Thursday, July 23, 2015
The Best Independent Record Stores In Birmingham
Best for Bargains
The Music and Video Exchange, is part of a small chain of national stores that sells, CD's Vinyl's, DVD's, and books. They even have a few actual videos left, as well as old magazines and comics. If you have ever heard the phrase 'landfill indie' you may have pictured an actual landfill. Yet all those old promo CD's actually ended up in trade in stores. Flicking through all the 'next big things' is one of the best reminders of the fickleness and transcendence of fame you will ever get. If you still buy CD's (I do) then this place is a great place to find mint or slightly less than mint CD's at dirt cheap prices. If you like Vinyl then they have loads of that too, including many valuable rarity's. They have many DVD box sets, and many graphic novels as well. And the best thing is that if you don't like money, you can trade in your old stuff for store credit. It's sort of near the Mailbox and New street station. You can see Swim Deep flicking through records there in the (original) video for 'King City'.
Update: The Music and Video exchange is now closed, Few will miss it more than I will.
Best for Vinyl
Now that Left For Dead's moved to Shrewsbury, Milque & Muhle Records is the only Record shop** left in the Custard Factory. They sell cassettes (one format that didn't need a comeback) Vinyl, clothes and fanzines. It's tiny and as far as I can tell only sells very obscure stuff. They seem to have found a pretty good niche. I do believe that The Diskery is officially listed as a national treasure, and I think it's also run by the same guys who first opened it. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I've never visited it. Swordfish Records has been operating as a record shop and re-issues label since the 1970's. The New premises is behind Scruffy Murphy's, and it's a much nicer building than the old one. Packed full of Vinyl, but also with new releases, local bands, CD's and you can trade stuff in too. It's small but it has loads of great stuff to find. It's got big sections for jazz and box sets on sale, and the staff are happy to talk. In my view it's now the best Indie Birmingham has.
Best of the rest
The Oasis Market changes so much that by the time I've pressed publish on this post, these stores could have moved, or still be there but in another part of the store. Right now there is two of them Ignite, and I can't remember the name of the other one. Ignite sells mostly Vinyl, it's on the bottom floor, and it mostly sells rock and metal LP's. The other one is on the top floor and mostly sells, erm I'm just going to say 'Bass Music' as that covers all the genres in there. It might be a tad expensive but if you're a fan of drum n' bass and other specific genres of dance, it's a good place to go. Another good one is Polar Bear records in Kings Heath. Another small but well stocked record store that has many genres and formats to browse through. a quick google search reveals a new one I've not heard of called 'Hq Muzik LTD' I'll try and find it.
* I'm not going to put a link. Scroll down and find them yourself.
** They are also promoters.