Over the last few years I've increasingly found myself in different cities around the globe and one of the first things I do when I'm in each location, is scout out all the local record shops. For a while I've been intending to document this, so finally here is the start of Record Stores Of The World. This will be an ongoing feature, at this stage it is just some quick pics and overviews of stores and the cities they reside in, but I'll hopefully start doing some interviews with shop owners, bands who hang out in different shops, regular customers, ect. to get the feel of independent record stores around the world and the role they play in their local arts and music communities.
For the ROTW #1 I hit some of the southern cities and towns of England. I was in the UK for The Great Escape music conference in Brighton, and although it was a busy time between meetings and seeing bands (highlights included Bully, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and sets from Music Farmers friends Hockey Dad, Skegss, Amyl & The Sniffers) I managed to sneak off for a few hours to check out some of the local record shops.
Each May, Brighton gets over taken with bands and music industry types from around the world for The Great Escape festival. The normally fairly chilled city is packed with people scrambling from venue to venue. This is my second time at The Great Escape and luckily the weather for it this year is perfect each day. There are actually quite a few record stores in Brighton for the size of the place, they each seem to have their niche. If you can take time to dig through some the second hand crates, Across The Tracks has some decent classics and good prices, for newer records dive into Vinyl Revolution or Resident.
Across The Tracks, Brighton
On the Sunday after The Great Escape, following a really, really big night, I managed to drive back to London, hang out with Hockey Dad for a while before they jetted off to the USA, catch a couple of bands at the Sounds Australia Aussie BBQ, doing a meeting, have some dinner and then drive back out of London across to Reading. It sounds more productive than it actually was. My hotel room in Reading is surprisingly really good by England standards (and their complimentary breakfast spread was next level), I was almost compelled to write a review on booking.com and I've never done that before despite using it very often. Anyway, I have a night off seeing bands and get some work done before heading out the next day to check out The Sound Machine, a long running shop hidden away in a little arcade in the middle of the city. Their second hand stock is in immaculate condition and is really well priced, I managed to score some 90's Midnight Oil 12"s I'd never seen anywhere else. If you do find yourself in Reading (maybe for Reading Festival), have a look at this shop. Music Man was also another shop in reading that had a mix of second hand goods but a pretty strong vinyl section, once again and decent prices.
The Sound Machine, Reading
Oxford is a city that really punches above it's weight for output of local bands - Supergrass, Foals, Ride, Swervedriver, Winnebago Deal, Glass Animals and you could also include Radiohead who are from the greater Oxfordshire region. I had journeyed up to Oxford on a Monday to check out The Magic Numbers play a solid out show in support of their brand new album, which is the first in a bunch of years. Pre show though I managed to check out a strore just down the road from Truck Store. The new vinyl section is really well curated and there is some nice second hand records as well. The shop also doubles as a cafe and a big of a hang out for the local creative community and is definitely worth a look if you find yourself in the area.
The Magic Numbers in Oxford.
On my last day in the UK, and feeling pretty rough after having a big night watching The Magic Numbers in Oxford, I had some time to kill before my flight across to the continent, so I took a drive through the English countryside to Blackwater to check out a shop called Vics Vinyl. The guy at the counter (I assume Vic) looks like he has sat in the same spot, day in day out for many years. The recent trend in vaping has meant the business has expanded and is now called Vics Vinyl and Vapes. Record wise it was fairly standard second hand vinyl wares, well priced, decent condition, but not too many obscure finds.
Vics Vinyl & Vapes, Blackwater
That's the some of the southern bits of England, next up is Madrid, Spain.