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Vinyl Variety: A Brief Guide to Hamilton's Record Shops

Blog/MusicAugust 22nd 2017
Luke Cummins

Hamilton is a great city to live in if you’re a record collector. Shops of all varieties are scattered across the city, providing an excellent range of genres, new and old vinyl, equipment, and overall shopping experiences. Whether you’re looking for something specific, or open to a suggestion from a resident vinyl sage, Hamilton’s record shops have you covered. Here’s a quick profile on a few shops we visited this month, and what you might find when you’re there.

Cheapies67 King St East

Cheapies features a HUGE collection of, well, pretty much everything you might find at a record shop. New and used vinyl, DVDs, video games, cassettes, collectible toys, box sets, and more! Each section of Cheapies has treasures to be found, along with a customer service area tucked halfway down the main length of the shop, that often has a few surprises.  Though Cheapies houses and expansive selection, it still has a small shop feel with recognizable staff, strings of Christmas lights, pre-order surprises, and listening parties to celebrate some new releases, including pizza, prizes, and a great reason to browse the shop.

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Dr. Disc - 20 Wilson St.

Dr. Disc has been a part of the ever-changing musical landscape in Hamilton since 1991, and owner Mark Furukawa has worked hard to make sure that the shop has kept up along the way. Dr. Disc supports local artists in many different ways, including the “Raise The Roof” series, featuring live performances on the rear rooftop during monthly Art Crawls. The shop also promotes local shows, often blocking the entrance windows with concert posters. Best of all, they sell records from local artists, featuring their vinyl on the main wall (during our recent visit, we saw the latest records from Pet Sun, The Dirty Nil, Single Mothers, and more). If you can’t find what you’re looking for within the impressive, two-floor spread of new and used vinyl, the staff are more than happy to put something on order for you. A visit to Dr. Disc provides the best of both worlds – an awesome selection with a super friendly vibe.

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Hammer City Records228 James North (basement access via back alley)

Located in a basement beneath the hustle and bustle of James Street North (you’ll need to fine the door in the back alley to get to them), Hammer City Records is a smaller shop with a focus on punk, metal, hardcore, and DIY offerings of each. The staff are very welcoming, and their shop is your best bet for finding rare punk and hardcore records. They also stock a bunch of merch including tees and buttons, and have a wicked selection of zines. Even if you don’t usually listen to hardcore, metal, or punk, visit Hammer City Records for an authentic, indie record shop experience.

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Revolution Records - 166 Ottawa St N

Just a few steps from the intersection at Cannon and Ottawa, Revolution Records will turn 2 years old on September 16. While they aren’t focused on any particular genre, their selection includes new editions and reissues of classic albums with new releases woven throughout. You’ll probably find Big Star’s #1 record on the same shelf as the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack, Arcade Fire’s Funeral, and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. As most shops do, Revolution offers more than just records, including turntables, classic Nintendo games, cassette tapes, DVDs, and even ukuleles. On a miscellaneous shelf near the front of the shop, you’ll find action figures, board games, and a small collection of highly coveted box sets. The layout of the shop is a perfect balance of bins of vinyl to finger flip through, and spacious displays of treasures you didn’t know you were looking for!  Revolution Records is a comfortable shop that feels welcoming for collectors both new and seasoned. To see the inside of Revolution Records, check out the featured photo on this post!

CFMU would like to acknowledge mountain residents can hit up The Beat Goes On (1550 Upper James) or Sunrise Records (Lime Ridge Mall). You will also find Records on Wheels (34 King St. E.) in Dundas.