Despite the looming threat of the digital age and the ever-growing fear that one day we will all be bettered by robots, for now it seems that London’s vinyl culture and record stores are in a safe place – with a number of new shops opening across the capital in recent years and a rise in revenue that’s continued to flourish since 2007.
The ‘revival’ means there’s a healthy number of cosy spots nesting far beyond the once cherished grounds of Soho, with London housing fifty or so record stores that can keep the most dedicated of diggers busy on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
It’s with this in mind that we round up five of our favourite spots to satisfy your vinyl needs, with a strong lean towards the outlets that stock wax to cater for the bassheads and clubland explorers.
1. Phonica Records
Located on Poland Street in trendy Soho, Phonica is regarded by most as the first stop for house, techno, disco, bass and all other imaginable strains of dance music. Known for their well stocked racks of the latest releases as well as their frequent in store sessions with some of the biggest names in the scene, Phonica should be on the map of any budding record collector.
51 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7LZ
2. Low Company
Off the beaten track from the main record stores, Low Company is the bricks and mortar outlet of Blackest Ever Black, the Neo-gothic label responsible for some of the best post-punk, industrial and outlier electronics around. The shop’s stock is reflective of this and is the perfect digging spot for those looking for something slightly left of the tracks played out in most clubs.
17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney Downs, London E8 2BT
3. Kristina Records
Originally located in Dalston, before moving to social enterprise-cum-venue The Cause in Tottenham, Kristina has now set up shop on Hackney’s Well Street. Always a trusted outpost for disco, house, garage, afro beat and random bits from across the spectrum, with a considerable second hand section.
194 Well St, London E9 6QT
4. Honest Jon’s Records
While many lists are dominated by East London based shops, one of the shops richest in heritage is Honest Jon’s, based out of Portobello Road in West. The small spot is well stocked with jazz, blues, reggae, dance, soul, folk and outernational and the label arm, co-owned by Damon Albarn has released records by Actress, Shackleton, DJ Sotofett and more.
278 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TE
5. DnR Vinyl
In deepest darkest Croydon, DnR Vinyl stands as the premier location for those of a UK leaning persuasion, with UK garage, dubstep, grime, DnB and hardcore lining the racks of a legendary shop for those in the know frequented by One-man, El-B and many more.
352 Lower Addiscombe Rd, Croydon CR0 7AF
Words: Declan Law