The appetite for vinyl is back and shows no sign of being sated. A report by the British Phonographic Association found that sales of physical records went by 26.8% in 2017 with over four million sold in the UK during 2017.
In Brighton we’re spoilt for choice and even though there have been some notable closures over recent years – RIP Rounder Records – there’s still a community of shops helping vinyl junkies to get their fix. Ahead of Record Store Day, which will see special edition releases from the likes of David Bowie, Mac DeMarco, and Madonna, here’s a rundown of some of our favourite stores. Happy hunting!
Opened in 1948, this shop specialises in original film soundtracks, musicals and high quality classical recordings. Its owner is 86 year-old George Ginn, a bona-fide legend and proprietor of the shop for over six decades. Just opposite Brighton train station on Terminus Road, George’s shop is first port of call for any out-of-towner coming to dig the local crates.
A gentle titan of the local scene and hailed by The Vinyl Factory as one of the world’s best, Resident is probably the city’s most renowned record shop. Opened in 2005 – by Natasha Youngs and Derry Watkins who met stacking CD in the local Our Price – they expanded into the shop next door in 2015. They have a huge selection of genres and they host regular acoustic gigs from bands like Mystery Jets and local heroes The Xcerts.
It make look small from the front, but The Wax Factor’s little blue door is a portal to decades of the world’s best music. Well-known for its tight aisles and prodigious collection of 45s, it doubles up us a second-hand bookstore and is manna for all lovers of music and literature. Got some tasty (read: pricey) rarities too if rare 50s and 60s beat and rock and roll is your jam. After you’re done, head next door to the 50s-themed Rock* Ola – run by Al and Pattie Berwick, owners of The Wax Factor – and listen to its free vinyl jukebox whilst munching on a burger.
Instantly recognisable thanks to the graffiti on its frontage. Rarekind is a wonderland of hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, house and everything in-between. It also happens to be next-door to The Great Eastern, so you can go quench that thirst you built up rummaging through those secondhand 12”s.
Bella Union is one of the world’s finest independent labels, releasing artists like Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Flaming Lips, Ezra Furman, and Beach House in the last 20 years. In 2016 they opened a record shop on Ship Street Gardens (that’s the little lane in-between Ship Street and Middle Street) and it only sells Bella Union releases and collaborations. If you’re hoping to find a rare release by one of label’s artists, it’s a must-visit. Keep an eye out when their acts are playing a gig in Brighton; it’s not unknown for them to pop by the shop to press the flesh.
Since opening in 2001, the Punker Bunker basement shop has become a hub for the city’s punk scene. Shop owner Buz prides himself on stocking tiny labels and records you’ll not find anywhere else and whether you’re into hardcore, pop-punk, or grindcore, you’ll be able to itch your punk scratch down there.
Across The Tracks is a purist’s paradise and prides itself on stocking comprehensive collections of rock, soul, jazz, reggae and (almost) everything in between. Originally starting life as Disclocator in Redcross Street in the mid 80s, it moved to its current location in Gloucester Road in 1994. Since then it has thrived with a dedicated customer base that flock back to chat with the ever-attentive staff.