best record stores in/around los angeles

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i'll be in L.A. for 2-3 weeks this summer.

i'm interested in opinions re. the best record stores in the area (i'll have a car so i could even drive to some places off the beaten path). i'm particularly curious about used non-rock vinyl (african, caribbean, folk/country, etc.)....

obvs amoeba, but what are the other ones??

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 29 May 2013 10:30 (four years ago) Permalink

Mount Analog, Freakbeat, Gimme Gimme Records, Origami Vinyl, Fingerprints in Long Beach, Record Surplus, and Records LA are my usual stops. Records LA has a ton of old soul vinyl.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 10:39 (four years ago) Permalink

...more?

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 2 June 2013 01:08 (four years ago) Permalink

p.s. thank you E.T.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 2 June 2013 01:09 (four years ago) Permalink

it's a bit of a hike but cd trader in tarzana has a very sizable vinyl section which skews a bit cheaper than a lot of spots and they have a lot of world and folk and country. Plus tons of DVDs and CDs. Worth the trek imo.

I like all of ET's picks though I might switch out origami for vacation vinyl. I'm sure there are stores I'd recommend skipping but I can't think of any beyond jacknife records in Atwater village (overpriced) and maybe mono records (good stuff but hit or miss on condition.)

christmas candy bar (al leong), Sunday, 2 June 2013 01:28 (four years ago) Permalink

Permanent Records in Eagle Rock is skippable. It's a good store, but nothing to really separate it from the others I mentioned.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 2 June 2013 06:47 (four years ago) Permalink

I forgot to mention atomic records in Burbank. I have mixed feelings about that place; definitely reeks of record collector scum attitude but they also have a lot of good records and a large, often surprisingly cheap jazz section. Good, fair priced selection of mainstream 70s and 80s rock. Folk and world music sections are mediocre.

lots of folks like the vv large record section at the last bookstore in DTLA and I recommend going but only for the books. Skip the vinyl, it's overpriced and kind of shoddy. rockaway records in silver lake has been around forever but they're not pricing their shit to move, is all ill say. If you happen to drive past, maybe stop in. Otherwise it's a pass imo.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Sunday, 2 June 2013 07:20 (four years ago) Permalink

atomic is cool; go there and then go get a cuban sandwich at porto's.

shoutout to rockaway records in silver lake.

leno dunham (get bent), Sunday, 2 June 2013 07:31 (four years ago) Permalink

never mind, al leong already mentioned rockaway.

leno dunham (get bent), Sunday, 2 June 2013 07:32 (four years ago) Permalink

I still miss the old Rockaway when it was quadruple the size and the staff didn't really know anything that wasn't a Goldmine magazine regular.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 2 June 2013 08:03 (four years ago) Permalink

i was a little harsh on rockaway. it's ok. you can find decent shit. their rarer lps are fairly priced, it's the more common ones that are a little expensive. i was actually at permanent records today. better than i remembered and i think their new vinyl is a buck or two cheaper than amoeba. but it's not an absolutely essential stop, as ET stated.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 00:28 (four years ago) Permalink

If you're here on the first Sunday of a month the Pasadena City College swap meet has a record/CD section you might like. That area is in the upper floors of the parking garage. Other areas in town also have record swap meets but I'm not familiar with them.

nickn, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 00:38 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm only out there occasionally and am strictly a CD buyer, but Amoeba, Fingerprints, and Freakbeat are my stops.

Jeff Wright, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 01:36 (four years ago) Permalink

Any word on Wombleton or Vacation? Haven't been record shopping in LA for ten+ years, and these places have me curious.

today's tom soy yum, mean mean thai (Spectrist), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:05 (four years ago) Permalink

Wombleton is pricey and a small selection. But I enjoyed its British bias. They have a lot of 80s and early 90s finds, and their crate diggers box is updated as often as it is raided by Anglophiles.

Cunga, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:09 (four years ago) Permalink

wombleton is solid, I like it. Good selection, def a quality spot, def on the pricier side of things.

vacation is cool, they get some good experimental and metal product in. last thing I bought there was a used and minty fresh copy of the Lena Hughes LP for $10.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 03:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Quiet as kept, Record Jungle in Montebello is the shit.

THIZZ VAN LEER @_@ (lpz), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 03:48 (four years ago) Permalink

go to that hilarious record store near lax

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 07:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Record Surplus is my go-to store – vinyl is clearly their priority, and they have tons of stuff ranging from dollar bin up through awesome (if expensive) collectibles. Not sure how good their non-rock/classical selection is, I will take a look tomorrow (I just shop there for CDs, their dollar bin is inconsistent but occasionally amazing).

South of Hamster (J3ff T.), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 07:08 (four years ago) Permalink

Vacation is awesome, or at least I loved it. If metal/punk/experimental/noise is yr thing, I think it's a must-stop. Super nice dudes, too.

I also love Fingerprints in Long Beach, though I haven't been there since I switched to buying vinyl. I used to get mad cheap CDs there.

Amoeba is the only record store in the world where I feel overwhelmed and it's almost not fun. "Almost" being the key word. I mean, don't get me wrong I can still spend 4 hours and $200 there, but part of that time I just wander around staring into space. Last time in L.A., I decided I should shift my focus from Amoeba to some of the smaller spots. Bookmarking this thread.

alpine static, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 08:29 (four years ago) Permalink

go to that hilarious record store near lax

Wait, which one is this?

Walter Galt, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 12:22 (four years ago) Permalink

Freakbeat on Ventura Bl. should definitely get another plug on this thread. I consistently find great stuff there.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 12:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Permanent Records in Eagle Rock is skippable. It's a good store, but nothing to really separate it from the others I mentioned.

That's disappointing to hear. This is a branch of the Permanent Records here in Chicago and that store if fantastic. The couple that runs it is super friendly and I've always found it a joy to shop there. I guess their selection is a little limited compared to the bigger shops, but I feel like they specialize quite well.

i kant believe it's not buffon (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 15:23 (four years ago) Permalink

they did have a lot of really, really good stuff there when i went in. i shd have bought a couple things but didn't.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 15:26 (four years ago) Permalink

Love Liz and Lance.

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 15:29 (four years ago) Permalink

That's disappointing to hear. This is a branch of the Permanent Records here in Chicago and that store if fantastic.

It's not a disappointing store - if anything I've been there more often than Amoeba because it's close by, but if you're spree shopping and going to six shops beforehand... enhhhh maybe skip it.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 4 June 2013 21:40 (four years ago) Permalink

I should probably reemphasize the cd trader mention only bc it sounds generic bc of the name but they have a deep vinyl selection.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 21:44 (four years ago) Permalink

go to that hilarious record store near lax

Wait, which one is this?

― Walter Galt, Tuesday, June 4, 2013 5:22 AM (14 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

soundstations, I think I've posted abt it on here b4

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 5 June 2013 02:53 (four years ago) Permalink

why is it hilarious? in a good or bad way? never heard of this place but now I want to check it out.

wk, Wednesday, 5 June 2013 03:59 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah, i use to work at around LAX and Soundstations is right off Sepulveda Blvd. it is a couple lights up on La Tijera Blvd. and make a right, so like five minutes away.

Bee OK, Thursday, 6 June 2013 02:56 (four years ago) Permalink

and that is their newer location, they moved like two years ago around the corner.

Bee OK, Thursday, 6 June 2013 02:57 (four years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

touch vinyl and origami vinyl sucked. 90% new vinyl of the most obvious stuff, 10% poorly-curated used vinyl. touch in particular was pretty worthless. when the vinyl bubble bursts these places will be out of business.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 23 June 2013 18:53 (four years ago) Permalink

Make a trip over to the Westside and check out Record Surplus.

South of Hamster (J3ff T.), Sunday, 23 June 2013 19:01 (four years ago) Permalink

i'm going there in a few minutes, actually!

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Sunday, 23 June 2013 19:07 (four years ago) Permalink

and head over to the Valley for Freakbeat

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 24 June 2013 00:35 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Updates, anyone? I know Vacation, Amoeba and Origami, would like to check out others this time, though I'm probably not going to make it out to Freakbeat/CD Trader.

I'm most interested in newer releases (as opposed to digging for decades-old stuff), with a focus on metal, punk, psych and/or experimental stuff. But whatever, really. I like to look at records.

Anyone know if Wombleton is open on Mondays right now? The website says no, but also touts "summer hours" in effect "till September"...

alpine static, Sunday, 8 February 2015 10:12 (two years ago) Permalink

Mount Analog is good for experimental and international psych stuff- climbmountanalog.com

And don't skip Amoeba! ;)

one time gaffled 'em up (one time), Sunday, 8 February 2015 19:41 (two years ago) Permalink

this might not help alpine static, but record parlour in hollywood is good for used vinyl and they often have dollar-bin blowouts -- follow their fb page for updates.

no fucks given or implied (get bent), Sunday, 8 February 2015 23:04 (two years ago) Permalink

blargh, i looked at Mount Analog and would like to hit it, but think i'm stuck making my record store run tomorrow (Monday), when it appears to be closed.

i could bump to Tuesday but hate to spend the last day of my visit w/ family ... y'know, not with family. :)

alpine static, Monday, 9 February 2015 01:04 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

time for my annual thread bump!

last year, Permanent Records on York was my best stop. will probably check out their new spot at the old Origami, too.

Amoeba and Vacation are musts for me.

gonna hit Mount Analog this year.

any good new shops open up in the past year?

alpine static, Saturday, 2 April 2016 03:39 (one year ago) Permalink

I live three blocks from a store called Hi Fidelity, but it's not very good. Possibly a blessing in disguise, I'd be there all the time otherwise. I've bought a couple things there (no store is that bad) but don't bother going if you see it come up in search results.

Mono Records on Glendale Blvd in Echo Park is pretty solid, I mentioned it up yonder. Priced fair, and with listening stations. My caveat about condition still applies. Lots of these places you can get a sense for via their Facebook page, mono updates regularly with new arrival pics.

nomar, Saturday, 2 April 2016 03:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Touch Vinyl on Sawtelle is cool. It's also sandwiched between two incredible used bookstores, an excellent Arabic food joint and Cinefile Video, the best place to get obscure/rare films in the city

beamish13, Saturday, 2 April 2016 05:13 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

annual thread bump!

this year, my trip coincides w/ RSD. i love RSD but am not interested in spending my whole day in line outside record stores.

i don't mind a crowded shop, but don't wanna do the whole lottery-style one-in-one-out walk-up-to-the-counter-and-tell-them-what-you-want thing.

so the question is: is RSD a clusterfuck at *every* (or at least the majority of) LA record stores? or is it more like Amoeba is a shitshow and everything else is fairly mellow?

i'm guessing the former but hoping for the latter.

fwiw, i'm a Vacation / Permanent / Gimme Gimme / Mt. Analog guy (as opposed to a old dusty used records crate-digger guy).

alpine static, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 00:16 (three months ago) Permalink

which of these places in LA is the place to go for inexpensive CDs no one wants like 90s ECM and Steve Roach and shit? I'm 80% CDs these days..

Wimmels, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 03:01 (three months ago) Permalink

I think Record Surplus has some reasonably priced ECM CD's

beamish13, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 03:28 (three months ago) Permalink

Amoeba is still the best single location for CDs and vinyl, and probably for any genre you could name.

nickn, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 06:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Thanks! Will definitely check Record Surplus.

Been to Amoeba a bunch but often get so overwhelmed I leave with nothing. I find I need to take a list in there and just be strategic about what I'm looking for, otherwise I just can't process what is basically an amazing record store the size of Target

Wimmels, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 11:46 (three months ago) Permalink

have heard of cd trader, not sure if they're still in business and not sure if they have 90s ecm

also if you're driving/not too far from highland park try mount analog (mostly records and tapes) for weird stuff

i never go to a record store on rsd so i wouldn't know but i'm guessing there are peak hours so avoid them at those times i guess

i n f i n i t y (∞), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 17:10 (three months ago) Permalink

CD Trader is still there, still a startlingly good vinyl selection. it's better than their cd selection tbh.

i do think amoeba has some cheap ECM and a lotta roach.

nomar, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 18:15 (three months ago) Permalink

i've found that la amoeba is really lax on some of the more outsider stuff. classic rock and the sort of indie / punk / alt canon is clearly their bread and butter.

i've walked out of there with frank wright lps, derek bailey, etc. for really fair, even cheap prices. the kind of free jazz that they put on the walls (sun ra, ornette coleman) is going to be expensive, but if you go digging through the jazz bins you might be surprised!

budo jeru, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 19:34 (three months ago) Permalink

That's good to know. Thanks! Will refer back to this thread when I'm out there. Good stuff.

Wimmels, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 19:43 (three months ago) Permalink

PooBah's in Pasadena used to be good for small-label avant jazz (esp local stuff) on CD, but I think their CD section in all areas is pretty meager now. LPs will be better but I think you want CDs.

nickn, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 20:05 (three months ago) Permalink

tbh i have a fairly high bar for what record stores are of use to me these days. L.A. has a ton of them but i really only regularly check in at Amoeba, Atomic, Mono, and Freakbeat. I like Mount Analog but it's priced a bit beyond my level these days. it's not them, it's me. CD Trader is way too far for me to go to beyond occasional stop ins when I happen to be near there. Same deal with Record Surplus.

Gimme Gimme, Permanent (two locations now, one where Origami used to be), and Vacation are all cool but I never find much there OR the prices are a bit above market. So I never go to those spots.

I live real close to Rockaway, it's occasionally got some bargains and actually the used CDs are super reasonably priced.

Have no use for Jackknife (overpriced), Record Parlour (overpriced, lots of LPs in dodgy shape), Counterpoint Books and Records (overpriced), Poobah (last time I was there was a big letdown), Touch (nothing selection), or The Last Bookstore (overpriced).

Yelp reviews on these places aren't much help, record buying is such an amateur hour proposition these days that a lot of people around here actually rated the VNYL brick and mortar location kinda highly because they don't know any better.

nomar, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 20:22 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I like Rockaway, though it's depressing too when I remember how big it used to be. And PooBah is even more depressing when I think back on it.

nickn, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 20:31 (three months ago) Permalink

i rarely buy records in person

i usually buy them off the internet/discogs

actually i had no idea origami went bust?

highland park and the valley are both quite a ways from me

i n f i n i t y (∞), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 20:48 (three months ago) Permalink

I still go to Fingerprints in Long Beach even though I'm up near Pasadena now.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 21 April 2017 19:47 (three months ago) Permalink

This was posted yesterday FWIW, http://la.curbed.com/maps/best-record-stores-los-angeles-amoeba-permanent

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 21 April 2017 19:48 (three months ago) Permalink

I had a great haul at Mount Analog last time in town. Pricing was not cut-rate but generally competitive/in the ballpark.

skip, Friday, 21 April 2017 19:57 (three months ago) Permalink


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