Words by Will Brewster
A guide to digging your way through the city.
Whether you’re a seasoned vinyl enthusiast or you’ve just caught a case of LP fever, Australia’s certainly in no shortage of destinations to satisfy your cravings. Today, we’re checking out some of the best places to buy new and second-hand vinyl around Sydney, spotlighting all the best stores in the city and inner-west to get you started on your crate-digging adventures. Happy browsing!
- Many of Sydney’s best record stores are located in the inner-west in suburbs like Enmore, Marrickville and Newtown.
- Shops like Resist Records and Utopia Records cater towards metal, punk and hardcore communities, while The Record Store and Something Else Records are perfect for dance enthusiasts.
- Several stores also operate their own online stores or Discogs platforms for contact-free buying.
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Red Eye Records
Since opening in 1981, Red Eye Records has hooked up countless generations of music enthusiasts with the best in new local releases, second-hand oddities, quirky Australian music memorabilia from years gone by and everything else in between.
Revered for their legendary customer service and tendency to bend over backwards to source in rare records, Red Eye is both the largest and longest-lasting independent record store in the country today, and their legendary status within the Australian music scene speaks volumes. Put this one right at the top of your hit list – if it’s good enough for Elton John, then it’s good enough for everybody.
The Record Store
A world-renowned crate-digging destination, The Record Store is a textbook example of what a record shop ought to be.
It’s frequented by wax fanatics from home and afar, and their shelves play host to everything from the freshest club 12”s and new local releases through to dusty jazz, Afrobeat, rare groove and more – in short, if you’re chasing samples to chop up with your MPC, this is the place to be.
The Record Store even offers lessons for music fanatics looking to learn how to mix vinyl into their DJ sets, and you can even get a masterclass in software production as well; what more could you ask for?
Dubbed the ‘Home of Metal since 1978’, Utopia Records is an absolute beacon of light for metal heads from all walks of life. Throughout the ’80s, the store played a pivotal role in the national spread of the genre as it grew from being an underground sensation to the mainstream movement we know it to be today, with many of those same customers still visiting the store on a weekly basis to check in and grab some fresh wax.
Based in the heart of Sydney, Utopia’s shelves feature everything from old school thrash and NWOBMH through to all the latest in sludge, death metal, alternative rock and everything else in between. There’s also a huge array of merchandise to grab, and if you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a show or artist signing in store – just make sure to deck yourself out in head-to-toe leather and don a battle jacket when you walk in.
Utopia didn’t quite satisfy your cravings?? Don’t fear – for all things punk, alternative, metal and hardcore, there’s always Resist Records. These guys have been at the pinnacle of Australia’s heavy music scene for 25 years, releasing records from the likes of Against Me!, Polaris and Parkway Drive in addition to booking shows and running events within the alternative community.
Above all else, though, it’s the Resist Records inventory that takes the cake: there’s so much heat hiding away on their shelves, and when you take into account the sheer volume of zines and other merch on offer, you’d really struggle to find a better record store to frequent.
Any seasoned crate digger can extol the virtues of perusing the shelves of Newtown’s Egg Records.
Their new inventory is just as banging as any other Sydney record store, but it’s in the second-hand department where Egg really shines: they’ve got a huge array of old records salvaged from personal collections and bulk lots, featuring everything from ‘60s and ‘70s rock classics all the way through to bizarre blues relics, jazzy obscurities and beyond, ensuring that you’ll never find yourself going home empty-handed if you pay a visit. In short, something for everyone.
If there’s anything that goes hand-in-hand with record collecting, it’s craft beer, and if you’re fanging for a froth while flipping through crates, you can’t beat Cottonmouth Records, who set up shop in Enmore in 2019 and haven’t looked back since.
On top of stocking a heap of fresh new releases and even fresher local craft brews, Cottonmouth Records also offer a range of delicious whiskys, making them a no-brainer for any self-respecting Sydney hipster to swing in for a knock off and flip through some crates on the way home from work.
A cherished institution of the Sydney crate-digging scene, you’d be hard pressed to find a store more loved by Australian indie artists than Repressed Records.
These guys are fiercely independent, and show immense love a smattering of DIY bands, labels and zines all around the country, making them a supreme destination for those looking to support the little guys.
Whether you’re chasing a new grindcore cassette or the latest LP from Chapter Music or Bedroom Suck, you can’t beat Repressed, and the staff are just simply the best.
Something Else Records
Considering its close proximity to Egg Records, Cottonmouth and Repressed, it’d be easy to skip out on visiting Something Else Records if you’re in the Newtown area, but personally, we think that’d be a grave mistake to make.
Tucked away behind a tiny shopfront on King Street, Something Else Records acts as a dedicated haven for all things dance and electronic, with the store boasting a huge array of all the latest drum ’n bass, techno, minimal, dub and ambient releases from all around the world.
On top of their immense inventory, Something Else also sell an array of turntables, mixers, record bags and more, making it a one-stop shop for any DJ looking to add some fresh wax to their sets.
Papa Disquo Records
When renowned Brisbane record collector Ken Perkins passed away in 2018 and left a library of no less than 80,000 records for his family to figure out what to do with, Gunjuo Discopantz stepped in to save the day.
After managing to secure Perkins’ entire collection amid an online bidding frenzy, the Sydney DJ set up shop in Newton as Papa Disquo Records, stocking the store’s shelves with the endless array of rare blues, surf, dub, soul and funk records that comprised Perkins’ legendary collection, plus a wide array of new releases to boot.
For vinyl purists, a trip to Papa Disquo feels like a walk through the annals of music history, and it’s worth a visit just to marvel at the immense collection in the flesh.
Still perplexed by the vinyl revival? Here’s why the crate-digging craze is here to stay.