You’ve got to admit vinyl is so much better than CDs and digital. When you lay down the needle and get that little crackling sound it’s sounds so much more pretty. The enlarged album art too just makes the listening even more appealing. There’s no negatives to vinyl.
I’m not going to lie, Birmingham is the worse place I’ve been record shopping in which is kind of depressing that it’s where I live. However, there are a few places which I have found some hidden gems (the day I found an original copy of Meat is Murder was a great day). Surprisingly, this post was requested by my Mum for those who might be planning to visit Birmingham and want to do a bit of record shopping while you’re here!
1) Ignite Records – Oasis Market
It has to go first because it is the best. In a space where about 2 people can fit (it’s still a tight squeeze), Ignite Records boasts a wide range of genres including indie, alternative, rock and metal. Expect the likes of Fidlar, Drenge, Arctic Monkeys, Peace and so much more. The best part is that all the records are such a reasonable price like The Smiths are £18 and I think I got Holy Fire by Foals for £13-15 which is amazing, how can you say no to that! If you’re not a turntable owner yet, don’t worry as they still have CDs or just get some records in preparation for when you make the best decision you will ever make and purchase one.
They’ve recently made a move towards selling more metal and hard rock but there’s still a reasonable amount of other genres too.
Head to the Oasis Market (directions for you all: http://goo.gl/maps/SahpV), then go have a walk around inside and you’ll end up seeing it!
2) Swordfish Records
Go have a look at their website first.
I feel like I can’t properly talk about Swordfish Records as I still haven’t been to their new shop but from what I remember from their older one near Pigeon Park it was so good. Things I have bought from there include Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix, the majority is second hand but really with records, this is what we all want. The guy always behind the desk is always up for helping you find things and just nice to talk about music with. From my experience here, some of the records are quite expensive but this varies more on their rarity and condition, some are cheap like Heaven & Hell by Black Sabbath was £10; I was happy. They know their stuff and are just sound guys.
I need the directions for myself! Next time I’m in town I think a visit to their new shop is in order. If like me, you’re unsure of the new location then here are some directions from the Bullring; http://goo.gl/maps/3hVhE
3) The Diskery
If you don’t know about the Diskery, where have you been!? I know it’s the one of the oldest (something like 50 years old) but when I went I wasn’t impressed. It was 3pm on Record Store Day so I wasn’t really hoping for much to be left but when I entered there was too much to even process. Hundreds and thousands of records were in front of me, it was so hard to find anything. I wanted to go and walk out with handfuls of second hand, fucking awesome records which sadly didn’t happen. The guy behind the desk said they had no new bands left but if there was anything I wanted just to say because there was 1000s more in the back which I seriously couldn’t cope with. When I go shopping I like everything to be there in front of me so I can find exactly what I like which is impossible in the Diskery. If I have a spare few hours in town I might go back to try again but never again on Record Store Day.
Why not go before a gig as it’s on the opposite side of the road as to the O2 Academy! If you’re unsure still again, I’ve got some directions from the Bullring: http://goo.gl/maps/Msbm4.
4) The Music and Video Exchange
Check out their website: http://www.mgeshops.com/music-video-exchange-bmg/
This is the very place I found Meat is Murder. I can never work out whether things are new but the overall majority is second hand. There is every genre of record you could ever wish for, there’s even a dance basement (I am yet to go have a look). With tapes, CDs, 12″s and 7″s there is everything musical you could ever want and if you’re partial to a bit of comics then you’re in the perfect place. Also, looking to sell records? This is where to go as they’ll buy anything even if it has a little chance of selling! This is beneficial to us record buyers too as they will have almost everything we could want.
Just a short walk from New Street and again, the Bullring it’s probably the easiest to find; http://goo.gl/maps/7gJSR.
5) Urban Village
Even their website is cool; http://www.urban-village.co.uk/
Head down into Digbeth and visit the Custard Factory which plays host to some of the coolest shops in Birmingham. As soon as you enter the little street you’re welcomed with Urban Village; go straight downstairs for a basement dedicated to vinyl. Hundreds maybe even thousands of records which will please any music fan with the wide range of genres – you can find anything from mod to punk to 60s to modern day. There’s a few weird/not cool things such as a couple of Lostprophet records but oh well, the rest is good.
In the Custard Factory, Urban Village is easy to find and a 5-10 minute walk from the centre but again for anyone new or uncertain on their way can just look here! http://goo.gl/maps/H6R92
6) Left For Dead
Follow them on Twitter
A new addition to the Custard Factory, Left For Dead sells old and new of most genres you could ask for. One half is dedicated to CDs and the other to records. Frequent instores too make it a nice shop to go visit; last time I went there I had a lovely chat with this band (I can’t remember their name oops) while browsing through the records. They also stock local artists and unsigned acts so it’s the place to go for those obscure requests.
Go visit after Urban Village! The famous pool of water where you might recognise from photoshoots is just in front of the shop so go for a walk round there and you’ll come across it.
7) Milque and Muhle
Check out their website
Also based in the Custard Factory, Milque and Muhle is also a new addition to the city. I’ve never been in myself, I only noticed it while having to rush going back into town to meet someone but from their website it looks aimed towards the heavier genres. It stocks records, cassettes, fanzines, comics, presses and art prints so go check it out.
Just a couple of shops up from Urban Village it’s easy to find!