The best UK record shops – chosen by experts

As the vinyl revival continues apace, we asked music lovers and experts to nominate their favourite record shops across the country….

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Piccadilly Records in Manchester. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Piccadilly Records, Manchester

Since its foundation in 1978, Piccadilly Records has shifted premises at least twice. It’s now in the city’s so-called Northern Quarter, in among hipster-ish shops and cafes that sometimes tip into self-parody, but it’s the same as it ever was: an embodiment of expertise and musical passion in which it’s a deep pleasure to spend distracted hours, among a community of musicians, vinyl addicts, and people for whom life is measured out in release dates. They now bring out an annual Best of the Year booklet that usually sees me right for at least six months. More to the point, every time I go in and give it the old “what should I buy?”, the staff’s suggestions usually stay glued to the turntable for ages.
53 Oldham Street, piccadillyrecords.com
Recommended by John Harris

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This seaside shop got its name from a Stereolab song of the same title, which owners Susan and Tim love. It’s a record store with the beating heart of local culture, giving much back to the town with its handpicked favourites, old and new. You can also buy local gig tickets, have coffee and browse the music books on sale. It often feels like a warm hub of music conversation (like High Fidelity but not male-dominated or muso-snobby). You can pick up Viv Albertine’s memoirs, while listening to Last Splash by The Breeders. I blimming love it. There is a magic in the ceremony of putting a record on that I pine for in this modern world. The detail and love that goes into artwork that I not only want to listen to but frame on my wall … time passes by in a world of analogue recordings and it feels wonderful. Viva la record.
Wow and Flutter on facebook.com
Recommended by Brigitte Aphrodite, whose show, My Beautiful Black Dog, goes tours the UK from 14 November

The Record Deck, Hackney, London

I want to tell you a secret. Lurking at the end of some Hackney streets, the London borough I have gallivanted and lived in for the past decade, is a place of solitude. It becomes hazy in the summertime and wraps you up in green as far the eye can see. It’s called the Hackney Marshes, a strange and unexpectedly big patch of grass, reservoir and haven for happy bell-ringing cyclists. Adjoining it is an ever-stretching canal, plunging you further north, filled with houseboats that make you want to throw out all your things and join “floatsville”. At one particular moseying point, you can hear a plonkity, plonk soundtrack to your dreamy walk. You stop and realise that it comes from the floating record shop, a simple set-up consisting of some boxes of carefully selected vinyl and a smiley boat-owning guy to help you choose. It has everything from 50p bargains to deliciously gold-adorned Motown specials. It’s the ultimate pleasure to flick through, outside, in one of London’s loved no-man’s lands. Whenever I buy a vinyl from there, I always feel like I’m bringing home a memento of the perfect Sunday afternoon.
Check site for mooring locations, therecorddeckuk.wordpress.com
Recommended by Gemma Cairney, who presents The Surgery on Radio 1

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Ever since I left Leeds in 2008, I’ve missed this place and found it impossible to replace. It was in Jumbo that I first started buying records. My teens were spent in Virgin Megastores and Our Prices, buying the CDs that I would read about in the NME or Melody Maker, but when I moved to Leeds in 2001 I found Jumbo. Coming from Milton Keynes, where there weren’t a great deal of old things, to walk in somewhere that smelt of coffee and vinyl was odd; I was used to shiny new things, with bright lights and cold surfaces. It felt like a different world and I quickly realised it was somewhere I could hear the things I had read about but which weren’t stocked in the CD superstores I was used to. This was a period when you couldn’t just go online and hear anything you liked, so to see exotic record sleeves for Kraftwerk, Can, Cluster, Fugazi, Brian Eno and countless other bands on the shelves was intoxicating.

Jumbo’s staff really made you feel welcome. Matt or Adam or Hunter or Michelle would happily suggest and dig out LPs to play you in their listening booth, and they would chat to you about them. Amazingly, they’re almost all still there, doing the same thing; getting people excited about records and making folk feel at home.

In Leeds I started making sleeves for bands, and to see things I’ve made in the shop is still exciting.
5-6 St John’s Centre, jumborecords.co.uk
Recommended by Nick Scott

To read the rest of this article please visit the Guardian here

If your local record emporium (if you have one!) isn’t as fabulous as those above, don’t forget you can always visit eil.com for a huge range of rare vinyl, reissues, imports, boxsets, memorabilia and more, to see them all click here

1 Comment

  1. Very professional photos on the site
    But where is “Bens Collectors Records” Guildford Surrey
    Ben’s shop is vinyl heaven at great low prices
    Next April Record Store Day he has the great Tenor Sax player Simon Spillett playing a live jazz gig in the shop

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