When Record Store Day 2015 rolls around in just over a week – on Saturday 18 April – the experienced music lovers among you know that you must be prepared. Prepared to get up painfully early on a Saturday morning, prepared to queue outside record shops in the cold and prepared for the likelihood that by the time you finally reach the counter that super-rare RSD release you had your eye on might be completely sold out.
It helps to have an RSD game plan, so we’ve put together a list of our top Edinburgh record shops – many of which will be celebrating Record Store Day with special releases and in-store parties.
Please remember, though, that an independent record store is for life, not just for RSD. These lovely shops can and should be visited all year round when you’re in the mood for some new music.
After opening in 2011 in a tiny former gramophone emporium, VoxBox Music in Stockbridge has gone from strength to strength. Specialising in high quality new and used records and with friendly and knowledgeable owner Darren at the helm, this shop is a haven for vinyl addicts, whether their passion lies in pop, soul or psychedelia. Often full to bursting during in-store performances and special events like Record Store Day, VoxBox is proof that you don’t have to be in the city centre to attract attention. Make sure to pop into the back room when you visit so that you don’t miss a possible second-hand bargain hiding in the browsers.
21 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AN – more info
Unlike VoxBox, Unknown Pleasures is a record shop nestled in the heart of tourist country – at the bottom of the Royal Mile – which stocks rare and collectable second-hand vinyl, CDs, DVDs and other merchandise. You won’t find much in the way of contemporary music for sale here but – despite its Joy Division-inspired name – Unknown Pleasures has a lot more than just classic indie rock on offer. Look forward to discovering perfectly preserved relics from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in every genre imaginable, with notoriously helpful staff on hand to answer any questions.
110 Canongate, EH8 8DD – more info
Edinburgh’s one-stop shop for traditional and modern folk on vinyl and CD is called Coda Music and has been conveniently located on the Mound since 1997. You’ll also find blues, country, world and jazz music on Coda’s well-stocked shelves or – if you can’t make it to the shop in person – on their regularly and meticulously updated online store.
12 Bank Street, EH1 2LN – more info
While not purely a record shop, Elvis Shakespeare in Leith has a nice selection of rare vinyl and CDs which they sell alongside an equally impressive array of second-hand books. Music-wise they specialise in punk, alternative indie and dance from the late ’80s onwards but also stock everything from country to classical in their 20,000 titles. Again, if you don’t have time to visit in person you can browse and buy on the Elvis Shakespeare website and have everything delivered to your door, but nothing beats buying your records (and books) in person.
247 Leith Walk, EH6 8SD – more info
Ninian Reid / Flickr / CC
One of these record shops is not like the others, but although Fopp on Rose Street is part of a larger chain it has the feel of an independent music store. This is partly due to the products on offer (generally far more varied and alternative than other chain record shops) but mostly thanks to the enthusiastic and musically-opinionated staff working in the Edinburgh branch. Regardless of your preferred genre – if you’re in need of some friendly music advice or maybe a recommendation you’ll find it here. Plus, their vinyl offering has grown significantly in recent years, putting Fopp back on the map for LP lovers.
3-15 Rose Street, EH2 2PR – more info
Small but mighty, second-hand music shop and ticket agency Ripping Records is an Edinburgh institution – established in 1975 and still going strong today. If you visit here and don’t leave with a vinyl or CD in one hand and a couple of gig tickets in the other then you’re most certainly doing it wrong.
91 South Bridge, EH1 1HN – more info
Vinyl Villains is another long-standing Edinburgh vinyl valhalla, with strong opinions about what does and does not constitute as ‘good’ music. This shop is perfect for anyone looking for a hands-on shopping experience and who doesn’t mind digging to find their own personal hidden gems – and there are gems galore. From original ’70s rock vinyl LPs in mint condition to obscure yet collectable t-shirts, Vinyl Villains has the stuff of dreams on its shelves. Staff here are also more than happy to advise any visitors looking to expand their musical knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
5 Elm Row, EH7 4AA – more info
Hog’s Head Music
— Hogs Head Music (@HogsHeadMusic) April 6, 2015
Stoically fighting (and winning, we might add) the analog versus digital battle since 1993, Hog’s Head Music in Newington is still well and truly in business and – as they themselves point out – selling second-hand vinyls, CDs and DVDs for less than it costs to buy a digital copy. If you’re in search of something rare, just get in touch and Hog’s Head will do their best to find it for you. That being said, their stock changes on a weekly basis so it might just be worth visiting to have a look yourself – you might stumble upon something you never even knew you needed.
62 South Clerk Street, EH8 9PS – more info
morebyless / Flickr / CC
As the last surviving specialist dance and electronic music shop in Edinburgh, Underground Solu’shn has got big boots to fill. Luckily it’s one of the coolest places in the city and has a tremendous amount of tantalising vinyl (and the odd CD) ready to be browsed through, bought and taken home. If you’re a budding DJ, Underground Solu’shn also sell all the equipment you could ever need to start your career – from turntables and mixers to headphones and speakers. Or if you’re a simple being who simply requires a new stylus for your record player, they have those too.
9 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BP – more info
With no online presence whatsoever, Record Shak may be Edinburgh’s most old-school record shop but it is also one of its most-loved. Absolutely packed with records and CDs, this place is a true vinyl-hunter’s dream. For anyone who doesn’t feel like rummaging, however, the Record Shak staff are helpful, friendly and on-hand to help you with any requests or questions.
69 Clerk Street, EH8 9JG
Where is your favourite Edinburgh record shop?
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