The tech boom of the 21st century may have brought us YouTube and Spotify, but it also led to the decline of music in physical forms. However, this does not mean that record stores have become obsolete. Amoeba Music may be an L.A. classic, but record stores in the San Gabriel Valley are definitely worth visiting for the thrill of finding one-of-a-kind collectible vinyl and albums from your favorite artists, no matter how recent they are.
Standing the test of time, the independently owned Canterbury Records has been around since 1959. If you’re looking to start a collection or just bought your first turntable, this is the perfect place. They have a variety of used and new classic records, as well as vinyl records of today’s popular artists. Their CD collection, filled with literally all types of music, is one of the biggest and best organized in the area. Hundreds of new records are exclusively released for the annual Record Store Day, so make sure to stop by early to get the first pick.
Specializing in vinyl, Resistor Records is the epitome of a great independent record store. Resistor Records is fairly small, but their stock is well curated and their walls are lined with surprising gems. They carry all sorts of genres, from classic rock to country and even krautrock. Records are fairly priced, and their bargain bins, where you might find a record you love for only $1, hold amazing deals. Audiophiles will definitely enjoy the sound quality of the store’s selection of high performance turntables, amps, headphones, and more. During your visit, you may even to discover new talent, due to the free, in-store concerts they host every so often.
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Do you have an obsession with Morrissey? Well, so does this next record store! If you grew up in the ’80s or just really identify with the punk, goth, heavy metal, and rock music of the time period, Kaos Records is just the place for you. Kaos Records is loaded with collectibles and goodies from favorite bands like Depeche Mode, The Ramones, The Clash, Joy Division, and more. While their vinyl selection is a little limited, it’s worth digging through if you’re a fan of the type of music. Their wide CD and t-shirt collections definitely make up for the limited amount of vinyl.
Overcharging and record stores often seem to come hand in hand, but at Record Jungle, the price is often unbeatable. They are always changing out their extremely diverse stock, so we recommend coming often to get your hands dirty. Their stock may not be extremely well-organized, but that just makes it more exciting to dig through for hidden treasure. If you have any old records that you want to pass on for others to enjoy, Record Jungle also buys LPs and 45s for pretty fair prices. They also allow you to listen to records in their store before purchasing. Check their Facebook page before you visit to see if one of their incredible sales is going on.
The quaint, hipster village of Claremont is home to one of the best record stores in the area, Rhino Records. Probably the most diverse on this list, Rhino Records sells everything from rare vinyl and CDs to gag gifts and books. They keep a good mixture of both new and old vinyl, so there is something there for both the record enthusiast and the mainstream music lover. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, the staff is more than happy to see if they can order it for you. They also host live performances on their Rhino stage, which has been graced in the past with the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Yo La Tengo.
Sabina Li is a born and bred Los Angeles native who is currently a UCLA bruin. When she is not getting sucked in by Pinterest or finding new chocolate-filled recipes to bake, she is out and about satisfying her craving for boba.