The Vinyl Frontier

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Go "crate-digging" for new and used vinyl at Armadillo Music in Davis.

Photo by Kelly Diepenbrock

Since 2007, when Dilyn Radakovitz, owner of the Sacramento-based Dimple Records chain, helped create Record Store Day, the national event has grown into a beloved rite of spring for music collectors across America. With this year’s celebration on track for Saturday, April 18, and with the recent resurgence in interest for LPs, we’ve spun up a list of the region’s coolest vinyl vendors.

Armadillo Music

“The fun is in the hunt,” manager Paul Wilbur says of the practice affectionately referred to as “crate-digging.” Armadillo fills a lofty two-story space in Davis with an ever-changing collection of CDs and new and used vinyl LPs—the store’s buyers add to their collection daily—and all used vinyl is 30 percent off on Sundays. “People are way more involved now than [when they were] passively downloading [music] at home,” Wilbur says. To that end, by booking more live music and events, Armadillo plans to grow as a cultural gathering place for casual patrons and crate-diggers alike. 207 F St. Davis. 530-758-8058. armadillomusic.com

Cherry Records

The name of Al Lauer’s store in Auburn reflects his commitment to sell only records in “cherry condition.” Since opening in 1983 with merely his personal record collection and $500, Lauer has gathered an impressive selection, from used vinyl to new reissues of classic acts (although reggae is his first passion, so look for hard-to-find Bob Marley albums here). And as the records get older, Lauer says, the clientele gets younger. “It’s amazing—kids come in here and spend their lunch money on records,” Lauer says. “Vinyl is the most social medium of music there is.” 925 Lincoln Way. Auburn. 530-823-2147

Clock Tower Records

This disc destination dazzles the newcomer with its massive collection. Owner Curt Smith says he carries nearly 40,000 new and used records acquired over 35 years. And while every genre is represented, Smith specializes in ’60s and ’70s psychedelic, punk and garage bands. (And don’t miss the photos signed by Melissa Etheridge, Joan Baez and Jeff Bridges, all of whom visited the Grass Valley store after playing at the neighboring Center for the Arts). This Record Store Day, Clock Tower will host live performances by bands like Sacramento’s Drive-Thru Mystics and Grass Valley’s Rockabilly Love Cats. 130 W. Main St. Grass Valley. 530-477-1400. clocktowerlps.com

Delta Breeze Records

Launched in 2014 by longtime Sacramento record purveyors Rick Daprato and Ben Johnson, this pint-sized shop brings the noise to West Sacramento with an eclectic collection of everything from jazz to vintage Japanese “pure vinyl” (which some audiophiles say improves upon records pressed on recycled American vinyl) to used cassettes and a nostalgic selection of children’s 45s. The West Sacramento shop also sets itself apart by selling and even repairing used turntables. “It’s nice having a small store because you can be up close and personal with everybody,” says Daprato. 1049 Jefferson Blvd. West Sacramento. 822-4096

Dimple Books & Vinyl

Dimple’s owner and founder Dilyn Radakovitz is one of the five vinyl devotees from around the country who organized the first national Record Store Day eight years ago. And while all seven of Dimple Records’ locations—from its original Roseville store to its Sacramento outlet in the former Tower Records space on 16th and Broadway—sell vinyl, its Arden Way storefront boasts 3,000 square feet devoted to this vintage medium. The chain’s used vinyl buyers have put together a staggeringly deep collection—much of which they will sell for its popular Record Store Day swap. Multiple locations. dimple.com

Esoteric Records

Now located on a quiet strip of Fulton Avenue, Esoteric Records has provided a haven for local vinyl enthusiasts since original owner John Hogue founded it near McKinley Park in 1974. Shoppers can browse current owner Jim Larejeno’s collection of specialty records across genres and a huge selection of one-dollar records that occupy bins underneath tables of used vinyl. Beyond 33s and 45s, collectors will also find a range of obscure items and blasts from the past like old-school reel-to-reel tapes, hundreds of classic ’80s-era pins, and more retro music paraphernalia. 1139 Fulton Ave. 488-8966

MediumRare Records and Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage

“It’s more than a record store—it’s a place to experience and celebrate music,” says Marty DeAnda of his brand-new storefront, which will combine his own MediumRare Records with Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, a venture founded by the husband-and-wife team of Tim and Laura Matranga. Slated to open in early May inside the new Warehouse Artist Lofts in Sacramento, the MediumRare side will focus on used vinyl and collectibles from the ’50s to the ’80s, while Kicksville will feature vintage accessories, mid-century antiques and furniture, as well as a selection of more recent punk and garage-band records. 1104 R St. 505-5191. digmusic.com. kicksvilleshop.com

Phono Select Records

At Dal Basi’s self-described “record adoption agency” in Hollywood Park, music enthusiasts will find a treasure trove of used vinyl, tapes and CDs, as well as retro posters, toys, comics and zines. Have a big collection to unload? Phono Select will even make house calls. “Like coffee shops, [record stores] are catalysts for popular culture,” says Basi, who says he’s less interested in profit margins than in “helping great records find great homes.” Specializing in punk, indie and metal, Basi carries genres both conventional (rock, jazz, soul) and niche (darkwave, industrial, surf pop). 4370 24th St. 400-3164. phonoselect.com

Records

This shop has spun its way into Sacramento legend since founding owner Ed Hartman launched his aptly titled music enterprise in 1972. (Now owned by Hartman’s son Kevin, Records relocated to its current location near 16th Street and Broadway—formerly Tower Video—in 2007.) The store’s sign (featuring a logo designed by legendary cartoonist
R. Crumb) greets vinyl obsessives looking for used—and sometimes incredibly rare—records that line the walls, floors and shelves inside. In honor of Record Store Day, the store will host local DJs from Davis’ KDVS student radio station—creating the perfect opportunity to soak in all the grooviest new sounds while getting lost in yesteryear. 1618 Broadway. 446-3973