Brooklyn has solidified its role as one of the centers of the music world. With a diverse population, the borough has become home to some of the best record stores in the nation. Crate diggers from around the country venture here in search of elusive, vintage and one-of-a-kind records.
One of the most recognizable names in the music scene, Earwax Records is Williamsburg’s oldest record store, founded in 1990. The shop is dedicated to bringing the highest quality of both new and used LPs, 7″ and CDs to its customers. Carrying everything from Bob Marley to Stevie Nicks, Earwax is constantly selling and restocking a seemingly endless library of music. It may be a bit pricier than some of the other record stores in Brooklyn, but you’re guaranteed a wide selection of anything and everything you might be looking for, including turntables.
Offering some 5,000 records, Human Head Records boasts an eclectic mix of top-quality new and used vinyl. Genres of music cover the walls and offer customers a time machine to the past; indie, rock, rap, reggae, classical, funk, soul and electronic are just a few of the choices. Besides records, Human Head also sells quality refurbished turntables, receivers and brushes to clean your vinyl. The store also buys your used records or allows you to trade them for store credit.
This tiny record store is squeezed into a storefront on Manhattan Avenue, touting a collection of soul, folk, hip-hop, jazz, metal and punk. It remains a destination for difficult-to-find albums, and the prices are fair, making it quite easy to walk away with a bag of several records. Not sure if you want to take something home? Just throw it on the turntable and give it a spin to see how it sounds.
Rough Trade launched its first store in West London in 1976, before opening a Williamsburg outpost in November 2013. Doubling as a venue for shows, the shop itself is packed with more than just vinyl; new single releases, EPs and LPs line the walls and shelves of the square cement warehouse. There are plenty of classics, too, coveted by the avid collectors who habitually visit the shop to acquire something new. While other shops may simply toss a hodgepodge of records into bins, Rough Trade NYC makes your life a little easier; collectors can run their fingers through vinyl organized by artists and allocated by a genre/sub-genre format.
Part coffee shop, part record store, The Mixtape Shop specializes in rare and hard-to-come-by records, with a focus on jazz, soul and funk music. There’s a great mix of new and local records, along with a handful for $7 or less. Flip through the vinyl snugly set in white bins, and then get a cup of Intelligentsia coffee and a hunk of banana bread from the barista in the front.
The collection may be small at this Carroll Gardens record shop, but there’s always something interesting to discover here, including Motown, jazz and rock. Since it’s an intimate store, the staff is eager to help you find something you’ll like. The more you go, the more they’ll get to know your style, allowing them to provide even better suggestions. If you’re not looking to spend a whole lot, there’s a good assortment of single-digit priced discs for your perusal. There are also baristas in the back making pour-over coffees.
Along with records, Fifth Avenue Record Shop sells CDs, DVDs and tapes for a real taste of nostalgia. Having stood in the same space since 1972, the shop is cluttered with bins of tapes and records, and vinyl and album covers adorn the walls. You’ll really have to dig, but it’s worth it because you never know what you might stumble upon – R&B, jazz, classic rock. The owner, Tony, is friendly, eager to help you find a specific record and can place orders if you’re looking for something that’s not in the store.