengo. Give the store a call on 9510 3012 if you’re keen to pick up a new record – Warwick will even deliver them right to your door.
Beat’s record pick: Score yourself David Byrne and Brian Eno’s 2008 LP, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and tap into two music legends.
Find out more here.
Home to one of Melbourne’s most idiosyncratic music figures, Northside Records is your home for everything soul and funk. Chris Gill is a bonafide local legend and will offer you advice from top to bottom for anything in the realm of Bill Withers, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sampa The Great, Dizzy Gillespie and beyond. Northside isn’t open for the moment but it’s all systems go in the online space, where you can pick up vinyl via Discogs.
Beat’s record pick: Brownswood Recordings created something brilliant with their Sunny Side Up compilation record from 2019.
Check out Northside here.
Record Paradise is the brainchild of Renae Maxwell and Paul Allen, two of the hardest-working people in Melbourne music. If they’re not out at gigs or festivals, they’re holding down one of the city’s most respected record haunts. Some of the largest Record Store Day crowds flock to Record Paradise because people just love this place. They recently relocated to 159 Sydney Road and are open for pick ups.
Beat’s record pick: Pick up Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s All In Good Time and you’ve got yourself a garage rock belter.
Best to hit up RP’s Facebook to get yourself some new wax.
The Basement Discs
A library that’s deeper than The Library of Congress… but we’re not talking about books. The Basement Discs is the hallowed record pitstop in the Melbourne CBD that caters for people of all music interests – everything from pop, rock, country, folk, jazz, soul and beyond. Their store is open Monday to Saturday 11am – 4pm for the pick up of any records. Give them a bell on 9654 1110 for any specific enquiries.
Beat’s record pick: Hit them up about Lime Cordiale’s new album, 14 Steps to a Better You.
Get involved here.
Poison City Records
The recently-relocated Poison City Records are your one-stop-shop for everything in the rock music genre. A record label as well as a record store, the Preston-residing music experts also offer skateboard apparel and supplies. Their roster features the likes of Cable Ties, Camp Cope, Hexdebt and more. Their physical store is currently closed but they are still shipping daily via their online store.
Beat’s record pick: Blondie’s 1978 record, Parallel Lines. Yes, please!
Check ’em out here.
Mark Reuten came to Australia from The Netherlands just over two decades ago and quickly warmed to the Melbourne way of life. After initially working as a web developer, he pivoted to pursue his passion project of opening a record store. Dutch Vinyl is the product of that – a place for people to hang out and find fresh new and second-hand vinyl. These guys are all class. At this stage, you can make purchases via the DV website and pick up your fresh wax from the store.
Beat’s record pick: DJ Koze delivered one of the best electronic albums of the past few years with 2018’s Knock Knock. Get amongst it!
Get around Dutch Vinyl here.
Licorice Pie Records
Licorice Pie Records has recently moved to a new spot in Collingwood Yards, the new arts precinct opening up in the inner-north hotspot. Curious crate-diggers across the world come to Melbourne to check out Licorice Pie who are renowned for stocking a wide range of genres – you can find everything from German new wave to early ’80s orchestral Japanese boogie, London jazz and beyond. They’re not open at the moment but check out their Discogs page to pick up some vinyl online.
Beat’s record pick: Score a copy of Pavement’s 1996 EP, Pacific Trim, from when the band were at the peak of their powers.
Check out Licorice Pie here.
Marsden Williams from Lygon Street’s Muscle Shoals Records knows his music and as a result his record store is always stocked to the brim with fresh investigations. Muscle Shoals thrive off finding obscure second-hand vinyl – there’s everything from Italian violinist Armando Sciascia’s 1972 LP, Sea Fantasy, to Blow-Up, a 1966 soundtrack album from Herbie Hancock. Give Marsden a bell on 0438 325 397 or head to their website to pick up some records.
Beat’s record pick: Has to be Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information from 1974.
Check out Muscle Shoals here.
Once located on its eponymous North Carlton street, Rathdowne Records has since relocated to High Street, where it has been appeasing Northcote record-adorers for years. Rathdowne Records established an early reputation for their jazz selection before owner Joel Shortman started looking to funk and hip hop as Rathdowne’s second and third bow. Give ’em a bell on 9482 4213 to pick up some wax.
Beat’s record pick: Rathdowne’s copy of Queen Latifah’s 1994 single, ‘Black Hand Side’. These guys dig deep.
Keep up to date with Rathdowne here.
Strangeworld Records have become Melbourne’s masters of the obscure and esoteric, with an eye to punk, garage and metal. Richie Ramone leads the charge here, a local legend who’s no legendary drummer but certainly knows his music. Hit up Strangeworld on 9416 1662 to enquire about any new records – the store itself is open periodically seven days a week for pickup. They’ll also do local delivery if you live in Fitzroy or neighbouring suburbs.
Beat’s record pick: Why not pick up a copy of Parsnip’s fantastic When The Tree Bears Fruit LP from 2019. She’s on sale.
Give Strangeworld a run here.
North Melbourne music lovers are blessed to have Heartland Records in their hood – your quintessential vinyl haunt steeped in knowledge and intellectualism. Heartland know how to look after their customers and operate an easy-to-navigate website to go along with it. Make a purchase via their website and have it delivered or pick it up at the store.
Beat’s record pick: A Tribe Called Quest’s Hits, Rarities & Remixes LP for the ATCQ purists.
Check out Heartland here.
Rocksteady Records – your one-stop shop in the heart of the city for vinyl, turntables, books, CDs and other music paraphernalia. Rocksteady are all about fostering local music, while also staying true to their Caribbean influences. Think reggae, funk, soul, jazz and beyond. Pat Monaghan’s a super friendly fella and can be reached via Facebook Messenger, through Insta, by calling 1800 760 070 or via email at [email protected], for any record enquiries.
Beat’s record pick: Lianne La Havas’ stellar self-titled third album is all the rage at the moment.
Keep up to date with Rocksteady’s new releases here.
A Searchers adventure befits some sort of pop culture odyssey such is the record store’s widespread reach. Head to their website and they’ve got records from all corners of the globe while they’ve also got a library of books. On top of that, they’ve got their own merch through tees and tote bags for those so inclined. The Searchers are all class.
Beat’s record pick: Rowland S. Howard’s final album, Pop Crimes – released just months before his tragic death.
Roam around here.
Wah Wah Records
One of Melbourne’s new record recruits, Wah Wah is the brainchild of Ben Treyvaud and places it eggs in the ’60s-’70s rock’n’roll basket while also showing interest in R&B and Australian music, past and present. The store only opened up last year just in time for Record Store Day and has hit the ground running. Give Ben a buzz on 0439 331 389 to pick up a rekkid.
Beat’s record pick: Get your hands on Allah-Las’ 2016 album, Calico Review, for some LA psych-rock groove.
Explore Wah Wah Records here.
Radical Records are the vinyl-slinging legends of Dandenong who also offer movies to boot. Established in 1988, Radical Records have forged quite the repute for their array of hard rock, progressive and metal music. Give them a bell on 9794 8316 from Wednesday to Saturday to pick up a record.
Beat’s record pick: Why not get your hands on Tina Turner’s killer 1984 record, Private Dancer.
Check out Radical Records here.
Head out to Mont Albert North in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and you’ll find the fantastic Discrepancy Records. These guys are consummate professionals with over 20,000 LPs, box sets and CD sets in stock. While their store is shut for the moment, they’re still offering a massive selection online. Get amongst it!
Beat’s record pick: Get your hands on Leah Senior’s stunning 2020 album, The Passing Scene, in olive green wax.
Jump into Discrepancy Records here.
Feminista Vinyl would have been opening in Melbourne if it wasn’t for COVID-19. A record store run by women and non-binary people, the selection celebrates female-led bands as well as those inclusive of trans, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people. They have yet to launch but you can now grab gift vouchers for future purchases! Hit em up via email at [email protected]
Find out more about Feminista Vinyl at their Facebook page.
Kings of second-hand vinyl, Dixons operate out of two stores in Fitzroy and Blackburn. Come to Dixons if you want a bargain or you’re after a rarity – whether it be vinyl, cassettes, CDs, even magazines and posters. These guys are still operating both stores so wander in if you’re after something fresh. Give ’em a bell on 9894 1844 or email them at [email protected] for any specific enquiries.
Beat’s record pick: Part three and four of The Bill season 13 on VCR is going for $200 at their eBay. Now that’s a rarity!
Wander into Dixons here.
Preston’s Discography Records sits on Plenty Road and is a fantastic place to explore for those who love coffee just as much as their vinyl. That’d be most of us I reckon. These guys understand that crate-digging is optimised with a caffeine hit and while you won’t be able to roam the Discography store at this point they are still offering takeaway coffee and records.
Beat’s record pick: This record for the film score tragics out there, feat. The Exorcist, The Great Gatsby and Serpico.
Keep up to date with Discography Records via their Instagram page.
Off The Hip
Melbourne record store luminaries, Off The Hip, is a must for anyone going on a CBD crate-digging gallivant. You’ll find the very best in Australian rock’n’roll, powerpop and garage here through a selection curated by Mick “Mickster” Baty, a longtime musician himself. Give them a bell on 0402 027 137 or hit them up via email at [email protected] to sort yourself out.
Beat’s record pick: Pick up a reissue of Little Murders’ Stop! LP from the mid-eighties.
Keep up to date with Off The Hip here.
Plug Seven Records
A list spotlighting Melbourne’s record labels wouldn’t be accurate without featuring Fitzroy’s beloved Plug Seven. While they’re physical store isn’t open for the moment, they’ve still got fresh stock coming in by the fortnight via their website and Discogs page. They also run a small record label, where they’ve put out releases by WVR BVBY and Clever Austin.
Beat’s record pick: Everyone must have a copy of The Doors’ seminal final album, L.A. Woman.
Have a peruse here.
Lulu’s is the epitome of Melbourne’s underground music scene. It’s local music that motivates this Thornbury record hub and isn’t the scene better for it! It’d be daft to class Lulu’s as just a record store given they’re also slinging books, mags, zines, tapes and clothes so we’ll leave the interpretation up to you. The shop is closed but you can still pick up purchased records from the store. Ring them on 0435 971 041 or email them at [email protected] for any enquiries.
Beat’s record pick: Support local and get yourself a copy of The Stroppies’ killer 2020 album, Look Alive!
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