Top 4 vintage record stores with modern appeal

By Marina Diez

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Large cardboard boxes filled to the brim with old records and LPs, colorful posters taped to old decomposing walls, shelves overloaded with CDs, DVDs and turntables for sale. People cram next to each other as they shuffle through the store to find that old sentimental record from way back when. Face it: even with the onset of iPods and iTunes,there’s no replacing the classic feel of an old-time record store. Here are the Black & White’s top four choices.

The Sound Garden is one of the best places to find old records and CDs in the D.C. Metropolitan area. Photo courtesy the Baltimore Sun.

1. The Sound Garden record store, located in Baltimore, was established in 1993 in the center of historical Fells Point. Bands such as All Time Low, Goo Goo Dolls and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus have performed in the store.With 10,000 square feet of used and new CDs, LPs (for you music amateurs, LPs are long-playing phonographic records), DVDs, BluRays and DJ rental equipment, it’s no surprise this record store has made it onto the Rolling Stone’s “Top 25 Record Stores in America.” The store constantly renews its merchandise, so it’s definitely always worth the trip to Baltimore.

2. Don’t forget to check out Som Records in downtown D.C. Despite its small size, this underground record store has an enormous inventory. The staff really loves records. Seriously –they love talking about them, sharing stories and helping you expand your collection of vinyls. Turntables are also available for purchase. Som Records, along with Vinyl District, Soul Recordings and The Black Cat, host a fun, outdoor Valentine’s Day fair where you can spend the afternoon scavenging vinyl for as low as $2.

3. Hard-to-find new and used CDs and LPs from independent music labels and enigmatic releases far off the mainstream radar find a home in Crooked Beat Records, a record store located in Adams Morgan. Their experienced staff can help you find even the most obscure record, like the Double Dagger’s new album. They even have a section for local bands, such as Siddal’s “Pedestal.” There’s nothing like walking through this record store’s doors and losing yourself in between aisles of music.

4. Jason Willet, head of Megaphone Records, and Stewart Mostofsky, head of Ehse Records, combined their love of music to open The True Vine, a small record store in Baltimore. This store’s large inventory is packed with everything from rare ethnographic 78s to 12-inch records. If you’re lucky, you may even find ‘white whales,’ those obscure, been-looking-for-them-for-ages records. Ranked number 17 on the Rolling Stone’s “Top 25 Record Stores in America” and number 14 on’s “America’s 15 Best Indie Record Stores,” The True Vine is definitely a Baltimore record store gem.

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