The 10 Best Record Stores In Los Angeles
Are you a vinyl junkie? Do you have dusty fingers from spending hours of searching through stacks? Do you take more joy in finding that one record you've been seeking for years than you do from actually listening to it?
Physical media might be dead, but record stores are alive and well in Los Angeles. Whether you're looking for rare original pressings or the latest Taylor Swift album on vinyl, Southern California has enough shops that you're guaranteed to find the tunes you need. Here are the best record stores in Los Angeles, and, as always, feel free to name your favorites in the comments.
Amoeba Records (Photo by Jonathan Alcorn via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
No trip here will have you going home empty-handed. Music enthusiasts of all stripes—from the hardcore crate-digger to the casual Spotify-listener—will find what they are looking for at Amoeba's Southern California outpost. With by far the largest volume and widest breadth of selection, Amoeba Music is your one-stop-shop. Aside from just music, you can get all the posters, T-shirts, books, memorabilia and collectible toys you need to rep your favorite bands. An underrated thing about Amoeba: they have the best selection of DVDs and Blu-rays in town. So if you're looking for out-of-print Shaw Brothers DVDs, D.W. Griffith silents on Laserdisc, or nunsploitation movies, they've got you covered. Keep an eye on their free concert calendar—acts ranging from local up-and-comers to legends like Paul McCartney have graced the Amoeba stage.
Amoeba Music is located at 6400 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, (323) 245-6400
The best Beatles selection in town is at Rockaway Records. (via Facebook)
A true collectors haven since 1979, this Silver Lake shop is worth dropping by just to gawk at the rarities in their glass cases. From original first-state Butcher covers to a Beach Boys surfboard, Rockaway is a veritable museum of rock 'n' roll history. Beatles junkies in Southern California all need to stop by Rockaway to browse their Fab Four vinyl and memorabilia selection. Even if those items are a little bit out of your price range, they have an excellent selection of used records and CDs, suitable for both collectors or just somebody who wants to replace their beat-up CD copy of Exile On Main St.
Rockaway Records is located at 2395 Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake, (323) 664-3232.
A trip to the record store doesn't necessarily mean going east of La Brea Boulevard and into the hipster enclaves of Echo Park or Silver Lake. Record Surplus has been humbly serving the westside since 1985, without any of the hipster or snobby pretense of most record stores. Having recently moved to their current location near the border of Santa Monica,
they've downsized a bit, but they still have enough stacks to keep you occupied for the day. You might not find as many high-end collectibles or obscure rarities as you would elsewhere, but Record Surplus has a deep enough selection that you'll likely find a gem you've been seeking for a while.
Record Surplus is located at 12436 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles, near Santa Monica, (310) 979-4577.
Though tiny, Mono Records is all killer and no filler. Like any good record store, Mono covers most genres, but their all-vinyl selection leans heavily towards new wave and punk. Props to Mono for also being one of the places in L.A. that has an ample selection of local obscurities, both 80s punk and Spanish-language releases.
Mono Records is located at 1805 Glendale Blvd. in Echo Park, (323) 928-2475
Of course they have a Jacques Derrida quote on the wall at Mount Analog (via Facebook)
The most niche of Los Angeles' record stores, but all the better because of it. If you prefer donning a black leather jacket during the summer heatwave, then you've probably dropped by this Highland Park shop to stock up on your darkwave, goth, industrial, or avant-garde records and cassettes. A finely curated selection of books and arthouse DVDs will also help you explore your gloomier, yet thoughtful, side.
Mount Analog is located at 5906 1/2 North Figueroa St. in Highland Park, (323) 474-6649
Make an afternoon of dropping by The Secret Headquarters for comic books, and then heading next door to Vacation Vinyl afterwards. Though small, they have the best selection of noise and metal records in Los Angeles. If that's not your speed, then there's still plenty of great records to choose from, from jazz to rock, and soul to punk. And the knowledgable staff are always happy to mane a recommendation. Keep an eye out for upcoming shows, and make sure to show up early—they don't have much room.
Vacation Vinyl is located at 3815 W Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, (323) 666-2111.
The Chicago-based shop and record label recently expanded into the Origami Vinyl (R.I.P.) space in Echo Park, further expanding their reach beyond their first location in Highland Park. A reliable source for punk, garage, psych, and fuzz records as well as release parties and in-store performances. While Origami will certainly be missed, we know they'll be carrying the torch in Echo Park.
Permanent Records is located at 5116 York Blvd. in Highland Park, (323) 739-6141, and 1816 W Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, (213) 413-3030.
Atomic Records in Burbank (via Facebook)
The most "classic" of all record stores in the L.A. area, step into Atomic and it feels like they haven't been updated since the 70s. It's a friendly store with a selection that skewers towards the classics, but all for a fair price. Alongside Amoeba, they're one of the few with a hefty selection of 45s. So if you're looking for that rare b-side song, make sure you stop by this Burbank shop.
Atomic Records is located at 3812 W Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, (818) 848-7090.
GIMME GIMME RECORDS
The internet has been a big help for collectors to complete their collections—after all, it's not every day somebody walks into a shop with an original pressing of Double Nickels On The Dime they want to trade in. Despite this, it takes away from the satisfaction of randomly stumbling across your Holy Grail in a used bin and going home with it right away. If you're in the Highland Park area and less interested in local garage/punk and just a straight-up collector of rarities and classics, then Gimme Gimme Records is worth a visit. They know what they're selling, but at least they're reasonably priced, and probably will be able to fill in the gaps of your collection. Somehow, owner Dan Cook is able to keep the stock fresh on a weekly basis.
Gimme Gimme Records is located at 4628 York Blvd. in Highland Park, (323) 550-1878
Tarzana might be the last place you think of for records, but if you're in the area it's worth a visit. They have an enormous selection of reasonably-priced used CDs and DVDs, so if you're in the mood to revisit an old favorite, CD Trader has got you covered. While their vinyl selection wouldn't exactly be one that'll impress the most seasoned of crate-diggers, you'll never know what might turn up.
CD Trader is located at 18926 Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, (818) 705-3544.