I’ve always thought there’s something rather special about listening to music on a traditional record player, the crackle as the needle hits the vinyl, the beautiful artwork that adorns the sleeves, the physical interaction with the artist’s work is something you just don’t get from a download. I still regularly listen to my treasured collection of soul, funk and disco records on my old Bush record player; It’s in desperate need of a service but I adore it!
It would seem I’m not alone with my love of of the retro format, there’s been a vinyl revival recently, record sales rose by 53% last year (according to the BPI) and this year’s annual Record Store Day (22 April) is expected to be the most successful in its ten year history!
— Record Store Day UK (@RSDUK) April 19, 2017
To celebrate #RSD17, a day when over 200 independent record shops across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture, I have put together the ultimate guide to vinyl shopping in the city of Newcastle!
Old George Yard, NE1 1EZ
Tucked away on Old George Yard behind the Bigg Market, this hidden gem is one of Newcastle’s best loved record shops. The shelves are packed with indie, rock, hip hop, electronic, funk, soul and blues. RPM also sells refurbished vintage record players so if you need something to spin your tunes on, this is the place to come!
Unit 1 Bewick Street, NE1 5EE
Beatdown is an Aladdin’s Cave for vinyl hunters, you could easily lose half a day trawling through the racks of records and chatting with the muso staff. The stock is regularly refreshed with new & old LP’s (as well as CD’s and DVD’s) and there are often rarities waiting to be discovered. You’ll find this jewel of a shop just a stone’s throw from central station.
1-7 Central Arcade, NE1 5BP
The beautiful Central Arcade is where you’ll find J.G Windows, one of the UK’s longest established music stores, it’s been at the heart of the North East music scene for over a century. It’s probably the largest independent music store in Newcastle too, there are two floors filled with instruments, audio equipment, printed music and of course, a treasure trove of vinyl!
23 Nun St, NE1 5AG
Reflex is a small but perfectly formed record store in the heart of Newcastle. Friendly, helpful, enthusiastic staff who you would definitely want on your team for a music quiz plus a vast collection of records in every genre imaginable, what more could you want?
Sandhill NE1 3JF & Grainger Market, NE1 5AE
The folk behind Longplay Cafe have combined their passions for coffee and vinyl and created two of the coolest hangouts in the city, their first opened on Newcastle Quayside a couple of years ago and more recently they moved in to the Grainger Market (one of my favourite places in Newcastle). They serve up some rather scrummy food too and host regular live music events, what’s not to love?
QUAYSIDE SUNDAY MARKET
Quayside, NE1 3DE
There are usually a couple of music stalls at the weekly market that takes place on Newcastle Quayside every Sunday, I once bagged about a dozen soul and Motown LP’s for a fiver, so it’s definitely worth a rummage!
3rd Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim St, NE1 6QE
568 Records is a late addition to my list after it was brought to my attention by several followers on Instagram and Facebook (thanks guys)! It’s located on the third floor of a building I pass nearly every day so I can’t believe I’ve not discovered it sooner, I guess it just goes to show how important it is to ‘look up’! Now that I do know of its existence I can’t wait to check it out, especially after reading rave reviews on Tripadvisor with many calling it the ‘best record shop in Newcastle’.
Do you still listen to music on vinyl? Do you have a favourite record store? Share your thoughts be leaving a comment below 🙂