If you’re a vinyl-nerd like me, chances are you’ll spend a good portion of your summer scavenging local record stores. To aid your travels, I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite record stores in Southern California.
5. Gimme Gimme Records (Highland Park)
Gimme Gimme is one of Highland Park’s hidden gems. They stock music from every genre and have the best selection of used vinyl. The first time I came here I found Bowie’s “Changes One” for only ten bucks! The shop originally resided in NYC’s East Village for 18 years until owner Dan Cook moved Gimme to Los Angeles. With great prices and a helpful staff, Gimme Gimme continues to attract customers from all over the Southland.
4. Port of Sound (Costa Mesa)
When I think of Port of Sound the first word that comes to mind is ORGANIZED. Port of Sound separates the punk and alternative sections respectively, which makes it 10x easier to find your favorite record. If you’re looking for newer releases or LPs from local OC bands, this is definitely the spot for you. They also have a nice collection of movie and TV soundtracks ranging from “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “Breaking Bad”.
3. Fingerprints (Long Beach)
With a lounge area complete with bookshelves and comfy sofas, Fingerprints has an atmosphere that is both inviting and intimate. The store is connected to a small cafe so you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee while tracing the aisles. Aside from vinyl, Fingerprints has a terrific selection of used CDs and DVDs at dirt-cheap prices. Furthermore, a stage is setup for live in store performances that take place on special weeknights.
2. Amoeba Music (Hollywood)
The famous Amoeba admittedly contains the largest inventory of records in Southern California. I’ve found everything from an out of print Depeche Mode 12” to La Femme’s “Psycho Tropical Berlin” LP on French import. One can spend hours scavenging the aisles here and it is impossible to leave empty handed. If you’re looking for the obscure and specific, Amoeba will probably have it waiting for you. However, the nonexistent parking hinders it from making #1 on my list.
1. Boo Boo Records (San Luis Obispo)
The moment you walk into the store you are greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Boo Boo’s colorful walls are decorated in album sleeves and dollar record bins beckon under the store’s bright chandelier. Although this shop is located in San Luis Obispo, a special trip to Central California is more than worth it. In addition to a well-curated vinyl selection, Boo Boo has the best collection of posters, T-shirts, and cassette tapes! Scored a reasonably priced MGMT record, and a “To the 5 Boroughs” Beastie Boys shirt while at Boo Boo. If you’re planning a college tour to Cal Poly SLO or are driving through the area, Boo Boo Records is definitely worth checking out.
Other noteworthy record stores: Origami Vinyl (Echo Park), Freakbeat Records (Sherman Oaks), The Last Bookstore (DTLA), Black Hole Records (Fullerton).