Sunday, May 25, 2008

St. Louis Record Stores - Vintage Vinyl


St. Louis is my hometown and where all this record nonsense started. Either by instinct or simple economic discovery that a used record was cooler and cheaper than it's CD counterpart, I started buying vinyl in high school. I soon made a second discovery: The records that got me exited seemed older, heavier and mustier. Every time I opened the sleeve of a Columbia Miles Davis LP and looked at the label, there were more eyes staring back at me; first two, then six! A record nut was born…

Let me begin with Vintage Vinyl as this is the store that I am usually at within 3 hours of my plane landing and the place where these early music discoveries were made...

Vintage Vinyl
6610 Delmar
St. Louis MO 63130

hours: Sun - Thu 10AM - 10PM
Fri and Sat - 10AM t0 12AM

Vintage Vinyl has been an anchor of the U-City loop for over 20 years and does a lot for the music community: creating big window displays for current releases, hosting in-store performances of local and touring bands and serving as a general magnet for grungy loopsters. There is a permanent but mild and comforting smell of incense that seeps into everything in the store. I can still smell it on some of the records I've dug up here. The reason this is a good place to shop for records is that interesting stuff floats in with the common stuff and it all gets priced about the same.

Hunting strategies: Delve into the deep x-factor of the store.

Things show up in the used racks that are truly magical - nice James Brown records on King, original Dixie Hummingbirds on Peacock, Don Covay records on Atlantic, Etta James on Argo - all with prices averaging around $10-15. I don’t ever look for anything particular, I just look. You never dip your toes in the same Vintage Vinyl twice.

Strengths: grungy community fixture, takes it’s role as a record store seriously without taking itself as a record store too seriously. Rasaan Roland Kirk serves as their spiritual leader and mascot. Open late.

Weaknesses: no easy way to preview records: gotta hand them to a guy behind a DJ booth, I’ve never bothered. ****UPDATE**** John from VV wrote to tell me that there is now a turntable for private listening, so there you go.

In Summary: grimy, homey musical Zen

coming soon: Euclid Records and Record Exchange...

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