Did you know there's a national thing called Record Store Day? There is (well, was, back in April)! Thanks to the (sort of really crappy) app, I found all the record stores participating in Nashvegas-- basically, the top/main shops were the only ones listed: The Groove, Grimey's, and The Great Escape. I was lucky enough to (have a mom that would be willing to) swing by each one, and they definitely differed in some respects.
BEST :: The Great EscapeThis place is stellar. It's so roomy and has so much music! Unlike the other two, this place wasn't crawling with obnoxious/rude hipsters. Everyone was amicable and mellow, it seemed. My Record Store Day visit was actually my second; the first time around I got a Muse poster and a Maurice & The Zodiacs record (thanks for the obsession, Dirty Dancing)... This was actually the only store I was able to purchase anything at, as everywhere else was sold out of just about everything. As for the store on any other day, the selection is still incredible -- and they have posters! And plenty of CDs, of course, as well as comic books, DVDs, and all kinds of memorabilia. Basically, this is the place to be for records.
MIDDLE :: The GrooveWhen I first got here, I had a mini anxiety attack: I had never seen so many hipsters in my entire life. I was so intimidated that I wanted to leave, like, immediately. My outlandish reaction to such cool(??) people is a good start-off for a therapy session, so I'll end here. When we got there, there was a sort of little party in the back outside, with boxes and boxes of $1 records leading to it, so that's where we started. I won't count that in the rating, because that was just some RSD celebration. When we got inside... that place was cramped, man! Not as bad as the backyard of it was, but sheesh! The prices were good, and everyone was really friendly. I guess it's your typical young-person-run record joint. Oh, and I noticed a rad collection of cassettes, too, which I didn't see much of anywhere else.
WORST :: Grimey'sIf I thought the last place was cramped, I was wrong -- this was the definition of smushed in. It's a good thing my claustrophobia isn't severe, because there was barely breathing room. I had to rub up on some very undesirable people. We asked about the RSD exclusives (that's why we came!) and the very friendly, if not totally swamped, cashier directed us to the back. We opened the back door to some blaring music, stepped on the deck... and I almost died. There were SO MANY PEOPLE! We made our way down, and the RSD exclusives were in the blue tent... The blue tent with a massive outside-the-store-grounds line leading to it. (?!?) No other place had a set-up like that. Then, the actual people around were so rude! Dirty looks and pushing and shoving and asdhajh! Rudest "chill" people ever. That, the way the limited records were presented, and the basic cramped-ness of the place give it it's low rating. Anyway, we ended up not standing in line after discovering there was no way to cut everyone. As it turned out, after more research, some pretty cool bands have played at Grimey's, like The Black Keys, Foster the People (!), and Mumford & Sons (!!!) way back in 2010.
Those are the main three record stores in Nashville, but not the only ones.
McKay's: This place is so freaking cool; it's, like, one of my favorite places ever. It's a mecca for books, movies, and music (my three favorite things!). I haven't been to their new location since moving, but I'd bet it's just as great as the old one.
New Life Record Store: This place is literally across the street from The Great Escape. It's pretty cool, in my opinion, though I've never found any records for myself there. I guess I should mention/warn about the wide collection of porn and drug paraphernalia in the back...But still, it's a local little record store, if not one that's a total hole-in-the-wall.
Ernest Tubb Record Shop: Pretty much hick city. It's on The Strip, which is what I call the only road tourists visit Nashville for in the first place. It's got some gift items, but mostly just country records.
My all-time favorites are The Great Escape and McKay's (though it's usually just best for books and movies). If I left off a record shop, let me know!