Rummaging for...records

Neal Sugarman and Gabriel Roth of the Dap-Kings steer us to the best places to score quality vinyl.

Neal Sugarman and Gabriel Roth

Photograph: Michael Kirby

Perhaps best known as musicians in the Dap-Kings, the band that backs Sharon Jones (and that toured with Amy Winehouse last year), saxophonist Neal Sugarman and bass player Gabriel Roth have a history of soul. They’re also the founders of Daptone Records, an indie label for soul, funk, gospel and Afrobeat artists that they started out of a Brooklyn basement studio in 2001. Not surprisingly, they each own an extensive record library. “We’re not obsessive about it,” Roth (pictured, right) notes, “but we’re always looking for new music that we like.”

“Don’t trust any record store that doesn’t have a turntable for you to listen to stuff on.”
—Neal Sugarman and Gabriel Roth, founders of Daptone Records

Photograph: Michael Kirby

Big City Records
Sugarman and Roth worship this shrine to soul and funk 45s and LPs. “The guy who runs the place has amazing taste,” Sugarman says. What’s more, Big City boasts an excellent discount trove that the pair frequently root around in. “Don’t neglect the dollar bins!” Roth proclaims. “In Big City, you’re going to be able to dig in the bargain bins and find really great used records, 45s and LPs.”
521 E 12th St between Aves A and B (212-539-0208)

Photograph: Michael Kirby

Academy Annex
“Almost every time I come in here, I buy a record,” Roth says. “There’s a good balance between organization and chaos, they have a big new-arrivals section and a lot of turnover.” For Sugarman, it’s cut-rate prices and multiple copies of unusual classics that attract him to the NYC chainlet’s B-burg location: “I’ve probably bought five copies of the Ohio Players’ First Impressions LP because it was cheap enough that I could turn friends on to [it],” he says.
96 North 6th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-218-8200,

Photograph: Michael Kirby

Permanent Records
Though Sugarman concedes that this Greenpoint stronghold is “a little off the beaten path,” he deems it worth the ride on the G train for its old-school, pretension-free vibe and knowledgeable staff. “When I was growing up, this is how music stores used to be. It was a real social experience. They’re just turning people on to albums, which is different from used-record stores where you have a bunch of diggers who are hoarding the stuff they’re into.”
181 Franklin St between Green and Huron Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-383-4083,

Studio One Lovers by various artists at Sound Fix

Roxana Marroquin

Sound Fix
“You can get all jacked up on coffee and buy records here,” says Sugarman of this small store and café with a slick, red interior. They like this place for its broad collection of new vinyl compilations, like the Studio One Lovers album that Roth picks out. “This is a nice compilation of some sweet reggae,” he says. “It has one of my favorite songs ever: ‘I’m Still Waiting.’ ” For folks who don’t have a record player, Sugarman recommends a label called Numero Group, which transforms bygone, obscure LPs into CDs.
110 Bedford Ave at North 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-8090,