We’ve asked our BIMM London Tutors and staff members to name their favourite London-based record shops. So here they are in all their glory:
Voted for by BA (Hons) Music Event Management Course Leader, Howard Monk, Alan’s Records is an independent second hand record store located at 28 High Road, East Finchley. The shop is heaven for anyone who loves a good rummage through crates of vinyl (they claim to have over 15,000 records), and they also sell CDs (over 3,500), tapes and music memorabilia. They stock a whole selection of genres, including soul, reggae, house, dance, blues, hip-hop, jazz, rock, punk and world music, and are often used as a go-to source for DJs looking for new breakbeats and samples. Opening hours are from 12pm to 6.30pm Tuesday to Sunday, but they’re closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Another of Howard Monk’s favourites is Flashback, which opened at 50 Essex Road in Islington in 1997 selling vinyl and vintage clothes, but soon evolved to focus purely on music, and added CDs, videos, books and games to its repertoire. In 2006 they added a store at 144 Crouch Hill in Couch End, and in 2014 opened their flagship store at 131 Bethnal Green Road in Shoreditch. They sell both new and second hand music and have a reputation for their friendly knowledgeable staff and creative window displays. This Record Store Day, the Shoreditch shop is having an in-store gig from 2pm featuring The Duke Spirit, Bare Pale, Spoilers, Average Sex and Bad Lungs. Opening hours are 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 6pm on Sunday (with Crouch End’s Sunday hours 11am to 5.30pm).
The number one choice of BIMM London’s Head of Industry Liaison & Careers – Leo Nicholas – is Banquet Records at 52 Eden Street in Kingston, Surrey… just on the outskirts of London. The shop opened in 2004 from the ashes of the Beggars Banquet chain of West London independent record shops which first opened in 1973. They sell new vinyl and CDs across multiple genres, including indie, punk and modern dance music, plus soundtracks and re-issues of classic albums. They’re also a concert and clubs promoter, hosting around 200 events every year in and around Kingston, with many at the store itself. Opening hours are 10am to 6pm Monday to Wednesday and Saturday; 10am to 7pm Thursday and Friday; and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.
Iconic London record store, Rough Trade, is the pick of Sarah-Louise Burns – BIMM’s Social Media and Marketing guru. Calling themselves “Independent purveyors of great music, since 1976”, the shop first opened in Ladbroke Grove at the height of punk, and they continue to specialise in this genre today, although they also stock indie, rock, electronica and country. The store at 130 Talbot Road (Rough Trade West) is still going strong, and in 2007 they opened their flagship store – Rough Trade East – at the Old Truman Brewery at 91 Brick Lane, which also houses a café. The brand has also opened shops in New York and Nottingham, and they’re renowned for their legendary in-store performances which, in the past have included Blur and Queens of the Stone Age. Opening hours for the Ladbroke Grove store are 10am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. The Brick Lane store is open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Thursday; 9am to 8pm Fridays; 10am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 11am to 7pm on Sundays. The café is open from 9am.
Another of Sarah-Louise’s faves is ultra-cool Sister Ray – a Soho vinyl institution at 75 Berwick Street – and since 2014, also at Shoreditch’s achingly trendy Ace Hotel at 100 Shoreditch High Street. Both venues specialise in new and used hard-to-find vinyl across all genres – with the shop at Ace a vinyl-only boutique outlet; the Soho store also sells CDs. Their staff are veritable vinyl experts, and if there’s something you’re after, if they haven’t already got it in, then they’ll get it for you. It’s also a great place to while away the hours listening to musical gold on their on-site turntables. Opening hours in Soho are 10am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 6pm on Sundays. Shoreditch hours are 10.30am to 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.
This celebrated Soho establishment has been chosen by BIMM’s Blog Pro, Lucy Evers. Phonica is at 51 Poland Street and is definitely the place to go if you like your vinyl electronic. The shop was opened in 2003 by a small collective of dance music enthusiasts and it quickly gained a reputation for its rare collections and exceptional taste in electronic music. It’s owned by London vinyl enterprise, The Vinyl Factory, which also encompasses a record label, pressing plant and online magazine. Phonica runs various in-house labels, and also hosts many free in-store events and ticketed performances across London. Opening hours are 11.30am to 7.30pm Monday to Wednesday and Saturday; 11.30am to 8pm Thursday and Friday; and 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.
So make the most of Record Store Day on Saturday 22nd April by visiting some of these amazing record shops – we certainly will be!