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Record Stores Of The World #3 : Lisbon, Portugal

Jeb Taylor

I've never been to Lisbon, in fact Portugal is the only Western European country I hadn't ventured to in my travels previously. As I drive to my hotel, I realise I'm pretty deep in the thick of it as I drive the cobblestone streets while avoiding tuk-tuks, trams and tourists who have no regard for the fact these roads have traffic on them. I park the car, find my apartment and realise I can walk just across the road for a nice view over the water. Before I get into the record stores of Lisbon, a quick run-down of the city as it was a city I didn't know a lot about and I feel it is definitely a bit of a forgotten European city. Firstly I didn't realise the extent and steepness of the hills, secondly there are tuk-tuks everywhere, I'd always felt this was more an Asian city thing, and I also didn't realise how tourist orientated it was. In some ways it reminded me of San Francisco (although that statement should be the other way around as Lisbon would have been there long before SF). I'm also constantly offered various substances as I walk the streets, I assume that is fairly common, unless I just look like some crazy drug fiend.

Across the road from my apartment.

Anyway it is still early enough in the afternoon that I have time to hit some record stores, I plug in the first address and end up at some building that looks like a big office block. There is no signage indicating the fact there is a record store here but the address is right so I head inside this building to a big office like foyer. It appears it is some sort of cultural arcade that actually houses several record stores. One of them is called Sound Club Vinyl Store and it stocks a solid range of second hand vinyl at fairly standard prices, there are some good finds amongst the standard titles, another is called Carpet & Snares which is more dance music orientated and from I can tell houses it's own in house label, while a shop called Peekaboo Records is also housed in the complex.

The streets of Lisbon.

FLUR is another strangely located record shop, while all the other stores reside in the main part of the city, FLUR is down on the waterfront at the shipping terminal, there is literally a window at the back of the shop that overlooks the ocean. Record wise they have all the essential new releases while they also stock some pretty good second hand records as well, definitely worth a walk out of your way to check out. Next up I'm back in the main part of town to visit Groovie Records, not only are they a great label that release music by our friends Los Tones, they all have this great little shop happening. If you know the label you can probably guess that specialise in garage and psych music but they also have what looks like a really interesting slection of Portuguise music, I just didn't know what any of it was.

Groovie Records

I visit a few other stores that are pretty standard affairs before I find Carbon, Probably the best record store I found in Lisbon. The shop is pretty big with an almost warehouse sort of vibe to it housing a solid range of new records on the racks and second records mainly scattered around in crates and tubs. It's not as chaotic as it may sound, as they are all separated into genre's and well marked. The indie/new wave section is solid as is the metal/hard rock section, while I also find some great 7"s. Pricing wise the 7"s tended to be a bit expensive while second hand vinyl prices were pretty much on average but there were definitely some bargain finds in there.

After walking up and down the hills of Lisbon for a day and a half it's time for a drink, one of my friends is also in Lisbon so we meet up to sample some of the best (and worst) bars of Lisbon before I hit the road again back towards Spain.

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