It’s not news, at this point, that vinyl records are back.
Last year, vinyl records outsold CDs (in units) for the first time since 1987, according to a report by the Recording Industry Association of America. And it wasn’t a slim margin: 41 million vinyl albums were sold compared to 33 million CDs.
The trend has been ongoing for a while—sales have been steadily ticking upward since around 2008.
Probably not coincidentally, 2008 was the launch of Record Store Day, a now-international event created to highlight record independent shops and boost sales. Each year on Record Store Day, thousands around the world line up in the early morning hours—some even camping overnight—to score limited edition specialty releases that drop the day of the event, exclusively at indie record stores.
Releases can include every genre from every era—from old rockers like the Grateful Dead and Chuck Berry to contemporary artists like Taylor Swift and Iann Dior. And the glorious—and extremely expensive, for people with an addiction like myself—day returns Saturday.
Long Beach has no shortage of record stores, each with their own niche. Not all participate in Record Store Day for one reason or another, but two shops are. And the rest still deserve some love on this holy day.
“Vinyl ain’t dead” at this traditional record store that has been slinging wax in Long Beach since 1977, making it the oldest record store in the city. The store specializes in vintage vinyl from the 1950s through the ’70s, according to owner Steve Mintz, but features all genres and eras among its thousands of used 45s, LPs, 78s, 12-inch singles, CDs and other music memorabilia. Some albums may still be in their original cellophane, but they are far from “new,” Mintz said. Bagatelle is not participating in RSD.
260 Atlantic Ave. | 562-432-7534
Dyzzy on Vynyl
Walking into this shop is like stepping into another world on just a little bit of acid. I mean, come on, you walk through a bead door to enter the store. Top to bottom, the walls are covered in band posters, flags, stickers, fliers and quite the eclectic mix of tchotchkes. Owner Dizzy opened the shop in 1999 and heavily features classic rock, ’70s soul and funk,’60s psychedelic rock and classic metal. All of the Dyzzy on Vynyl inventory is used, mostly brought in by folks and sold to the store, but also from swap meets and other avenues. Dizzy also likes to host live local band performances in his small shop: He records every performance on tape and then burns it onto a CD for the bands. No RSD drops here.
3004 E. Seventh St. | 562-225-9579
Easily the biggest shop in the city, Fingerprints will be participating in RSD, as it does every year. Prior to the pandemic, a line of people would stretch around the corner for hours and hours. Nowadays, things are done a little differently. Appointments have already been given out for RSD shopping from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at which point the store will open to the general public who can pick through the leftovers. The shop will have a live, in-store performance by Fran Healy, singer for Scottish rock band Travis. The store has an eclectic everyday stock, which is heavy on new releases and reissues but also includes used records from all genres and periods.
420 E. Fourth St. | 562-433-4996
The newest vinyl shop in Long Beach, Record Box first opened its doors three years ago, but will celebrate its first anniversary at its current location in June. The small shop, which shares a space with plant shop Vida, carries a little bit of everything, but is heavy on hip-hop, jazz, soul, and even has a Filipino section, according to owner Jose Jurado. Though the store is not participating in the official RSD event, several DJs will be spinning throughout the day and there will be a “big” sale on the vinyl stock, Jurado said (you have to show up to see how big of a sale, though). With Saturday also being Earth Day, Vida will be hosting a “soil bar,” giving customers “two ways to dig,” Jurado said.
FYI, for that last joke to make sense, you need to know that “crate digging” is the art of fingering through records to find hidden gems.
324 Elm Ave. | 562-273-2388
This shop is easy to miss. For almost 20 years, it has operated inside other Long Beach stores, according to owner John Karras, who said he spent nearly a decade inside Inretrospect on Fourth Street. He moved to his current home inside Urban Americana when it opened in 2015. His inventory consists exclusively of used vintage records, mostly from the ’60 through the ’80s. Karras’ current stock is heavy on classic rock, but he also has a healthy selection of jazz, classical, country and other genres. Retro Stereo is not participating in the official RSD event, but all records (and vintage sunglasses) will be 20% off Saturday.
1345 Coronado Ave. | 562-494-7300
Third Eye Records
No relation to ’90s alt rockers Third Eye Blind, this Retro Row shop is participating in RSD. Shoppers should line up early to present their wishlists one at a time when the store opens at 10 a.m. Wishlists will be filled until titles sell out. At 11 a.m., RSD releases will be made available in Third Eye’s online shop for in-store pick up. Outside of RSD, Third Eye’s stock is heavy on “good records,” manager Ian Steele joked, adding that there is “no filler.” He said the small store carries a solid mix of everything from rock to rap to hip-hop and beyond—new and old. The store is similar to Fingerprints but much more curated and often with lower prices, Steele said.
2234 E. Fourth St. | 562-472-4366
Toxic Toast Records
Toxic Toast, located on the outskirts of Downtown, has the most niche record offerings of any store in Long Beach (and maybe LA County as a whole): Japanese imports. Owner Andy George regularly travels to the island country for these rarities. George also has an affinity for ska and punk, which are heavily featured in the store along with more common genres. Unfortunately, George said the store is not currently allowed to participate in RSD, but that won’t stop him from offering discounts and dropping his own special releases, including a hearty supply of Japanese City Pop, or J-Pop—music that emerged in the ’70s and peaked in the ’80s in Japan with elements of disco, jazz fusion, Okinawan, Latin, Caribbean and more.
757 Pine Ave. | 562-999-2516
The second youngest record shop in the city, Twelves opened in October 2019. Our assistant editor at the Post, Kat Schuster, DJs on the side and speaks highly of the selection of singles and other desirable discs for the job. In addition to supplying DJs with the goods, Twelves specializes in hard-to-find first pressings and carries a wide selection of jazz, rock, soul, international and more. The small shop is not participating in the official RSD event but is offering half off all records that are priced $20 or less. Unlike previous years, there will be no in-store DJ sets.
746 E. Seventh St. | 562-393-6880
World Famous VIP Records
Last but certainly not least, Long Beach’s second-oldest (and most famous as the name suggests) record store: World Famous VIP Records. Though the most famous due to its ties to absolute legends such as Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Daz Dillinger and Nate Dogg, the Long Beach store was not the first VIP location, according to Kelvin Anderson. The first store opened in South Central in 1967, he said. The eighth location, in Long Beach, opened in June 1978 and is now the last VIP location—down from a peak of 12 stores across the region, including the OG, Compton and Inglewood. The store specializes in “Black music,” Anderson said, including rap, hip-hop, jazz, blues, reggae and R&B. VIP is not participating in RSD.
1028 Pacific Coast Highway | 562-591-2349
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct how many vinyl albums were sold last year.