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Field guide to Atlanta’s coolest record stores

We’re digging in the crates for Record Store Day



Record Store Day, the annual Hallmark holiday for music lovers, turns three on Sat., April 17. The mission is self-explanatory: Celebrate the brick-and-mortar institutions that have survived the Internet age with a slew of limited-edition records pressed on a galaxy of multicolored vinyl. Ridiculously elaborate releases from the Flaming Lips, Fela Kuti, Beastie Boys and Mastodon are sure to cause mania in the check-out lines. But the RSD exclusives can only be copped at three shops in Atlanta this year: Criminal Records, Wax n' Facts and Decatur CD. Those stores paid membership dues and will be celebrating with in-store performances and other goodies.

The festivities come to a head when '60s folk/cult fave Rodriguez plays a show at Criminal after regular business hours with members of Noot d' Noot and Anna Kramer and the Lost Cause. (The ticket for that show is a $10 gold vinyl 7-inch.) But let's not forget the reason for the season. Atlanta is blessed with record stores scattered across the perimeter. They may not be officially linked-up, but for these 15 shops, every day is Record Store Day.

Primarily a pro DJ/producer shop, Beatlab hosts crates of pricey hip-hop, funk and dance classics. Stop by when you're in the mood to discuss high-end turntable purchases and repairs. 700 Cleburne Terrace. 404-745-9935. – Scott Morris

Big Oomp's Record Store is your best bet for straight-up dirty South hip-hop and street-level mixtapes. Two locations: 1120 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. and 2668 Campbellton Road. – CR

Book Nook carries a large selection of used books, comics, DVDs, CDs and LPs in any genre. If you're not big on scratches and worn-out sleeves, there's a handful of new garage/punk and '60s reissues to supplement the classic rock-heavy inventory. There are suburban locations in Lilburn and Marietta as well. 3073 N. Druid Hills Road. 404-633-1328. – Julia Reidy

Circle Sky Records is a suburban destination that's good for seeking out staple reissues of classic new/used garage, soul, funk, punk and alternative LPs. Plenty of indie rock 45s, CDs and some cassettes. 3633 Chamblee Tucker Road. 770-491-2100. – CR

Since Criminal Records relocated in 2008, there's ample room for the gazillion CDs, new/used vinyl, comics, magazines, action figures and a stage that make it the king of Atlanta independent media retail. Fitting, since owner Eric Levin co-founded Record Store Day in 2007. 1154-A Euclid Ave. 404-215-9511. – JR

Decatur CD boasts an impressive collection of new and used CDs along with a bunch of vinyl. They lean toward jazz and Americana but deal in every genre, and if they don't already have it, they'll get it for you. 356 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-371-9090. – JR

Plan on spending hours digging through Fantasyland's hefty collection. There are plenty of choice finds within the filler, but you'll need to sort through it all. The shop also offers a huge collection of cheap 45s, 12-inches, used magazines, CDs and memorabilia. 2839 Peachtree Road. 404-237-3193. – SM

Feed Your Head hosts a wide assortment of used worldly music ranging from jazz, rock, R&B and audiophile fodder, and they're open late. 493-B Flat Shoals Ave. 404-343-0480. – CR

Tucked away in Candler Park's historic shopping district, Full Moon Records offers a fresh stock of used CDs/LPs and new arrivals. It also maintains one of the best dollar bins in the city, as well as a great selection of cassettes. 1653-A McClendon Ave. 404-377-1919. – CR

If you're looking for it, Low Yo-Yo Stuff has it or can get it. The eccentric staff is an excellent resource for local music lore, and the store boasts a staggering selection of CDs and vinyl. It can get a little pricey, but it's less than what you'd pay on eBay. 3870 N. Peachtree Road. 706-207-7014. – CR

Moods Music doesn't carry vinyl, but offers a heady, well-informed selection of CDs. The L5P mainstay specializes in '70s-to-modern R&B, conscious hip-hop, groovy house and future soul. 1131 Euclid Ave. 404-653-0724. – SM

An even split of new/used punk, power pop and metal vinyl fills the racks at Reactionary Records, but it's only open when the owners feel like it. Tune in to their Tuesday/Thursday online radio show at from 3-5 p.m. to hear the goods they sell. 465 Flat Shoals Ave. – CR

Records Galore is an old school record shop that carries used country, rock and hip-hop vinyl. You'll find anything from Wu-Tang to the Replacements to Johnny Cash, and it's all priced to sell. Lots of 45s and CDs. Take cash or checks with you because they don't accept plastic, and they're not open on Sundays. 4148 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-294-5271. – CR

Wax n' Facts reeks of oxidizing vinyl and cardboard, which is assurance that you're in the right place if you need to choose between seven different used Beach Boys greatest hits compilations. There's also a corner and some counter space devoted to CDs and cassettes, and there's more new vinyl here than you'd expect. 432 Moreland Ave. 404-525-2275. – JR

Neatly squeezed inside a Decatur strip mall, Wuxtry Records has been slanging records since 1978. An antique apothecary cabinet splits the room in half, with most of the rock records in the front, and soul, classical and some of Atlanta's best jazz selections in the rear. 2096 N. Decatur Road. 404-329-0020. – SM

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