April 12, 2016

With the approach of Record Store Day on April 18th, we’ve got vinyl on the brain. From the scratch and crackle of the record on the turntable to lazy Sundays spent listening to your favourite albums with your favourite people, we love the shared and unique experience of spinning a record.

In the spirit of celebrating all things music, we’ve picked out our favourite UK record shops.

Idle Hands – Bristol

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It’s no secret that Bristol is home to a pretty amazing creative community: there’s the annual Dot to Dot festival celebrating upcoming artists and bands, the plethora of indie record shops lining the pretty streets, the HQ of CRACK magazine and oh, the wee fact that Bristol is the hometown of trip-hop greats, Portishead and Massive Attack.

In a city where you can’t help but stumble across music store after music store, we’re playing favourites and naming Idle Hands as one of the best. Local DJ and label head, Chris Farrell opened doors to Idle Hands in 2011, specializing in house, techno, reggae and bass. Named after his label of the same name, the store is located on Stokes Croft, channeling all kinds of kick back with a bevvy vibes.

Idle Hands, 74 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QY

Rob’s Records – Nottingham

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A hugely underrated city, Nottingham has a colourful music and arts scene and has turned out some pretty impressive names including London Grammar, Jake Bugg, Dog is Dead, Natalie Duncan and Indiana. From the Bodega Social club to Stealth at Rescue Rooms, music is at the heart of Notts and if you’re on the hunt for vinyl, you won’t be disappointed.

Rob Smith of Rob’s Records has been buying and selling records in Nottingham for forty years. His record store is a chaotic mass of vinyl: heaps upon heaps of releases spilling from every corner and spanning all kinds of genres. Not only does Rob run his record shop, he also maintains a parallel career around the UK as a DJ on the Northern-Soul scene. Props.

(If you’re on a vinyl mission, don’t forget to stop by Rough Trade which has recently opened doors on Broad Street.)

Rob’s Records, 18 Hurts Yard, Nottingham NG1 6HL

Piccadilly Records – Manchester

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An institution in Manchester, Piccadilly Records opened doors in the late 70s. Owned by a white goods retail company which went bust, the staff members decided to keep the store going after its closure and re-launched in 1990.

Piccadilly Records should be your top destination for RSD if you’re floating around the Manchester area this weekend. You’ll be in for a (relatively) stress free experience as the staff are known to keep RSD releases behind the counter In the interest of keeping the peace. Records are offered on a first come first serve basis.

Piccadilly Records, 53 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JR

Sounds of the Universe – Soho London

With most of our ordering done online, it’s a refreshing change to spend an hour browsing through a dusty collection of vinyl, IRL. Hunting through crates of records, old and new, is a welcome change from hitting ‘GO’ on a search bar. You can’t beat the thrill of stumbling across that old classic you love, or finding the perfect gift for a friend. Enter, Sounds of the Universe tucked away in the heart of Soho. The ground floor offers up new releases and CDs, while the second-hand vinyl basement is stuffed with soul, jazz and alt-rock.

Sounds of the Universe, 7 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DA

Honest Jon’s – Notting Hill London

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Honest Jon’s is the kind of joint that’s been trading for over 40 years. It’s nestled along the Portobello Road with a brightly coloured store-front, brushing shoulders with the other colourful antique shops, pubs, independent boutiques and market stalls. The shelves are packed full of records and CDs covering everything from blues and jazz to techno, soul, disco and reggae. The place has a fascinating history and is closely affiliated with Damon Albarn, who co-founded the Honest Jon’s Label with store owners, Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield.

Honest Jon’s, 278 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TE

Snooper’s Paradise – Brighton

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We’re big fans of B-Town. We love its seaside charm, colourful terraced houses, abundance of vintage stores and of course, its proximity to the sea. In the heart of the North Laines, Snoopers Paradise with its candy floss exterior, is a staple of the Brighton second-hand scene. Not only does it house plenty of vintage treasure, from jewelry and trinkets to furniture and clothing, it also boasts a hearty amount of vinyl scattered across the multiple rooms. Set aside an hour or two for your vinyl hunting and you’ll come away with a handful of other bargains to boot.

Snooper’s Paradise, 7 Kensington Gardens, North Laine, Brighton BN1 4AL

Unknown Pleasures – Edinburgh

You might have to brave the hordes of tourists and the loud squawk of bagpipes to reach Unknown Pleasures, but we promise it’s worth it. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, this little store stocks a genre-spanning collection of second-hand vinyl. You won’t find much in the way of new releases here, but you’ll be hard-pressed to leave without bagging some classic indie rock.

Unknown Pleasures, 110 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD