London has a rich musical history which spans the genres and times from the mod and northern scene in the sixties, through punk and post-punk in the seventies, indie pop in the eighties and Britpop in the nineties, it continues today with the city's new and exciting underground music scene.
For those who’d rather go to an original record shop instead of buying/downloading online or going to a high street chain store, here are some great shops you might like to try:
Rough Trade is a record label (that signed bands such as The Smiths and The Libertines) as well as a record store (although these are now run independently from each other). It originally specialised in importing US and Jamaican music, and on the back of this quickly emerged as a leading outlet for the growing punk scene. Moving with tastes and with the times, it became something of a chameleon and managed to change its appeal through the musical ages to attract all those interested in new wave, independent and alternative music of the time.
Check out Rough Trade West
and Rough Trade East
the recently opened 5,000 sq. ft. shop just off Brick Lane which comes complete with coffee shop, performance stage, exhibition space, and 'snug' internet/workshop corner.
Berwick Street, Soho
Londoners and collectors from all over the world alike used to (and still do to some extent) flock to the densely stocked music shops on Berwick Street to hunt out the best second hand vinyls, indie music, and cut-price CDs. Though the area has suffered a lot in recent times due to the decline in the CD market as new technologies have taken over, there is something about owning the actual album rather than just the download which remains appealing to many. Away from the high street chains, the independent shops which are left are a treasure-trove for those looking for some indie and other non-pop music.
Try Sister Ray
which seems to have bucked the trend and has actually expanded its Berwick Street shop. Others on the same stretch include Vinyl Junkies
and CD City