Brooklyn has solidified its role as one of the epicenters of the music world. Power house artists from various genres such as A-Trak, Jay-Z, and Norah Jones are residing in New York’s largest borough and building both their personal lives as well as musical careers. With its diverse hipster population residing in it’s neighborhoods, Brooklyn has become home to some of the best record stores in the nation. Crate diggers from around the country venture to various stores in search of the missing piece of their puzzle. Here for you is a list of our top five record stores within the Brooklyn borough.
Originally based in the UK, Rough Trade opened its US flagship store in November 2013 in New York. A record store that doubles as a venue for shows, the space has become home to more than just vinyl. Primarily new releases of singles, EP’s, and LP’s line the walls and shelves of the square cement warehouse. This is not to take away from the line-up of classics that the record store carries, or the avid collectors who habitually visit the shop to acquire something new. It is, instead, a warm welcome for those who may have just started their collections or want to visit somewhere cool within the neighborhood. What makes Rough Trade so inviting is that rather than having to rummage through crates that are solely differentiated by genre, collectors can run their fingers through records organized by artists, allocated by a genre/sub-genre format.
Rough Trade, 64 North 9th Street. Williamsburg, NY, USA +1 (718) 338-4111
The Brookyln Smorgasburg offers food from 25 different caterers as well as goods from 100 separate vendors. A flea market so large in mass that they had to change it’s location from 90 Kent to Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, it is now open to the public and hundreds line up to take over booths and sell you what they have created or once owned themselves. Art, clothing, furniture, trinkets, gadgets, toys, you name it, just about anything you can think of can be found at Pier 5 on any Sunday afternoon, come rain or shine. Smorgasburg is the epitome of every crate diggers dream, thousands of records from personal collections at a fraction of the cost. Many of the people selling are still avid collectors, and to see something from their personal collection go to someone who they know will appreciate it is highly rewarding.
Permanent Record was originally based in North Port, Long Island. From there, the founders opened a new location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. After three years of successful business, they decided to move their operation to Prospect Avenue. A curated collection of records make up the backbone of the store. After a meticulous check of not only each vinyl but its casing, the manager of the shop will throw it on the record player to listen to both sides A and B. A record store that isn’t looking to make a quick buck, but rather give you your money’s worth in return for something that represents more than just the music. This shop has built its reputation on quality records and their extensive record selection. A group of music lovers who are trying to give back to a community that helped build that in which they live today.
Permanent Record, 159 20th Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 (718) 383-4083
One of the most recognizable names in the music scene, Earwax Records is Williamsburg’s oldest record store to date. Founded in 1990, the store had one thing in mind, to bring the highest quality of both new and used LP’s, 7”, and CD’s to their customers. Having been around since the start of the gentrification process, the store has grown with Williamsburg’s burgeoning population. In July of 2013, the store reopened in a new location, North 9th street. The beauty in Earwax is the timelessness of their collection. Carrying everything from Bob Marley to Stevie Nicks, CD’s to turntables, they are constantly selling and restocking a seemingly endless library of music. A bit pricier than some of the other record stores in Brooklyn, the distributor prides itself on carrying anything and everything you might be looking for.
Earwax Records, 167 North 9th Street. Williamsburg, NY, USA, +1 (718)486-3771
Human Head Records
Nestled in a cozy little shop off of the Avenue of Puerto Rico you will find Human Head Records, Bushwicks most profound record store. Offering over 5,000 pieces, the store boasts an eclectic mix of top quality new and used vinyl. Genres of music litter the walls and offer customers a time machine into their past. Indie, Rock, Rap, Reggae, Classical, Funk, Soul, and Electronic are just a few of the choices that they offer. Besides records, they also sell quality refurbished turntables, receivers, and brushes to clean records. They will also let you sell your records or trade them in for a few more dollars in store credit. Human Head has created a name for itself since they opened in August of 2013. A cultivation of quintessential records and equipment has kept the store at the forefront of vinyl shops in the Brooklyn borough.
Human Head Records, 168 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn, USA, +1 (347) 987-3362