Words by Angus White + Gina Bonnar
Photograph of Vinyl Revival by @manc_wanderer
Record Store Day UK is the celebration of the unique culture surrounding records across a community of 260 independent record shops all across the country. There are special vinyl releases that are made and sold exclusively for the day and cities host performances and events to celebrate. It has become one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar!
The event was conceived during a gathering of independent store owners, who along with their employees wanted a way to celebrate and spread the word about the vast array of independent stores. The first RSD took place in April 2008 and now it has become a worldwide event – it has become a day of celebration for all of the people who contribute to the record store community – such as staff, customers, artists, and labels. A day to mark the special role independent record stores play within their local communities.
It is clear that a new wave of music fans now look forward to spending their time wading through record stores to find hidden treasures. Records provide something tangible, something you can become attached to – whether that’s the artwork, record design, or just its authentic sound.
In fact, we are very lucky to live in Manchester with its long history of being a city that “does things its own way”. Manchester is a city that is rich in musical heritage and for this reason, has become a melting pot of many musical subcultures. This has allowed Manchester to gain a reputation as one of the hotspots of the vinyl revival with some of the best independent record stores in the UK. As Anthony H. Wilson once said: “Manchester kids have the best record collections”.
Whatever music you are into I am certain that Manchester can provide something for you – whether that’s new, new to you, second-hand classics, or from a bargain bin.
To celebrate Record Shop Day on the 22nd April, we have compiled a selection of Manchester’s independent record stores for you to check out + add to your collection!
Piccadilly Records – 53 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter
Manchester’s largest and longest-running independent store, it has been at the forefront of the musical scene for forty-odd years, twenty-five of which have been under the current owners. You won’t find any second-hand gems here but Piccadilly Records instead offers an array of new releases which span across many many genres. If you’re struggling at all to find something which stands out, the staff provide their own review for every single record in the store, making browsing a more informed experience, and staff interaction is a certainty as the enthusiastic desire to spread the word about niche records or music you are yet to hear is at the centre of Piccadilly’s mission.
All Night Flight – 10 Mealhouse Brow, Stockport
Over in Stockport, All Night Flight is a physical and online select record store dealing in predominately left-field, experimental, electronic, and worldwide sounds. They aim to supply a collection of records from interesting places in the world, that are less known on the UK dancefloor and come from the personal tastes of the owners. As well as providing a community for vinyl lovers to discover new music, they also host parties at various venues and guest shows on NTS Radio. If you prefer a more niche selection, this is definitely the record shop for you.
Vinyl Exchange – 18 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter
Since 1988, Vinyl Exchange has been a consistent provider of second-hand vinyl. Throughout its years, its secured its reputation as the North West’s largest seller and buyer of used records. Its basement is packed with rack-after-rack of well-priced records for the casual shopper to browse, as well as opportunities for seasoned vinyl hunters to get their hands dirty digging through the bargain bins, although there are still opportunities for serious vinyl collectors to spend their savings on those rarer gems. This should be the blueprint for any second-hand store.
Sifters Records – 177 Fog Lane, Didsbury
The proof is in the name – Sifters Records is the perfect place to sift through a huge (and affordable) collection of second-hand records. It has been around for over 30 years and has even been mentioned in Noel Gallagher’s song Shakermaker stating: “Mr Sifter sold me songs when I was just 16”! It can’t get more iconic than that, can it? The staff have an extensive amount of knowledge about music and records that they love to share with their customers and even buy vintage records from customers – so if you have any to share this is the place to take them!
Eastern Bloc – 5a Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter
This store is a regular haunt for the city’s DJs as they specialise in electronic music. It has been open since 1985 and its reputation as the place for electronic records in Manchester is deserved, as they have become one of the country’s best jungle and drum and bass specialists. However, you will also find hip-hop, soul, funk, and reggae amongst the array of records. It regularly hosts in-store events such as DJ sets and sessions from local selectors and labels – this has played an essential role in Manchester’s ever-growing dance scene. Eastern Bloc also serves up food and drinks to refuel the hungry record hunters.
Tasty Records – 25 Regent Road, Altrincham
Based in the heart of Altrincham, Tasty Records boasts of its wide selection of both new + preloved vinyl. This truly independent shop aims to create a “comfortable, unpretentious environment with a wide range sure to please anyone who comes through our door”. In our opinion, this is the perfect motto for those wanting to explore the vinyl community, whether you are a beginner wanting advice on records, or a regular customer that wants to chat!
Vinyl Revival – 5 Hilton Street, Northern Quarter
Vinyl Revival is the champion of music made in Manchester, specialising in the sounds of the city from the 1950s to the current day – a range you’ll struggle to find elsewhere. Established in 1997, the store has always been keen to blow Manchester’s trumpet as one of the UK’s best cities for musical heritage. No wonder, as this store focuses on local music as it was established in the 1990s which saw Manchester establish its legacy as the music capital of the UK with bands such as Oasis, New Order, Inspiral Carpets, and the Charlatans all dominating the UK alternative/rock scene. Vinyl Revival continues to champion the city’s musical heritage.