There’s a special feeling you get when you hold an album in your hand. We’re about providing people with the means to find something new that speaks to them. Music brings people together in a way not many things can. From the smell of a freshly opened LP to the scratchy noise that emanates from the player as the needle picks dust out of the record’s grooves, there’s a reason that records are experiencing a surge of popularity driven by young people that grew up with MP3’s.
Digital is quick and easy. However, nothing gives music a fuller body than a good record. The only issue is how do you go about finding them? If you buy them online, they’re liable to get damaged in the truck as it makes its way to you from god knows where. Plus, walking into a record store is part of the experience. It makes the record you find something you love. Here are some of the best record stores in North Carolina:
Lunchbox Records (Charlotte, NC, 825 Central Ave.)
Owned by Scot Wishert, Lunchbox Records has been open for more than a decade. The small store on Central Avenue has become a much-loved haven for Charlottean vinyl aficionados. They don’t just sell records of every genre; they also stock cassettes, books, shirts, and of course, lunchboxes. The selection is massive, and if you show up on the right day, you might just catch one of the many local bands Lunchbox has signed to its label performing live.
Underdog Records (Winston-Salem, NC, 835 Burke St.)
Underdog is Winston-Salem’s faithful purveyor of new and lightly-used LPs. The store is only five years old, but its impact shouldn’t be understated. It’s a unique store in that you can preorder the records you wish to purchase online at their website. Their selection has a wide range from R&B to Classic Rock, Jazz, Country, and Alternative music that came out last week. If you have any vinyl you don’t want anymore, you can sell to them with no appointment. Because of that, their selection will always be unique.
Voltage Records (Asheville, NC, 90 N Lexington Ave.)
Voltage Records fits into the Asheville vibe incredibly well. At the foot of a small hill, it’s not the most famous record store in Asheville, but you can find the vinyl you need here without having to negotiate crowds. As you walk in, you’re met by posters and shirts on the walls, multiple rows of wooden shelves fully stocked with records, and incredibly friendly and useful staff. They have an excellent selection of punk as well as old-school soul.
641 RPM (Boone, NC, 691 W King St.)
With a growing inventory and a stage for in-house shows, 641 RPM is Boone’s music mecca. The owners, Travis Reyes and Kevin Freeman, have a combined 35 years of record-store experience and have an incredible passion for curating a music-loving community for the people of Boone.
Hippo Records (Greensboro, NC, 2823 Spring Garden St. Suite D)
Hippo Records specializes in finding you rare or hard to find records. The brick-and-mortar store has been open since 2013. Their in-store selection varies greatly, but they have an incredible catalog of old and out-of-print albums. They even have a rack of free records. This is the place to go if you’re on the hunt.