The pickins are gettin’ slim for what record stores are left in Los Angeles. Lots of cruddy ones have closed, and only a handful of new stores have come along to take their place.
10 years ago, Joe & I could drive almost anywhere in Orange County and find 5 – 8 record stores a night to go to. Now, north of San Diego County, I only know of a few: Second Spin in Costa Mesa, Burgertime in Fullerton and an FYE (what used to be The Wherehouse) also in Fullerton. Out in the inland empire, one can visit Rhino Claremont and their sister store, Mad Platter in Riverside – but both of those stores are a real drive! Buena Park is home to the famous record collector swap meet that takes place there – in the union hall.
In the south bay, where I live, it’s really bad. Steve Mintz / Bagatelle on Atlantic Ave. downtown is still there, but…he’s never open when I can go. I heard that Fingerprints closed on 2nd St. in Belmont Shores and moved downtown, near Steve Mintz – but I’ve never seen their new store.
Over in Torrance / Gardena, there’s the big Wherehouse (SE corner of Artesia and Hawthorne; and another FYE down the street from it), and a small store on Crenshaw Blvd. that is still there, called something like “Cash For Records” (there isn’t a sign). I bought LP’s there a while back, and I see that it’s still there. I like to shop at Soundsations, in Westchester (near LAX), and even though it was recently sold, Record Surplus on Pico Blvd. is still a favorite of mine. I hope it doesn’t change; there’s a rumor that they have to move, though. Second Spin on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
Hollywood yields Amoeba Music, a place I go all the time. Dana M. calls it “the Home Depot of music”. Near Dorothy’s there’s a few samller stores: Rockaway Records on Glendale Blvd. is still there and open for business, not a bad place. I wish they’d bring back the $2.99 LP’s! Over in Highland Park / Eagle Rock, there’s Wolbleton Records, guys that travel and bring back oddities – not cheap, but sometimes very interesting! Pasadena has Canterbury Records and the relocated Poo Bah Record Shop, both on Colorado Blvd. – I go in Canterbury all the time. Pasadena is also home to the PCC Swap Meet, where I shopped at the end of last month.
In the San Fernando Valley, all three stores are on Ventura Blvd.: Freakbeat Records in Sherman Oaks, Second Spin in Van Nuys, CD Trader in Tarzana – two good stores. There are some other smaller stores in the valley, but…not much going on at Backside Records in Burbank, last time I checked.
So, is that it? Lou’s in Encinitas; Folk Arts in San Diego; Record City in San Diego; Grady’s Record Refuge in Ventura; Salzer’s in Ventura…anything other than these and you’re more than 100 miles from Los Angeles.