London’s best record stores
As one of the best known punk and hardcore record stores in London, All Ages attracts a very specific kind of customer. But they’ve got a fairly wide range of things dark and heavy, from the ’70s to the present day, so unless you hate guitars you’ll probably find something you’re into.
This little record shop punches well above its weight. As well as selling new releases on CDs and vinyl, Banquet (an offshoot from the old Beggars Banquet franchise) is at the centre of the Kingston music scene: their packed acoustic in-store shows and regular gig nights bring big artists to this corner of the London suburbs.
The awning reads: ‘Music. Coffee. Bagels.’ That lays out the essentials succinctly. Brill began life as a music shop, and music is still ‘an integral part of what we do’. There’s always something good playing, and CDs and a few vinyl oddments, with the emphasis on jazz, blues, folk and rock, are for sale inside the small interior.
After 20 years of trading through a stall at Greenwich Market, Casbah Records upgraded its breezy surroundings to the more permanent confines of quirky retro shop The Beehive on Greenwich Church Street. Here the emphasis is placed on edgy girl groups, garage, psych and '60s soul, but the store also stocks a variety of classic rock, indie and electronica, along with books, DVDs, prints and vintage comics.
Container is an event space and record store in Pop Brixton, specialising in new and used electronic music. Situated in a former shipping container, this independent shop is the brainchild of London promoters keen to provide punters with a friendly, knowledgable and accessible space to explore independent music.
Flashback’s mostly second-hand stock is treated with utmost respect. There are usually a few boxes of bargain basement 12-inches going for pennies outside the front door, but inside stock is scrupulously organised.
Taken over by the Flashback Records team in 2006, this little record shop is a local favourite with a good selection of new and used vinyl and a friendly atmosphere.
At the top of Brick Lane, the newest branch of Flashback (after Flashback Islington and Flashback Crouch End) stocks two floors of new and second-hand vinyl, CDs and DVDs – some of it rare, most of it at a pretty decent price. There are listening points to give potential purchases a spin.
This legendary record shop’s owner had the good foresight to lend former hired hand James Lavelle £1,000 to set up Mo’ Wax records in the early 1990s. Prints of old blaxploitation posters crowd the technicolour walls, a sign that jazz, soul, revival reggae and global sounds remain the house specialities.
Bucking the trend for niche shops to get the hell out of central London, Intoxica! have recently upped sticks from Portobello Road to the West End. They’re stacked with everything from reggae, funk and ’60s beat to exotica and easy listening; there’s also a good range of alternative and new wave from the 1970s to today, a great soundtrack selection and plenty of soul, blues and jazz. And the new premises has plenty of space for instore gigs, too.
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