"It's not just about the records, it's the whole vibe of the place."

Record Collector, Sheffield

The largest independent record store in Sheffield is actually split into two. One side is CDs, the other vinyl. "I opened this shop 35 years ago," says owner Barry Everard, "and for 35 years it's been a music hub, where fans come in, where bands come in." The shop is an incredible mass of historical wonders, with exclusive music photography adorning the walls, signed copies of rarities and Barry's prized copy of John Peel's 'wants list'. But it's not just old music, Barry and his team stock loads of current releases too. There's a real sense here that around every corner and within each stack of records your new favourite song is waiting to be discovered. 

The locals say…

Justin Somerton: "It's rammed full of stuff, but it's easy to find what you're looking for."

Must buy

Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention in a special 180 gram reissue.

Bonus points

Local fan Jarvis Cocker often thumbs through the racks.

Distance from station

Grab the 274 bus from outside The Howard Hotel (two minutes from the station) and it'll take you right to the shop at 233-235 Fulwood Rd.

Probe Records, Liverpool

Probe is a Liverpool institution. It's been going for around 42 years, it's totally independent and looks exactly like you'd expect - every inch of wall space is covered in album sleeves, T-shirts and posters. Probe specialises in vinyl and reissues, but they do mountains of CDs too, so you're bound to find something that appeals. They don't seem to be concerned by the rise of the MP3 either. "We do find we're selling more now, especially to the younger kids," says Probe's John Atherton. "Vinyl's more of a status thing I think."

The locals say…

Paul Cliff: "A proper record shop. Perfect for discovering loads of old and new stuff you've never heard before."

Must buy

Tommorow's Harvest by Boards of Canada.

Bonus points

Indie rocker Miles Kane as well as numerous other local bands are frequently spotted visiting the store.

Distance from station

It's a simple seven-minute walk from Lime Street station at Unit 1, The Bluecoat.

 

Eastern Bloc, Manchester

Record shopping doesn't get much cooler than this. Central to the Manchester music scene since 1985, 'E Bloc' (as it's known) is at the cutting edge of drum and bass, dubstep, house, techno and electronica. But don't worry if you don't know your Burials from your Blawans. "We like to give people as much help as we can," says Andrew Bowen, the house and techno buyer. "We like to make the customer's experience as easy as possible."

The locals say…

Mark Rowley: "The best place to hear the latest tunes. It's got a super-relaxed feel."

Must buy

No Consensus by Paradox in blue and black marbled vinyl.

Bonus points

The in-store café's homemade cakes, and hand-roasted coffee.

Distance from station

Just an 11-minute stroll from Manchester Piccadilly at 5 Stevenson Square.

  

Waxwerks, Leeds

Waxwerks is seriously underground. Both in the dance music it offers and its location - six feet below the city's financial centre. "We stock mostly deep house, or underground house as we like to call it," says Iain French, co-owner of the shop. "We also sell disco, a bit of funk and we occasionally get a bit of hip-hop in." The shop's keyboard wallpaper and racks of records provide the backdrop for an enormous DJ booth, complete with flashing lights. "It's a whole social thing, you can come here and meet new friends, hangout and watch your favourite DJs play and it's almost like a front room space."

The locals say…

Tom Hulbert: "It's not just about the records, it's the whole vibe of the place."

Must buy

Anything on the label Tsuba Records.

Bonus points

The Garage nightclub is in the same building and run by the Waxwerk crew.

Distance from station

A simple six-minute walk from Leeds station at 9 East Parade.

 

Avalanche Records, Edinburgh

This is Scotland's biggest independent high street record shop and for more than 20 years it's been at the centre of Edinburgh's musical culture. "We're famous for selling local bands", says owner Kevin Buckle. "But we also sell a lot of independent bands and vinyl. The whole vinyl revival thing is great, but it's something we've always done." The store is a giant space, rammed with piles of records and CDs to mooch through. "We get people travelling all the way from London to buy," says Kevin.

The locals say…

Rosie Waggott: "It's just an Aladdin's cave of amazing music."

Must buy

Anything by Glasgow art-popsters, A Band
Called Quinn.

Bonus points

A huge selection of original gig posters, many of which are enormous.

Distance from station

It's worth the 15-minute walk from Edinburgh station to 5 Grassmarket.

 

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