My Favourite Toronto Record Stores
Dead Dog Records
Dead Dog Records was one I came across by accident. After a casual stroll in the area, I found their shop, and you know me, I see a record store and I gotta go in. I gotta. So after going in, I noticed they had a pretty great record selection at reasonable prices. Not only did they have a record from The Used (In Love and Death) that I had never seen before, but a Gorillaz's debut album, which usually went for $75, at half the price! Along with records, they also sell CDs and merch. Not to mention the staff is incredibly helpful and really know their music.
You may be living under a rock if you're a Torontonian and you haven't been to (or at least heard of) Sonic Boom. If you've seen the film Scott Pilgrim vs the World, you may have even recognized it. The movie was filmed in Toronto, and the record store scenes were filmed in the old location. Then much smaller, they've relocated and now take a spot on the corner of Queen and Spadina. A much bigger 2 level location, the store gives a more relaxed feel, and its wood interior makes it almost feel like you're at home. As you should, with all of those records. Along with vinyl (both new and used), they sell CDs, merch, books, fun pins, and Crosley players. I've grabbed Against Me!'s New Wave, and Fall Out Boy's American Beauty/American Psycho albums from there.
When in doubt, I always go to KOPS. Not only do they have a great selection of new and used records, but the price is probably the best I've ever come across, with most ranging between 19-22 dollars. I've managed to snag some great records here and the staff is beyond helpful. If you're ever stuck or unsure, you can always ask them for what's in stock, as well as if there's anyway certain records can be ordered from outside sources. Some favourites I've gotten from there are my RSD purchases, Amy Winehouse, and Best Coast.
Play De Record
Play De Record was another one of those random finds I came across. A subway delay had me walk up to a different station, and I found it in my travels. Upon entrance to the small store, I figured it out pretty quickly. As I was skimming through I finally got my hands on a copy of Green Day's American Idiot, which I had been after for a while at a reasonable price. They're moving to a new location in the Kensington Market area which I think will be a great fit for them. I can't wait to see their newer location!
Rotate This is an excellent independent store, that's located on Queen Street and will be relocating to the Ossington area soon. I found my copy of Taylor Swift's Speak Now there before any other major retailer started carrying it. I found not only the great selection, but the staff to be incredibly helpful. When I asked about a certain record, they took down my name and number and contacted me to let me know if certain records were in print and/or available to order. Talk about upping your game!
HONORABLE MENTION: Urban Outfitters
Now, I know Urban Outfitters doesn't really count because not only is it a well known chain brand, but it's also based in the US. That said, I have to give them credit for their selection. Although they cater to a lot of top 40 artists, sometimes they release limited edition records, like the Clueless soundtrack with a plaid print on the record, or the bright pink Marina and the Diamonds' Electra Heart. Although the company is fairly problematic, I can't say no to their record selection. Such cruel fate.
Where do you buy your records?