Vinyl records are, at first sniff, a way to make your music collection weigh a ton. It can seem outdated, like a typewriter a rotary phone. After all, the internet provides literally all recorded music ever produced and it is just a few clicks away from our computers or smartphones. Who needs 12-inch-wide plastic disks for music anymore?
Well, as it would turn out, everyone. Vinyl possesses a certain je ne sais quoi. If you buy a fancy stereo, it probably sounds better, too, but vinyl’s magic lies deeper than that. The format has personality. It has to be cared for, kept clean and stored in a way so it won’t get warped or bent. The art unquestionably looks cooler when it’s a foot wide than when it’s compressed down to CD size. A piece of colored vinyl is transformed into a hypnotic Fraser spiral illusion when the light catches it a certain way. Sometimes, it’s nice to put the screens away and just listen.
Records are cool, and coming in a close second is the record store. Boulder County has a ton of great stores that sell a variety of wares that can include vinyl. Boulder’s Beat Book Shop springs to mind as does Little Horse Vintage Books & Vintage in downtown Louisville. There are, however, are just a handful of pure, old school record shops in Boulder County. Once you are hooked, spread your wings and check out Twist & Shout, Wax Trax and Angelos CDs in Denver. Visit them, support them, love them.
319 Main St, Longmont
Owner Doug Gaddy closed up his Boulder shop a few years ago with an idea to retire. It didn’t last and he set up in a deep, narrow Longmont storefront that has a real bedroom kind of vibe and a legit disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Gaddy focuses on what he calls classic vinyl from roughly the 1950s to the 1980s. He sells a lot of rock’n’roll albums because it’s in the highest demand. But he carries jazz, gospel, hip hop, blues, country and many other genres, including a limited stock of CDs if that’s your thing. The store has a large budget section of records for those who are a little light in the wallet. Gaddy also carries a variety of new and expertly refurbished stereo equipment. Gaddy has an active Instagram page on which he shows new records and gear.
Albums on the Hill
1128 13th St, Boulder
Situated in a basement space on University Hill, Albums on the Hill carries a big selection of genres, including CDs and cassettes and DVDs. The store feels like a record store of old, and the walls have accumulated enough stickers and posters to impart a lot of character into the shop. It seems like people should be smoking cigarettes and talking about Karl Marx. About half of the space is dedicated to used vinyl, and there is a lot of it, enough to keep you flipping through stacks for hours. Owner Andy Schneidkraut, currently the sole employee, holds court at a counter stacked with CDs and tapes.
Recycled Records LP
1067 S Hover St #C, Longmont
Recycled Records, located in a kind of anonymous strip mall in west Longmont, has an enormous stock – the store claims to have 100,000 records – of vinyl across most of the major genres – rock, blues, jazz, country, etc. For the discerning hipster, they also have a pretty good selection of punk, metal, garage and psychedelic all tucked together at the back of the store. They carry a big selection of CDs that take up most of the back wall and several dozen plastic crates, so get ready to dig. The store says it “ultrasonically cleans” its used vinyl with something called the “Clear Audio Double Matrix UltraSonic” cleaner. They also sell stereo equipment.
All Sales Vinyl II
716 Main Street, Longmont
All Sales Vinyl II is a second location of a Fort Collins-based record shop. Located in downtown Longmont, the store carries new and used vinyl across numerous genres, stereo equipment, crates for records and vinyl care products. They also carry various novelties, hand percussion instruments, and, if you really want to drive your loved ones insane, ukuleles. Like many other record stores, they seem keen on photographing customers with their new finds. It makes it nearly impossible to sneak records home, if you ask me.
Paradise Found Records & Music
1646 Pearl St, Boulder
A store that rose from what was once Bart’s Records since the early 1990s when vinyl seemed like it was going away forever. Owner Will Paradise took over after Bart apparently moved to Maryland to buy a farm. Paradise Found moved from Bart’s old location on Folsom Street to just east of the Pearl Street Mall. They carry some CDs but the store is pretty much strictly vinyl and situated in a narrow, deep storefront that just always feels right for a record shop. They have a huge rock section along with country, punk, metal, reggae, jazz and blues. A budget section in the back usually coughs up a treasure. They also carry stereo equipment. The employees always seem like they are in a good mood, which is kind of strange for a record store. Where are all the disaffected misanthropes?