14 May 2018

A Guide to New York’s Best Record Shops

There’s nothing quite like rifling through tatty 12″s in a damp basement, be it in Amsterdam, Kingston, or a seedy sidestreet in Goa. It’s something to do with the smell, the dust, and the sense of unfettered exploration—that obscure Zambian-disco record you’ve spent however long searching fruitlessly for could be right there. Someone who understands that feeling better than most is Sam Valenti IV, head honcho at record label Ghostly International – which although self-defines as "genreless", the label aims to embody music of electronic methods and humanistic aims. Originally from Detroit and now an honorary New Yorker, Sam takes us on a tour of his favorite places to dig in the Big Apple.

“This is probably the most quintessential New York record store going. You are immediately transported to an East Village feeling where disco and house rule the day. There’s always an amazing selection on hand and you can trust the staff’s taste.”

“I feel like this place is adding something the Lower East Side always needs, which is a good place to hang. There’s an excellent new section plus oddball deadstock, books, and assorted ephemera with strong community roots.”

“They just reopened and have created the ultimate DJ and producer’s general goods shop. Grab those needles plus new releases and that little synth you’ve been eyeing.”

“If you’re out in Brooklyn, this spot offers a perspective that is soulful, accessible, and international. Ties together what you want in a second-hand-centric shop which is plenty to dig through but a staff that knows what’s up.”

“The newest entrant on my list and perhaps the most dangerous. Simon Gabriel Greenburg has brought together some of the world’s best new music across distant shores and placed them beautifully in Chinatown which lends itself to a perfect trip for music and food.”

“They offer the superstore level of selection which has long passed in New York. Great to amble through after work and admire one of the all-time great retailers as pure entertainment.”