Between The Great Escape conference and festival in the UK and Primavera Pro & Sound in Spain, I had approximately a week to spend somewhere in Europe checking out the record stores of a couple of cities. Seeing I was already headed to Spain and I hadn't checked much of the record store scene on previous visits to the country, and I'd never even been to neighbouring Portugal, I decided to focus on some of the bigger cities of those two countries. After collecting my hire car in Barcelona I hit the road towards Madrid. I arrive late in the evening and check into my hotel, no shops are open by the time I get there so I get some food and then retire to my hotel room to do some further research on the stores of Madrid.
It turns out a huge concentration of the cities record stores are within a very small radious. First stop is a shop called La Metralleta, the first bit of confusion with this place is when maps on my phone told me I had arrived but there was seemingly no record shop in sight. Eventually close by I find a set of stairs that lead to an underground car park and there is a small sign for the shop, I head down the stairs and it opens into not one but two record shops, the only two shops down there. It appears the other shop is called Discos Metralleta, I'm still not sure if it is two versions of the one shop or two separate shops with very similar names, the fact there was a fair cross over of stock indicates the latter.
Discos Metralleta was a pretty standard affair that stocked very much run of the mill second hand records, mostly at moderate, if not slightly over priced. La Metralleta on the other hand has a much deeper selection with strong punk, metal, new wave/indie sections. They stock both new and second hand vinyl and prices are on a fairly moderate level. I spent quite some time here and is definitely worth a dig if you're in Madrid.
Back up the stairs and into the warmth of an almost Spanish summer and I'm in a street which I'll refer to as the record shop district (Calle del Postigo de San Martín to the locals). Siesta time is fast approaching so most of the shops are about to close for a few hours. If find La Gramola, a shop I had visited on a previous Madrid visit, once again it is pretty standard second hand vinyl affair with a very small number of new records, worth a dig if you have time but there are definitely better finds if you're on limited time in the city.
Escridiscos record bag & Citadel Records compilation
After some lunch while they all had their siesta, I return to the vinyl district to find Escridiscos. Firstly their logo is based on a Flamin Groovies record cover, secondly the first record I see in the window is the new Cosmic Psychos album, this place is already good. The second hand section is well curated and priced, while the new section is also fairly well stocked and selected, I found a really cheap copy of a Spanish pressing of an old Citadel Records compilation, this is the best shop I've found here so far.
Just a few doors down, Rock n Roll Circus is once again well curated but stock range is not huge. Pricing is pretty comparable to most of the other shops around and they carry a mix of new and second hand records. I check out a few more shops within the zone and then decide to head to the ones outside this little area.
I walk a few blocks over to Radio City, seemingly an isolated shop (not just from record shops but any shops) it is an extremely well curated selection, focusing on, for lack of a better word 'indie' vinyl. Mainly stocked with new releases I was pretty impressed by the fact they had reissues of nearly the whole Flying Nun back catalogue in stock, as well as having extensive numbers of releases from labels such as Drag City, prices are a little on the high side but the people running the place seem to know their stuff and know it well.
Another strangely located shop is Lost Things, hidden away in a small-ish side street with not a lot else around it, the shop is also barely signed (which is a bit of a theme with Spanish stores). The funk/soul/reggae selection is solid and prices seem pretty reasonable. Mainly second hand records with some new releases as well. I check out a number of other shops, a lot of them mainly selling second hand vinyl, probably about 15 in total before heading to the last one Discos Banga Desh, it is pretty well stocked and the second hand section is definitely worth a dig, this shop would be one of my picks if time doesn't permit a visit to all of the Madrid shops.
Next up I jump in the car and drive across to Lisbon.