All week long, XLR8R will be taking a closer look at some of our favorite record shops from around the globe. Check out the entire 'Record Store Week' series here.
Following several days of our own selections, we figured that it was only right to close out this year's Record Store Week by letting a few other people weigh in with their favorite haunts. In that spirit, we've enlisted some artists that have appeared regularly on XLR8R in recent years—Pearson Sound, Matias Aguayo, Leon Vynehall, and Gerd—to tell us about their top spots to do some digging and fatten up their record collections.
Sounds of the Universe
My favorite record shop in London is Sounds of the Universe. I first started going as a teenager, while hanging out in Soho on Saturday afternoons, and doing the "rounds" of the shops in that area. The staff are unfailingly friendly, and I quickly got to know some of them, as I was also bringing in my own records to sell directly. Nicole and Kris then asked me if I would like to submit music for Soul Jazz Records—their record label—and I had a few singles signed. I still love going as regularly as possible—it feels like what a record shop experience should be like: staff recommending you new music, a pumping soundsystem inside the shop, and a real community of DJs, record buyers, and music lovers.
Solís Music Store
Picking a favorite record shop is not so easy for me, given the fact that there are so many I really love. But I decided to talk about one located in Monterrey, México, right across el puente del Papa in an old centro comercial. Monterrey has this heavy fixation on music from Colombia and this secondhand record shop reflects it. You will be happy to find records from the likes of Andres Landero, Anibal Velasquez, etc.—but it's much more than that. The owner, Jorge Solís, who always proves to be extremely friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful, sells any kind of musica tropical, Mexican psychedelic rock 'n' roll adventures, danzón, discomusic, and much more. He is obsessed with the Colombian band Los Graduados, and whenever he picks records for you to listen to, whether they are in front or behind the counter, he will recommend that you to listen to a specific song—something on the b-side, for instance—and it's very likely, in the Monterrey style, that he'll want you pitch it down to -8.
Well Rounded Vinyl Vendors
When you've visited many record shops, choosing a favorite is by no means an easy task. There are many factors which contribute to making a store great—the people, environment, and selection being most important.
One of a small handful of places I enjoy visiting, and a shop which has all these qualities, is Brighton's Well Rounded Vinyl Vendors. Its owner Ashley Marlowe (a.k.a. Donga) is passionate and attentive with a hugely broad knowledge in many different genres and styles of music that his shop sells. Whenever I go in, I'm certain that within five minutes, I'll have 20 kg of records to go through that Ashley has personally picked for me out of the goodness of his heart. That's why it's one of my favorite shops.
I'd also like to give special mentions to One Stop Records in Brighton and Underground Solu'Shn in Edinburgh.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
In Rotterdam, we used to have a lot of record shops that specialized in all kinds of dance music. Unfortunately, there's only one shop left that stocks the kind of new music I am looking for, and that's Clone Records. All of the other shops are gone. Clone started around '94, if I remember correctly, at another place and has moved twice since then. They sell everything from house and techno to (reissues of) rare Jazz, Afro, and Brazilian records. I have been buying records at Clone on and off since the start, so you could say that I am a loyal buyer. Every week, I go online to check their new stock. I listen to pretty much everything, because I like to stay up to date with most genres. The records that I like end up in my basket, and once a month I go to the shop itself to pick them up. While I'm there, I go dig in the crates. You'll always find stuff that you overlook (or simply miss) by browsing online. There's always something new to discover.
For secondhand records, I go to Demonfuzz. I must admit, I'm not going there as often as I used to, but Demonfuzz is a great shop with people that have a lot of knowledge of pretty much every genre: jazz, disco, Afro, island, French music, rock, hip-hop, etc.