Eat. Sleep. Stay at home. Repeat. That’s the new way we have to rave at these times.. And if the streaming revolution wasn’t enough of a threat, record stores have a whole new contender to deal with - the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’re championing the humble record store by taking you on a journey around some of London’s best independent establishments just in time for Record Store Day.
We begin our journey in the heart of the Golden Mile of record shops. Over 25 years ago, Stuart Baker moved Sound of the Universe onto Broadwick Street from a humble stall in Camden. ‘Soho is the only place where I feel at home’ he says in an interview with The Vinyl Factory. ‘I like the fact that everyone can be different and be accepted for who they are. It is a multinational world’. Sounds of the Universe prides itself in its eclectic range of music ranging across the globe, from soul to reggae or dubstep. Just a few streets down on Berwick Street is the iconic independent record store, Sister Ray. Having also started from a record stall in Camden, they have steadily grown into a go-to for record lovers with their vast new & used collection.
Both stores are delivering.
Hackney is home to some incredible record stores. Stranger Than Paradise sits within a converted warehouse space that is Mare Street Market. It offers new vinyl across many genres. Not too far from it is Low Company, a record shop & mail-order based in Hackney Downs Studios. Specialising in underground dance, electronic, art-rock, ambient and avant-garde music, they stock both new & second-hand records, tapes & other related goods.
Making our way through to Well Street, we find Kristina Records. They’re offering collections, but you can also book in a digging session to find those hidden gems.
Nestled in the busy Columbia Road, you’ll find World of Echo, owned by Natalie Judge & Stephen Pietrzykowski. Here you’ll find new, used & rare vinyl, across genres such as electronic, punk, jazz, art rock & DIY.
Rye Lane is renowned for its independent shops so it’s no surprise we’ve ended up here.
Lorenzo’s Record Shack is run by Lorenzo, who Off The Record describes as a ‘nice guy who is never afraid to share his vast musical wisdom’. They stock a mix of unusual records with genres ranging from reggae, West African, dance and exotica. Sadly, they are currently closed but are accepting donations.
Only a few doors down is Craig Jamieson’s Peckham Soul, celebrating South East London's rich musical history & cultural diversity. In here, you’ll find 50’s rock n roll, 60’s beat garage, soul, funk, latin jazz, reggae and ska.
Diving straight into South West London, we find ourselves at Soul Brother Records, a vibrant record shop specialising in funk, jazz and of course, soul. They’ve grown from a business in the 90’s and flourished into a retailer with its own label.
Finishing off on the infamous Portobello Road, old-school record store Honest Jon’s invites us in. The shop is owned & run by Mark Ainley & Alan Scholefield, who took over from one of the OG’s ‘Honest’ Jon Clare. Here you’ll find a multitude of genres of music on vinyl & CD, including jazz, blues, reggae, soul & dance. You can also find them in their Coal Drops Yard branch if West London isn’t your cup of tea.