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By Alex Hamlyn

If you hear the word vinyl and think of Halloween costumes, this article is for you.

Also, if you want to buy those big black plastic “cds” in order to impress your ironically moustachioed friends, this article, again, is for you.

Fact is, records have been popular in underground since the late ‘90s, but even Time Magazine recently ran an article pointing to a 15.4 per cent increase in record sales from 2006 to 2007.

Budget-conscious students may be wary of starting an expensive hobby. But these stores and Play De Record — located just around the corner from the Ryerson campus — allow any burgeoning audiophile a chance to start a collection without going further in debt.

There is one avenue of acquiring records that no amateur record collector should ignore: the summer yard sale.

Between sorting through countless albums by Boston, Anne Murray, and Christmas sing-alongs there is no better way to snag classic and sometimes even hard to find albums at bargain prices.

Sonic Boom

Sometimes known as the “click click” store because of the constant cacophony of CD cases being browsed through. Sonic Boom recently renovated to make room for the constant influx of new CDs.

As a result, the record section has been moved to the more spacious basement. Its selection is akin to a flea market, with quality varying greatly from record to record.

The variety of genres is pretty vast; anything from sound tracks to ‘70s folk to German techno-and cheap prices could make it a good place to start building your collection.

512 Bloor St. , 416-532-0334

Rotate This

The primary source of indie rock and underground pop for most of the Annex, Rotate This is one of the vinyl standbys of the city.

The elitist staff can be a turnoff, but the used selection is well worth the trouble, just try not to ask too many questions.

Prices will vary, but when one is looking for out of print albums and hard to find b-sides money is no object.

The best bonus is that the store also offers concert tickets for most shows in town (except those at the big arenas) free of most Ticketmaster charges. 620 Queen St. West, 416-504-8447

Second Vinyl

It’s possible to be put off by the atmosphere of Second Vinyl, as it primarily deals in obscure and pricey jazz and classical records.

This may be great for the Beethoven fans out there — and we all know one — but the bins below the premium albums are a gold mine of classic rock and soul for the rest of us. 415 Dundas St. West, 416-977-3737

Kops Records

Though it mostly serves the DJ community, Kops Records still has a lot to offer the home listener. Alongside the usual used record bins, the new releases are mostly club hits, reggae, and hip hop.

This should hopefully dissuade those who believe the world of vinyl collecting is purely the realm of classic rock and jazz. 229 Queen St. West, 416-593-8523

Criminal Records

Dealing purely in new releases and reissues, Criminal Records still offers a surprisingly wide offering of artists at excellent prices. Whether it be the newest indie release, or a classic jazz reissue they probably have it.

To top it all off the staff are extremely friendly – a huge bonus in the ultra-hipsterfied world of vinyl – and more than willing to put in even single orders for requested records (if they’re available). 493 Queen St. West, 416-364-5380

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