I made a trip around the NY Finger Lakes and spent an afternoon in Rochester exploring a few of the record shops. The city has several vinyl outlets, but I only had enough time to visit two.
The first was the Record Archive. It is a massive warehouse of music. As I opened the car door the guitar riffs from War Pigs filled the air. Outdoor speakers are a big plus in the record store world. The store is a giant room field with music and the vinyl comprises the back 1/3 of the space. The three walls in the vinyl section are covered with huge shelves about six or seven rows high. Most of the albums are in seperated by genre, with strong section of rock and soul. A large portion of the content is in the “huge deals” bin (discounted to $2 an lp based on quantity). I did not spend too much time in the deal section, but it looked like a good place to fill out your collection.
The store also has a nice “new arrivals” bin. I usually start in this section because it is the best chance to pick something unique up that the local regulars might not have been able to mine yet.
The next stop was the House of Guitars. A friend of my told me they had a few records downstairs, so I should stop by if I was in the area. I was expecting a few boxes in a tiny basement. As you can see from the photos, the record and music space is expansive and bountyful. The House of Guitars is very impressive overall. It is a large old house that has been crammed full of instruments. When you walk in the front door you will see rows of guitar cabinets that reach to top of the 20 ft ceilings. There are guitars hung everywhere and each row must have 30-50 guitars in it. Space is at a preimium, as it is difficult to pass someone as you walk down the row. There is also an entire back portion that is full of amps, it’s like a little lego amp village.
Overall I love the independent nature and complete dedication to music the store offers, but from a vinyl perspective it was a little frustrating. There were randomly placed boxes of records throughout the store containing random lps. It seemed very odd. There would be Yes, Jim Croce, a hundred Crosby & Stills and then Chemical Brothers and then back to 50 prog rock lps. One section had a table of lps, but there were boxes on the floor so far out it was very difficult to reach the table. Also, non of the records were priced, so it makes for selection difficult.
I don’t mind a little chaos when digging, actually I prefer it, but this was a little overwhelming. I only had an hour, so I may have different opinion if I spent a day.
The trip was a success and I will return to both shops and seek out the rest of the Rochesters vinyl haunts in the future.