The Sound Library, Lower East Side, NYC, NY ***** (NOW CLOSED)

The Sound Library Record Store, Lower East Side, New York, NY. Probably the best vinyl store on earth.

There’s no scientific proof available but…
…this might be the best record store in the entire world. Suckers for Metallica and the likes will probably not agree, but any sucker for soul, funk, hip hop, jazz, disco, latin, beats and breaks or reggae most definitely will. Call your friends, tell them you’re happy and that you won’t be home for dinner as you’re browsing through the TSL vinyl collections.

So what’s all the hoopla about?
Founded in 1998, the Sound Library was first located on 214 Avenue A, next to Alphabet City Studio tattoos, where bikers (and media guys trying their best to look like bikers) used to hang out and get inked. It wasn’t exactly a gnarly neighbourhood but still… moving to Orchard Street was probably a very smart move, as it’s now more accessible to the hordes of Japanese collectors who come in, spend three hours and exit with a feet of vinyl. Apart from the crate diggers with glasses thick like coke bottles you will also run into DJ Premier and the Alchemist on a regular basis.

Asking questions permitted.
The people in the store are not regular shop assistants, they are librarians. Ras Jensen and Jared Boxx are extremely knowledgeable, as one would expect. They are also nice people which isn’t always the case in stores like these. From my viewpoint there’s only one downside with going to the Sound Library. It will probably be a quite costly experience. Why? a) Prices tend to be higher. Period. b) They have stuff that you’d normally only dream of. c) They have a lot of stuff you’d normally only dream about. It’s very easy to get carried away, so make sure you’ve set your limit before entering the store.

The Sound Library Record Store
165 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 460-4800

Tell the cabbie to take you to Orchard between Rivington and Stanton.

In mid-August 2010, The Sound Library closed its doors, disconnected its phones and terminated the website. After five years in their Orchard Street location, it’s over. A very, very sad week for crate-diggers, not only in the NYC area but all over the world – and we vinyl junkies must face the fact that we will soon go extinct; seize to exist; exit.

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