Record Store Day is a staple in the calendars of audiophiles around the globe. Underlined and highlighted like Christmas to a child, it’s the chance to celebrate the legacy of one of the oldest forms of music consumption. Despite the advance of technology, vinyl has stood the test of time. Perhaps due to the warm analogue hum it lends the ear, or maybe because no other audio vessel can match the sweet satisfaction of a twelve inches’ sultry rotations.
Whatever it is, vinyl is here to stay and we couldn’t let this holiday drift by without celebrating. To help us mark the occasion, two DJs from next gen radio station Platform B – Alice Hingley (of Kaleidoscope) and Solomon Pace (of IORI.Radio) – created a foolproof guide to Brighton’s iconic record stores. A cherry-picked selection for novice crate-diggers and masters of the turntable alike, here’s what they had to say:
25 Church Street, Brighton
Known for: Being co-founded and run by Simon Raymonde of the legendary Cocteau Twins
Bella Union is the place to get music straight from the source. A store specialising in music straight off the Bella Union label, it’s the musical equivalent of honey from the hive. Boasting a selection of rare vinyls, a private pressing label, online store, and the loveliest staff you could ask for – Bella Union really has it all. Plus, their brand new shop opens this Record Store Day (22nd April) with a launch party! Dreamy!
104 Trafalgar St, Brighton
Known for: Electronic Music Galore
RK Bass is the hidden gem in the world of Brighton vinyl. Tucked just above the legendary Rarekind Records, RK Bass is a haven for anyone whose tastes are a little more digital. From Acid House to Dubstep, Garage to Gabba, Jungle to Minimal Tech – RK Bass has got you covered. An unrivalled selection makes this the epicentre of electronic in Brighton.
74 North Road, Brighton
Known for: Being the one-stop shop for left-field art and music lovers
Family Store Records and Gallery is the brand new extension of North Laine’s infamous Family Store. A curated hub of rare cuts from across the musical spectrum, the store has a dual identity as a gallery, event space, and is also one of the new homes of Platform B’s ‘grumpy older sibling’ station – Slack City. Family Store Gallery and Records is the place for cult classics and new discoveries; dedicated to expanding your musical vernacular, they also stock a range of non-fiction literature for the musical adventurers amongst us.
6 Gloucester Yard, 121-123 Gloucester Road, Brighton
Known for: Being a UK Musical Institution
Mr Bongo’s Brighton branch is the successor to the crown that is the original London shop. Opening way back in 1989, they were the first sellers this side of the Atlantic to supply independent US Hip-Hop. Stocked with cuts from trailblazing labels including Def Jam, Rawkus, Nervous, and Big Beat as well as “hard-to-find, classic Latin music” – Mr Bongo quickly became the blueprint for tastemaking vinyl with their acclaimed Africa, Latin and Brasil 45s. First making the move to Brighton in 1999 with the relocation of their main offices, they opened the store in 2016 and have since become a staple in the community, often hosting in-store shows. Mr Bongo is a Brighton Record shop for the keen-eyed collector and those with an appreciation for music’s heritage.
104 Trafalgar St, Brighton
Known for: Hip hop
The name Rarekind carries weight throughout Brighton, and with good reason. Specialising in funk, hip hop and soul, the Rare Kind team maintain a strong presence at local events, supporting both homegrown talents and travelling stars. They also host one of the best international hip hop vinyl selections, period!
Brighton Open Market, Marshalls Row
Known for: Reggae and Ska
Regularly blasting reggae and rockers’ classics throughout the Open Market, Vinyl Selecter stands to show that four walls is not a necessary precursor to a good record store. Nestled amongst a range of seasonally-changing pop-ups, this shop offers old-school gems at great prices.
16 Brighton Place, Brighton
Known for: Fresh pressings
With a selection that spans both old-school and new-generation bangers, and an interior that just feels good, Cult Hero is about as sleek as it gets in the record store game. Keep an eye out for their iconic logo stickers dotted throughout Brighton.
8 Terminus Road, Brighton
Known for: Cinema and theatre soundtracks
Continuously trading for a whopping 75 years, Record Album maintains both an impressive physical and online presence. Originally maintained by the recently retired George Ginn, Record Album is located mere steps away from Brighton Station and its no-filler catalogue should be a must-see on any Brighton record store crawl.
110 Gloucester Road, Brighton
Known for: Second-hand gems; crate digging
With a record collection that regularly spills onto the street in front, this immediately recognisable store also boasts an impressive CD selection. If you’re looking for a surprise hit, or a lesser-known underground classic, this is the place to go.
Brighton’s musical heritage is so prolific that even narrowing the choices down to nine stores proved a challenge, and this is by no means an exhaustive list so there are a few more record stores to check out below. To listen to the minds behind these selections, or express any record-neglect-fuelled grievances, head to @platformbradio on Instagram and tune in via 105.5FM & DAB (Brighton & Hove) & platformb.org.uk.