Record stores are alive and well in L.A. And with the renewed interest in vinyl, and the internet broadening people’s musical tastes, one could say that record stores are even more culturally significant than they ever did in their heyday.
These stores aren’t just for making money, but are also a place of curiosity and discovery. And given California’s lively music scene (not to mention its gamut of hipster joints), there are a lot of cool record stores down in L.A. Here, we list out our favorites, and we urge you to visit them if ever you’re in town.
Blue Bag Records
Just bought a record player, like the ones featured at Local Singles Records? Then Blue Bag Records is where you should be next. The store’s stash is generally used but well curated. Just spend 20 minutes in their collection, and you get a run through of popular music’s entire backstory. The store is kind of small, but the selection is quite huge, with lots of classics from well-known musicians.
There’s also a good number of compilations — perfect for trying out artists you haven’t heard of before. Collectors run the store, but the selection and pricing is very much accessible to the masses. The store is quite on the cheap side, with lots of vinyls under $10. Splurge $100 at Blue Bag Records and you can go from zero to a hero sized vinyl collection.
Vacation Vinyl is located at 3815 W Sunset Boulevard, right next to Secret Headquarters, a comic book store. Needless to say, the area is a haven if you are both a music and comic book geek. Admittedly though, Vacation Vinyl doesn’t have a huge selection. That said, it could be an advantage because it’s less overwhelming to hunt for a new vinyl when the selection isn’t over the top. They are also popular for having a few choice records, plus the best palette of noise and metal available. They also have a nice collection of cassette tapes if you’re also into such things.
We consider Origami Vinyl as the most important L.A. record store. This isn’t lip service — the store is really an indispensable part of the music scene in L.A. It’s because it’s not only a store but is also a free concert venue, a concert promoter, and even a record label. They have held lots of in-store performances from local artists and they have “LOCALS ONLY” bins of vinyl records.
The store is quite small — it only fits a maximum of 50 people. And yet, it’s been very big in the community. Origami Vinyl have helped curate the Echo Park Rising (a local festival), has co-released music with 826LA (a non-profit organization), and is also the designated on-site music seller by the yearly FYF Fest. Furthermore, the likes of Florence + The Machine and many more have performed in their 9 foot high stage (at the top of the stairs in the photo above).