The instant gratification of a music download doesn't even come close to the buzz you get from hitting your local record store, sifting through black-wax gems and chatting with fellow music devotees. Where else are you going to find out about an obscure bootleg or pick up your favourite album now that it's been remastered on vinyl? Not online buddy, that's for sure. And even if you can, it's not the same.
This small, unassuming Fitzroy gem opened in 2008 as one of the few second-hand bookstores at the city end of Smith Street. Since then, it’s evolved to include a healthy range of used records. Racks stretch from the door to the rear counter; and are helpfully divided into genres such as punk, soul and disco.
There’s a selection of CDs, but vinyl is the main focus. Shoppers can pick up anything from a reissued Nirvana LP to the back catalogue of Alice Cooper, Anthrax or Iron Maiden; but dig hard enough and you’ll find some indie rock and classic titles by artists like Arcade Fire, Weezer and Arctic Monkeys.
It’s easy to miss Round & Round Records if you're walking on Sydney Road; surrounded by bridal stores, the only telltale sign you’ve reached your destination is the sandwich board featuring a friendly owl outside. The store is small but packed with custom-built wooden racks of new and second-hand vinyl.
Run by the ultimate sovereign of soul, 3RRR’s Chris Gill, Northside has long been a favourite within local music circles, called on by DJs and jive-bunnies alike. Whether you’re after a straight soul groove or some jazzed-up reggae blues, these guys have their finger on the vinyl pulse of all things funk through hip-hop.
One of the more consistent and reliable vinyl sources in town. Over 10,000 records are crammed into the store’s tight confines, which makes for a very heady mix of genres. We’re talking rock, pop, psych, prog rock, metal, funk, soul, Krautrock… the beat goes on.
In the wee small hours before ticket sales open for major festivals, snaking queues of eager music beavers regularly hug the corner of this Fitzroy store. Opened in 1981 under the moniker Dizzy Spinners, these days Polyester Records is dedicated to supporting independent music from both local acts and from big name internationals.
Specialising in more traditional forms of rock, it’s the place to start if you’re hunting that ultra-limited release of Kinks b-sides. Owner Warwick Brown also stocks an enviable array of books, tour posters and hard-to-come-by paraphernalia.
A specialist jazz store stocking only the very best in jazz classics. As you’d expect, the staff are true aficionados of the jazz form, and are therefore incredibly well placed to not only help you find your current favourite, but to arm you with an earful of brand new jazzy gems to take home.
You can get your hands on some old school winners at Dixons. The Blackburn warehouse is a hangout for hard rock and metal puritans, while Fitzroy plays host to a plethora of punk and experimental sounds.
Advocates of seriously fine music in its many decorated splendour, Basement have a marked inclination towards anything blues or folk inspired, and are happy to talk old school soul any old tick of the tock. What's more, the crew at Basement are refreshingly receptive to customer orders.