By Aaron Sheridan
The last few years have seen a shift backwards in time. Last December sales figures for vinyl overtook digital for the very first time – £2.5 million pounds were made on record sales and £2.1 million on downloads and CD’s. It’s remarkable the recovery physical media has made over the past decade. Previously the realm of extreme audiophiles and music elitists, Vinyl has re-emerged as the most popular audio format in an age with millions of albums instantly available to all at a few clicks of a button. Following the trend, chain retailers like Fopp, HMV and even Urban Outfitters have shifted their focus away from compact discs.
Now there’s no shame in buying from a big name store; they stock some pretty great music. I picked up a Charles Mingus album for £10 in Fopp Records on Jamaica Street and as far as I know they are still offering tons of old blues, jazz and surf rock records for incredibly cheap. On principal though I’ve always preferred to support my local independent shops, and in my opinion the best of the bunch in Glasgow has to be Monorail Records.
You’ve probably been to Mono – located just south of the Gallowgate, it’s a restaurant and music venue with a long history of putting on some of the greatest acts from Glasgow and around the world. Rooted in DIY and independent culture the bar has an alternative streak without the elitist attitudes that all-to-often plague indie music and its related scenes. It’s a charming and welcoming wee spot. It’s also a fantistic place for picking up all sorts of strange music.
The selection of artists is fantastic. I’ve seen everything stocked from black metal to Bowie, they have rarities and brand new releases, they have everything to suit your taste no matter how pop or niche it may happen to be. The staff are genuinely helpful and they take pride in knowing their music so any queries you might have they’ll help you out. Be sure to stick a wee donation in their box on the counter, they support independent charities in Glasgow which is always a worthwhile cause.
Being a vinyl collector myself I’ve always appreciated Monorail. They don’t rip you off with ridiculous prices. They’re not trying to capitalise on the recent upsurge in analogue sounds. For the folks down there it’s a passion and they want everyone to be able to get a piece, so if you’re a long time collector or a newcomer to physical media get yourself down to Monorail. It’s a head and shoulders above all the other Glasgow outlets.