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Where to Diversify Your Influences
Academy Record Annex
At least for the time being, the city's best record stores are still mainly in Manhattan, though the North 6th Street annex to the main isle's Academy Records is awfully impressive. With an intimidating number of bins, a wall stacked with local bands and labels, avant staff picks standoffishly blaring over the shop's stereo, and constantly replenished new arrivals rad enough to make you momentarily guilty that early 80s scenesters must keep dying prematurely to fuel the fire, the Annex is the best, most affordable crate-digging spot in Brooklyn. It even provides rare, tangible truth that a neo-cassette culture exists! (Also, it's always fun to guess which clerk might have recorded the 7" you are currently ogling.)
Just relocated to a bigger, more central Metropolitan Avenue locale in Williamsburg, Record Grouch is still no Academy in terms of scale or scope, though the selection's not bad at all. It is already serving a unique function as an exclusive ticket vendor for limited capacity, high-interest, paper-ticket-only happenings. A bit quaint in an online age, maybe, but it does weed out those who are only mildly enthusiastic.