A vinyl mecca of Australia, Melbourne is evidently reversing the trend of dwindling record stores seen in other cities. There’s even been new stores joining the wide sprawl and you’ll often be amazed by what exotic records beach themselves here.
Here’s a crash course in some of the city’s finest dealers of black gold…
Location: 249A High St, Prahran
Arguably the best store in Australia, you’ll never leave Licorice Pie empty handed thanks to an extensive across the board selection. Whether you’re in the market for soul/funk, soundtracks, African, industrial or oz indie 45s, each collection boasts deep knowledge, with both common records and trophy wall relics being fairly priced and in solid condition.
The surge of new vinyl pressings hasn’t been a high priority for shop owner David Reitman. One of the hardest working second hand dealers, he laps the country in search for new collections, also making frequent buying trips to Japan and Hong Kong to make sure the new arrivals are turning over.
Oh and don’t underestimate the back room of $6 discs, plenty of buyers have had a field day in there.
Location: Shop 8/660a Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
One of the very few specialist dance music stores left, Alley Tunes is stocked with pre-loved techno, house, electro, progressive, trance, d’n’b, disco and dubstep records. Also a coffee shop, they can pour you a fine cup of liquid gold while you browse. A firm favourite with amongst the Melbourne scene, local success story Chet Faker even recently selected the store to exclusively stock the 100 copies of his 1998 (Melbourne Edition) Record Store Day release.
Location: 36 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Run by smooth talkin’ Chris Gill, Northside Records has been bringing soul and funk to Melbourne since 2002, with new and used disco, dub, hip hop, jazz, reggae, Turkish, Brazilian, library, rock etc.
A proud advocate of the local scene, the store also runs a label that has released Saskwatch and Clairy Browne, as well as hosting in-store performances and signings, with people cramming in for a glimpse of The Congos, George Clinton and Paul Kelly.
Locations: 414 Brunswick St, Fitzroy and also 100 Railway Rd, Blackburn
Dixons used to have stores all over town but have unfortunately now scaled back to just their two outlets in Blackburn and Fitzroy, which specialise in recycled records, CDs, video games and DVDs. Perfect for gap fillers and the occasional freak find.
For the power buyers, be aware that they’re constantly putting out new arrivals so its often worth repeat visits to check what’s new on the shelf.
Blackburn is a much larger store – a frosty open space warehouse that maintains a winter climate all year round.
Location: Camberwell Marketplace Car Park, Station St, Camberwell
A famous weekly trash and treasure market for the early risers (every Sunday 7am-12.30pm). There’s tonnes of clothes, furniture, food, jewellery and books to distract your non-record buying friends, leaving you trawl for vinyl guilt free.
If you go to Essendon and Box Hill Record Fairs (follow the links for dates on those), you might recognise a few of the sellers here at Camberwell market. This one is a patient game as the sellers don’t generally specialise, but get lucky and you’ll feel like your arms are going to drop off under the weight of your haul on the train back.
Location: 556 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Like flicking through someone’s well-curated personal collection, you’re bound to discover something new at Round and Round – maybe a French soundtrack, an Italian prog wonder or a humble Turkish folk album. Each record is stickered with a detailed description, allowing easy access to the most obscure finds.
Their stock is a nice mix of reissues and original pressings.
Ok so now you know all about Melbourne’s best record stores. One last thing, you may want to pick up a copy of the Diggin’ Melbourne tour guide which is available online and at the counter of most stores and will serve as a good guide also. Happy hunting!Michael Kucyk is a radio presenter with RRR in Melbourne and NTS radio, creator/owner of all things at the brilliant Noise in my Head (a title which you can also catch him DJing under around Sydney & Melbourne) and a veteran of the Australian music industry – working in publishing for Mushroom, A&R for Modular Records and plenty in-between.