Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento is above average for record shopping but they seem to be lacking that one great shop, maybe the new Dimple Broadway shop will be that store.


Dimple Records - Dimple have several locations all over the Sacramento area. If you are looking for new vinyl, all stores have it, if you are like me and seek used vinyl, there is only one location that have worthwhile used vinyl and that is the DIMPLE BOOKS and VINYL store Arden. Dimple are in the process of opening up a vinyl and book store in their downtown Broadway location. When I visited, there was only a sign on the window, I am unsure if they will be moving all of their vinyl from the current book store location or if they will have 2 vinyl locations. If you seek used vinyl do not waste your time going to any of the other Dimple stores, the vinyl selection is terrible. The selection is quite good at the Books and Vinyl store, especially for 45's, they have thousands of 45's for sale most for about a buck. They also have a frequent buyer club card program. 2499 Arden Way Highly Recommended.



Armadillo Music - Cool store, good stock, friendly staff, good prices, collectable vinyl in bins and on the walls. Picked up a few gems here. It's a 20+ minute drive west from Sacramento but worth it. They have one of those frequent buyer cards, spend $100 get $10 off next purchase. Highly Recommended. 207 F St. Davis, CA.






Medium Rare / Kicksville Records - These two shops share space in a downtown artist loft area, some nice places to eat and hang out, some other retail shops all very close together. These two record shops are nice. High end stuff for the most part, no junk, priced accordingly. I found a very nice CCR LP with the shrink and hype sticker still on it. Don't miss this place. Highly Recommended. 1104 R St. Sacramento.




The Audio Nerd - This place is out in the suburbs. The shop is pretty cool, prepare to dig a bit as the owner has a small hoard situation going on. Look behind the counter and the records are piled up pretty high, I don't know how the cashier can maneuver. I found a couple of cool records here.
Recommended. 3700 Midas Ave #C, Rocklin, CA.



Rocket Records - Nice little shop, didn't find a whole lot here, I bought two 45's, maybe you will have better luck. 830 Jefferson Blvd. Sacramento.



Phono Select - New shop, I mean I guess it's a new shop, it had all sorts of online reviews, 5 stars and shit but when I get there, its a brand new shop that hasn't opened yet. Strange. I'm sure it will be open by the time you get there. 2475 Fruitridge Rd. Sacramento.


Esoteric Records - I F'd up and arrived on a day when they were closed. Would have liked to had a look around. Maybe next time. 1139 Fulton Ave, Sacramento.




Governor Moonbeam's office, CHP and bronze bear standing guard






Sunday, April 9, 2017

Phoenix, AZ




Brandon McCarthy throwing heat
We go to spring training every year, so of course when I have a chance I sneak away to all the record shops I can find.

This years winner is The Record Room which used to be in Scottsdale but have moved to Phoenix where they have a much larger space. They have or had a whole bunch of good stuff, it took me 2 trips there to get through it all. Good selection, all genres and great prices. Highly recommended. 2601 W Dunlap Ave Phoenix.





Phoenix Record Swap Meet - I was lucky enough to be in town when this swap meet took place. The record swap was pretty small, but the people were very friendly and the prices were fantastic. I picked up quite a few gems here. Highly Recommended. Location: Fray Garces Columbian Hall 8066 N 49th Ave, Glendale, AZ  Admission  $2.00  --  9:00am - 1:00pm
Early Admission  $5.00  --  8:00am - 9:00am. They do this each month I guess and have a website:  rare-az.org






In The Groove - This shop was a new one for me. The owner Mike is a really nice guy. His vinyl is well cleaned, sealed with Japanese sleeves and displayed nicely. Prices are market. I did find some pretty good bargains down on the floor in the dollar bins. He has some Hi-Fi gear as well as concert posters and other goodies. Highly recommended. 3406 E Thomas, Phoenix.






Score of the trip...I went to another shop in town, one that I always visit and bought a KISS Alive! LP, I took a look inside the jacket and to my disappointment there was no booklet that typically came with that release... but to my delight I did find this....



what is that you may ask...it turns out that it is an original 1976 first edition KISS Army membership kit. It also appears to be complete or nearly complete. I whistled "Rock and Roll All Night" all the way home.

Camelback Ranch


Friday, December 9, 2016

Toronto, ONT



Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With 50 record shops in Toronto, most of them in and around downtown you may want to set aside some time to get to these. I am unsure how 50 some shops can all co-exist but they somehow manage. Vinyl pricing around town is generally CAN $7-8 and up for a clean LP. There are some $5 LP's to be had and I even found some $1 and $2 bargains. The exchange rate vs the US dollar is currently quite favorable at CAN $1.32 for one USD. Considering the current exchange rate I did OK in Toronto and you should too!

Toronto is a beautiful well balanced international city, you will find all sorts of great places to eat and shop. The record shops are pretty much walking distance, sometimes a long walk, you will definitely get some serious steps in if you do chose to walk. There is a pretty good subway, bus and light rail system. Traffic in Toronto is awful and parking is about $20 a day near downtown. With that in mind your best bet may be to either book a hotel walking distance from a bus or other public transportation and get into downtown that way or pay the $20 to park all day in a parking structure and then take a subway into downtown.


Toronto light rail and Kops Records

June Records - June is a nice shop with good prices. New and used vinyl. They had an excellent selection of 45's with good pricing on those as well. Friendly staff. I picked up lots of nice 45's and quite a few LP as well, this was in the late afternoon and my vinyl record backpack was already getting heavy, I stuffed a bunch more vinyl from June in my bag and bounced to the next shop. I will be back to June Records for sure. Recommended. 662 College Street.

 
 

Good Music - This shop is really cool and the lady who owns it was super nice and helpful. Located in the little Portugal district. Good prices here on used vinyl. I picked up some Led Zep, Stones, Queen and lots more. All Canadian pressings of course! The shop looks like they could pack up and bug out in a few hours if they had to, not a lot in the shop other than the vinyl. This shop is definitely on my hit again list next time I am here. Recommended. 1611 Dundas Street West.

 



Rotate This - A decent shop, mostly new vinyl and newer artists. They also serve as a ticket outlet for local concerts. In the back of the shop I found a dollar bin and did amazingly well digging through there.
186 Ossington Ave.

 

BMV Books - I wasn't expecting too much from a book store, but downstairs I found a very nice selection of used vinyl, all genres and a small but cool selection of 45's. Canadian pressings of course. Good pricing on par with the rest of Toronto. I bought a bunch of records here. I had a nice conversation with the clerk about other shops that I should be visiting in Toronto, very helpful. Recommended. 471 Bloor Street West.

 
 

Kops - 3 locations around Toronto, I went to 2 of them. I did pretty good at the Bloor street location and so-so at the Queen st location. Good prices, some mark down bins, the 45's are on the high end starting at 4 bucks. Both of the shops I went to were well stocked with all genres and friendly staff.

592 Bloor Street West
229 Queen Street West
 

Upstairs 45 room at Queen st.
Sonic Boom - Chain store. Very good selection of both used LP's and 45's. Decent prices as well. I found a Tubes Canadian promo for 2 bucks and a bunch of cool 45's. Located in Chinatown area. Recommended. 215 Spandia Ave.



Neurotica - This shop is very close to Kops on Bloor street, when I was here the owner was having a 35% off moving sale. So he is moving to another location in town, not sure where. The condition of his records are not as awesome as some of the other shops in town so check condition. I did manage to find a couple of Robert Fripp 45's from the UK, a Queen 45 (Canada) and some Cheech and Chong LP's (Canada). I would surely go back if I were in town. Recommended. 585 Markham Street.



Cosmos - Nice little shop. Pretty good prices. Friendly owner. I bought a few LP's, some 45's and bounced out. Cosmos have 2 locations the 607 Queen W has all genres, the 652 shop specializes in Jazz.  607A Queen West / 652 Queen West.


On my walk from Cosmos to the next shop on my list I found a cool fish n chips joint called Chippy's. I looked at my watch, it was noon, time for lunch!
Chippy's Fish and Chips. 893 Queen Street W
 

Grasshopper Records - I stopped by at 1pm, Grasshopper was closed. I was told by another shop that they keep odd hours, try 1am and maybe they will be open. I understand they sell Hip Hop mostly. 1167 Dundas Street West.
 

Henry's Records - I didn't really have lots of time to shop at Henry's so I made a 15 minute pop in to check things out. Henry's is off the beaten path, not in downtown (not even Toronto technically) and located in the rear area of an industrial park complex. Henry is a super nice guy. I was looking at 45's, he asked what I was looking for I told him at that moment Canadian 45 company sleeves. He said pick some out and we'll talk. I picked some out, handed them to him and he GAVE them to me! He said 'those are a Canadian gift from me to you'!  Wow. Thank you Henry, I will be back when I have more time. 'Henry, do you mind if I take a picture of your shop for my blog'? No, go right ahead'! Henry is cool.
130 Shorting Road, Scarborough


 

Here is a link where you can find a comprehensive list and address of all the record shops in Toronto:

http://www.torontorecordstores.com/

Happy hunting!!