Last updated 06/01/2007
People, generally, are surprised you can still purchase records. I am surprised people still buy CDs, because they're clearly a bit rubbish, and have been replaced by a better digital medium, the mp3.
I realise this is just my opinion, and I'm not exactly dusting off my box brownie to take photographs of records sleeves for this site, but to get back to the purpose of this post, if you'd like to join me in the analogue re-revolution, you could do worse than visit the following places.
I use Boomkat for electronic music, and the occasional new folky-type thing. Some of their recommendations should be taken with a pinch of salt, but their sales and label-promotions will mean you can pick up a bargain, and they are a friendly bunch with a good customer service ethic.
To illustrate all of those points, I bought their top album of 2005, I think it was by Women & Children, and was eponymously titled. It was a three 10" box set, with booklets and other stuff, the sort of thing that sets me off in a Pavlovian salivation sort of way, so I had to buy it. It turned out to be quite a bad collection of over-dramatic sub-goth song ideas. I complained, and they asked me to send it back, and I got a full refund. I used the refund to buy some Morr Music in a recent promotion - loads of great albums at about £5-6, including doubles. Lovely.
A great generalist store is Action Records, and if you're ever in Preston, pop in to the shop on Church Street and say hello to Gordon from me. I spent a lot of time here in my well-spent youth, and in the coffee house round the corner, which dates from before real coffee 'arrived' in The North (about 1995), and had Krautrock nights, and so was just hellish cool.
Buying direct from labels is also a good idea. I recently got a load of Godspeed-related LPs from Constellation Records, and Will Oldham & Kieran Hebden goodies from Domino. Warpmart ain't bad neither, although I haven't used it for a while.
I use ebay a lot - but you don't need a link to that, do you? I find it's good value to buy in bulk from the US at the moment, so look for US based ebay shops.
None of the links that appear in the above are sponsored, by the way. I will not receive a penny if you click on them, and subsequently buy things. Although your life will undoubtedly be improved if you do, and the lives of all your friends, of which you will probably get more.
Then there are physical shops. In Edinburgh, you have Fopp, Avalanche, and then the second-hand outlets Vinyl Villains and Elvis Shakespeare. Vinyl Villains is worth a special mention as they are quite grumpy in there, which I find endearing.
Elvis Shakespeare (if you hadn't guessed, it also sells books) is also good, and a bit more shopper-friendly now that they have sorted out the layout by spreading things out making it easier to browse and therefore buy stuff. I recently picked up The Cure, Julee Cruise, and Markant whilst shopping there, and there's not many places you can say that about.
In Durham recently, I bought an album for £1.00 on the market. Durham's nice anyway; you should go and have a wander. GNER trains stop there, and they're quite nice too, although I hear they are on the way out, for many reasons, all of which will be somebody else's fault.
In Leeds the only record shop worthy of the name is Jumbo. It's also the only reason you might want to go into the St. John's Centre, which is otherwise crap. I've just noticed they have an online shop - if I buy anything from them, I'll let you know how I get on.
I'd be happy to take other recommendations for record shops to visit, preferably outside London, because London is big enough to look after itself. I was in Carlisle with two hours to kill the other day, and couldn't find a record shop for love nor money. Well, just money if I'm honest, but I wouldn't like it to happen again. Emails or comments please.