Journalist and crate-digger Marcus Barnes has penned a new book that claims to list the 80 best record shops on the planet. Here, he picks 10 of his favourites.
112 Tonar, Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland has a sterling reputation for producing incredibly talented, unique artists. This shop is owned by a few of them and its selection is top notch. Add to that the fact that it has been designed so that customers can chill out and socialise with one another and you’ve got a winning formula.
2Alan’s Records, London
A record shop that embodies the traditional archetype; owned and curated by a man who loves music in its physical form and will happily help you to find that special record you’re looking for. Intimate and cosy, it’s a total sanctuary.
3Amoeba Music, Los Angeles, USA
One of the world’s biggest record shops, you can literally set up camp here and spend a good few days rifling through shelf after shelf of music; new, old, second-hand, rock, pop, jungle, hip hop, classical… the list goes on and on. It’s a sight to behold and an unforgettable spot to go record digging.
4Casarão do Vinil, Sao Paolo, Brazil
This is a total dream for any record digging fanatic, an entire house full of records. It’s no ordinary house either, it’s a vintage Brazilian mansion with many of its original features still intact – worth a visit for the experience alone, even more so for the endless selection of music on offer.
5Happyfeet, Prague, Czech Republic
If you don’t know much about music from the Czech Republic then this is the spot for you. Owner Magdaléna Zemanová will go out of her way to fill you in on the the musical history of her nation, proudly walking you through labels like Opus and Panton and of course, many of those labels are available in the quaint shop itself.
6Jazzhole, Lagos, Nigeria
Like many of the world’s best record shops this is more of a cultural hub than a mere place to buy vinyl. Kunle Tejuoso has become somewhat of a African music historian through his endeavours, offering up space for local artists to perform and collaborate while also giving customers the chance to hang out and chill in the shop’s cafe area.
7Mazeeka Samir Fouad, Cairo, Egypt
An unkempt treasure trove of Middle Eastern music, this odd little shop is quite difficult to find but worth the effort. Not only do they sell a wide range of local productions but you can also grab yourself a gramophone or an oud (an indigenous string instrument).
8Pet Sounds, Stockholm, Sweden
A legendary shop that has been around for decades, and therefore holds a very dear place in the hearts of collectors all over the world. A trailblazer of sorts, and one of those shops that you can imagine will be around forever.
9Rockers International, Kingston, Jamaica
Perhaps the last remaining shop selling reggae on vinyl in Jamaica, this is a very important heritage site holding on to the core values of vinyl collecting and sales. ‘Mitchie’ Williams keeps the fire burning here and he does it with panache.
10Sounds of the Universe, London
A heavenly music outlet and one of Soho’s last remaining gems; expert purveyors of jazz, soul, funk, Brazilian cuts, African recordings and much more… You’ll lose yourself for days in the basement.
11Around The Word In 80 Record Stores
Around the World in 80 Record Stores by Marcus Barnes is published by Dog ‘n’ Bone Books (£9.99).
A special thanks to the record stores for the images.