Rocking indie record stores in Montreal

Montreal is known for its musical scene, but a musical landscape is only as strong as its independent record stores. Without these places, independent artists would get next to no exposure. Luckily, Montreal matches its excellent number of musicians with an equally excellent series of record stores. So, dive deep and take a look at the city's premier record stores. [Image credit: iStock.com/Mypurgatoryyears]

L'Oblique

1
4333, rue Rivard, Montréal, QC H2J 2M7

L'Oblique is the place to go to get a pulse out of Montreal's scene. This record store is situated in the heart of the Plateau and has been in business since 1987. They have a vast selection of indie, punk, new wave, folk and garage records, and Luc, the owner, will help you discover new bands and artists if you ask him for guidance. With a ready smile and a great work ethic, he makes it his job to support local independent musicians, so you’ll most certainly find show tickets and records from local bands and artists here.

Phonopolis

2
207, rue Bernard O, Montréal, QC H2T 2K5

Phonopolis is an independent record store that has its roots in the Mile-End. You'll find a good selection of indie, experimental rock, jazz, folk and blues records here. However, this place has more than just records; this is a space where Mile-End artists and musicians gain exposure, both to each other and to the public. You can find their records here, but on rare occasions, you can also enjoy the treat of seeing them play live.

Atom Heart Musique Alternative

3
364, rue Sherbrooke E, Montréal, QC H2X 1E6

Situated on the corner of Sherbrooke and Saint-Denis, Atom Heart has become a cornerstone of the indie music scene in Montreal since opening in 1999. While looking through their inventory, it's easy to not recognize a good percentage of the musicians and artists on sale. That said, they make it their mission to help you discover talented, yet underexposed musicians. You will find indie, folk, ambient and electro records here, and will most likely leave with a new favorite record in your hands after having a long and fun discussion with the staff.

Beatnick Records

4
3770 rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2W 2M1

Beatnick is a great alternative to big-chain record stores. Their inventory is rather impressive, and you will find pretty much everything you want here, with rock, punk, hip hop, electro, pop, gospel and jazz records on sale. Their inventory comprises of both used and new records (green stickers mean that the record is new, and red ones mean that they are used). Given from the 1950s and 60s feel of the place, you will have probably guessed that the owners love old school, but they certainly are up to date with what's going on in the scene today.

Cheap Thrills

5
2044, rue Metcalfe, Montréal, QC H3A 1X8

Cheap Thrills is a great store located in downtown Montreal, and the equivalent of l'Oblique for the anglophone part of the city. Just like l'Oblique, this is the place where you can find used books and records, as well as tickets to shows. However, it's the diversity of their selection that is quite something; music lovers will appreciate the fact that they don't shy on imports, meaning that you can find special editions of records you've been looking for on eBay.

Death of Vinyl

6
6307, boul Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2S 3C3

This record store is in the precise spot separating the Mile End from Little Italy. It's discreet enough, but once you’re in and discover their second floor, you’ll see that the aesthetic is quite something. Everything’s vintage here; you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to a time before CDs and MP3 players. Located in bins are over 50,000 records that sell for $2 each, so you can easily leave the place with a good haul that’ll keep your musical ears busy for weeks. They also repair turntables, amps and speakers, so your old school stereo can sound good as new.

Soundcentral

7
4486, av Coloniale, Montréal, QC H2W 2C7

Sound Central is the archetype of the ideal indie record store: walls plastered with posters and vinyls, bins and shelves full of records, a lo-fi ambiance, and a fun place to hang out. Having initially opened their doors downtown on Sainte-Catherine in 2001, they’ve eventually made their way up on Saint-Denis to now be on Coloniale, a residential street in the Plateau. The amount of punk, hardcore and heavy metal records is impressive. You’ll also find T-shirts, fanzines and music-related books. They serve coffee, too. Break between shopping for LPs or relax and discover the latest news on the scene.

There are a number of absolute truths in this world. One is that the earth is round, and another is that Montrealers love Portuguese chicken. This guide won't tell you all about the roundness of the earth, but it will reveal the flavourful and delicious options for marinated grilled Portuguese chicken in Montreal. [Image credit: iStock.com/Paul_Brighton]
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