Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:08

VINYL VOYAGE: A breakdown of some of Michigan’s best record shops

Written by  Josh Veal
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Flat, Black and Circular Flat, Black and Circular

“Your Turntable’s Not Dead” is a slogan Detroit-born Jack White came up with for his Third Man Records label — but it could also be assigned to the entire state of Michigan. The mitten is littered with brick-and-mortar shops, stocked with those rarities even Amazon.com can’t offer. Here are just a few worth digging into.

Having opened in Royal Oak just five years ago, UHF hosts an unusually extensive collection of punk, garage rock, metal and rare collectibles alongside racks of the record store standards. The store also stocks quality stereo equipment. Stop in frequently to browse it’s carefully crafted, and always growing, used vinyl selection. Those who prefer sealed fresh vinyl should stop in as well. 512 S Washington Ave., Royal Oak. (248) 545-5955

Flat, Black and Circular has served up some serious music expertise to the East Lansing area since 1977, earning a place in the record store hall of fame. Vinyl, CDs, cassettes, great people, endless knowledge and wisdom — this shop has it all, smack dab in the heart of East Lansing. Aside from the wax, there’s a massive selection of used DVDs and an area dedicated to used turntables and stereo equipment, too. 541 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing. flatblackandcircular.com, (517) 351-0838

The Record Lounge
One of the only record stores owned and operated by a woman, The Record Lounge uses its status as the sole vinyl-exclusive shop around to focus on doing one thing exceptionally well. Without all those newfangled CDs and cassettes taking up shelf space, room is cleared out for the largest local music and merch collection in the area. Stop in and dig for old gems and new sealed pressings. 111 E. Division St., East Lansing. Facebook.com/therecordlounge

Satellite Records
A lot of record stores have some shows, but very few host a lot of shows. Satellite Records falls under the latter. In addition to the live music and an ever-expanding selection of new and used music in every format, their painstakingly organized web store makes it easy to snag any album off the shelf from home. Buy, sell, trade — stay for the noisy rock band. 808 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. satelliterecordskzoo.com, (269) 986-1963

Vertigo Music
The most well-known record store in West Michigan since its debut in 2000, Vertigo draws hundreds of customers every week to the heart of Grand Rapids in search of new and used LPs and 45s. Its manager, Herm Baker, is a living music encyclopedia and he champions the local scene. Baker’s history with running vinyl shops actually dates back to 1986 when he opened the now defunct Vinyl Solution. The store’s vibe is DIY, which makes sense given its motto: “Your anti-superstore for music that matters to you.” 129 South Division Ave., Grand Rapids. vertigomusiconline.com, (616) 742-5106

Encore Records went through an ownership change recently, but one thing hasn’t changed: the store’s dedication to the classics and local nuggets. With a specialty in used records, Encore is able to provide rare and out-of-print albums that might not be available anywhere else in the state, assuming you can pick them out of the sprawling vinyl sea. Walking into Encore is like entering a vinyl labyrinth. Be prepared to dig. 417 East Liberty St., Ann Arbor. encorerecordsa2.com, (734) 662-6776

Dearborn Music
Open since 1956, Dearborn Music is one of the oldest establishments in Michigan. With that time comes experience, wisdom and an absolutely massive record collection, boasting over 50,000 titles in one store. The selection only continues to grow as they bring in more new and used music every day. Along with the standards like rock and R&B, Dearborn Music boasts a wide range of gospel, jazz, bluegrass and more. 22501 Michigan Ave., Dearborn. dearbornmusic.net, (313) 561-1000

Corner Record Shop
Aside from an excellent new and used vinyl library, the Corner Record Shop has recently put a good deal of effort into creating a quality concert venue for the Grandville area. Vinyl aside, the store stocks an unusually impressive array of high-end audio equipment for the true audiophiles — and will even repair your stereo. For those who can’t get over the ’70s and ’80s, Corner Record Shop also sells VHS tapes, 8-tracks, cassettes and other assorted vintage-media goodies. 3562 Chicago Dr. SW, Grandville. cornerrecordshop.com, (616) 531-6578

Round Midnight
Since 1986, ‘Round Midnight has been filling the closets of Owosso locals and passers-through with concert T-shirts, hippie jewelry and band posters. Walking into the shop is like a time warp filled with ample used vinyl and CDs. This is a surprising hidden gem, tucked away in the cultureless bowels of Shiawassee County — it’s worth the trip. And, yes, the store’s name pays homage to the Rolling Stones tune. 822 W. Main St., Owosso. (989) 723-6448

Underground Sounds
Aptly named, Underground Sounds steers clear of anything your middle-aged aunt might have ever heard of, or ever will hear. There are no Top 40 or MTV-featured artists to distract from the local, indie and other completely obscure music lining the shelves. Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, Underground Sounds is the place to discover something new, like a French garage-punk band or a sizzling Crypt Records compilation of raw ‘n’ rare R&B cuts from the ’50s. The store sticks far left of the dial. 255 E. Liberty St. Suite 249, Ann Arbor. Facebook.com/undergroundsoundsmi, (734) 327-9239

Melodies & Memories
M&M has been a musical hub for metro Detroit since 1988, putting the classics first, from rock to jazz to orchestral and everything in-between. After all these years, the staff still has a passion for searching through the haystack to find deep cuts and hidden gems as requested by customers. Split up into various rooms, every inch of the store is stocked with music. Stop in and find that old Bob Seger & the Last Heard 45 — that one he cut in 1966 when he still kicked ass. 23013 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe. (586) 774-8480

Green Light Music
Originally a CD warehouse, Green Light has been easing into records since 2008, at the dawn of the vinyl renaissance. CDs still dominate the store’s space but quality new metal, classic rock and so much more walks through the door every day. While you’re there, cruise the Blu-rays, posters and stereo equipment. 4717 W. KL Ave., Kalamazoo. greenlightmusickalamazoo.com, (269) 372-8560

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