It’s the era of the cloud. Historically, many new technologies—cassette tapes, CDs, mp3s, and online shopping—have put the squeeze on vinyl shops. Almost all of Oakland’s record stores, including stores in East, West, North, and Downtown, have closed or moved away. Vinyl sales, however, are up, especially in the last few years. Here’s a roundup of five remaining and new record stores around Oakland, ranging from new to used records, and covering a multitude of genres. Each shop offers a great selection for $10 or less. Let’s get spinning!

1-2-3-4-Go! Records

420 40th Street, #5
http://1234gorecords.com/

There’s definitely an emphasis on punk and indie at 1-2-3-4-Go!, but it has everything from soul, reggae, and rap. “All but classical and pop,” says Rob Fletcher, who works at the store that has a record label under the same name. 1-2-3-4-Go! Expanded in April. It has been in its current spot for three years and within a block radius of that for about six, carrying equal amounts new and used records as well as books and zines. In back is a small venue that holds roughly 50 people and hosts around five shows a month. Fletcher notes that the venue works for artists who want something more legit than a house show, but who can’t fill a bigger venue. The back room also doubles as a gallery with art shows on First Fridays.

Album: Fletcher picks Things that Play Themselves by King Snake Roost, a thuggish, swamp, primal, mid-80s band out of Australia.

Econo Jam Records

2519 Telegraph Avenue
https://www.facebook.com/EconoJamRecords

Every Halloween, Econo Jam has an anniversary party at the store. Or it will, since it’s only been open since last October 31. Tom O’Shaughnessy opened the store using much of his own collection, which includes a large selection of new and used rock (such as 24 Rolling Stones albums), metal, country, pop, and sections dedicated to holiday music and soundtracks. The back contains 4/$1 bins, $0.50 bins, and a couch for listening to albums. O’Shaughnessy feels the shop is particularly strong in its wide selection of jazz albums, many of which are sealed, well-priced, and were previously in his closet. O’Shaughnessy is taking advantage of the store’s location in Uptown by staying open until 10 p.m. on First Fridays.

Album: O’Shaughnessy’s pick is Low Life by New Order ($10), considered to be some of the English post-punk/synthpop band’s strongest work.

Groove Yard Records

5555 Claremont Avenue

Two aisles run the length of Groove Yard, which has been in its present spot for 10 years and in Oakland for 22. The store has an emphasis on jazz and blues, including a Big Band section. Owner Rick Ballard, however, is especially proud of his world music collection, which includes Brazilian, reggae, and flamenco. Groove Yard has seen an uptick in customers recently. “People want something tangible,” says Ballard, who recently acquired a collection of over 10,000 albums, much of it jazz, which will roll into the shop beginning the first weekend in August.

Album: Ballard’s pick is Soul Source by Machito ($7), whom he calls “pretty much the inventor of Afro-Cuban jazz in the US.”

Stranded

4929 Telegraph Avenue
http://stranded-shop.com/

Stranded has only been open at its current location, in the heart of Temescal, since July 1. Nate Landry, who works at the shop, says that there are many more records from the old store than the new one can presently handle, so new albums will appear often. The store has an equal mix of new and used. The emphasis is less about any particular genre, says Landry, and about “more obscure things in every genre.” The folks at Stranded hope to have live shows in their new space, a feature the old spot accommodated. While there are $1 bins, Stranded’s collection is mostly over $10 due to the rare nature of the collection. There are, though, great deals to be found.

Album: Landry picks Born Again by Black Sabbath. It’s the British heavy metal band’s only album with Ian Gillan as lead vocalist.

VAMP (Vintage Art & Music for the People)

331 19th Street
http://vampvintageartmusicpeople.blogspot.com/

VAMP isn’t just a record store. Alongside the records that fill most of the room are vintage books, clothes, housewares, and locally-made jewelry. While the shop’s “new arrivals” boxes include Richard Pryor, Henry Mancini, and Hank Williams, the focus of VAMP is on jazz, blues, and R&B, with all albums being second-hand except for a section devoted to albums by local artists. Tracy Parker and Fernando Carpenter opened the store last year. They have strong roots in the community and participate in the Oakland Freedom Jazz Society, First Fridays, and other events at local businesses, such as Duende, LeQueVive, Studio Grande, and The Legionnaire. Parker describes the shop as an “extension of our living room… a place where anyone can feel comfortable.”

Album: Parker picks Soul Message by Richard “Groove” Holmes ($8). “If you like classic, funky, organ jazz, this is your guy.”

1-2-3-4-Go! Records on 40th St has a large selection both new and used records

1-2-3-4-Go! Records on 40th St has a large selection of both new and used records.

About The Author

Katie is the Music Editor at OL. She's a music geek, culture junkie, massive A's fan, and Oakland native. When she was six, she stood for five minutes with a felt pennant stuck under Chris Mullin’s armpit. Check out her Oakland music listings at www.oakampd.com, follow on twitter/instagram as @craziesthawk, or contact at katies@oaklandlocal.com

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