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Manchester Hunting For Vinyl

Manchester is one of the most highly industrialised cities in the United Kingdom, but also one of the most culturally alive. Particularly in terms of music – this is the cradle of punk, and of the groups that were spawned thereafter, notably Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis, young bands eager to forge a better future, far removed from the industrial assembly lines. The fact is that this musical tradition also generated an extensive network of record shops, scattered across the city centre, stores which are still very much alive and kicking.

The good thing about Manchester is that, being a comparatively small city, roughly the size of Barcelona, it doesn’t take long to get from one end of it to the other. So, if you’re thinking of going there, while you’re visiting the stores we recommend in search of that record you are missing from a collection, or simply just browsing and getting your fingers grubby, you will also have time to wander through the area where the legendary disco, The Haçienda, was located, as well as the Museum – of Science and Industry, of course. So, let’s get started with those five temples of vinyl:

Empire Exchange

Rather than a store, this is more of a basement warehouse where you can wander about and breathe in dust, in search of that record by The Beatles or The Rolling Stones you need to round off your collection. Empire Exchange is acclaimed for having one of the most comprehensive selections of seven singles in England. Indeed, they stock records released from 1930 onwards. This temple of rare vinyls is located in the city centre, specifically, on Newton Street.

Piccadilly Records

Situated in the heart of Manchester, on such a venerable precinct as Oldham Street, you will feel like just another Mancunian when you stroll along it. Piccadilly Records specialises in rare albums which are hard to come by, but also in new releases of independent pop and rock and reissues of classics. Incidentally, the store is very near Piccadilly Gardens, one of the city’s loveliest green areas. It is ideally placed for visiting afterwards and having an impromptu picnic.

Clampdown Records

A small but charming shop which packs a punch, and its vintage appearance endows it with a special status. Here you will find an exquisite selection of used vinyls (especially punk and new wave) and, if you’re game for getting your fingers dirty, you can pick up some gems at a great price. Clampdown Records is on Paton Street, next door to Manchester’s old town. The area has a generous sprinkling of restaurants where you can grab a weekend brunch.

Vinyl Resting Place

Like Clampdown Records, this is also a small store which has maximised available space to a tee. It is on the third floor of Afflecks Palace, right in the centre of Manchester and near both Piccadilly Records and Empire Exchange. So, all you need is a good pair of trainers with air pockets to wander about and fit in. Vinyl Resting Place stocks a good collection of used vinyls, which range from reasonably-priced records to rare releases which will cost you an arm and a leg if you bite the bait. You’ve been warned!

Soundwaves Here We Come

This is the ideal spot for winding up your tour, as the store is also located in Afflecks Palace, just one floor down from Vinyl Resting Place – you just have to slide down the stairs to get there. The list of used vinyls at Soundwaves Here We Come encompasses virtually all styles. What’s more, if you’re lucky, you may catch some group playing live, as the store owners organise regular concerts to promote the city’s upcoming bands. Who knows – you may even be fortunate enough to cross paths withThe Stone Roses!

Put on your walking shoes and experience the magic of record hunting – check out our flights here.

Text by Xavi Sánchez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Marc Wathleu


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