Top 10 local music stores
Philadelphia is often considered one of the premiere cities for cultural contributions and up-and-coming art centers. Here, Philly File highlights the top 10 local places to shop for music.
10. Best Buy—OK, not a great way to start a list about local record shops. That being said, as far as monolithic electronic stores go, Best Buy has got a pretty diverse selection.
9. First Unitarian Church—Not so much a record shop as much a concert venue, the back room of the Church basement boasts an interesting, if not particularly expansive collection of used CDs and vinyl. It’s a good place to look for rare EPs and imports, not to mention a good way to kill time during a crap opening act.
8. Relapse Records—The official store of Philadelphia’s Relapse Records label, this is the place to get metal, hardcore or progressive music. Located at 4th and South streets, the store can look pretty intimidating, but has a very friendly staff who are looking to rock you.
7. Philly Record Exchange—Besides CDs, The PREX also deals in vinyl and cassette tapes. Most of the stuff is second hand; it’s a good place to pick up some well-loved music. The vinyl-dedicated basement is extensive and full of music from all different genres. Come here if you are looking for a dated release, probably from the past few decades.
6. Cue Records—Located across the street from Relapse, Cue is a great place for hip-hop and electronica. It’s a niche store, so the average Joe might want to stay away, but those looking to rock the decks (that means turn tables) will be well-served at Cue. Trip-hop, rap, house, drum and bass and trance all lay hand in hand, ready to rock your next rave party.
5. Mainstreet Music Manayunk—MMM is a classy record shop in a classy town. Located, oddly enough, on Main Street in Manayunk, this shop serves as the resident music joint. Music found there is varied, from hip and fresh to established and widely known. The staff is helpful to assist with any music-related questions. The atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed, making it a pretty good place to get whatever you need.
4. Long in The Tooth—Long in the Tooth is a homey record shop hidden underneath the scaffolding at 21st and Sansom streets, making it nearly invisible. It’s a very quiet, laid-back location during the day, which matches the aloof atmosphere of the place. Unlike the jerks at other small record shops, it’s easy to buy, trade or sell CDs here without fear of snide comments and rolled eyes.
3. A.K.A Music—With a nice location at Second and Market streets, A.K.A is a sure hit for Philly natives and tourists alike. It boasts a vast selection of music, from Brit pop to hip-hop, but you need not be a swingin’ hipster to find what you’re looking for. Hidden in the back is a nifty vinyl selection with up-to-date releases and a few classics.
2. Marvelous Records—Like the name suggests, this is a marvelous place to get your musical fix. Two problems: it’s located on a particularly pretentious section of Penn’s campus, and the staff is just as snooty as the area. Still, those who can shrug off some rolled eyes will find a wealth of new releases, used gear and local fair. Also cool is the extensive collection of comic books, local ’zines and lo-fi literature available for the adventurous literate.
1. Repo—The real charm of this place lies in the staff. Most record stores are full of the kind of miserable trolls who are too busy being sarcastic to help you find a CD, but that isn’t the case at Repo. No matter what you’re looking for, the people there will find it, order it for you, or make suggestions as to where to get it. Plus, the stuff in the store itself isn’t half bad, and the basement boasts one of the city’s finest collections of vinyl. Regardless of your orientation, be it casual listener, pop radio enthusiast or hard-core audiophile, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to buy an album in the Illadelph.
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