ACADEMY RECORDS (aka Academy Record Annex)
96 N. 6th St. btwn Berry & Wythe
subway: L - Bedford Ave, G - Nassau Ave
contact: 718-218-8200

This huge store is part of a chain that started in Manhattan and is easily the most popular record store in Williamsburg. Thousands of LPs of all genres are here including a lot of super rare and expensive ones on the wall.

In terms of garage/punk/soul interest, this place has the best selection of new reissues on vinyl in Brooklyn. Reissue prices are pretty good as well. There's also lots of turnover here-- many new records all the time and the new arrivals section should be the first thing you look at (as in most record stores). In addition, the store's management takes an active interest in punk & psych records so you'll see some scarce and obscure reissue 45s as well as new releases by current garage/punk bands under glass near the counter.

Overall, the weakest part of this store is the used 45s. Whether they list most of the good stuff on eBay, or the staff is made up of garage/punk/soul 45 collectors, it's not often that you see something truly exciting in the 45s section unless it's expensive.

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72 Manhattan Ave @ McKibben St.
subway: JM - Lorimer St. / G - Broadway / L - Montrose (long walk)
contact: 718-388-1180 | web: Crypt Records

Most garage/punk fans will be familiar with the Crypt label, having put out classics such as Back From the Grave and Las Vegas Grind, releases by the Gories, the Oblivians and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Founder Tim Warren still runs a shop in Brooklyn which features all of his own releases (at the best prices possible!) a selection of 45s, from cheaper soul/rnb/funk to mega-expensive garage classics, and an increasing number of releases from other like-minded labels. The store's hours have changed a lot recently but it's generally open Friday-Saturday-Sunday.

Obviously, this store is highly recommended to all and sundry.

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218 Bedford Ave @ N. 5th St.
subway: L - Bedford Ave, G - Nassau Ave.
contact: 718-486-3771

This record store finds itself on one of the most trafficked corners in Williamsburg. Not surprisingly, the vinyl is very overpriced. There is some decent selection in CDs (new and used) but you won't find much of great interest in the vinyl (forget finding any 45s here).

Not recommended.

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124 Meserole Ave. @ Leonard St.
subway: G - Greenpoint Ave, L - Bedford Ave (+ B61 bus)

This small Greenpoint store is highly recommended. While the space is split between a cafe (with good, if somewhat expensive food and great coffee) and the records, the proprietors have made every effort to bring the best selection at the best prices. There's plenty of 60's LPs to look through and frequently there are some real finds. While they've had some more 45s recently than before, Eat generally doesn't have the best selection so come here if you're mainly looking for LPs, in particular the r'n'b, soul & funk vinyl is good here.

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6 Saint Marks Pl @ 3rd Ave.
subway: L - 3rd Ave, 6 - Astor Pl., RW - 8th St.
contact: 212-505-0311 | web: Kim's Video and Music

This huge store is probably the last good record store on Saint Marks. Ground floor/basement features the best selection of 60's garage / psych reissue CDs in NYC. Prices on average are good. Upstairs you'll find a huge DVD selection (lots of obscure titles) and the vinyl section. There's a good amount of new vinyl but the used vinyl section is pretty average on the whole (surprisingly).

Highly recommended.

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15 E. 4th St. @ Lafayette St.
subway: 6 - Astor Pl., BDFV - Broadway-Lafayette St.
212-477-8150 | web: Other Music

This large store has been a Manhattan institution for quite a while. There's a good (not amazing) vinyl section here as well as a large selection of CDs. We believe tickets for Maxwell's and others are available to buy here as well.

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131 Grand St. @ Berry St.
subway: L- Bedford Ave, JMZ - Marcy Ave (long walk)
contact: 718-384-7723 | web: Passout Records

This Williamsburg shop opened in 2006. It's focused on punk but carries quite a bit of garage rock stuff as well, almost entirely new vinyl. Prices are average, except for the used vinyl which is way overpriced. There are a number of 7"s but the selection isn't too exciting.

Passout has in-store shows occasionally on weekends, mostly with punk or hardcore bands. The selection doesn't add anything to what Academy and Crypt already have, so there's little reason to come here.

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181 Franklin St. @ Huron St.
subway: G - Greenpoint Ave (L - Bedford + long ride on the B61)
contact: 718-383-4083 | web:

One of the newest record shops in Brooklyn, this Greenpoint store opened in 2007 along with a slew of other high-end stores on Franklin St. geared towards recent arrivals in the neighborhood. The owners seem to be fans of 60's garage, soul and folk rock because there's a lot of that on display on the wall. The shop carries a lot of reissue vinyl (Sundazed!). Prices here vary a little wildly: some reissues are priced at the same level as Academy and Kim's, while others are more expensive than average. This pricing policy extends to their used LP selection, which on the whole isn't the most exciting, although sometimes their cheapest LPs are the most interesting (besides the dollar records there's a good selection at $2.50 each which has yielded some gems...)

Overall not an essential visit but given its location down the block from The Thing, worth a stop occasionally.

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20 S. Tulane St. @ Nassau St.
getting there: TRAIN or CAR
contact: 609-924-3472 | web: Princeton Record Exchange

This somewhat-legendary record store pretty much lives up to its name. Very similar in size and scope to Academy Records in Brooklyn, you'll find an excellent selection of LPs here, new and used. What's more, the prices are good and the selection is less picked through than Academy. Not too many 45s to speak of, but overall, worth the trip.

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110 Bedford Ave @ N. 11th St.
subway: L - Bedford Ave., G - Nassau Ave
contact: 718-388-8090 | web: Sound Fix Records

This store, connected to a bar (formerly a cafe), isn't very big and isn't very good. There's a lot of CDs, mostly indie rock. Then there's a joke of a vinyl section, everything terribly overpriced. If you're looking for garage/punk/soul, forget this place.

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1001 Manhattan Ave @ Huron St.
subway: G - Greenpoint Ave, L - Bedford (+B61 bus...)
contact: 718-349-8234 | web: The Thing

Nothing short of a New York institution, this junk store, run by Larry the Junkman since the early 80's (when it was in the East Village) features everything you'll find in storage units with unpaid rent.... porn, furniture, old photographs, general ephemera and weirdness. AND, most famously, they have probably the largest selection of vinyl in New York City. Housed in the basement, we're talking thousands and thousands of LPs and sometimes hundreds of 45s.

What's the catch? It's all totally unorganized, so latin pop sits next to 70's rock records next to Bulgarian orchestras, etc. The basement is also smelly and remarkably dirty. Some crate diggers bring facemasks, rubber gloves... and coolers for their lunch (and dinner?).

On the other hand, this is your chance to go through records unfiltered and find the obscuro gems we all know all still out there. Every LP is $2, so price-wise, it can't be beat. You never know! as the ad campaign goes and it couldn't be more true with this place but it has to be experienced at least once.

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222 Montrose Ave @ Bushwick Ave.
subway: L - Montrose Ave, JM - Lorimer (8 blocks?)
contact: 718-609-6066 | web: The Vortex

This store, run by the same people responsible for the The Thing, couldn't be more different from that Greenpoint fixture. While it too carries a lot of junk, furniture, porn, clothes, etc. the records here are organized and priced individually... it's rare that you'll see anything mind-blowing and perhaps the prices are even a bit high but it's worth a look.

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