2014 was a great year for vinyl sales. They increased by 50% on the previous year to £1.2 million, an 18 year high. In the same year however, One Direction reached 1 billion streams on Spotify (an embarrassing amount of which were me), highlighting the tension between the music industry’s online and physical manifestations.
Safe in the knowledge that my student loan had just dropped, I decided to embark on an intrepid voyage of discovery to map York’s record stores.
Unfortunately, my trip could not have gotten off to a worse start. After 20 minutes of walking around in circles, iPhone in hand, I decided to let my masculine impulses go out the window and asked for directions. I was then informed that Attic records, which came very highly recommended, had sadly closed down 6 months previous. Nightmare! In total, of the 9 record stores I had researched on the Internet, only 4 were actually still open. It wasn’t going well.
1 Powells Yard, Goodramgate, YO1 7LS
Best Find: Madvillain – Mad Villainy
Snuggly tucked away in an alleyway beside The Snickleway Inn lies the delightful Earworm Records. The store has been here for 14 months now and specializes in house, techno and disco, but isn’t restricted to just these genres offering a wide variety of indie, soul, rock and hip hop. It was the collection of the latter that most sparked my attention, with Madvillain blaring overhead and a vast array including J Dilla, N.W.A., Kedrick Lamar and A Tribe Called Quest.
The store has a very clean and bright aesthetic and presents the perfect form of quality over quantity, allowing you to easily find the gems you’re looking for. And if you can’t, the very knowledgeable managers Richard and Paul will surely lend a hand.
A great store that must not be missed.
5 Gillygate, YO31 7EA
Best Find: Keith Jarrett – Celestial Hawk
A stones throw away from the York Minster sits Rebound, a seat it’s occupied for 8 years now which, in record store years, is bloody ancient. The store has a very large collection of second hand CDs, sales of which, to my surprise, have been increasing recently according to the manager.
A second room located at the back of the shop houses a great selection of vinyl records covering a wide range of genres. It is the jazz section that sets it apart – a veritable minefield for any jazz enthusiast with money burning a hole in their pocket. Cookin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet played while I leafed through countless Gil Evans, Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk records; the perfect soundtrack.
Rebound offers an unrivalled choice of jazz records, both on vinyl and CD, even surpassing the variety of some specialist stores in London, and is well worth a browse.
10 Gillygate, YO31 7EQ
Best Find: Nirvana – MTV Unplugged in New York
The Inkwell sits on the other side of the road to Rebound and has been there for over 3 years. This store is fantastically put together, nothing looks out of place and with its effortlessly cool aesthetic I imagine it would get mad reblogs on tumblr.
It is a real haven for all things pop culture, with a quirky selection of books and retro gifts. Think of it like a less pretentious and more lovingly selected version of Urban Outfitters home and gifts. There is a great choice of vinyl on show, with loads of new releases and reissues, ranging from 60s psych to soundtracks – the Frozen soundtrack was particularly enticing.
After spending too much money I had a debate with the owner Paul over the greatest hip-hop records of all time; I said Illmatic, he said the first Wu Tang album – we agreed to disagree. Its conversations like these that you wouldn’t get in HMV and epitomizes everything I love about record stores.
This great store offers pure unadulterated musical enthusiasm. What more could you ask for?
86 Tadcaster Road, YO24 1LR
Best Find: Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Vinyl Eddie may seem a long way out of town but is very easily accessible by the number 3 bus from town and the number 4 from campus. It’s certainly the baby of the bunch at just 6 months, but with the selection on offer, they’re in it for the long haul.
There are plenty of cheap favourites, catering for all budgets and music tastes, and with a selection of over 13,000 records, you really are spoilt for choice. The best part of this store is, without doubt, the rare section. It truly is a vinyl lover’s wet dream. Original pressings of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Let It Be by The Beatles are but a few of the countless rare gems they have.
Vinyl Eddie reminds me of the store in High Fidelity so much that I kept looking round expecting to see John Cusack and Jack Black.
With an unbelievably large array of records, you’re sure to find something new every time you visit.
HMV, 10A Coney Street, YO1 9NA
Urban, Outfitters 26-27 High Ousegate, YO1 8RX
Oxfam, 46 Mickelgate, YO1 6LF
My trip consisted of great music and great conversation with enthusiastic and knowledgeable people. The vinyl industry in York really is still alive, so all we need to do now is turn off Spotify and spend some of our not-quite-so hard earned cash to keep them there.
Oh, and you might be able to trick your friends into thinking you’re cool. Always a bonus.