The consumerist orgy that annually masquerades as Christmas is upon us and—maddeningly awful Mariah Carey Christmas songs aside—preparing to exchange gifts can be a hassle monetarily and sentimentally. Luckily there is some consolation to the annoyance summoned by this spending spree. If you're reading this, chances are you have a few musically inclined folks on your list: Enter the vinyl record, the X-mas shopping fun-maker.
If you don't mind, I'd like to talk about myself briefly. With my LP collection in need of wrangling, last month I called a furniture maker to discuss some custom storage. "Are records back?" he asked. "Because lately I've made several cabinets for LPs." Yes, they’re back. CDs are a moth-eaten middleman rendered irrelevant several years ago by the MP3. Records—which never went away for some—bided their time through the '90s, and are once again the favored physical format for music.
Records make great gifts and they're inexpensive, averaging between $5 and $50 in most stores. Below are my favorite places in Albuquerque to acquire vinyl. In addition to giving the gift of music, by shopping at these local, independently owned businesses you run little to no risk of hearing any goddamned Mariah Carey.
Charley’s 33s & CDs (and vintage clothing)
7602 Menaul NE • 296-3685
Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While I don’t like that Charley’s shrink-wraps used vinyl, preventing pre-purchase inspection (and previewing the music), the store does have an impressive selection of reissues. Plus, you can also purchase a vintage outfit to match your music’s era.
Mecca Music & Books
1404 Central SW • 243-5041
Hours: They vary—call first.
Mecca is Downtown's only music store and carries a smallish but choice variety of in rock, soul, jazz, hip-hop, "weirdsville" and more. I love Mecca and owner Rocky’s misanthropic disposition.
4011 Central NE • 255-8295
Hours: Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
Albuquerque's oldest independent record store moved to a new location in eastern Nob Hill earlier this year. With this change of locale seems to be increasingly excellent vinyl offerings.
Nob Hill Music
3419 Central NE • 266-4200
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
One of Nob Hill's newest retail additions, this friendly shop has a little bit of everything, but specializes in rock, jazz and congeniality.
We Buy Music
5203 Lomas NE • 256-2524
Hours: Monday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
We Buy Music has a large stock of blues, jazz, rock and roll, and other genres, but beware: If you buy a certain amount of records you'll be sent to a back room vault where you must dig through and pick out more for free.