10 Best Record Stores in Connecticut

Finding your favorite record store is about more than who carries the newest vinyl or the vintage jazz album you’ve been seeking. The best spots offer not only an extensive archive, but knowledgeable staff and extras such as small concerts and tickets to shows. You’ll also find shops that offer band memorabilia, blogs, and podcasts that cater to aficionados of the local music scene and help build a like-minded community. Some shops even offer repair services for your stereos and turntables. With those standards in hand, here are 10 awesome Connecticut record stores you'll want to check out.   

The Archive, Bridgeport, CT

This specialty store, offering movies and music, is the retail end of a film preservation facility called Vinegar Syndrome. It’s the place to shop if you’ve got a movie soundtrack that you just can’t get out of your head. In addition to a growing selection of vinyl LPs, the Archive claims to have one of the largest collections of soundtrack LPs you’ll ever encounter. The crew is friendly and knows its stuff when it comes to any kind of music that accompanied a film. If the movie music you’re looking for is rare, esoteric or otherwise hard to find, this is the place to take your quest. 

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Merle's Record Rack, Orange, CT

Merle’s offers a place to touch history, a place you can hold onto tangible memories as you search the inventory for vintage vinyl records, albums, CDs, stereo equipment, memorabilia and collectables.  Expert staff includes tech guys who specialize in audio/video transfers, digitization, and duplication. They may even be able to repair your vintage equipment. Merle's offers a commitment to the preservation of music and to those who treasure the past and want a piece of it.  If staff can’t locate what you're looking for in the racks, they’re happy to order it for you. After 50 years in business, they’re still having fun. 

Exile on Main Street, Branford, CT

Exile focuses on rock including indie, classic, metal, and jam bands but also has a good selection of jazz and blues. The store stocks new and used CDs, vinyl, music DVDs and will special order what it doesn't carry at no extra charge and have it in a couple of days. The store has an old school vibe and rambling racks. In addition to an extensive used vinyl selection, nearly all new releases also are available.

The Telegraph, New London, CT

Old school vinyl shop with new releases and reissues, the store has a fun vibe and a schedule of Live Lunch Break mini concerts typically featuring local artists. The store supports the local music scene and often participates in music events around the area. Poetry readings and movie screenings are regular events, too. Offering a deep collection of rock, jazz, reggae, classic country, punk, blues, hip-hop, soundtrack music, classical and more, shoppers will have plenty to chooses from. Cassettes, Books, DVDs, vinyl supplies, turntables and speakers are also in stock. There’s also a sales bin that deserves a look. 

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Gerosa Records, Brookfield, CT

Expect to spend a couple of hours browsing this independent music store’s inventory. Gerosa Records stocks thousands of LP records, new and used, in every genre: rock, jazz, blues, soundtracks, vocals, classical and more. You’ll find tens of thousands of 45s, plus CDs with an extensive selection of hard to find titles including out of print and import titles. While you’re there, check out the turntables and stereo equipment, including lots of vintage stuff, such as cassette decks. A huge collection of rock memorabilia includes programs, posters, back stage passes. The store buys record collections, has new arrivals weekly and the staff is happy to help. 

Disc & Dat, Bethel, CT

Owned by two brothers, this shop is neat and well organized, and only sells well preserved records. Be prepared to take your time soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying the company of fellow music lovers. You can listen to used CDs before purchasing and feel free to bring in records and CDs to trade. The brothers are ready and willing to share their extensive knowledge and help customers find that special album or CD. The R&B section is especially well stocked and overall good pricing will please collectors. 

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Johnny’s Records, Darien, CT

Johnny's owner, John Konrad, is as much a part of the shops allure as the incredible inventory of records. Konrad is a bit famous or perhaps infamous for his sense of humor, fascinating biography and personal style which might be described as groovy. That’s all part of the fun but the core of his record business is a great selection of vinyl, reasonable prices and extensive knowledge doled out by a friendly proprietor and staff. 

Records, The Good Kind, Vernon, CT

This neighborhood shop promises to keep it fresh with new arrivals every day.  New and used LP records, CDs, and even tapes can be found in stock. Peruse a wide selection of stereo equipment and chat with friendly staff who possess deep knowledge of the world of music, its history, the technology and the artists you love. In addition to crates full of affordable mainstream records, feel free to inquire about more esoteric selections. This is a must stop for the audiophile and collector of rare records. The store buys and sells and welcomes serious and casual shoppers. 

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Tumbleweeds, Niantic, CT

Billed as the queen of vinyl, the shopkeepers say they fill Discogs and Reverb with many rare and unusual LPs and CDs (Discogs and Reverb are databases of information about audio recording and musical equipment, new and used.) Order online, if you prefer, and all items are available for pickup at the shop. Tumbleweeds boasts a huge selection of blues, jazz, rock, R&B-funk-soul, reggae and more. The family-owned business calls itself “the funkiest shop in town”." Shoppers also will find a big selection of music-themed and artisan-made bohemian clothing.  A very cool retro vibe awaits along with “music therapy."  

Redscroll Records, Wallingford, CT

Redscroll offers a hip, underground vibe that you just can’t find in the big chains. An accommodating staff and good selection make for a winning combination. Plus, you’ll find great prices on new vinyl. The store offers underground vinyl in all genres, including metal, noise, and experimental. Frequent store-sponsored contests provide an extra incentive for stopping in and staff will help you search to find obscure musical treasures. 

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