Okay, it's official. Pittsburgh is a vinyl town, a great vinyl town. What is a great vinyl town? A vinyl town is a place that has more than a few great record stores, a place where prices are reasonable and the selection is varied. A vinyl town is a place that you might go out of your way to visit and not be disappointed by the number of record stores, the condition of the records available, and the prices.
According to these criteria, Pittsburgh definitely has it going on as a vinyl town.
Cities like New York City have sent most of its best record stores out of business or to nearby boroughs like Brooklyn. The rents are too high and the record stores apparently have to charge exorbitant prices just to pay their bills. That stinks for vinyl enthusiasts like me that would rather dig into crates of cheap records and dollar bins anyway, but who might also value a fairly priced obscurity that is in their sights....but New York was never really a vinyl town, because there are too many other things New York is!
A Vinyl Town is by definition defined as much by vinyl as by anything else. By my definition, that is, created right here and now.
Once upon a time long, long ago Pittsburgh was a steel town but those days are past. Today, Pittsburgh is a burgeoning hipster Mecca, rife with cool new restaurants and bars, used bookstores and cafes, and, yes, more than a few record stores.
To start with, there is Jerry's Records, in Squirrel Hill, one of the country's greatest pure record stores. No CDs here. Just vinyl as far as the eye can see. Jerry is the king of vinyl town. Undisputed. There is no one else who even comes close.
But if Jerry were the only vinyl record purveyor in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh wouldn't be a vinyl town. No, one store does not a town make.
Today, Pittsburgh offers so many vinyl shopping options that I have started calling it a vinyl town. In addition to Jerry's there is The Attic in Millville, Mind Cure on Polish Hill, Rather Ripped and Unifaun in Lawrenceville, Sound Cat in Bloomfield, and Dave's Music Mine on the South Side.
You could easily spend a few days digging into these varied record stores, large and small.
Which, to me, makes Pittsburgh a vinyl town, A great vinyl town in fact. Come visit and judge for yourself.
Do you know or live in a vinyl town? Tell me about it and I'll plan a visit.