London Essentials: Record Shops In Soho

In the London neighborhood of Soho, four serious wax shops lie in the same vicinity. Our London correspondent Will Benrubi goes for a dig to let you know what to look for.
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In the London neighborhood of Soho, four serious wax shops lie in the same vicinity. Our London correspondent Will Benrubi goes for a dig to let you know what to look for.

The hunt to buy vinyl in London had me stumbling into the neighborhood of Soho where I ended up finding several very dope record shops that were all within a minute walk of each other. The closest tube station to Soho is the Oxford Cirus Station, where you will find yourself within a five minute walk from these four reputable wax shops.

Phonica Records

51 Poland St, London W1F 7LZ                     Tel: 020 7025 6070

Phonica Record Player

Phonica is an absolute must-see record shop if you're hungry for house, techno and funk genres. As you dig through the heavy depth of records they have, the employees are constantly playing amazing records that cycle through the shop. They run an amazing service, get all the latest releases and are a go-to stop for many DJs traveling in and out of London. Nina Kraviz stopped by the day after her Fabric show, plus I was told that Seth Troxler and Motor City Drum Ensemble have spun some awesome private vinyl sets inside the shop.

What we copped: Ron Hardy - RDY #23 [Rdy] | Badonday - Albondigas [FLASHBACK] | Seth Troxler - Seth Troxler: DJ Kicks LP [K7 Records]

Phonix Records
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7 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DA Tel: 020 7734 3430 

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Sounds of the Universe is where it's at for all the crate diggers out there addicted to all things funk and soul. They have a massive collection filled with newer and global releases (this shop turned me on to Jamaican Funk), not to mention their majestic selection of jazz, Latin, and bossa nova records/CDs. This spot also sells a wide array of great books ranging between autobiographies of musicians, rare second hand books, and art books. It's that classic record shot that will give you nostalgic feels.

What we copped: Fela Kuti - Expensive Shit [Knitting Factory Records] | Yusef Lateef - Eastern Sounds [Prestige] | Bilal - In Another Life [BBE]

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75 Berwick St, London W1F 8RP                                    Tel: 020 7734 3297

I walked into Sister Ray and they were bumping Nas' Illmatic, so I figured this definitely can't be bad. Indeed it wasn't as Sister Ray offers a wide display of great hip-hop albums from Dilla to the Tribe, a solid jazz selection featuring an array of all things Davis, Coltrane, and Monk, plus loads of new and old electronic records waiting to be scooped up. Not only that, they have a good classic rock selection and probably the best drum and bass selection out of all the stores in Soho. This is one of those spots that might have the hidden gems tucked within its racks, you just have to take the time digging to find it.

What we copped: A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders [Jive] | MJ Cole - Wondering Why (Feat Vula) [Talkin' Loud]

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30 Berwick St, London W1F 8RH                            Tel: 020 7437 4271

Reckless is a spot that has loads of great rock and blues albums. They cover many genres and have a decent amount of electronic records, however, they were the only record shop in Soho without a record player for customers to listen to records from the shop. This made it impossible to find the gems, and limited it to one of those shops that is good when you know exactly what you're looking for, but not as good when you're browsing for unheard wax. It's right across the street from Sister Ray so it's still worth scoping out.

If you find yourself in this neighborhood, stop into one of these shops and sift through the music. You can spend hours in any other these shops and I promise you will leave with a sense of admiration for the beauty of vinyl. Happy Hunting!