New record store opens in city’s core neighbourhood
Editor’s Note – Hoo boy, this one got us in trouble – we aren’t actually anti-Radiohead. In fact, that one song they wrote about how anyone can play the guitar is totally killer! We were more attempting to make a point about how it’s the random, obscure and otherwise unorthodox records that you dig up that truly make a record store exciting. And, for the record (har!), every record store in Saskatoon has these gems. All depends on what you are looking for I guess…
Despite a relatively small-but-growing population, Saskatoon has a wealth of vinyl record stores to choose from. Even better, most stores cater to a specific niche of vinyl nerd (err… collector). While several record stores have opened and closed in the past decade or so – Phonographique, Pure Hate Productions, Rockin’ Rod Records, Adelphi, and that one that Johnny from Nation of Waste owned that was across the street from the Vinyl Exchange – thankfully the ones that are left keep holding on.
However, please excuse Ominocity for not including any of the mall stores in our record shopper’s guide – who knows when those are gonna shut down.
Beaumont Film and Record
Beaumont is the newest record store to open up in Saskatoon. Tucked behind a terrace beside Village Guitar and Amp on 20th Street West, Beaumont also shares space with the Underground Cafe – word is still out on the coffee here. However, despite being the new, awkward kid on the block with the wobbly knees, Beaumont has a great selection of both new and used vinyl, reasonably priced, with many a gem waiting to be discovered. The store is still definitely in its growing phase however – the walls could really use something other than bare white. On the other hand, they are already hosting in-store shows – a huge plus. Lots of potential but I am always vaguely disappointed that record stores play it safe and stock up on Radiohead LPs. Do people actually buy those?
Located at: 430 20th Street West, Saskatoon.
One of the city’s premiere record stores, the Vinyl Exchange nevertheless has suffered a sketchy reputation due to raids from local police. Apparently the authorities took some exception to the ample and provocative selection of bongs, both wizard and skull. While the Vinyl Exchange has a decent selection – I still call bullshit on the Radiohead section taking up so much real estate – it seems to vary depending on who is working there. The metal selection used to reign supreme but has since dwindled down. Still a decent selection of hip-hop, but I am still generally irked when I pull out a battered copy of a T-Rex LP that is priced at $30. The staff is friendly though, and there is an interesting, albeit infrequent, flow of used stock.
Located at: 128 2nd Ave North, Saskatoon.
The Vinyl Diner used to be one of my favourite places to visit simply because I got to pet the in-store dogs, which the owner Stu would bring with him to work every day. While the store is now more or less canine-less, the Diner still boasts an impressive selection of new and used releases. Unfortunately a lot of the more interesting used LPs have dried up for whatever reason – I blame roving gangs of hipsters who are increasingly becoming more savvy. Concurrently, Stu stocks pretty much every new indie rock release that is a guaranteed sell and/or at least a 7 on Pitchfork.
Located at: 628B Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon.
Ever since I was a pre-teen, Tramps has made record shopping a baffling experience. And today’s era of the store is no different. The records are typically shuffled in the back of the store, where they are only accessible if you are part of an Olympic-level crouching team. And forget everything you know about alphabetization – the organization is akin to a trailer park-style cyclone dick bust. However, therein lies the fun of record hunting, dirty fingertips notwithstanding. In spite of bruised hooker knees, I’ve pulled some amazing gems out after hours of searching. The worst part, however, is the lottery in taking un-marked records to front only to find out that the clerk’s precursory internet search dictates the price.
Still though, I nabbed that T-Rex album for $8 here! On my birthday even! Win!
Located at: 244 1st Ave North, Saskatoon.