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Cityscape - Best Record Stores in Los Angeles
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Best Record Stores In Los Angeles, California

Digs // Music

We’re heading to La La Land with the best record stores in Los Angeles, California. We asked some of our favorite Angelenos like Robert Francis, LA Times Music Writer Gerrick Kennedy, and LA Weekly Music Editor Andy Hermann to chime in on the best record stores in the City of Angels.

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Freakbeat Records

VinylHub // discogs // website

“The vinyl selection at Freakbeat is sure to make you feel spoiled, even if you are a dedicated crate digger. Not too big and not too small, psych, prog, and new age bump up against dance 12-inches, jazz, and ‘The Punk Special of the Day’. As the valley’s venerable mainstay, Freakbeat is the best place to come back to over and over again.”

Shirley Halperin, Executive Editor Music, Variety

13616 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Angel City Books & Records

VinylHub // website

“Santa Monica has few remaining institutions that are still intact. You’ve got The Golden Bull, Chez Jay’s Restaurant, Rae’s Restaurant, and McCabe’s Guitar Shop, all of them established in the ‘50s. In 1998, Rocco Ingala opened Angel City Books & Records, a refuge from the pilates/brunch culture that has deluged the Westside of Los Angeles. Located in a tiny storefront off Main Street, visitors will enjoy squeezing their way through this cramped, eclectic enclave. Expect a small but well-curated collection of vinyl (particularly jazz and blues), first edition poetry books, classic novels, and even cassettes to play in your 1989 Toyota Pickup Truck. As a kid who grew up with 20,000 records in the house (my dad was a collector), you can take my word for it; this place is special.”

Robert Francis

218 Pier Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Rockaway Records

VinylHub // discogs // website

“I’ll be honest, record stores have never been a favorite place of mine. Weird, I know, considering I’ve been a music critic for most of my career, and now you’re reading this in a piece devoted to crate digging. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved the quest — discovering new music via mixtapes, college radio, clubs, online, etc. The city’s billion hole-in-the-wall venues like The Palomino and The Smell informed a lot of what I grew to love and hate as a music fan and critic.

But aside from the thrill of the find at a garage sale or thrift store, I avoided shopping for CDs or vinyl at the smaller record stores, even though they often had the weird stuff I was interested in. There was a sort of bro culture there, an indie rock snobbery, a hip hop aficionado thing. The wildly creative DJ (always a guy, always seemingly accompanied by a long-suffering girlfriend) had rare beats to excavate and you were in his way, no doubt buying something he’d never be caught dead with. Please read Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity if you’ve never experienced such a thing.

Granted, I don’t shop physically for music as much as I used to (yes, I stream, shoot me), but when I do, I still like to go to Rockaway Records. LA shops there, meaning everyone – people who buy bad Foo Fighters’ Best Of CDs, classic Charles Aznavour LPs, Kamasi Washington on vinyl, and all other sorts of sub, sub stuff that I’m way too out of the loop to even know exists until I trip upon it or ask my super knowledgeable co-workers, Randall Roberts and August Brown.”

Lorraine Ali, Television Critic, Los Angeles Times

2395 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Poobah Record Shop

VinylHub // website

“When I started getting back into record collecting a few years ago, I was immediately drawn to Poobah by its history and its relative seclusion from LA’s hipster triangle (Echo Park/Silver Lake/Highland Park) where prices tend to be steeper and the used bins get picked over much more quickly. Poo-Bah dates back to 1971, when it hosted performances by the Los Angeles Free Music Society and other experimental musicians. They still have photos of LAFMS on the walls smoking joints and jamming in the store’s original location. The new owners honor that history with a great experimental music section, especially releases from L.A. beat scene labels and artists like Brainfeeder, Leaving, Sun Araw, Ras G, and Samiyam. They also have great used rock and jazz sections, well-priced major new releases and, randomly, the greatest easy listening selection in town. I’ve scored everything here from the limited-edition Bowie Blackstar vinyl to a first pressing of Louis Prima‘s Blast Off!

Andy Hermann, Music Editor, LA Weekly

2636 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91107

Amoeba Music

VinylHub // discogs // website

Amoeba Music in Hollywood is definitely the best record store in LA, possibly the best anywhere. It’s huge. They have everything. Vinyl, CDs, cassettes, movies, posters, and a 7-inch area with boxes of different genres. I highly recommend the emo box. It has everything from Jawbreaker to Elliott Smith. I once ditched high school and spent five hours in there. For some reason, there are always a ton of cute dogs there. Go to Amoeba and buy a bunch of records.” Phoebe Bridgers

“As an R&B and hip-hop head, Amoeba Music is the holy mecca, especially when searching for vinyl. Where else can you snag a copy of Beyonce‘s “Lemonade,” old Eazy-E Macola pressings and a mint condition copy of Diana Ross’s “The Boss” in a single visit? Sure, it’s always stuffed with customers and there’s cooler mom and pop shops around town, but when I’m in the mood to crate dig for hours, this is my go-to.”

Gerrick Kennedy, Music Writer, Los Angeles Times

6200 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Last Bookstore

VinylHub // website

“This 22,000 square foot store in downtown Los Angeles is a living shrine to the tactile. The three story emporium houses hundreds of thousands of new, used, and rare books and tens of thousands of new and gently used records of all genres. Enjoy that delicious library smell while spending a few hours browsing the bookshelves and a reasonably priced record collection. (There’s also a vinyl buyer in the store Wednesdays through Sundays for those with music to sell. Call ahead for hours.) An antidote to the often anticlimactic sterility of digital music and corporate vinyl sellers, The Last Bookstore is independently owned, whimsically designed, and smartly stocked. Parking can be tricky, but if you don’t score a metered street spot, there are several paid lots in the surrounding blocks. It’s worth the effort.”

Katie Bain, Music Writer, LA Weekly

453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Record Parlour

VinylHub // social

“There are some perks when it comes to working in radio. We get sent tons of promotional items and lots of vinyl in the mail, but there is a record store that I support called The Record Parlour. I stop by The Record Parlour regularly before seeing artists play at The Hotel Cafe, which is located just around the corner. One little known thing about this record store is that in the back of the retail area, there is a nice sized event space called The Americana Lounge, lined with vintage pinball machines and jukeboxes.”

Marc “Mookie” Kaczor, Music Director, The New 88.5 FM

6408 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Mount Analog

discogs // website

“Sometimes the avid vinyl hunter goes off the deep end. When this happens, they wake up at the front door of Mount Analog with an armful of wax that would make even the most dedicated music listeners shake their heads in bewilderment. Mount Analog is no Amoeba music, nor is it your run-of-the-mill mom and pop record store. Mount Analog represents the latest and most intensive wave of record stores: the specialty vinyl shop. If someone wants a record that they can’t seem to find in the “Unusually Experimental” section in the back of Amoeba, then this has to be their next stop. Only the most dedicated listeners of experimental music will have a hope of navigating the small store, but those who find their way to the front door have found their new favorite place on Earth. A tiny cave of noise, psych rock, and ambient just waiting to be explored.”

– Drew Pitt, MXDWN

Mount Analog is such a counter-intuitive techno/goth/experimental store. The more obscure, challenging, and niche they go in their selections, the more popular they seem to get. Even I’m a little intimidated to go in there sometimes, but this shop is LA’s best example of trusting your taste and knowing your audience will follow.”

August Brown, Music Writer, Los Angeles Times

2217 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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