The National Blues Museum guide to St. Louis’s Record Stores
After visiting The National Blues Museum and learning about so many different musicians and performers from throughout blues history, I couldn’t shake the intense desire to flip through a stack of blues records and get introduced to each and every one of them. Lucky for me (and for you), few places in the country could be better for such a task than St. Louis, Missouri. Even infamous vinyl nerd, comedian, actor, and blues fan Marc Maron thought as much after his recent visit to the city. Maron had plenty of nice things to say about St. Louis on episode 1263 of his WTF Podcast, applauding its parks, its museums, its “wild old brick” architecture, and Clementine’s Ice Cream; but he most especially felt the need to mention how St. Louis has some “great f—ing record stores, man.”
And indeed, a music fan’s visit to St. Louis would not be truly complete without visiting this great river city’s halls of discs, from small specialty shops to large palaces of used wax and memorabilia that you’d be unable to fully grasp in even a week’s time. So, if The National Blues Museum Shop’s quality selection of local blues CDs doesn’t meet your tunage-buying quota, consider a short drive or Metro ride to any of these institutions and support St. Louis’s fine independent record stores. There are shops all over town, from Cherokee Street, the Grand Center Arts District, and the Delmar Loop to suburbs like Webster Groves and Maplewood. A great St. Louis activity come rain or come shine; you can stop by any of these local institutions during the winter, spring, summer, or fall. Next to seeing live music at the National Blues Museum or another one of this city’s stellar music venues, going record shopping is simply one of the best things to do in St. Louis. Whether you’re filling out your collection, crate digging for your next beat, or buying your first LP, use some of your time in the Lou to stop by one of these phenomenal record stores!
1. Euclid Records — 19 N Gore Ave
When it comes to Euclid Records, Marc Maron may have put it best when he said simply, “Euclid Records… holy f—.” This two-story record store in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves—home to Webster University and its nationally renowned music and performing arts programs—boasts one of the best jazz and blues collections in the midwest. Serving St. Louis music lovers at various locations since 1981, Euclid Records’ top floor is devoted entirely to jazz, blues, folk, country, and world music, where these genres which can often be lacking at other record stores take center stage. You’ll find rare selections from the Blue Note catalog, albums by legends like Jimmy Reed, Billie Holiday, and B.B. King, unique t-shirts, stickers, and plenty of pop/rock along with new, local releases. St. Louis area-native Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) is a former employee and has performed in-store appearances along with a slew of other talented local and national performers. The beloved store even opened a second location down the Mississippi River in New Orleans’ 9th ward in 2010. Euclid Records has an in-depth website where you can browse new arrivals of various mediums (used and new LPs, CDs, and 7-inch singles), as well as their cool selection of Euclid merchandise. Located in downtown Webster Groves, Euclid Records is near the celebrated restaurant Olive + Oak, with a changing selection of classic American dishes, seafood, and sandwiches made with fresh local ingredients. Other culinary highlights of the area include DD Mau Vietnamese, Layla (burgers and shawarma), The Clover and the Bee (breakfast and lunch).
2. Vintage Vinyl — 6610 Delmar Blvd
No list of St. Louis record stores would be complete without Vintage Vinyl. A staple of St. Louis’s Delmar Loop area near Washington University, Vintage Vinyl is a wide-open, pleasant feeling space with a great mix of genres and mediums. It’s sure to be a bustling spot on a sunny weekend, with customers pacing Delmar Boulevard heading in and out of the shop. The Delmar Loop is near the essential STL stop Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the world (bigger than central park, as we like to say here). Vintage Vinyl has their own series of concerts and is one of the best places to catch music and vinyl-related special events in St. Louis, such as signings, meet-and-greets, and the nationally celebrated Record Store Day. On top of that, you can get an iconic Vintage Vinyl bumper sticker, a hallmark of St. Louis hipsterdom that is sure to be spotted on many a Subaru driving down Kingshighway. Located near some of St. Louis’ larger music venues—The Pageant, Delmar Hall, Blueberry Hill—and plenty of locally renowned restaurants—Salt + Smoke, Seoul Taco, Corner 17, Fork & Stix—Vintage Vinyl is a must-see on any excursion to the loop or college tour.
3. Record Exchange — 5320 Hampton Ave
Upon entering the Record Exchange on Hampton Avenue, one feels the beautifully crushing weight of possibility: There is just so much!! A densely packed space with high ceilings, it appears as if The Record Exchange’s walls were plastered with memorabilia and iconography by the ghost of music past. Apart from their incredible selection of vinyl from all genres, The Record Exchange is notable for its extensive collections of other mediums: Cassette Tapes, concert DVDs, movies, TV Shows, shirts, and a selection of merch and collectibles you’d never find anywhere else. Most impressive is the room dedicated entirely to 45 RPM singles located upstairs, where you will find endless A-sides and B-sides of pop, soul, blues, British invasion, gospel, surf rock, girl groups, doo-wop, Motown, and other postwar hits of your wildest dreams. The Record Exchange also has a website full of purchasable vinyl and other music goods. It features the astounding 24/7 Action Auction, where you can bid on and purchase physical music of many formats and genres as it goes up for auction. The action selection spans Rock, Rock and Roll, Hip-Hop, House, Blues, Jazz, Big Band, Sacred Music, Dixieland, Bluegrass, Pop, Comedy, Classical, Broadway, and even just “Elvis Presley Items.” Now that’s dedication. Bless you Record Exchange, we don’t deserve you.
4. Dead Wax Records — 2801 Cherokee St
This smartly curated, uniquely independent record store on St. Louis’s legendary Cherokee street is for the true vinyl and alternative music nut, featuring selections of a specificity and taste that few other record stores in the city can match. Highly active in the St. Louis community and online, Dead Wax is undoubtedly one of the best places to sell, trade, and buy used vinyl in the city. With extensive punk, jazz, hip-hop, rock, and R&B selections, Dead Wax should be a definite stop on any visit to Cherokee street, along with the area’s great selection of restaurants, shops, and bars. Stop by after food at La Vallesana and consider grabbing some drinks at Whiskey Ring, with one of the best bar patios in a city full of bar patios. Other Cherokee street bars to include on your crawl include Fortune Teller Bar, The B-Side, San Loo, and the out-of-this-world brewery Earthbound Beer. There are also quality coffee shops nearby, like The Mud House and Black Coffee. You can check Dead Wax’s Facebook page for regular updates on new arrivals to the store. Just one glimpse of the different rare, exciting, and bop-filled records coming in and out of Dead Wax, and you’ll know you need to stop by for a visit.
5. Music Record Shop — 3116 Locust St
Located in midtown near St. Louis University and the Grand Center Arts District, Music Record Shop boasts an expertly displayed collection of new and used vinyl. Working directly with distributors large and small, the store boasts low prices and prompt access to new high-quality reissues, box sets, and small-press vinyl of all kinds. The shop hosts a variety of in-store concerts and events featuring local and touring talent. They also sell a series of autographed records for a good cause—local Maryville University’s Kids Rock Cancer program, which helps young people deal with cancer diagnosis and treatment through the power of music therapy. Music Record Shop is perfect to visit after seeing the Contemporary Art Museum or before catching a show at one of the area’s many venues (Jazz St. Louis, The Fox Theatre, The Sheldon).
6. Planet Score Records — 7421 Manchester Rd
Located on Manchester Rd. in the heart of downtown Maplewood, Planet Score Records features an underrated and consistently varied selection of music from rock and pop to country, blues, and jazz. Planet Score is in a satisfyingly deep storefront space with eye-catching walls of music and memorabilia. With quality vinyl, CD, and cassette collections and a kind staff, Planet Score proudly serves St. Louisans and transients alike and was the staff choice for St. Louis’s best record store in the Riverfront Times’ 2021 “best of St. Louis” issue. The store is nearby a number of Maplewood staples, with 24-hour diner eats at Tiffany’s Diner and an unmatched, old-fashioned bowling alley, Saratoga Lanes. Downtown Maplewood also features The Focal Point, the premier folk and roots music venue in the St. Louis area.
7. Circa: Now! Records — 3238 S Grand Blvd
Just south of beautiful Tower Grove Park, tucked amongst the substantial selection of restaurants and shops on South Grand Boulevard, Circa: Now! Records features a great selection of vinyl, CDs, and other music collectibles. Its charmingly small storefront contains a varied and unique collection, and is in an ideal location for a visit to St. Louis with favorite local eateries like The Vine, Meskerem, Pho Grand, and Rooster a short walk away. Also, check out St. Louis’s own CBGB, a friendly dive bar featuring live independent music of many different styles where you can purchase one of their famous Gin Buckets (a bucket of gin and tonic!).
8. Record Reunion — 10 Hawks Nest Dr, St Charles, MO
If you’re staying out in St. Charles or want to make the drive to visit its charming downtown, make sure to stop by Record Reunion! Located next to the popular bar and music venue RedFish BlueFish, Record Reunion is a unique stop for folks in St. Louis county. The storefront it shares with RedFish BlueFish and CD Reunion is like an oasis of cool surrounded by malls and chain restaurants, a worthy locale for music lovers and fans of the eclectic. Full of knick-knacks, DVDs, posters, and—most importantly—plenty of tunes in plenty of formats, owner Cliff Hardesty has been sailing this ship out on the edge for more than 30 years. Power to you, man. Full steam ahead.
9. Infinite Spin Records — 2308.5 Cherokee St
Infinite Spin is another record store tucked away on Cherokee Street. Apart from its outstanding collection of vinyl and its friendly staff, Infinite Spin also hosts its own radio show, featuring far-out music of many styles. This level of sonic variety is reflected in their own selection as well, with plenty of records from whatever genres get you pumped to listen to vinyl. Infinite Spin also posts record reviews and artist interviews on their website, where you can listen to Infinite Spin radio and buy music. The store partners with many labels internationally, working with Sulatron Records (Germany), Weird Bear Records (UK), Necio Records (Peru), King Pizza Records (Brooklyn), DizzyBird Records (Grand Rapids), and Little Cloud Records (Portland) to bring you hard-to-find and independent releases. Infinite Spin records is located by Cherokee Street’s antique row, home to many antique and vintage clothing shops, furniture stores, and more.
So when planning your visit to St. Louis and The National Blues Museum (featured among St. Louis’ best attractions by the New York Times), make sure to find the time to support our city’s great record stores and pick up a memento of your time in STL. Nothing forms memories like the emotional art form of music—and no medium is more memorable than a real, analog piece of vinyl!