04.14.2016 | posted 1 year, 10 months ago
Your Guide to National Record Store Day 2016
Finding a record store in New York City can be a bit like crate digging itself—it’s hard to find the good ones, or sometimes, any at all. From the golden generation of stores opened in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, only a handful of them remain open—many have been forced out of their neighborhoods (or business altogether) in light of streaming and subscription services. The goal of the Record Store Day initiative, which started in 2008, is to change that. Stocking shops with rare, limited-edition vinyl from artists—this year’s selection includes one-offs from Florence + the Machine, Metallica, and The Weeknd—Record Store Day empowers the music community by celebrating the champions of physical music in this digital age. Below, you’ll find our favorite record stores in New York City, which are carrying the torch for purveyors of pop, punk, and everything in between—right now.
An East Village classic, A1 has served up crate after crate of quintessentially cool vinyl since 1996. The shop is known for its knowledgeable staff and (incredibly) reasonably pricing. With albums arriving daily, you’re bound to find something, or many things, worth of taking home—Record Store Day or not.
Address: 439 E. 6th St, New York, NY 10009
What To Expect This Saturday: The store will stock a fresh batch of albums on the floor, and will also feature an eclectic mix of DJ sets all day.
Bleecker Street Records
Despite having relocated off Bleecker Street itself, Bleecker Street Records is still one of the best shops in the city for buying rare, out-of-print, and original vinyl pressings. The store offers a vast collection of rock, punk, soul, and jazz. When you stop in, be sure to say “hi” to Creeper—the store’s cat.
Address: 188 W. 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
What To Expect This Saturday: Opening 2 hours earlier, the shop will have limited-edition 45s on display for one day only.
Academy Records & CDs
In the same fashion that Lombardi’s employees went on to start famed pizza institutions like John’s, Patsy’s, and Grimaldi’s, a good chunk of New York City’s finest music labels were founded by former Academy employees. Sacred Bones to Captured Tracks, and Rebel Rouser, were all borne from Academy alum, and even the Roxy’s own Alix Brown did time here! The shop features a well-curated selection of new (and used) LPs, 45s, across all genres. In short: it’s a must-visit.
Address: 12 W.18th St New York, NY 10011
What To Expect This Saturday: Aside from a special day-of playlist, local acts like Anastaisa Clarke and Sandy Gordon, as well as rock-fusion outfit Blowdryer Punk Soul, will perform.
Heaven Street Records
For those of you looking for (un)easy listening from the esoteric edges of subcultural music, look no further than Heaven Street Records. Sean Ragon (lead singer of post-punk phenom band Cult of Youth) has introduced a legion of listeners to the bands practicing sonic dark arts: we’re talking new industrial, neofolk, punk, hardcore, and minimal synth music. Heaven Street also respects its roots, and stocks original copies of industrial and punk classics like Throbbing Gristle and Black Flag.
Address: 184 Noll Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237
What To Expect This Saturday: After undergoing a makeover, Heaven Street Records will re-open under a new name—Material World—on Saturday, April 16. Ragon is throwing a party with free libations and 10 guest DJs, so even if you come for the vinyl, you’ll stay for the good times.
NYC’s legendary Norton Records brought Hasil Adkins, The Sonics, Link Wray, and many others into the contemporary spotlight. Having relocated to Prospect Heights in January after their original location was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Norton’s selection of used platters is still rebuilding—but also formidable. Norton specializes in the best new and reissued rock n’ roll vinyl ever made.
Address: 595 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238
What To Expect This Saturday:
The shop is waiting to host a proper grand opening later this summer, which will likely coincide with the celebration of the label’s 30th anniversary this year.
Rebel Rouser, arguably NYC’s tiniest record store, packs a mighty punch. The owners, a collective of the city’s finest rock n’ roll DJs, have an unrivaled selection of top-notch original punk, power-pop, glam, garage, and early rock—for ridiculously reasonable prices. And thee place to find 45s! Small but mighty!
Address: 867 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11206
What To Expect This Saturday: Rebel Rouser will offer a special 2-for-1 discount on all $1 records. If you end up spending $30 (it’s easier than you think), you’ll get a free tote bag; spending $40 will get you a special-edition T-shirt.
Doug Pressman, a former guitarist for bands like Princess Superstar and Bad Wizard, also owns one of Greenpoint’s finest record destinations: Record Grouch. Pressman stocks his shop with a little bit of everything, but his specialty is quirky underground rock from as far back as the ‘60s. Don’t let the name fool you—the Grouch knows how to have fun—he’s currently the host of a popular karaoke night at Williamsburg’s Daddy’s.
Address: 986 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
What To Expect This Saturday: The store will stock exclusive Record Store Day titles.
We saved the best for last. Rebel Rebel is one of the oldest record stores in the city, which means you’ll find a renowned, knowledgeable staff that makes accurate recommendations based on your taste (we’ve tested them), as well as a slew of releases new and old. The inventory is so large, in fact, that ultimately, there isn’t a whole lot of space to walk around. No matter. If you can get over your claustrophobia, a wide world of musical magic awaits.
Address: 319 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
What To Expect This Saturday: In addition to exclusive Record Store Day LPs, Rebel Rebel received limited-edition gift bags from record labels themselves, which were made especially for the day—perks of being a legend, we suppose.
Words by Josh Davis.