The London Record Store

  • A rack in a record store

Since before your parents were cool, London was already one of the creative hubs of the world. Art, fashion, architecture and everything else all have their place in the city.

But London is probably best represented by its music. Punk was born in North London. Grime was born in East London. Garage was born in South London. West London probably has something as well.

The way we ingest music has also changed, but one thing that has stood the test of time is vinyl. The black disk is currently enjoying an unprecedented and unpredicted resurgence, with sales at their highest levels since the mid 1980’s.

At present some of the best new releases from all genres are going straight to wax and you can find them all in London.

London’s historical record shopping district is Soho and here you can still find some of the most well-known stores, such as Phonica, Rough Trade and Sister Ray. You can find anything you’re looking for in these stores, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and you can spend hours flicking through the racks digging for hidden gems.

But just like music, the record shopping scene in London is changing. In recent years South London has begun to change in a big way and now it is home to some of the best record shops in the city. Shops such as Rye Wax and YAM records in Peckham have brought a taste of the old Soho to this non-descript part of South and both offer something unique; Rye Wax has some of the best in-house nights in the country that attract artists from all over the world and YAM is attached to the up and coming Balamii radio studio. Meanwhile over in Brixton a new shop called Lion Vibes has just opened that offers the best dub and reggae in the country and is staffed by members of Horus Records and other well-known figures in the UK reggae scene. Lion Vibes stands shoulder to shoulder with a number of other stores in the POP Brixton complex and on nearby Acre Lane.

If records are your vibe, then you’ve come to the right city. The stores in central aren’t as much of a tourist trap as what they’re surrounded by, but I would encourage anyone whose interested to be brave and venture out of the centre and explore the further out regions to find that rare bargain.


gcoupland's picture

Hiya, which is the record shop in the Photo? That looks Awesome! Or is it a stock Photo? Its not Rye Wax or Yam, and it doesn't look new enough for Lion. Maybe its in USA... Also - the nearest second hand record shop to Camberwell college is RAT Records near the Green which often has good stuff, especially on saturday when they put the new stock out it is usually heaving with record flipping fingers.