During the pandemic, it became clear how important it is that we all support the music industry in all of its guises at the grassroots level. As Jason Rackham of PIAS said: “Independent record stores have played a key role in supporting and developing artists and their music for decades. ” These local hubs are beauty spots where passion for music thrives plus that will always be worth supporting.
The particular boom of vinyl reached a record high last year with sales hitting a 30-year peak. However, what the figures don’t show is that behind that boom is a cultural movement. Record shopping is an event in itself, these hallowed spaces are a music-lovers cathedral where dusty bargains linger, life-changing finds remain one simple alluring cover away and the odd chat with an expert or fellow punter can broaden your musical horizons.
While London may well lead the way when it comes to the quantity of vinyl shops on offer, gems are scattered throughout the UK. Below we have curated a list of some of the finest around for you to pilfer during Record Store Week and beyond.
The UK’s 10 best indie record stores outside of London:
In Jumbo the stench of vinyl is palpable—and it really is one associated with the most joyous scents that the world has in order to offer. Established in 1971 by Hunter Smith, the particular ambience of the place is ingrained with the sense of music history. That being said, it is also a shack that has never stopped being cutting edge and houses a fine selection of local acts on crisp pressings and in-store gigs.
Currently located at 1-3 The Merrion Centre, the spacious new area will be complete with a coffee zone and spots to pick up a range of books. Perhaps most importantly, despite location changes, it has maintained a sense of community spirit and continuity. If you’re after vinyl in Leeds, then the particular likelihood is that Jumbo will have what you’re looking for and they’ll serve it up in style to boot.
Piccadilly Records (Manchester)
Manchester’s chic Northern Quarter is the current home of the Piccadilly Records music establishment that offers enamoured a legion of music fans since it opened in 1978. Complete with the iconic ‘What Should I Buy’ stand, the shop has mastered the vibe of “we’d be doing this for free if we could” which makes many vinyl fabric shops such special places.
The advice is usually always expert, and the selection is always eclectic. With the view associated with being an one-stop-shop with regard to all music fans, the particular store has thrived and with its typically cosy décor, those profits have been tastefully reinvested.
JG Windows (Newcastle)
Part vinyl store, part instrument shop, at JG Windows you can pick up the latest limited edition Yard Act pressing and an oboe all in 1 go. This beauteous age-old establishment literally has music covered from production in order to press and that’s the particular ambience it thrives upon—without any pretence it’s simply a music lover’s heaven.
In the old arcade district, the setting certainly sets it up too. Usually, you’ll find a busker utilising the echo of the tiled chamber at the door as the chatter of songs fans coalesces into the particular excitable hum of the shop. It provides been that way since 1908.
Missing Records (Glasgow)
True to its name, Missing Records is an easy spot to walk by unnoticed. However, for those in the particular know, it is an essential stop to pick upward old rarities and brand-new releases alike. And this has been offering this up for patrons given that 1984, forming an important backbone from the city’s music scene.
When we were lucky enough to last visit, the hot spot hosted graffiti of Björk and David Bowie on the roof which gives you a hint of the sort of songs that it specialises within. And with bargain buckets aplenty you can often leave the place with the heavy slew of indie for literally a few quid.
Dig Vinyl (Liverpool)
When Drill down first opened in 2014, its owners asserted that it was “a local response to the tireless talking down of physical report shops and the corporate commodification of music”. It has certainly stayed true to that mantra plus remained as indie as an indie record store can be.
The shop has just about everything on offer, but where it excels beyond pretty much every other store is the frankly ridiculous treasure trove of second-hand bargains that it offers up. However, with a single foot in the past, it is also illuminating the future by doubling up because a record label to boot.
Rise / Rought Trade (Bristol)
Indie record stores have a certain aesthetic and even from the street level, Rise is nailing it. Once you step inside it only gets better with a wall to wall selection of all your favourite artists.
The joint recently teamed up with Rough Trade but everything remains largely the same including the incredibly helpful staff. In the particular transition, they bolstered their own roster of in-store appearances and now you can catch the likes associated with the always wonderful Porridge Radio doling out shows and signed geared regarding fans.
BUG Vinyl (Beverley, East Yorkshire)
Though small in size (tiny in fact), Bug Vinyl in Beverley is definitely mighty in stature. It offers up a fine selection of classics with the genuine treasure trove feel. Without getting overly romantic, there is an enchanting feel to some vinyl spots and BUG soars in this regard. In short, it’s the quaint aged sweet shop for big kids who love leafing through the racks.
If the measure of a report store is how many new additions it has given to your heavy rotation choice then BUG is right up there. Aside from the hidden gems of history that it throws up, it also puts out a cracking Record Store Day collection too.
The Record Album (Brighton)
Speaking of institutions, very few places in the world can rival The Report Album for its sense of music history. This old gaff opened way back in 1940 when pressing technology was still cutting edge. Since then, the legendary George Ginn has presided over the premises like a spiritual numen well into his 80s. If that will isn’t nice, what can be?
If analogue purism sometimes seems churlish, then The Record Album brings the argument back to the fore in roaringly retro design. This museum of music is a living breathing epitome of what record stores are all about, and long may it continue.
Assai Information (Dundee)
In the modern vinyl world, limited edition records are like the shiny stickers in the pack of Panini’s, and this is where Assai Records excels. Some of the albums upon sale in this fine Scottish establishment are works of art on their own actually if you don’t own a turntable—naturally its far better if you do.
The hip-looking spot has teamed up with the likes of Obi over the years to bring punters the best of the best when it comes to pretty pieces that never compromise on sound. While this does inevitably mean that you blow your budget in there, it is certainly nevertheless a wet dream for all collectors looking for something ineffably cool.
Vinyl Exchange (Manchester)
Since 1988, Vinyl Exchange has been offering up a hushed haven for all those looking to delve into racks for hours in a time. With top shelf collecting action stowed away behind the counter, the cheaper side associated with things lingers in the glorious bargain buckets.
The particular wax is always expertly graded, and the advice is always friendly and informed. The shop might not be the prime choice of a novice but intended for any seasoned collector it is just about as good as it gets, and it’s got some cracking bars around the corner in order to boot.