In support of Record Store Day, Laura Harker & Bertie Alexander round up some of Berlin’s best vinyl stores…
Launched in the U.S, by a small group of enthusiasts in 2007, Record Store Day was created to support struggling record stores and celebrate vinyl in general. Quickly crossing the Atlantic, it has since spread to Europe and the U.K. with over 3,000 record stores participating worldwide.
As a supportive measure, we have listed some of our favourite local record stores below. Spanning all genres from punk to techno, not all of them are participating in RSD – but they’re still fantastic shops to browse anyway.
Located in a former squat along Kreuzberg’s vibrant Oranienstrasse, just a few doors down from legendary S036, CORE TEX is one of the last remaining throwbacks to the days when Kreuzberg was a haven for anarchists, pacifists and those of the radical left.
Opening in 1988, the shop quickly became a meeting point for the city’s punk and hardcore scenes, as well as the Neue Deutsche Welle, hosting gigs by bands such as The Unseen, Anti-Flag, Kill Your Idols, Danny Diablo and Final Prayer.
Despite its punky roots, it’s a remarkably friendly and enthusiastic space that even hosts Meet and Greets where you can enjoy a glass or two of beer with staff, regulars and local musicians. As well as their guitar-heavy music collection (mostly CD these days but still around 1500 vinyl), the shop offers DVDs, fan merchandise, concert tickets and memorabilia – including skate socks and decks.
CORE TEX Records, Oranienstraße 3, 10997 Berlin; 030 6128 0050
A regular at the Milan and Utrecht record fairs, Galactic Supermarket’s Berlin HQ sells all imaginable genres of music including many obscurer ones like exotica, avant-garde, industrial and fusion.
Their largest collections are in their two specialites – krautrock and psychrock – but there’s also a significant selection of 7″ records spanning various genres. You can try before you buy in the snug listening station – and don’t forget to peek into the back room for a chance of some real rarities.
Petersburgerstraße 89, 10247 Berlin; 0157 746 195 37
Hidden away on the third floor of a hinterhöfe off Kottbusser Brücke, its entrance and stairwell spattered with club flyers and graffiti, Hard Wax is one of the most treasured and celebrated record stores in Berlin for electronic music.
Started right after the fall of the Wall by Mark Ernestus, best-known as one half (along with Moritz von Oswald) of ‘dub-techno’ production duo Basic Channel, the shop was a major player in Berlin’s nascent techno scene and, along with Tresor, developed a close relationship with the Detroit originators.
Though techno (and house and some disco) dominates the racks, there has always been a specially curated selection of reggae and dubstep too, thanks mainly to Ernestus’ personal interests in these genres. With previous staff including local luminaries like Marcel Dettmann, DJ Pete, Prosumer, and Cassy, the service is as solid as the tunes.
Paul-Linke-Ufer 44A, 10999 Berlin; 030 6113 0111
Jazz Dreams has by far Berlin’s largest collection of jazz, with over 30,000 records from around 2,000 musicians in stock. There’s also a good selection of funk, soul and blues, as well as accessories for record players. It can be easy to lose track of time while chatting to the convivial owner, who is very keen to offer up his knowledge and recommendations. More recently, the store expanded into selling hi-fi goods and repairs too.
Hermann-Hesse-Straße 25, 13156, Pankow
When it was founded in 2002, this Prenzlauer Berg store – named after Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va – was intended as a paradise for collectors of Latin soul and funk. Having since expanded, it now offers a wide range of genres, from Berlin staples like house and techno to afrobeat, reggae, funk and hip-hop. All are welcome here, from nuts to novices.
Oderbergerstraße 4, 10435 Berlin; 030 6664 7821
One of the biggest and best-known independent record stores in Berlin, this electronic music Mecca offers several rooms full of acid, techno, drum & bass and dubstep, as well as a decent selection of hip-hop, indie and rock. Offering current and old releases, both new and second hand, there’s also a large CD section, making this a great all-rounder.
Zossenerstraße 33, 19061 Berlin; 030 694 7664
Wowsville started life in 1999 as a rock ‘n’ roll record shop in New York’s East Village. After closing down a few years later, it relocated – along with all its rock, R&B, soul, punk and 60s garage records – to Berlin. The shop is conveniently located in a bar so you can peruse the records while sipping a beer – so long as you don’t spill any of course. The shop also hosts regular live gigs.
Ohlauerstraße 33, 10999 Berlin; 030 965 127 51
Bonus: Die Flöhmärkte