With vinyl sales reaching over 3 million in 2016, a 25-year high, it’s fair to say that reports of the demise of record shop have been greatly exaggerated. The likes of Our Price, admittedly, are nowhere to be seen – and even HMV is now as much about DVDs, video games and T-shirts as peddling this week’s new releases. But way off the high street and into indieland – aka the Northern Quarter – you can find record shops surviving and even thriving, spurred on by the likes of Record Store Day and the continuing popularity of live music.
Here are our picks
Piccadilly Records, 53 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JR - Visit now
Entering its 40th year in 2018, Piccadilly Records is Manchester’s record shop Mecca – as evidenced by the queues around the block every Record Store Day. With vinyl taking pride of place at the front and CDs plentiful towards the rear, the shop’s staff are only too happy to offer their expertise and opinions on everything from trap and R’n’B to synth pop and cold wave – all handily summarised in Piccadilly Records’ legendary End of Year Reviews. It also hosts regular intimate in-store performances.
Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Streeet, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
Compared to Piccadilly Records, its 30 years in the game makes Vinyl Exchange the relative new kid on the block. But for locals, the purely second-hand stockist has been a godsend since 1988 – offering CDs and vinyls at a fraction of the price of other outlets. You’ll lose hours mining through thousands of rare and unexpected vinyl treats in the basement, while upstairs CDs (and some DVDs) are the name of the game – plus look out for the selection of box sets above and behind the counter. Vinyl Exchange will also buy or trade your old records.
Eastern Bloc Records, 5A Stevenson Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1DN - Visit now
Well into its third decade, Eastern Bloc originally opened in Afflecks Palace in 1985. It relocated to a larger dedicated space on Oldham Street in 1992, before finding its current compact home on Stevenson Square in 2011. A specialist in dance music, this is the go-to place in the city for house, techno and drum and bass, while funk, reggae and world music are also well served. During the day, the shop also serves up quality coffee and cake, while it hosts DJ parties one or two nights a month.
Vinyl Resting Place, 3rd Floor Afflecks Palace, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW
Who, in their right mind, would open a record shop as recently as 2014 and call it Vinyl Resting Place? That’s exactly what one man, Alistair, did – taking over a space on Afflecks Palace’s third floor and filling it with a huge collection of mostly vinyl records gathered over 15 years. This particularly tightly packed little shop is a dream for crate-diggers with eclectic taste, as it offers something for everyone.
Kingbee Records, 519 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0UF - Visit now
Chorlton’s Kingbee Records has been a firm fixture on the maps of Mancunian record collectors since 1987. Offering ‘all styles of music’ on vinyl and CD, the suburban shop – which occasionally hosts special events featuring the likes of Johnny Marr – rewards time and effort spent wading through its bountiful racks.