A few weeks ago, we published our list of the country’s top 10 bookstores, a response to those who browse but don’t buy and those who would abandon paperbacks and hardcovers for the realm of eBooks. It generated so much discussion it inspired us to put together another roundup of shops for culture vultures: America’s best independent music stores. Although, in general, they seem to be doing much better than their chain competitors in this era of declining CD sales and renewed interest in vinyl records, legendary outlets still go out of business all the time — like, most recently, beloved NY and LA hip-hop destination Fat Beats.
This list isn’t just our opinion: It’s the result of recommendations from Flavorpill staff and readers (who weighed in via Facebook). Add to our celebration of indie music stores around the country by leaving your picks in the comments.
The day Noho’s branch of Tower Records closed its doors, leaving long-time indie rival Other Music standing triumphantly across the street, felt like a David and Goliath-level victory. So despite its relatively small size, one of the last great indie record stores in downtown Manhattan is an obvious choice. No, you can’t find Jason Derulo’s latest embarrassment there – in fact, the wonderfully, infallibly elitist staff at OM probably won’t even admit to knowing who that dude is. But if you like your music obscure (or at least independent), you will gawk at the wall of rare LPs that line one wall. You will clutch that Black Randy and the Metrosquad reissue you’ve been searching for. You will pack in to check out your favorite band at a cramped but fantastic in-store. You will part with more of your hard-earned cash than you thought possible. And you will love every minute of it.