The 5 Best Independent Record Stores in Los Angeles

We narrowed down our choices around Los Angeles County, from as far South as San Pedro to as far North as Atwater Village
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Record collecting has existed for nearly a century now but in the past few years, vinyl sales exploded. In 2021, vinyl records outsold CDs in the United States for the first time in 30 years, with 38.3 percent of album sales coming from the unstoppable medium. Thousands joined those among us who demand the tactile feel of a record and to own the album art and liner notes, or prefer that warmth of sound and crackle of a needle on wax, and of course, look forward to the weekend trip to a local record shop to dig through their crates—keeping an unlikely format alive and kicking.

The collecting pastime has spread across generations and appears to be here to stay. But for years, vinyl’s death has been presumed and predicted—first with the advent of cassettes and then compact discs; an anticipated death blow for all of the above was presumed when mp3s hit the market, which is nearly a format of the past for many consumers who now prefer streaming.

Los Angeles is no stranger to a trend, and soon enough, record shops began popping up again all over the city. Vinyl sales also grew in the city’s flea markets, with special booths dedicated solely to records now occupying nearly every market. So we figured it only appropriate to compile our personal five favorite independent record stores across L.A.

(Photo by Record Safari)

Record Safari 3222 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village

Alex Rodriguez has been making quite the impression on the vinyl community in Los Angeles; he even earned himself a spot in our Best of L.A. list for 2022. Rodriguez has a personal collection of over 50,000 records, cementing his dedication and love for the format. In 2021, he opened Record Safari, which boasts an incredible wall of holy grail albums alongside thousands more of the easier-to-find titles. Some of his other contributions include curating a record store tent at Coachella and This Ain’t No Picnic, as well as a documentary—Digging In The Crates of America—about his experience at the Indio mega-festival.

 

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Cosmic Vinyl 2149 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park

This record store is beautifully tucked away between the eccentric shops of Echo Park. The vinyl on offer is incredible and the owner, Oren Pius, will always greet you with a smile. If this wasn’t enough, it doubles as a vegan cafe, with delicious baked goods lining a rack at the front of the shop. The coffee is also incredible; customers can grab a cup while browsing and then shuffle back to the cozy seating area available. We really can’t get enough of Cosmic Vinyl, and it deserves a spot on our list for the environment it creates alone.

(Photo by Stephanie Breijo)

Permanent Records Roadhouse 1906 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park

What’s the best part of Permanent Records Roadhouse? Between the bar, the live music, the two buildings to shop from, and the intimate red lighting, it’s hard to choose. Grabbing a soda or coffee when shopping for records is always great, but grabbing a drink from the bar is even better. Experiences like those at this shop are hard to come by nowadays, and it makes browsing through old records far more enjoyable. The shop hosts live music nearly every night, with experimental, punk, and traditional rock bands all taking the stage. The prices are fair and the selection of rare records is widely appreciated.

 

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Twelves 746 E 7th St, Long Beach

Long Beach may be a bit out of the way from all of the other stores listed here, but Twelves certainly makes the trip worth it. Though on the smaller side, it seems the owners can pack almost every genre of music into its crates. The genre sections that stick out here are Latin and Hip-Hop, as many shops across the county do not have either in stock on a consistent basis. However, Twelves doesn’t stop there, as sought-after records in every category arrive daily. Find all the favorites—Led Zeppelin, Surrealistic Pillow/Airplane, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd—within their doors upon your first trip.

P.M. Sounds  421 W. 6th St., San Pedro

Jazz has been all the rage in the vinyl community, with artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk all occupying the want lists of collectors across the world. P.M. Sounds is a Black-owned record store that specializes in the genre, and its a hidden gem of L.A. shopping. It sits on Sixth Street in San Pedro and has a brightly colored storefront; upon entry, customers can find dozens of crates full of the greats and posters of them on the wall, as well. The owner, Erving Johnson, had carefully curated an eclectic selection of sounds for anyone digging through to enjoy.


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