From rock to soul, dance and hip-hop, if you’re ever in need of some musical retail therapy, these Leeds record shops are just the ticket.
The independent record shop has been through quite a rollercoaster ride. The rise of the CD, downloads, internet shopping and now streaming have each seemed to consign the great British record shop to the past. Well they would, if it wasn’t for the large number of people who still put their trust in these hubs of musical genius that allow generations, old and new, to find their next favourite act or discover the glories of yesteryear. So next time you’re shopping in Leeds, make a beeline for the independent record shops for an experience like no other.
Having originally opened in 1971, Jumbo Records is officially the oldest record shop in Leeds. They’ve moved around over the years, calling Queen’s Arcade and St Johns Centre home, but they’ve now settled back into Merrion Centre, where they spent 14 years between 1974 and 1988.
If you’re a vinyl addict, Jumbo is a haven. There are huge swathes of rock, indie and pop albums to trawl through, but that’s not all they’re famed for. They cover the whole spectrum of dance, soul, jazz and soundtracks too, as well as boasting healthy 7” single and CD sections if that’s your bag. They’ve also added a dedicated live music space where bands can come in and play – and they serve coffee too.
As well as the records, they sort you out with tickets to see the music live, as a one-stop shop for nearly all the gigs in the city. Jumbo’s Matt Bradshaw, explains why it’s lasted so well, “We’ll bend over backwards to help you get what you want because we want you to come back and shop with us (and because, like you, we too are fellow music lovers).”
Jumbo Records, 1-3 Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8NG. It’s open 10am to 2pm on Monday, Friday and Saturday or you can book for other times and days. They’re providing hand sanitiser when you enter, allowing only 5 people in the shop at one time and encouraging you to use their click and collect service where possible.
Released Records is tucked away on the top floor of Leeds Corn Exchange. It’s a cool little shop with vintage armchairs, piles of music magazines, big square racks of vinyl and a set of decks where DJs come in and spin tunes throughout the day.
If you want to pick up some new wax, you’ll find a bit of everything here. They specialise in underground, left field sounds across dance, rock and hip-hop, but don’t be surprised if you see albums by composers like Verdi next to EPs from hip-hop pioneers like Dilated Peoples and soundtracks from 60s films by the likes of John Barry. It’s as eclectic as they come.
Not only is it a record shop, but it’s also home to their record label of the same name. They’ve released all kinds of cool underground cuts over the years by the likes of Chris Dawkins, Meraaki and Jorgie – if they’ve not already sold out, you can pick them up here too.
Released Records, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR. It’s reopening on Wednesday 1st July 2020. It’s open from 11am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday, and 12pm to 4pm on Sunday. There will be social distancing measures in place and a queueing system if it gets busy.
An intrinsic part of Leeds’ music scene since opening up on Woodhouse Lane in 1985, Crash Records is now a part of the fabric of The Headrow and widely considered the go-to place for the latest tunes, upcoming gigs and decent service typical of an independent.
They specialise in indie, alternative and metal artists on both vinyl and CD, and you can spend a good few hours going through their racks to find just what you’re looking for, and maybe a few things you weren’t. They also sell a bunch of tickets to gigs at the city’s venues, as well as putting on the odd in-store gig and album signings over at Headrow House.
Scott Gamble from Crash Records told us, “We offer a service we feel is needed and that we feel we do well with a personal touch. It is all to do with service. We’re keen and we have a good range of stock and provide an experience we hope people will enjoy.”
Crash Records, 35 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU. It’s open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. You can collect online or phone orders and there will be limited browsing.
While new records are all well and good, sometimes you just need a place that specialises in the best of yesteryear – and that’s where Relics Records comes in, with plenty of original pressings of classic records.
Spread out over two floors, they’ve managed to chart the journey of popular music from the 1950s up until the present day on both CD and vinyl. It’s the collection of the latter that is the most impressive though and will likely see you part with some hard-earned cash.
They have oodles of classic rock and pop, from Elvis to Oasis and The Beatles to Blur, but you can also spend some time looking through the equally impressive collections of jazz, soul, hip-hop, metal and dance – you’ll find something no matter your tastes. And the staff know their stuff too, so if you can’t see what you want, pick their brains.
Relics Records, 53 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JD. It’s open 10am to 6pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They are limiting numbers in the shop to adhere to social distancing and hand sanitiser will be provided.
The Vinyl Whistle
You might recognise Jon Moss as a Premier League referee, but when he’s not on the pitch, you’ll find him at his Headingley record shop, The Vinyl Whistle. He started out online, but now has a permanent home on Otley Road with its very own cafe.
Before you get a brew, you can browse rack after rack of vinyl. It’s mostly second-hand, but you’ll find a few new, sealed albums too. The Vinyl Whistle is a treasure trove of indie music, particularly LPs and singles from the eighties, nineties and noughties. But you can find anything from hip-hop to jazz as you make your way around shelves packed and stacked with records in every nook and cranny.
Whatever you’re into, make a beeline for the collectables box on the counter and take a look at the limited edition boxsets behind – there are plenty of gems to be found. Once you’ve had a good browse, treat yourself to a mug of Leodis coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
The Vinyl Whistle, 39 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB. It’s open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday. Only 4 people are allowed in the shop at one time, the cafe is open for takeaway only and hand sanitiser will be provided on entry.
An independent record shop but with a difference, Norman Records has been going in some kind of fashion since 1995, and over more than two decades they’ve become one of the most popular online record shops.
Based in Croydon House down in Holbeck, they specialise in the best, and often the most interesting music they can get their hands on, mainly on vinyl. There’s no shop per se to flick through racks but they’re still happy to see you come down and collect the order you’ve placed on their website, from which you’ll see the other reason why folk have come to love Norman.
That’s because the website’s record reviews are quite legendary – no beating around the bush, full of expertise and more than a few dollops of tongue-in-cheek humour, they make shopping for your next discovery a whole lot more interesting.
Norman’s Records are totally online. They’re open for business as normal.
Wall of Sound Records
The basement of Crash Records on The Headrow has been well used in recent years – being the home of Dragnet Records until 2015 when they decided to go online only.
Former Huddersfield shop Wall of Sound Records are now residents here. They have stepped in with their glorious second-hand musical produce. Spanning the past 60 years of music, and sometimes even longer, they’ve got classic rock, heavy metal, punk, indie, blues, reggae and soul, so if it’s classic records and discoveries of yesteryear you’re looking for, well, Wall of Sound may well throw up a few surprises.
They also have a bunch of CDs, DVDs, books and music memorabilia, if that’s your bag, and if you’re looking for a long lost find, the clever folk down there will no doubt be able to lend a hand.
Wall of Sound, Basement, 35 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU. It’s open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Only 2 people allowed at a time and a queuing system will be in place. Hand sanitiser will be provided on entry.
Shed Load of Vinyl
Who said a record store has to be in a shop? Mick Carter’s Shed Load of Vinyl can be found in a specially-converted shed at the back of his house in Guiseley. It’s been covered in music posters and kitted out with racks and racks of vinyl as well as a sound-system to play your records before you buy.
He only opens it up on occasional Saturdays and Sundays, so you have to keep an eye on its Facebook page for updates. But when it’s open, it’s a treasure trove of pre-loved records. Carter specialises in classic rock, punk and indie albums, but that only scratches the surface of what you can find, from soul to jazz, hip-hop and dance.
While you’re browsing, you even get a free drink, which you can sup as you talk music with Mick himself. Keep an eye out too, because they now takeover the Brewhouse in Yeadon with regular events and have plans to expand the shed in the coming months.
Shed Load of Vinyl, 5 Wells Road, Guiseley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS20 9AE. It’s open from 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday, with social distancing measures in place.
Chris Coulthard has been selling records at fairs since 2003 and has previous experience at Vinyl Tap in Huddersfield, but it wasn’t until 2017 that he opened his very own shop. Noiseisforheroes Records can be found on Great George Street, and there’s a little something for everyone.
As Chris told us, “I have records from as many genres as possible, a healthy, broad selection. Today I priced up a Beyonce double album and straight underneath was a Popul Vuh album, and I know there was a Peggy Lee album not far below. There’ll be anything that is interesting to me and I hope will be interesting to someone else. I’ll buy collections of anything interesting.”
You can spend a good long while trawling through the racks here, with everything from hip-hop, soul, dance and soundtracks on the far right to indie, grunge and punk in front of the window, and 60s, 70s and 80s classics in the middle island. If you don’t know where to start, Chris is always there to help.
Noiseisforheroes Records, 75a Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR. It’s open 12pm to 5pm, Thursday to Saturday. They’re operating a one-in, one-out policy and hand sanitiser will be provided on entry.
After a short hiatus, Tribe Records is back. It originally opened back in 1995, and quickly became the place to find dance music in Leeds, before closing in 2013. Simon Scott runs it, and he’s teamed up with Alex Theodossiadis and Mike Greenwell to make it one of the best shops in the city – they now share a home with long-time collaborators, ArtOfficial.
This modern incarnation of Tribe is more of what made people fall in love with it in the first place. It’s the go-to for any and all kinds of club music, from drum and bass, dubstep and dancehall to house, techno and minimal. They’ve always got new tunes coming in, so if there’s something you can’t find or you just want a few recommendations, you need only ask.
And if that’s not enough, they also sell tickets to legendary Leeds club night Subdub and also play a role in a host of huge events across the city and beyond, like Dimensions Festival, Outlook Festival, Cosmic Slop, On Rotation, Future Daze and Dancehall Science.
Tribe Records, 28 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DR. It’s open 11am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 6pm to 8pm by appointment. They’re limiting it to 3 people in the shop at one time, offering gloves and facemasks to those who don’t have them and providing hand sanitiser.
Ian Brookes has spent the best part of a decade running around record fairs all over the UK, whether close to home at Leeds Corn Exchange or in far-flung exotic places like Manchester, London and Norwich.
However, 2016 marked a huge milestone for the go-to second-hand record man, as he gave up the day job to set up a permanent shop in the Leeds suburb of Armley on Tong Road. He continues to visit the record fairs, of course, but should you pop into his store from Monday to Saturday, you’ll find a treasure trove of pre-loved gems. It doesn’t matter what genre you like, as there’ll be something here for all, but he does have an envious amount of indie, rock and metal albums, as well as 12″s and singles to ship.
And while Armley may not be your first port of call when it comes to hunting down your favourite records in Leeds, Vinyl Fixx has something else to offer the city’s musos. Brookes often comes across posters and memorabilia with originals of Oasis, Iron Maiden and U2 all having been in-store, if you’re looking for that little something extra special – pop your head in, and who knows what you’ll come out with.
Vinyl Fixx, Tong Road, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 1BW. It’s open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 3pm on Saturday. They are limiting numbers in the shop and providing hand sanitiser when you enter.