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Buying Vinyls in London

Now that digital music seems to be trying to kill off the market for music on physical media, the vinyl record industry is actually weathering the storm quite well. Whether for reasons of pure collectionism, for love of the musical fetish that vinyl represents and will continue to represent or because any true Disc Jockey understands that vinyl is the best medium to withstand a dance floor, records in their original vinyl format continue to fill the shelves of many temples to the music lover around the world. London is a great example of this love of vinyl. We take a tour of a few shops that are still selling seven or twelve inch vinyl records today, well into the 21st Century. Come with us on this vinyl trail around London.

First off, an essential visit to the Portobello district of the city where we find two key establishments: Rough Trade and Intoxica.

In Portobello, Intoxica treasures a truly enviable catalogue of vinyl delights. Many authentic gems await discovery here, from originals by Serge Gainsbourg himself to rare editions of pop classics. It is a true paradise for any collector who will have no qualms about paying the price dictated by the condition of the vinyl and the cover sleeve in order to enrich their own personal collection. The original Rough Trade shop is only a few metres away on Talbot Road.

Within the walls of this legendary record shop, established in 1978, you’ll be able to find every style of music you can possibly imagine and unearth some surprising offers. Rough Trade East is the second shop to be opened by the British music loving owners, but a little further away this time in Brick Lane. This enormous shop offers regular live performances, an Internet café and even an exhibition hall. Rough Trade East has the largest catalogue of new items in London and sells out quickly thanks to its online store.

Another good part of the British capital city for buying vinyl lies in the north of the city – Camden.

Out on the Floor Records, on Inverness Street, is a great place to pick up second-hand LPs, original albums and even seven inch records. The curious feature of this shop is its three-in-one structure. A first floor that is independent of the ground floor that, in turn, is divided into two more. Staying in Camden and if you like rock & roll or garage, Sounds that Swing (at 88 Parkway) offers material from Crypt and Norton in its small but cosy vinyl boutique.

This tour would not be complete without a visit to the city centre and the always bustling Soho district. There are four jewels in the crown as far as vinyl is concerned to be found in Soho: Sounds of the UniverseVinyl JunkiesPhonica and Sister Ray. Vinyl Junkies can be found on Berwick Street and is a shop that specialises in black sounds, such as funk, soul and disco music. Here you will find tonnes of great material from these musical genres. Groove, baby, groove!!! Sister Ray specialises in independent music and features the trendiest bands of the moment in any genre from indie pop to the newest style to be born on the streets of South London, dubstep. Sounds Of the Universe, the record shop run by the prestigious Soul Jazz Records label at 7 Broadwich Street, is home to vinyl records that echo the history of music through some of the very best compilation albums.

Our brief vinyl tour of London ends at an establishment that specialises in electronic music. Phonica can be found at 51 Poland Street and offers the latest and most recent genres, such as techno, house, electro, drum ‘n’ bass and every other style there is as far as electronic music is concerned.

Now you know, if you’re looking to buy vinyl records, London is a very good place to start. Get your wallet ready and let the magic of vinyl whisk you away to another world.

By Carlos Medina

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