Hey, Raleigh. RALtoday intern Phoenix here. 👋 With consumers choosing the appeal of old-school vinyl records over contemporary music technologies — indicated by the first recorded peak of vinyl album sales since 1991 — you may be wondering how to start or broaden your own vinyl collection.
Lucky for you, the Triangle is host to a myriad of record stores each with its own history + offerings. We’ve compiled a list of eight shops in the area we recommend for your next vinyl hunt.
The shops on our list go beyond offering their standard collections of new and used records by venturing into music production, magazine publication, podcasts, books, beverages + works by local makers. In the age of digitization, picking up a record is a great way to unplug and find new ways to experience your favorite music all while shopping local.
Note: Due to COVID-19, some businesses may currently be closed or offering limited services.
🎧 Hunky Dory
📍718 9th St., Durham
Named after the iconic David Bowie album, this edgy record store features an array of items in its retail space including new and $1 used vinyls, hand-blown glass from local artists, and their famous Throwing Shade crowlers. As a staple on Ninth Street, you’re bound to spot customers donning the shop’s funky apparel with the signature slogan “Keep it Dirty, Durham” across their tees. This record store is a jack of all trades where you can pick up your next musical indulgence or trinket + enjoy a cold beer.
🎧 Bull City Records (BCR)
📍2600 Hillsborough Rd., Durham
This record store sets itself apart from the rest with its subscription service, events + extensive catalog — new and used — which can be purchased online or in-store. BCR’s album of the month club delivers hand-picked, staff-favourite new releases accompanied with mini-zines filled with commentary. Events hosted by BCR feature album releases and listening parties for local and non-local artists alike. This is the perfect place to pump up or begin your vinyl collection with over 15 genres to choose from.
🎧 Schoolkids Records
📍2237 Avent Ferry Rd., Raleigh
This record store not only started serving the Triangle community in 1974, but since 2008, has functioned as a record label producing original albums for local artists. They also run their own national publication, Blurt Magazine, which is released bi-annually with groovy commentary on all things music. Buy, sell, or trade vinyl records in-store or online. Bonus: They’ve got another location in Chapel Hill.
🎧 Nice Price Books and Records
📍3106 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
If you’re looking to curl up and read a book to some jams, you get the best of both worlds at this record-shop-meets-book-store. Split between their main and junior locations, we recommend venturing to both based on their unique offerings — both locations provide new + used vinyls and used books. The junior location features all scheduled events, book club meetings, zines, beverages, plants + pottery from local artists. ProTip: Tune into the Nice Price Podcast for insider info on new and reissued records, downloadable on all major platforms.
🎧 Sound Off Records and Hi-Fi
📍14 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh
Owned by husband-and-wife Aaron + Anna, this record store opened in 2016 to operate as a vintage-only store. The shop sells used vintage and dead stock records and hifi, as well as vintage audio equipment. The owners cater to the needs of local clientele by eliminating online sales — they believe this offers a personal experience for shoppers in Raleigh and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking for a sound system circa 1980s or an antique Beatles album, we think you’ll find the authenticity that you’re looking for at this shop.
🎧 Sorry State Records
📍317 W Morgan St. #105, Raleigh
Founded in 2005 as a record label and eventually branching out as a brick-and-mortar record shop and online store, this shop has gained global influence as one of the fastest growing punk rock distributors in the world. The record label itself has produced nearly 100 releases, with a diverse discography from NC, Sweden, and Japan. As one of the most influential multi-level record companies in the area, we recommend stopping in this shop to fulfill your next new + used record from their jazz, soul, metal, and classic rock genres.
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Have y’all been blasting this new ISS single? It’s been on constant rotation here at the shop. No surprise, this NC local duo turns up the heat with their most scathing lyrics to date! So good in fact that they’re stamped right on the front cover. Make sure you freaxxx grip one of these quick:) #iss #toopunkforheavymetal #totalpunkrecords #punkrecords #areyoureallysurethatyoudeserveiss? #imnot
🎧 The Record Krate
📍508 St. Marys St., Raleigh
📍208 S. White St., Wake Forest
This record store specializes in used and new records, CDs, and cassettes with 10+ genres to choose from. The shop is known especially for their extensive jazz collection. Their New Release Round-Up featured on their website provides music industry insight and commentary on albums released each week. We recommend trying their handcrafted kombucha brewed locally in Wake Forest while sifting through the record stacks.
🎧 The Pour House Music Hall & Record Shop
📍224 S Blount St., Raleigh
Located on the second floor of the Pour House Music Hall, this shop is a record store by day and live music venue by night. Offering both used and new records with over 11 genres to choose from, you are bound to find your next album in their extensive collection. This shop features a full bar with five draft beers and a long list of events including free live performances, listening + album release parties and album signings. Why just buy albums when you can watch live performances while you shop?
Contributed by Phoenix Berman