It’s National Record Store Day and time to get out and get your groove on. Good news is, we have some of the best vinyl purveyors in town.
National Record Store Day is an annual event where participating stores offer great deals and special collector editions of your favorite artists.
The death of vinyl records has been prematurely announced many times before. First it was cassette tapes that were to takeover the shelves of music lovers. Then along came CDs and the promise of flawless recordings. Apple promised “thousand songs in your pocket” and MP3s were surely the silver bullet for vinyl holdouts. And of course, we now live in the age of music streaming and a world of on demand sound anywhere anytime.
To be sure, there was a time when it really did look like vinyl records would become another nostalgic relic, like typewriters and rotary dial telephones. During those dark days, it was DJ and dance culture that kept the record disk alive. But as digital music became the standard, many began to feel that something was missing.
“Tuesday night I reorganized my record collection. I often do this at periods of emotional stress. There are some people who would find this a pretty dull way to spend an evening, but I’m not one of them. This is my life, and it’s nice to be able to wade in it, immerse your arms in it, touch it.”
― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
That something turned out to be simple human warmth.
Convenience aside, the main selling point for digital music has been the possibility of clean recordings without the hiss and pops and ambient noise of vinyl. And that’s the point. The beauty of records lies in the flaws. It’s exactly the imperfections that give vinyl recordings their warmth.
There’s something else that often gets lost in the back and forth arguments from audio geeks.
As the character in the Nick Hornby novel describes, records are a physical experience. Pulling the disk from the sleeve. Reading the liner notes. Admiring the cover art. It’s tactile and immersive. There is a ritual to listening to records. Instead of jumping from track to track, one puts down the needle and listens for 20 minutes at a stretch. Instead of ear buds, people often listen to records together, restoring music to its powerful social function.
If you’re already a vinyl collector, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, then any music lover owes to herself to try it out.
And the best way to get started is to head down to one of our local shops.
As far as music in Los Angeles is concerned, Amoeba records on Sunset is the mother ship. This is a true music department store that stocks CDs and albums, both new and used. For the audiophile, this store offers “the best crate-digging experience anywhere.” After visiting Amoeba, it’s hard to dispute that claim. In addition, the store also features numerous events and live performances.
6400 Sunset Boulevard
High Fidelity Vinyl Records and Hi-Fi Equipment
High Fidelity is everything the neighborhood record store used to be and more. It’s located right in the middle of Los Feliz’ restaurant row, making it a great place to stop before or after dinner. The staff is friendly and knowledgable. And, if you didn’t hang onto that turntable from high school, no sweat. High Fidelity can hook you up with a sweet vintage setup to boot.
High Fidelity Vinyl Records
1956 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Feliz, 90027
Counterpoint Records and Books
As it name implies, this Franklin Strip indie serves up both used books and records. If specialty and novelty albums are your thing, then you have to make stop here. Counterpoint has a delightful selection of pop and classical titles.
Counterpoint Records and Books
5911 Franklin Avenue
This venerable Los Angeles landmark is famous among readers for it’s artfully curated selection of books. With stacks ranging from floor to ceiling, Book Soup is a reader’s dream and a destination for many an out-of-town traveler. But did you know they also stock records? They do. A small but serviceable collection to thumb through next time you’re looking for your next read.
8818 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, 90069