Put the Needle on the Record: Where to shop for vinyl around Intown

Wall of sound: Wuxtry Records in Decatur (Photo by Julie E. Bloemeke)

If you thought vinyl records were musty and dusty old relics from your parents’ or grandparents’ generation, think again. Billboard magazine reports that nearly 15 million vinyl albums were sold in the U.S. alone during 2017. In the United Kingdom, vinyl is now outselling digital music downloads.

Darryl Campbell and Tyiesha Johnson shop for records at Criminal Records in Little Five Points (Photo by Isadora Pennington)

Vinyl virtually disappeared in the 1990s as new albums were released on CD. In the last decade, vinyl has made a huge comeback as music fans discover the richer sound, the large sleeve artwork and the satisfying crackle and pop as a turntable needle drops on the record. Most new albums by major acts now get a vinyl release along with the CD and push to streaming services.

Audiophiles and DJs kept vinyl on life support during the dark ages, and so did a handful of Atlanta record shops. Even as CDs, iTunes and Spotify became the go-to source for music, shops like Wax ‘N’ Facts and Wuxtry continued to buy, sell and trade used records to those who refused to part with their vinyl collections.

Wax ‘N’ Facts in Little Five Points. (Photo by Collin Kelley)

The advent of Record Store Day in 2007 was another indicator that vinyl was making a comeback. Now, major and indie music labels release special and limited edition records that have music-lovers queuing up outside their favorite shop at the crack of dawn. Record Store Day returns on April 21 and you can see the list of releases at recordstoreday.com.

If you’re looking to start your own vinyl collection or rebuild the one you sold, these shops are perfect for an afternoon of crate digging for old and new treasures.

Criminal Records
1154-A Euclid Ave.
The Little Five Points shop is a go-to not only for used vinyl, but new releases and Record Store Day limited editions. The shop also has a selection of CDs, cassette tapes (remember those?!), comics and other pop memorabilia. There’s also plenty of in-store events and music, so be sure to check out the shop’s website and Facebook page for details.

Wax ‘n’ Facts
432 Moreland Ave.
The granddaddy of Atlanta records shops has been selling vinyl for more than 40 years and the Little Five Points store is packed to the brim with goodies. On a recent Friday afternoon visit, audiophiles were digging through the crates for everything from Neil Diamond and Dionne Warwick to Blondie and Heart. The shop caters to all tastes – from pop and jazz to hip-hop and country and most sstops in between. There’s also a good selection of jazz reissues (Miles Davis, Nina Simone, John Coltrane), plus 45 rpms, CDs and rare releases.

Moods Music
1131 Euclid Ave.
This Little Five Points shop specializes in underground soul, hip-hop, jazz, dance and imports. With regular in-store appearances, movie nights and pop-up shops, Moods is popular with DJs and those looking for more a specialized experience.

2096 N. Decatur Road, Decatur
The original Wuxtry opened in downtown Athens in 1976 and the Decatur outpost near Emory University two years later. The shop is small but literally packed to the ceiling with both new and used vinyl. There’s also an impressive back room full of jazz, R&B, classical and soundtracks. Whether you’re looking for a delux reissue of Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self-titled album or a rare boxed-set of U2’s classic “The Joshua Tree,” Wuxtry has you covered.

Decatur CD & Vinyl
356 W. Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur
The downtown Decatur shop has a great selection of new and used vinyl, including classic rock, reggae and jazz. If you have deep pockets, there’s some rare and collectible jazz (hello, original pressing of Miles Davis’ “Kinda Blue”) There’s also an extensive collection of CDs, cassette tapes and music-related DVDs. Another great spot for Record Store Day finds, too.

Ella Guru Record Shop
2747 Lavista Road, Decatur
The tiny, tidy shop deals mostly with used records, but they have very discerning taste. If you’re looking for some vintage David Bowie, John Lee Hooker, Charles Mingus, Black Flag and even Sonny and Cher, go check them out. Be sure to follow the shop on Instagram, too, where they regular post new arrivals in the store: @itstheblimp.

Sunbrimmer Records
4 N. Clarendon Ave., Avondale Estates
In the heart of Avondale Estates, Sunbrimmer is buying, selling and trading vinyl and if you love soul, R&B and jazz this is definitely the shop you want to visit. You’ll also find a good mix of other genres like classic rock, soundtracks and indie artists.

Fantasyland Records
360 Pharr Road
A Buckhead staple since 1976, Fantasyland sells new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, posters, stickers, music magazines. Specifically for the vinyl lover, there’s a big selection of 45s from the 50s to the 80s and used LPS in all genres. There’s also a large section of new vinyl and reissues. Plan to spend an afternoon here digging through the crates for a treasure or two.

Also Worth A Visit

 Book Nook
3073 N. Druid Hills Road

Best known for its selection of comics and used books, Book Nook also has an electic mix of vinyl records including lots of classic rock, country, jazz, and soundtracks.

464 Moreland Ave., Suite B
This shop specializes in vinyl and equipment (turntables, mixers, amplifiers, drum machines) for DJs, producers, musicians and music lovers. For turntable owners, you can also get new needles and repairs.

Half-Price Books
2165 N. Decatur Road, Decatur
The selection is often hit or miss, but if you’re dropping in to sell some used books, take a moment to peruse the modest vinyl selection, which offers classic rock, R&B, soundtracks, jazz and classical.

  1. Vinyl is fundamentally and profoundly flawed. Its resurgence is driven by either misguided devotion to a myth, or misunderstood of technology. Most newly purchased LPs in the UK are never played according to a recent study. Even apart from the superiority of modern digital, it is largely rendered moot by the paltry playback systems most possess.

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