What makes a vinyl record so special? Despite the way digital technology makes it so easy to access and store music, many music lovers are gravitating back to vinyl. Sales of LPs have been steadily increasing for several years now and that’s for good reasons.
People enjoy the LP format, with its built-in intermission. They like to hold an album cover in their hands, peruse the artwork and mull over the lyrics. Those with discerning ears say that the analog sound of a vinyl record is warmer and more authentic than that of a CD.
National Record Store Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 22, is the perfect day for you to discover the bins, shelves, and crates of the independent record shops in Downtown Long Beach. Here are five shops, all owned by music aficionados, that each offer a distinct spin on what an independent record shop can be.
Serving up music at 260 Atlantic Avenue since 1977, this shop is packed with 45s, LPs, 78s, 12-inch singles, CDs and music memorabilia. Focused mainly on vinyl, Bagatelle is always looking to buy used records in order to keep its diverse, heavily-shopped stock fresh (Call 562-432-7534 to sell yours today!).
Bagatelle’s atmosphere could be described as “no frills.” It’s a place to roll up your sleeves and dig deep in the crates, discovering new musical treasures while digging what owner Steve Mintz is playing on his own in-store turntable.
The shop is open from noon until 5:30 PM, Monday through Saturday. It is packed from floor to ceiling with music. Pay a visit and prepare to walk out with a stack of musical riches.
Drop the needle on their website here.
With its colossal selection of new and used LPs, 45s, CDs, cassettes, vintage hi-fi equipment, classic music posters and lots more, Fingerprints at 420 East 4th St is an indie megastore of sorts.
Owner Rand Foster has managed to keep the neighborhood record shop feel going for a few decades while building Fingerprints into an international attraction. Folks from all over the world shop there online, and the store features world-class live shows and record signings. Superstar acts such as Brian Wilson, The Prophets of Rage, Foo Fighters, and Chrissie Hynde have appeared at Fingerprints.
Several local artists sell their wares within the store: Browse the aisles and shop for jewelry, clocks made from LPs, custom camera straps, earrings, crochet pieces, and other fun stuff.
Fingerprints is open from 11 AM until 7 PM seven days a week. Stop in on Record Store Day and search for musical treasures. “It’s great to have a physical copy of music that means so much to you,” said employee Van Pappe.
NOTE: Fingerprints will be implementing special shopping protocols on 4/22. Learn more by clicking here.
Shop owner Hector Waluyo travels far and wide to collect rare, collectible vinyl for his shop at 746 East 7th St. Filled with records from many genres, including Funk, Soul, Latin, African, Boogie, Disco, R & B, and Blues, the shop has the inviting, comfortable feel of a European coffeehouse.
Guests can relax on a tuck-and-roll couch under a disco ball and listen to 45s on an old-school record player, or groove to Waluyo as he spins records on his DJ rig.
Open Wednesdays from noon to 5 PM, and Thursdays through Sundays from noon until 6 PM, Twelves will be ready to welcome you and make you feel at home during your Record Store Day music trek.
Get deep in the groove on the Twelves Instagram page.
“For me, Toxic Toast Records [at 757 Pine Avenue] is what a real record shop used to be,” said customer Luis Rivera as he left the shop with an armful of LPs. Toxic Toast will definitely bring some unique, outside-the-lines elements to your Downtown music safari.
Shop owner Andrew George expounded on his shop’s offerings: “Our main product is vinyl, and we try to specialize in the genres that are outside the mainstream,” he told us. “We have a lot of Punk, Ska, and Heavy Metal, and recently we’ve been expanding our selection of Japanese City Pop, which is a sound from the mid-’80s to mid-’90s that is now being sampled extensively by hip-hop artists.”
Toxic Toast accompanies its records with an assortment of music-friendly t-shirts, patches, vintage toys, and buttons.
The shop is open from noon until 7 PM every day except Monday. “We have unique, collectible records that you’re not going to find at any other store,” said George.
Skank this way to the Toxic Toast website.
Amazingly, April 22 is both National Record Store Day and Earth Day. Celebrate both at 324 Elm Street, home of The Record Box and Vida Plant Shop, where plants and music exist in harmony.
“Our store is curated differently than others,” said shop owner Jose Jurado. “We see things mainly through a Hip-Hop, Soul, and Jazz lens, but we also carry Rock, World Beat, Reggae, Latin, and other styles. We’re not putting ourselves in one box.”
The Record Box is open from noon until 6 PM every day except Wednesday. On Record Store Day, Jurado and a roster of guest DJs will be spinning throughout your Downtown vinyl quest. “It’s going to be an all-day celebration of records,” said Jurado.
Vida Plants owner Sasha Pace chimed in: “Record Day and Earth Day — it’s going to be great! Come to our space on April 22 and thrive on music and plants.”
Click to let the beat drop on The Record Box website.
We’re always on the lookout for Downtown businesses, events, community members and more to highlight in our Downtown Scene newsletter, on our website, and social media channels! If you have an event coming up or know of any Downtown-based amazingness going on that people need to know about, give us a shout by emailing our Communications & Marketing Manager, Asia Morris, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit an upcoming Downtown event to our events calendar at downtownlongbeach.org/events.