Today is a Record Store Day, an international celebration of all that is good about wandering in to your local record store, rummaging through the racks, and coming away with something that you didn't even know you wanted. Lots of info, and a free Dandy Warhols download here, but I thought I'd give you a fairly unscientific top 5 record shops that I like.
Title, Crows Nest, http://www.titlespace.com
This great little indie popped up in my neighbouring suburb last year. It's all very fancy, and fairly highbrow, and I've got no idea how it stays in business, but it's full of interesting stuff, so I hope it sticks around for a while.
Piccadilly Records, Manchester http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/
Vinyl Exchange, Manchester http://www.vinylexchange.co.uk/
Two selections from Manchester's Northern Quarter, and two places where I spent quite a lot of my time while at university. Piccadilly records was great for new stuff, with friendly, knowledgeable staff and a good selection, while Vinyl Exchange was brilliant for rummaging through second hand stuff, and discovering a few bargains or interesting rarities.
Basement Discs, Melbourne http://www.basementdiscs.com.au/index.html
I discovered this place on a trip to Melbourne last year, and while I've only been once, it's perhaps the closest I've found to that idea of the 'classic' record shop. it's down in a dingy basement, with the walls covered in old band posters, and carries a stock that bears very little relation to what people might actually want to buy; merely, what the record shop wants to sell. and there's a great bit at the back with comfy chairs and a coffee table piled high with old music magazines, where you can sit and relax while you sample a potential purchase.
HMV Oxford Street, London http://www.hmv.com
Not an indie, obviously, but these days, the big high street chains need almost as much support as the little indies. While it lacks in ambiance, sometimes it's good to go into a record store knowing that there's a very good chance they're going to have the CD you want, no matter how old or obscure. And with HMV Oxford Street being one of the biggest in the world, you've got a better chance than at most places. Plus, I've seen some great live music in-store here, by bands like Hot Chip, the Pipettes and The Gossip.