Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vinyl Paradise (With Occasional Live Music).

While the CD is slowly going the way of the buffalo, the market for vinyl has been declining for some time now. Considering that London is one of the largest hotbeds for musical activity, it's probably the perfect place for a vinyl nerd to pick up some new wax.

At the forefront of the city's record stores is Rough Trade, a pair of record shops that operate at opposite ends central London. The two stores offer a great, if not somewhat varied experience.

Rough Trade Notting Hill is the original store, which opened in 1976 at the height of the British punk scene. It's exactly what a record store should be: small, cluttered and crammed full of music.

Rough Trade East, right off Brick Lane, was built in 2007 and has a more modern look to it. The store is much bigger - 5,000 square-feet - than one would expect from a place hidden down a pedestrian-only alley. Rough Trade East is lined with thousands upon thousands of records and CD's, with records dominating the sales-space.

Best of all, there is an intimate performance space in the back of the shop where you can see up and coming artists (such as The Silent League, in the top image).

Both stores offer brief descriptions on the jackets of all the records which makes browsing for something new an absolute pleasure.

Who knows, you might find something entirely ridiculous, like a Graham Coxon exclusive 10”.

- Text and bottom image by Chris Banks. Top image by George Miller.

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