The independent record store-owner stereotype is well-founded: They probably do know more about music than you. Once your bruised ego subsides, take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that awaits you Downtown at Mecca Records & Books. Proprietor Rocky de la Vega is well-informed about music, art and obscure cultural knowledge, and one browse through Mecca reveals the significant result of his lifelong exploration. Shop ’til you drop from 11am to 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays; on Sunday, hours are noon to 5pm. Listen to your finds on Mondays and Wednesday, when Mecca’s closed. My closest DJ friends simply rave about Mecca’s electronic selection/curation. So go forth, browse and be merry.
Strolling through Nob Hill with record-shopping on the brain? Look for the Nob Hill Music sign: It’s a circular logo featuring the store’s name. Once inside, the sign’s color scheme continues to inform the scene. Amidst framed memorabilia, dig through LPs, EPs, tapes and CDs in the soothing chartreuse and lemon yellow interior. If you’re on Facebook—and who isn’t?—“like” Nob Hill Music (facebook.com/nobhillmusic) to inject release news and secret savings passwords into your newsfeed. The store even curates a YouTube channel of recent releases and new vintage finds. The best thing about aural gifting is that everyone digs music; you just have to find their sonic sweet spot.
Charley’s 33s and CDs is a Burque institution, and they’ve got gifts galore to choose from: everything from racks of vintage clothing to CDs to incense to band T-shirts to stickers to stereo equipment. With a whip-smart and courteous staff and a selection to rival any corporate behemoth, hit up Charley’s for one-stop shopping this holiday season. They’re open every day of the week, but hours vary, so check out their Facebook page for your best shot at the gifter hall of fame. At press time, there’s a rare LP of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness soundtrack—on colored vinyl—for less than $35.