vinyl diary: digging across the pond

So we didn’t go to Europe just to buy vinyl, but I did wind up being able to spend a few hours in each city we visited checking out record stores, and besides bringing back some excellent wax (much of which I probably wouldn’t easily find stateside), I took a few flicks to share as well.  I also took pics of the haul I brought back; I decided to arbitrarily limit myself to small amounts of 7″ and 10″ records in order to make it easier to carry back to the U.S.  Click the flicks for bigger pics!

Göteborg (aka Gothenburg):

Unfortunately I didn’t actually get to spend any time in record stores here, but I did find two that were closed at the time:

Helmers Hi Fi

I was told this was the best record store in Göteborg

World Music Oasis

This one also looked cool; wish I could have gone in!

København (aka Copenhagen):

SORT Kaffe & Vinyl was the only record store I made it to in København, but it was a great one!  It was a tiny store with a very nice collection, heavy on the funk but pretty eclectic.  They also had some of the best equipment I’ve seen at a user listening station, including a Pro-Ject III turntable (and they had a number of Pro-Ject products for sale as well).  I highly recommend this place if you get to København!

True to its name, there was also a Cafe there that served excellent coffee.  And it was a great place for my girlfriend to sit and patiently wait for me to rifle through the contents of the store.  Thanks baby!

There was a lot of excellent vinyl for such a small store, including some fine exotica!

My haul from Kaffe & Vinyl.

The 10″ actually has all this stuff printed directly on the vinyl.  And it’s fun reggae-inspired hip hop; “Legalize It” in Danish I assume…  More info on that record here


After København we came back to Sweden for the ACSIS conference. Norrköping is a small town near Stockholm, and I think it only has the one record store.  It was a great one though!

Vaxkupan Records

From the photo you can’t really tell how many excellent used vinyl records were available in this store, mostly at reasonable prices by Swedish standards!

My haul from Vaxkupan. Several of these got played at the dinner gig at the conference!  There are a few Swedish 45s that I picked at random since there was no vinyl listening station.  Pricewise this was probably the best deal of all the digging I did — all of this was only 125 SEK (about 20 USD). 

The real find here was the Josephine Baker 45, a Danish pressing of French songs recorded in 1957. The cover is actually autographed by Josephine Baker; the autograph is dated 12/7/1957.  How this ended up in Norrköping I have no idea.

Other gems included the Midi, Maxi, and Efti smash hit “Bad Bad Boys” as well as this 1971 Pop-Tops single.


Berlin was the next stop, which was as you expect a vinyl junkie’s paradise.  There was much to do in Berlin besides crate-digging, however, so we kept it to two stores: Hard Wax and Spacehall.

Berlin’s infamous Hard Wax Records was in an apartment building.

You had to walk a few flights up this tagged-up staircase to find the store

I only got one photo inside the store, but there was a large number of 12″s — techno, drum n bass, dubstep, tech house, as well as an excellent reggae section.  You can’t see it from here but there was also a DJ station with great speakers and a beautiful Ecler Nuo 3 mixer.  There was a DJ playing some great minimal while we were in there.

Their 7″ collection was very limited (except for an extensive reggae collection which I avoided since I wanted to focus on stuff I couldn’t easily find in LA).  I brought these three gems home; two nice dubstep 45s (a whitelabel from hey-ø-hansen and a Jazzsteppa release featuring Borgore) and a really cool downtempo whitelabel with a handstamp.

Spacehall Records … and some guy’s legs

From the outside you can’t tell how huge this place is.  I spent some time browsing in the first room, which had a lot of rock, hip hop, and reggae as well as electronic music, but after a while I realized there were two more HUGE rooms filled with vinyl, mostly electronic dance music.

Huge room #1

Huge room #2
I wish I had more time and more money, I could have easily spent an entire day in this record store and brought home a lot more than I did…

I only took home a few 10″s from here, mostly tech house and dubstep.
Tons of good stuff but nothing was cheap.
Check out the house whitelabel from 200 Records.

That brown package looks like another 10″ but it’s not. 
But it was free!

I also ran into this store but it was closed:

Piatto Forte

This store had some very cool things in the window.  Who wouldn’t want a pink fuzzy deck??

Had this place been open I totally would have bought this t-shirt.


Paris is an amazing city.  I only got to stop into a few of the many record stores there, and had very little time for digging.  We randomly were there on June 21st, which is the city’s free music festival (Fête de la musique).  So we spent that entire day checking out live music all over town, and didn’t walk into any record stores.  Nevertheless I found some gems on the day I did record-shop!

Found this store accidentally because it was right across the street from Bikram Yoga.  Lots of vinyl in here, mostly French popular dance music.  I was hoping for some garage and psychedelic stuff but that wasn’t here.

I think the owner was amused that I was asking him for French disco music.  I don’t think we meant the same thing.  The record on the lower left is with Catherine Ringer, who founded Les Rita Mitsouko.  And I couldn’t resist buying a record called “I Love America” in Paris!

My Electro Kitchen. I went to this store three different times and it was always closed. Are they ever open?

Superfly Records.
This store was amazing.  Incredible collection of funk!
And the clerk was very helpful when I asked about places to go listen to music in town.

I found some great stuff at Superfly. Stuck to stuff I could afford but there was a lot more for collectors willing to spend 10+ euro on 7″ records!

Choice picks here included this Minimatic Mash-up (if only for the cover) and this ridiculously funky jam from Wah Wah 45s (hear samples). Oh yeah and the French pressing of this Nancy Sinatra 7″. (Hear it on youtube!) 

And there always has to be one bad experience; too bad mine was the last record store I checked out.

OK so this record store was an amazing place by my standards — lots of great funk, soul, R&B, rock n roll, jazz, and French pop from the obscure to the infamous, and I loved the way it was organized (i.e. not at all).  There were records and 45s everywhere, all used, and there was little if any organization to it. Unfortunately everything is ridiculously overpriced. I mean to the point of absurdity.

However, the owner was a complete asshat.  He seemed annoyed that anyone would actually go inside his store to begin with, and he didn’t want to help me in any way when I tried to ask questions. (It’s possible he’d be nicer to you if you speak French but I’m skeptical; I think he’s just a dick). He was sort of a 70-year-old French version of the Comic Book guy from the Simpsons, but even more douchie.

When I did try to buy some things he made up prices on the spot that were double (and more) the marked prices.  Literally - I had one record that was marked 5 euro and another marked 1 euro and he wanted 10 and 5 respectively. He wouldn’t let me listen to the records and was impatient about any questions; all he would tell me was his prices. (Seriously, who pays 10 euro for a 45 they’ve never heard of without being able to listen to it? and some were marked far higher). When I showed him the marked prices he waved them away in an aggressive and annoyed manner and basically chased me out of the store. Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything there.