In the first few minutes of Stephen Frear’s 2000 comedy and book-to-film adaptation, High Fidelity, John Cusack introduces himself as the movie’s record-obsessed, compulsive list-making protagonist, Rob Gordon. His fictional record store, Championship Vinyl, is frequented by what he describes as “the bare minimum of window shoppers” as well as young men who search endlessly for rare, deleted Smith singles and original (NOT re-released, underline) Frank Zappa albums. To Cusack’s Rob Gordon, as well as many other vinyl enthusiasts, record collecting is a hobby strictly for the dedicated and obsessed, and as we learned from High Fidelity, “fetish properties are not unlike porn.” That being said, on April 20, music geeks around the world will once again be able to feed the obsession on the sixth annual Record Store Day.
Record Store Day can be a day that’s a little bittersweet for Hip-Hop heads in Southern California. Specialty Hip-Hop record stores like Stacks Vinyl in Cerritos and Fat Beats LA have shut down their storefronts in the past few years. To add salt to those crate-digging wounds, LA’s Turntable Lab closed their Fairfax shop last October. So where exactly can one get some Hip-Hop wax in this town? In a nod to Rob Gordon’s affinity for list-making, here are five Hip-Hop friendly record stores to check out on Record Store Day.
1. Amoeba Music: 6400 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028
Words aren’t quite necessary for this one, since it speaks for itself. If you’re even remotely into music (and honestly, why would you not be?), you’ve probably heard about the legendary Amoeba. They have a spectacular Hip-Hop selection and many other gems to be unearthed on Record Store Day. Here’s a list of limited edition Record Store Releases that they’ll be stocking.
2. Backside Records: 139 N San Fernando Blvd Burbank, CA 91502
With locations in Burbank and Echo Park, this small, but mighty record & clothing store has close ties to the Los Angeles Hip-Hop community and a great selection of underground Hip-Hop vinyl. While the bulk of their front space is dedicated to apparel, the records are tucked into the back of the store, and some of it is even arranged by label, which is always useful.
3. Atomic Records: 3812 W Magnolia Blvd Burbank, CA 91505
Crowned the prestigious title of “Best Record Store for Actual Records” in 2011 by LA Weekly, Atomic Records gets bonus points for its proximity to Porto’s Bakery and the candy shop, Rocket Fizz. After you’re done picking up cheese rolls and exotic kit kats, stop by this Burbank record store and flip through their stacks of 50 cent LPs. You won’t find too much Hip-Hop here, but for those who dabble in music production (or just like the music), rare Jazz, Soul, and classic R&B finds abound
4. Poo-Bah Record Shop: 2636 E Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91107
Poo-Bah is a record label and record shop based in Pasadena. Serious diggers will rejoice at their noteworthy collection of beats and rarities. Thumb through some experimental Hip-Hop material, or pick up some obscure Cambodian rock. They have it all here.
5. Access Hip-Hop: 1537 Garnet Ave San Diego, CA 92109
Underground Hip-Hop is alive and well in Pacific Beach, San Diego, and it’s all due to Access Hip-Hop. It’s probably the only Hip-Hop specialty shop in the area, and luckily, they carry a healthy amount of Hip-Hop staples and then some. With its copious indie Hip-Hop records and frequent in-store performances, this place is definitely worth checking out on 4/20.
This list obviously doesn’t encompass every record store in So Cal, and the beauty of that is, you can go out and find your own new favorite record stores on Record Store Day! Additional Record Store Day ideas can be found of the Record Store Day website, where you can get information on Record Store Day events, and special releases.
So what are you waiting for? Dig on, and be sure to comment below and let me know what your favorite places are.
Words by Sash