Nanu Maps: Record Shops
In this edition of Nanu: Maps, Ellie and Elyse map the best places to pick up a milk crate of vinyl in Edinburgh.
Tune in to Nanu: Live on www.freshair.org.uk on Wednesday at 7pm to hear us chat a bit more about our favourite record shops and the vinyl revival.
View Nanu Maps: Record Shops in a larger map
21 St Stephen Street
Wed-Fri: 12.00-17.00, Sat: 10.30-17.00, Sun: 12.00-16.00
VoxBox is a wonderful shop. It looks great, both outside and in: tidy rows of vinyl divided into all sorts of categories (“Bowie/T-Rex/Glam” a favourite). Some of the best records are to be found among the “Just In” selection: there are many reasonably priced classics to be snapped up here before they’ve even been categorised. Delve a little deeper into the back room and flick through a huge assortment of LPs and singles for £1.50 (or seven for £10!). This may, understandably, fill you with dread and expectations of old country B-sides. Thankfully, this is not the case and there are gems to be found in every box. A special mention must be given to VoxBox’s owners, George and Darren (who we interview here). Clearly serious music enthusiasts, both are incredibly helpful and friendly – even approving Ellie’s purchase of “The Best Disco Album in the World”. Now that’s what I call service.
5 Elm Row
Mon-Sat: 10.00- 18.00, Sun: 12.00-16.00
Not too far down Elm Row, Vinyl Villains has an enormous selection of music – particularly CDs, but the vinyl rows are nonetheless tightly packed. This has to be one of the best value record shops in Edinburgh. Although there didn’t seem to be any bulk buy deals, their average record price is far below £10, and often below £5. This is especially relevant here in that Vinyl Villains’ selection of classic records, albums which should be considered essential by any collector, is second to none – and these are often pricey. For new releases, Vinyl Villains probably won’t hit the spot. However, new music enthusiasts need to give themselves a little history lesson now and again, and this shop provides a great resource for that very purpose.
Oxfam Music Shop
64 Raeburn Place
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat: 10.00- 17.30, Thur: 10.00- 20.00, Sun: 13.00- 17.00
Giving money to charity by buying great music? Everyone’s a winner. Having a branch of Oxfam dedicated solely to music is unusual, and something that Stockbridge should be proud of. It does feel like any other second-hand record shop, with approachable and knowledgeable volunteers staffing its floors. The actual quality of vinyl in here is possibly slightly lower than other shops in the Edinburgh market, but their grading system is sufficient to ensure there are no surprises when you get your purchase home. Cheap and cheerful, the musical selection itself is fairly pop-based, and there will be plenty of things you’ve never heard of (and nor would you want to). However, it’s worth a rake through, all for a good cause, and at prices mainly ranging from £1.99-
£4.99 some of the unfamiliar material could be worth a gamble.
69 Clerk Street
Mon & Thur-Sat: 11.30-18.00, Tues: 14.00-18.00
Record Shak is a great place to go for a browse, with a wide range of music in across many genres. There’s a small selection of CDs available, but it’s the sheer quantity of vinyl that makes Record Shak stand out. Focusing mainly on more specialist material, this isn’t the place to go for new releases or big pop numbers, but it excels in managing to find rarities that the real collectors go for. For this reason, Record Shak’s prices are a little higher than you might find in some of Edinburgh’s other record shops – but once you find that impossible-to-track-down-limited-edition-one-off press, it’s going to be very much worth it.
347 Leith Walk
It’s all in the name really. Elvis Shakespeare is the place to be if you’re after really great sounds and really great words. Deep drawers line the Leith shop and are chock-a-block full of all kinds of vinyl from punk and indie, to hip hop and dance. It’s a good place to go if you’re looking for inexpensive classics or after something rare and particular. Glance upwards and you’ll find an organised jumble of literature lining the walls. Books mostly range from cheap to very cheap. There’s even a selection of cassettes for the car, comic books, and a box of “reasonably good videos”.
9 Cockburn Street
Mon-Wed: 10.00-18.00, Thurs: 10.00-19.00, Fri-Sat: 10.00-18.00, Sun: 12.00-18.00
Underground Solu’shn began literally as an underground shop in 1995 and has survived since then as the sole independent record shop in Edinburgh specialising in dance and electronica. As a bit of a serious DJ shop, the predominantly vinyl stock is in top quality condition and a load of top quality stuff to play it on is available in store too. Mixed in with its underground specialities is a healthy collection of disco, classic rock, pop and new indie releases. Prices are top end but perhaps that’s because there isn’t a floppy, scratched vinyl in sight.
can watch out interview with the store for Record Store Day 2013 over on youtube.
3-15 Rose Street
Mon-Sat: 9.00-21.00, Sun: 11.00-18.00
Owned by HMV, Fopp straddles the gap between high street music retailer and independent music store. Most shop space is taken up by DVDs, CDs and books but there is a steadily increasing vinyl selection upstairs as interest in newly released 180g vinyl grows. Records are shelved rather than boxed with album art on display making a really inviting section to browse in. As well as new releases, re-released classic albums from little known artists The Beatles and The Smiths are available, as are bargain secondhand records for a mere £2.
Mon-Sat: 11.00-18.00, Sun: 12.00-18.00
Last week Avalanche Records announced that they will be closing their doors on 6th January next year. In a statement on the website’s blog, the store’s owner explained the reasons behind the closure;
“The biggest loss has been in selling local and Scottish bands. While our reputation has grown, our sales have plummeted.”
Avalanche has been seen as a platform for new Scottish music and unsigned talent but has been the subject of criticism. Perhaps a revised and revitalised shop would work for Avalanche in the future. In the meantime, there are hopes that Avalanche will return as an online presence and keep promoting Scottish talent.
Update: the shop remains open, you can check out an interview we did with store owner Kevin Buckle here.