Tag Archives: philadelphia record stores

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Record Stores: Digital Ferret

I’ve known about the mailorder/online shop Isolation Tank for many years, but I have to confess I don’t know the back story of their bricks-n-mortar version at 732 S. 4th street in Philly called Digital Ferret CDs.

Multiple names aside, I found Digital Ferret to be an excellent specialty shop–like the mailorder operation, this Philadelphia record store focuses on gothic, industrial and related genres. Looking for a record shop that specializes in the dark side? This is the one.

There is just enough vinyl to make it worth the trip for a collector, and the CDs  on sale here include some rarities that I couldn’t resist. I scored two Coil discs and even found a compilation featuring Coil in the track listing–anything to do with Coil on vinyl has my undivided attention. The vinyl selections here overall were tempting and I do plan on returning to score more of them.

I’ve got a soft spot for the old goth/industrial scene, so I was naturally inclined to browse…and contrary to at least one report I read on Yelp, the person running the shop was friendly and talkative. Of course, I know when people are busy and don’t waste precious time yammering away–perhaps someone with few social skills would find someone actually trying to do their job a bit bothersome. But I digress.

Apparently this shop is the “new” location, extracted from an older and more cramped version elsewhere in Philly. I found this shop to be quite easy to navigate and the layout was customer friendly, especially since I had a backpack stuffed with vinyl from other conquests…it was easy to navigate which I greatly appreciate.

Digital Ferret carries DVDs, some books and clothes, but the music is the main attraction here. It’s hard to believe that a goth/industrial shop can survive as a bricks-n-mortar store these days, but Digital Ferret has carved out a pretty good niche from what I could see—kudos for staying true to their chosen musical obsessions and making it work.

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Philadelphia Record Stores: Repo Records

During my visit to Philadelphia, I was very pleased to shop at Repo Records at 538 South Street. From the moment you spot the store, you know you’re in for a crate-digging safari you should set aside plenty of time for. I realize that most of the reviews from this particular Vinyl Road Rage trip are glowing (I had very good luck most of the way) but Repo Records truly deserves the praise.

South Street is full of touristy places to lure you in, but I get the vibe in Repo Records that locals shop here. Like all the good shops on my trip, the staff were friendly and chatty. No sullen-faced wankers who have seen High Fidelity too many times here.

I was pleased to find a good combination of new material and re-issues. There’s so much good stuff coming back on the market these days that a new record collector will have trouble picking their battles. Behold:

Yes, that’s Here Comes Shuggie Otis on 180-gram vinyl, brand new and ready to be discovered by a whole new generation. But I was happier with this discovery which, in spite of its ruined cover was a very pleasant find indeed as I’m a bit of a nut for anything on vinyl related to the Justified Ancients of Mu.

You couldn’t have made me happier if you had given me a white label pressing of a late night drunken collaboration between William Shatner and Mark E. Smith (with Brian Eno playing a MicroKorg through seven echo boxes).

For some reason, the farther east you drive, the more prevalent record stores with basements become. I don’t know why this is, but I’m very pleased that the phrase “bargain basement” is still more than just a cliche.

The Repo Records bargain basement was fab–not just for the usual crate digging, but as a connoisseur of tasteless, poorly thought out or just plain goofy album covers, I was in heaven.

Look at that HAIR. Now THAT’S a SIN.

You people quit your day jobs, decided make a career in music and the best name you could come up with after pondering it for AGES and AGES was….

But I digress. Basically, Repo Records was fun to shop and I crawled around the old, new, and very used bins for quite some time. If you’re in Philly and are tired of all the other South Street stuff, drop into Repo Records and stay a while. Just make sure you’ve got a nice, cool place to stash all that vinyl when you’re done shopping…the trunk of your car might work in November, but in the dog days of summer you need a better plan.

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