Like most clichéd London men, I love record shopping. Pawing at all that dusty cardboard. Not finding anything I want and then impulse purchasing a random Sonny Rollins album based entirely on its cover. There's nothing like it.
Luckily, there are enough tragic people like me that London’s vinyl scene is in fact growing. Quite a few record shops have opened in recent months, which, when you think about the virus-addled context, is remarkable really. What follows is my four favourites.
First up is Next Door Records on Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush. This is a kind of booze-coffee-and-music hybrid (which started life as a crowdfunder campaign) that'll probably horrify decrepit purists but thrill everyone else. They’re mates with entertaining food person What Willy, stock very good wine and have a bit of a focus on electronic music. Personally, as a QPR fan, I’m just glad something like this has finally opened in that bit of west London. Oh, and they have outdoor tables.
On the other side of the city you’ll find Rise Above Records and Relics. Started by British metal icon (and former Cathedral frontman) Lee Dorian, Rise Above has long been a record label synonymous with doomy, psychedelic music. You’ll now find its brand-new physical manifestation, Rise Above Records and Relics, on Archway Road in Highgate. As you’d expect it specialises in musty, fuzzy music that will have you saying things like ‘Far out, man’ and ‘Geezer Butler wasn’t happy on Sabbath’s sixth album, and, if you listen carefully enough, you can tell.’
Dreamhouse Records on Francis Road in Leyton is the newest of the bunch (in that it hasn’t actually opened yet). Started by local resident Jon Clifford, the aim is for it to double as a communal space for musicians in the area. The music itself will cover all sorts of genres and be a mix of new represses and secondhand. Aside from the music, Dreamhouse will sell locally roasted coffee from Good Folk and some nice buns from Sunday Bun Day. Dreamhouse opens May 28.
And finally, Atlantis Records, aka Rough Trade owner Geoff Travis’s musical clearing house. Located on the site of what was the Pacific Social Club café on Clarence Road in Hackney, this place exists to sell Travis’s sizeable record collection (including acetates and cassettes). You can expect ‘all styles and genres’, which is quite the promise when you think about it.