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Record Store Review: Music Matters

December 11, 2012

My previous (and first) review was for my favorite used vinyl shop in Brooklyn, Black Gold Records.  Staying in the neighborhood (kind of), I will now review my primary location for buying new vinyl, Music Matters in Park Slope.

Music Matters can be described in a single word – utilitarian.  The store is extremely small and divides its space relatively equally between new vinyl and used and new CDs.  Box sets and concert poster reprints adorn the upper shelves and walls, giving the store the requisite music-store feel, but a visit to Music Matters is generally one of locating and acquiring, not of lingering and browsing.

Shoppers can rely on the store consistently getting in new vinyl releases on the day they are released, and keeping their minimal shelves stocked with popular rock, indie, punk, metal and the occasional hip hop record.  A signboard in the front window keeps passers-by updated with the new album release schedule and is representative of the kind of vinyl you’re likely to find in the racks – indie rock predominates, but as long as it has a chance to sell you can find it here.  When starting my collection, this was the place I went to acquire the full catalog of the National albums, Yeasayer, and Vampire Weekend among others.  And when the new Vaccines album and Dum Dum Girls EP were released, I knew that Music Matters would have them in stock that day (they did).

Music Matters has been around since the late 90s, and has ridden the roller-coaster of the music industry through the past 15 years, likely remaining in business because it continually serves the preferences of its customers.  The owner – who can always be found behind the register – is clearly a music lover and will provide his thoughts (but only if asked), and will special order an album upon request.[1]  If and when musical tastes change, or vinyl goes back out of style, I expect that Music Matters will evolve with the times.

Bottom line: Looking for a new vinyl release? Willing to spend about a dollar per album more than you’d expect?  Go to Music Matters.  They’ll have it.  Or they’ll get it for you.  Looking for anything else?  Keep looking.

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Quick stats:

  • Sells used, new, or both: New only
  • Genres: Rock, Metal, Hip Hop
  • Non-vinyl for sale: used CDs & a few DVDs, vintage rock posters
  • Selection: 6 out of 10
  • Price: 6 out of 10
  • Atmosphere: 7 out of 10
  • Ease of browsing/shopping: 9 out of 10
  • Used vinyl condition: n/a
  • Yelp rating: 4.5 stars

[1] Quick tangent on why I like the owner (Jason): One day I asked for the first Vaccines LP, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, on vinyl, which I hadn’t been able to find anywhere, new or used.  Music Matters didn’t have it in stock, but Jeff offered to order it for me, which I took him up on.  A week later I came back for some other purchases and asked about the Vaccines order.  Jeff told me that the vinyl was only available on import and therefore cost over $30, and he didn’t want to obligate me to buy it without checking with me first, given the high price.  He was right – that’s too much for a new recent vinyl, even one as good as that.  Good call by Jeff.  PS: Click on that link and you’ll see that Amazon offers it … for $40.

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