Whether it’s Spotify, iTunes, play.com or whatever other medium you choose to score your regular musical fix, nothing quite beats the authentic record store experience. Rummaging through never ending archives and discovering hidden gems tucked behind yet another decade compilation is, for many music lovers, a favoured pastime. As well as playing host to the big guns, Fopp and HMV, Nottingham has also nurtured independent music shops – perfect for whiling away those hungover Saturday afternoons. Yet the past few years has sadly seen the decline of many local record stores, with SelectaDisc’s closure last February being the final nail in the coffin. The growth of the online music market has jeopardised smaller stores, forcing many to shut up shop and trade on websites instead. There are a few, though, that have all proved Nottingham still has a thriving music scene. So if you fancy a more hands-on approach to record-buying why not support your local, lesser-known stores. Here are a couple of our favourites…

Rob’s Records
This eponymous store is the ultimate Aladdin’s cave for the frugal student. Tucked up an alley behind a southern fried chicken shack, its innocuous exterior belies the treasure trove which awaits anyone who stumbles upon it. Vinyl, CDs and DVDs are piled high from floor to ceiling, barely leaving room for the customers themselves. Yet what this shop lacks in space and natural light, it more than makes up for in stock. As you sidle past precariously stacked records, certain genres are marked out on scrap pieces of A4: ‘Western country/folk’ and ‘New Wave’. Although an unconventional cataloguing system, it appears there is some form of method in the midst of all this madness…well at least for Rob. Ask him for a rare LP circa 1970 and he’ll point you in the right direction. Needless to say it may take the better part of 20 minutes to pull said record out from under a mountain of vinyl, but with prices ranging from 50p upwards, the search is not to be sniffed at.

The Music Exchange
If the thought of sifting through piles and piles of dusty records seems a little overwhelming, perhaps the brightly-lit, user-friendly shelves of the Exchange are more enticing. Small yet perfectly-formed, this store run by Framework – a local homelessness charity – relies solely on public donations. As well as rare vinyl, CDs and DVDs, the walls are adorned with signed photos taken exclusively for the Exchange by a resident Rock City photographer. The not-for-profit aspect also means that most students can walk away, bag in hand, with change still left from a fiver. With stock constantly being brought in, why not sate your technological appetite and ‘become a fan’ on Facebook to keep abreast of any new bargains.

Daisy Mash

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