It's 11am on a Saturday and Berlin is just waking up, you can pretty much find whatever you need in this city so my first mission is finding decent coffee, which is not always an easy task in this country, luckily with some local help, I find a pretty good one, the Turkish breakfast that followed was a little more questionable. Food and coffee aside, I'm on my way to finding the first of the German capital's vast array of record shops with a mission in Kreuzberg.
Holy's Hit Records
First up I find the fantastically named Holy's Hit Records and it is filled with some really great records, I've long been after a copy of the Hard Ons early nineties classic 'Yummy' and I manage to score a copy of it here, there are also plenty of other great second hand records to be found at pretty reasonable prices, I could have walked out of there loaded up with plenty more but it is my first shop of the day and I'm being conservative. The shop may appear small but it is extremely well stocked.
Next up is Space Hall, it is definitely not small, it is a really big space that is jammed with vinyl covering most genres, and then there is a whole other back section almost equally as big that specialises and dance and electronica records. Sometimes shops like this can be somewhat overwhelming but everything is categorised quite well and the shop has plenty of space, so it never has that feeling to it. If you only have time to get to one shop in Berlin, this probably should be the one but make sure you still set aside a good chunk of time to get through the racks, you'll find a lot of records here that you don't see around too often. I stumble across a few more stores in the Kreuzberg area but none that live up to the first two so I jump in the car and head across town to Friedrichshain.
My first here is Galactic Supermarket, a really unassuming shop from the street but it opens out more and more as you walk in and by the time I leave it has pretty much become my favourite record shop in Berlin, and considering the standard in this city is high, that is a pretty big call. Looking through the extensive sections of varying styles of 'indie' in the front room, I come across many records I've rarely seen, and some I've never seen. Moving into the next room which houses everything from hip hop to classic rock I continue to find great records. A number of years ago I was really into a record from the band Blockhead and in particular their track Isommnia Olympics which I'm surprised to come across a 12" picture disc copy of. Then there is a small little stairwell that heads upstairs to a loft full of cheap records that are all a few euros and there is some really great stuff amongst the lot.
Friedrichshain continues to throw up record stores, some which I didn't even see listed anywhere, and most with an impressive selection but it is getting close to closing time for most of them so it is time to retire to one of the other things that Berlin does very well, the bar. My friends and myself sample a few great ones across the night and get ready for another day of record shopping, this time market style.
It's Sunday in Berlin and in a lot of ways the city shuts down, most retail outlets are not open but there is a thriving market scene. I drive across town to check out one of the markets that has several record vendors in it, I find a bunch of Australian records from the likes of The New Christs, The Celibate Rifles and Beasts Of Bourbon, and following the tradition of the bricks and mortar outlets of the city, the market stalls are also well stocked. It's blazing hot though so it's time to wind down my Berlin record store experience and head down to Liepzig and Dresden to catch up with some friends and drop in on a gig featuring King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard + Amyl & The Sniffers.