Thursday, May 19, 2016
The best record shops In Birmingham (Update)
The Diskery is literally older than Rock ' N roll itself. While the area around it is has become more urban, more derelict and more gay, The Diskery is a glorious time capsule. Inside you'll find that it is rather small. There are two turntables, one is in a corner where you can listen in privacy, the other is behind the counter, if you ask nicely they might play whatever you give them. The staff are a varied bunch, but all of them are knowledgeable in areas of music and have stories to tell. You can expect to have a nice conversation as well as a cup of tea while flicking through the racks. As the name hints there is mostly vinyl, but there is a reasonable amount of CD's and cassettes on sale as well. The Diskery is packed full of records, you'll find jazz 48's and 78's, rock and pop records from the 70's and 80's. They do have the occasional bunch of rare records from the 90's and 00's but these will be expensive. You can find plenty of bargains amongst more expensive collectors items. I've seen first editions by The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream and Led Zeppelin amongst the cheaper stuff. The ceiling seems to be made up of old LP sleeves and promotional posters and you'll find all sorts of oddities which may or may not be for sale. The records are spilt into sections. You'll find one section where LP's are split into price categories, the 'cheapo rock' section, a soul/funk section and loads of dance 12's. There is also a very small and very recent hip-hop section.
Relative newbies compared to The Diskery having opened in the 70's are Swordfish records. Unlike The Diskery, Swordfish has a great selection of new Vinyl alongside racks of older 7"s and 12"s. They have a lot of Jazz and left-field electronica alongside rock and pop. They've got loads of CD's both new and second hand. And It's still being run by the same guy after all these years. For new Vinyl my favourite place is Rise Records. As you'd expect from a store in Oasis, it's a specialist in rock, punk and metal, but he's got a load of indie and some hip hop as well. For new Vinyl I'm sure it's the cheapest in Birmingham and a lot of what he stocks is hard to find. It's worth making the trip because a lot of what he sells is indie only, so if you like coloured discs and limited editions , its worth the trip The guy who runs the store is knowledgeable and friendly. As is the guy who runs Milque and Muhle in Digbeth. M+M sells cassettes art prints and clothes as well as records. If you are into noise rock, hardcore or any other niche sub-genre you're likely to find what you're after there. You'll find new releases by less obscure acts alongside the oddities, and a lot of diy punk singles. And that about covers it. The custard factory does also host record fairs, and the new Urban Village does stock records as well. Other than that Urban Outfitters and HMV sell records in Birmingham, but you are much better off with the 4 above. Happy digging!
Note: You may notice that I posted a blog about record shops in my 'Best _________ in Birmingham' series. Yet I'm now more qualified to wrote this blog, as I am now a vinyl collector rather than CD buyer. If you are a regular reader then please let me know what you actually think of this blog and give me suggestions. I don't have that many friends so if you like the same music as me I'd love to meet you.