Off the record: Birmingham
Birmingham has one of the largest and most culturally diverse music scenes in the country. It has pioneered reggae music, is home to heavy metal and now excels in techno music.
Birmingham has always been accepting of individualism and experimentalism, which has led to a wide output of musical genres, so it’s only right that the city has an equally impressive and diverse set of record shops to please all audiophiles.
The Diskery - 92 Bristol St, Birmingham B5 7AHVisit website
Starting off with The Diskery, the music royalty within record stores. The record store has been operating since 1952, making it the oldest record shop in England and is a real treasure trove to get your music fix. History oozes from their walls and their crates of carefully selected second-hand LPs will have customers sifting between an assortment of genres for hours. They used to specify in jazz and swing but now welcome any music lover who has got an interest in wax. The owners Jim and Liam are incredibly welcoming and may even offer you a brew when hunting.
Swordfish Records - 66 Dalton St, B4 7LXVisit website
Being proudly independent for decades, Swordfish Records have had its finger firmly on the pulse for everything physical music since 1979. Their impressive stock ranges from the latest releases or their abundance of classic bangers they shelve. They have seen music legends step into their brilliant store, with the likes of Dave Grohl, Neil Diamond and Primal Scream all making appearances. Swordfish champions all types of guitar music and has therefore built an incredible fanbase and has been mooted to be one of the most well-loved establishments in the city.
Ignite Records - 110-114 Corporation St, Birmingham B4 6SXVisit website
Nestled away within the Oasis Market, Ignite Records is a hidden gem within the vinyl market and is worth a visit down to their emporium. Owner Rich Perri specialises in punk, indie and rock, but still manages to stock a wide variety of genres to reflect Birmingham’s vast music taste. Quite frankly Rich’s knowledge specialises in everything and is always on hand to give you his expertise and recommendations. If you do manage to spare some time from Ignite, the Oasis Market is packed with indie businesses and is the perfect way to spend your day.
Café Artum - 60 Hampton Street, B19 3LU
Café Artum is the most versatile venue on this list. Alongside records, they offer coffee, wine, art and food, which they do all above exceptionally. It’s a recipe for success and there is so much to love about this venue. There are plentiful amounts of techno and house tunes, accompanying a bit of hip-hop stocked too. Expect a relaxed atmosphere and your time to quickly escape you as they boast a remarkable itinerary for events and live music. With a custom-built DJ booth, Café Artum really holds music as a top priority.