For Record Store Day (April 21), we’re going old-school
The old-fashioned, non-streaming, grooved-vinyl record has experienced a renaissance lately, with many artists putting out vinyl LPs for a new generation of audiophiles, as well as older listeners seeking analog nostalgia. Whether you’ve just bought your first turntable or have been spinning for decades, here are some local record stores that stuck it out in the age of Spotify.
Zia Record Exchange: Zia is a good place for beginners — vinyl newbies can browse a lot more than records — and collectors alike. The Arizona-based pop-culture emporium has thousands of new and vintage records at prices ranging from a few bucks to $30, as well as new and used turntables, CDs, cassettes, and more. Its loyalty program means you can earn points toward discounts, and the stores often have weekly specials. 4503 W. Sahara Ave. and 4225 S. Eastern Ave., ziarecords.com
Record City: Established in 1988, Record City is the oldest record store in Vegas. Both locations carry thousands of new and used records, including local releases. You can also find select 45s and LPs ranging from $1-$3. The Sahara location is geared more toward worldly vinyl — stocked with harder-to-come-by imports and rarities — whereas the Charleston shop is more community-based, featuring local music and artwork. 300 E. Sahara Ave. and 4555 E. Charleston Blvd., recordcityonline.com
Moondog Records: At 800 square feet, Moondog might feel small, but its record collection is quite the opposite. Owner Clint McKean estimates that he has around 20,000 vintage records in his shop, tucked away below the Campus Village Plaza, across from UNLV. Records here can go for anywhere between $15-$60. Also on hand: a notable collection of rare Beatles albums, including an original, unpeeled “Butcher Album” version of Yesterday and Today, as well as some Russian Fab-Four imports to really take you back to the USSR. Other rare items include a set of original Elvis Presley vinyl from Sun Records. The store also has occasional storefront sales where prices drop to as low as $1. 4440 S. Maryland Parkway, moondogrecordslv.com
Wax Trax: Come only if you have a whole day to kill. With more than 500,000 vintage and rare records to choose from, this three-story house-turned-record-store is mostly slanted toward serious collectors. (Elton John is a regular.) When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by Brooklynite owner Rich Rosen — who’s been selling records for more than 50 years — and a strong aroma of aging paper record sleeves. The store is a labyrinth of tagless vinyl, which Rosen matches with online prices. Prices tend to be higher here, but the collection will make any collector drool. Among the rarities: original copies of the coveted 1967 Velvet Underground & Nico, with its original banana stickers still in place, plus other rare master-recording LPs from artists including Led Zeppelin and The Doors. 2909 S. Decatur Blvd., waxtraxonline.com
11th Street Records: This is great stop for anyone wandering Downtown before a show at the Bunkhouse or drinks at Atomic Liquors. The store carries new and used records spanning genres, but has a strong collection of post-punk and alternative LPs and 45s. You’ll also find a small selection of local records. Prices can be a little steep here, but 11th Street has a loyalty program for regulars. The back of the store houses the impressive National Southwest Recording studio, in which The Killers recorded their album Wonderful Wonderful. 1023 Fremont St., 11thstreetrecords.com
Vegas Vinyl: With a few exceptions, this is a record store with thrift store and garage sale prices. In this hidden gem you’ll find close to 15,000 used records neatly organized in milk crates, with an average price between $2-$8. There’s also a selection of rare items, including an autographed copy of Elton John’s autobiographical 1975 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. 1641 E. Sunset Road, vegasvinylrecords.com