Capital Region vinyl shops

Fuzz Records Front door.jpg

Step into music's past -- and present.

By Casey Normile

If you're looking for CDs, the new Fuzz Records on Lark Street only has about six on sale.

Open since June in the basement storefront of a condo building at State and Lark in Albany, Fuzz is not interested in selling portable music. It's focused on new vinyl releases -- and getting people involved in the local music scene, with limited releases and live
shows.

Sales of vinyl records have been on the upswing nationally over the last five years -- and a majority of those sales have been at independent record stores.

Here in the Capital Region, there are a handful of vinyl shops still holding on, riding the new wave.

Fuzz Records

209 Lark Street, Albany (518) 729-4566

We've all read the stories over the last decade: CDs hurt vinyl, mp3 sales hurt CDs, illegal downloading hurt mp3 sales. So you wouldn't expect a new record store to open. But that didn't deter the guys at Fuzz. For Josh Cotrona and John Bono, all that mattered was that they loved music and -- it's not a bad gig to spend your day selling it to fellow music lovers.

Fuzz Records interior 4.jpg

Fuzz Records interior 2.jpg

They say the response they've gotten at the two-month-old shop has been better that even they expected. Their location on Lark gets a lot of passing foot traffic -- and an indie record shop appeals to Lark's artistic crowd.

"If you want to make a ton of money, you don't open a record store, but we've wanted to do this for a while and it's been great," said Bono.


River Street Beat Shop


197 River Street Troy
(518) 272-0433

"It helps to be a little loony, but I can pay the bills," says the River Street Beat Shop's Jim Barrett. "Plus, the pleasure I get out of it has nothing to do with the money."

River Street Beat Shop Ext.jpg

When Barrett moved to his location in downtown Troy in 2003, vinyl record sales were still declining -- and would hit their recent low a few years later. But he says he survived through loyal customers --music lovers looking for their classics -- as well as storefront
concerts, and the support of his neighborhood.

River Street Beat interior 1.jpg

But in the past three years, he's started to see not only younger customers, but also a huge rise in vinyl sales over CDs. Barret says
80 percent of his sales are vinyl now.


Last Vestige


173 Quail Street Albany
(518) 432-7736

For Last Vestige in Albany, a combination of long-time regulars, an extensive collection, and a mail-order business has kept them going strong since 1989. "You gotta play it from every angle you can," said Chris Lawrence, employee at Last Vestige. "You look at ways to change your structure and how you do business."

Last Vestiage Music exterior.jpg


Last Vestage interior.jpg

That sometimes entails referring customers to other shops. If any of the local shops don't have what a customer is looking for, Lawrence says they'll direct them to the store that might. He says it's not about competition, it's a community.

As far as Lawrence is concerned, even if the record store business takes a hit now and then, "It beats the 9 to 5."

Divinyl Revolution

437 Broadway, Saratoga 518-306-5167


"Nothing sounds better than a record, you get a full range of sound that you just can't get with digital," explained George DeMers of Divinyl Revolution in Saratoga. And nowadays, most new vinyl releases are being sold with mp3 codes. By buying vinyl, audiophiles can now get the best of both worlds.

divinyl_revolution.jpg

Former Last Vestige employee Brittany Nasser opened DiVinyl 3 years ago after Last Vestige closed its Saratoga location -- and recently moved the shop to a new location in the Downstreet Marketplace. DiVinyl sells mostly records, and has seen a good
mix of people interested in both new and old vinyl.

"We get a lot of people rebuying their collection, but we also see parents coming in with their kids, showing them their music and what to buy. And then you see those kids come in later with their friends and showing off what they've learned. It's better than just buying
music over the internet," said DeMers.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The records keep spinning at Blue Note
+ Ask AOA: Where to get a record player fixed?

Comments


Don't forget the lesser known...

The Re-Collector
Vinyl Records
167 1/2 Jay Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
518-281-7614

How about Blue Note on Central Ave? Or do they not sell new releases? (Not owning a record player, I haven't been in there to check it out myself)

Does The Fuzz have any inventory? If I were to make a guess based on the pictures, I would think they have less than 200 records.

Jim B. is one of the most welcoming record store owners I've ever had the privilege of befriending. Excited to see him, and visit the new store in Albany next weekend during my visit to the Capital Region!

Blue Note does sell new 45's as well as "new old stock" 45's. In fact, for a while they were the only source in the Capital District for new 45 pressings, many of which were designated as "For Jukebox Only!" status.

I was excited to hear that Fuzz Records was opening a few months back. When I went by there I was blown away by their lack of inventory. Never have I seen a record store with so much empty space. They've got to be kidding me...

@ Laura. The Fuzz Record shop doesn't focus on quantity, they specialize in quality releases. They also have more records on the left wall. Each time I have been there I was shocked at how many great Albums they have. Check them out.

The Re-Collector has so much crammed into his small store, that everywhere you look you see something very cool. More vinyl than he can handle! Great deals too! And August 1st is his 3rd year anniversary - look for even better deals all month!

Agreed that the Re-Collector on Jay St and Blue Note on Central are worth a look. Even better, local music releases are available at these shops, too.

Do any of these shops buy vinyl? I have several LPs and a few 45s I need to dispose of.

Who will buy used vinyls? These are old records left to me I cannot use...

How come Blue Note record shop wasn't featured in this story????? The store has been on Central since 1948. They have an extensive collection of New NOT used 45's and LP's too. If they don't find what you are looking for they will go out of their way to at least try to get it for you!

Do you know who buys vinyl records i have a bunch of 45's and many regular album size not sure what to do with them or it they are worth anything. I have seen many new companies popping up that refurb them and sell them. Does Albany have any company like that?

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