Once upon a time, when you wanted to hear a new song, you got on a bus, or on your bike, cycled to your nearest record shop, spent a happy hour flicking through cds and vinyl, had a chat with the friendly music -obsessed staff who gave you their recommendations, then you went home with your new purchase. Sorted!
Does anyone else miss those days? Hell, does anyone else remember those days? I do. And guess what? These places still exist. MP3's have not obliterated music completely. If you want to recreate the old school vibe, head to Banquet Records, which will indulge your retro desires to your hearts desire.
Banquet Records, which actually started out as Beggers Banquet - aka the famous record label, pop pickers - has been running for roughly 20 years. As well as the shop, they are also a record label, and do indie music nights at the nearby club McCluskys, where they also have bands playing - bands playing in the past have included Hot Chip and Foals.
The shop, although relatively small, houses every kind of indie music that you could hope for; they have a special section devoted to Indie/Emo which is one of the most popular genres for them. I found out last time that I was here that they support local artists and bands by selling their cd's on sale or return, so if any of you have any cd's, bring them in here.
Plus, don't be intimidated to come here if you don't know your drum and bass from your brake beats - I sure as hell don't! The guys are all very friendly and helpful, and will point you in the direction of a cd or record that you might like if you want any suggestions. They can also get cd's in if they don't have them in stock.
I always like to try to buy music here because it's just so nice to have an independent record store in my home town.
I totally agree with Cari S. that the staff here are friendly and helpful - twice when I have been in looking for something they didn't have they immediately offered to order it for me (this reflects the only downside - their small size means they don't always have everything in stock). They also have good deals on records that are one or two years old. What I like most about them is that they support local bands and new bands - again as Cari S. says you can see bands play here that go on to have a lot of success e.g. Noah and the Whale. Also they have a show with the Futureheads TOMORROW, that should be a pretty fun gig.
Banquet Records in Kingston is the best kept music secret around. The shop certainly lives up to its headline "More than just your local record store" by providing hand written reviews on almost every record in the shop as well as being a venue for instore gigs.
An instore at Banquet records is definately worth going to. By pre-ordering the record you have a ticket and guarenteed place to see the artist perform thier new single (plus more) live. Being such a small store, wherever you stand in the shop you will always be less than 10 metres away from the band. Previous instores include performances from Jamie T, Air Traffic, Jack Penate (x2) and after being to 2 of these I have to say it was definately one of my most enjoyable experiences of going to see any sort of music. When realising Jack Penate was encouraging more fans than space in the shop it was moved next door to The Works so it turned into the sort of show you would expect to see going to The Astoria. It was amazing!
The staff are extremely helpful, and are keen to recommend artists and promote the lesser-known bands rather than being directed to the normal top 40 chart which is usually the case if asking in HMV.
So in my opinion it is definately a music shop worth visiting. :D
Five star record store. Love this place. Loads of great records whether you like rock and Roll, drum and bass, Indie, lo-fi, jazz, soul everything really. Staff really know their stuff. I mean like really and without being patronising in a High Fidelity jack black kind of way. They really can help you find something new to listen to that you will enjoy.
They also run events. For the last decade there has been instore performances from the likes of Jamie T to Laura Malling. Getting into one of these in small shop gigs is as easy as buying the artists forthcoming single. They also do shooping online and by mail order which is cool and very realiable. I have bought from them online a few times.
They also love their local community and host weekly clubnights for those who love the indie music so therefore are popular with those 16-25 all year round from the students who go to Kingston to those who come back to SW London/Surrey area in the holidays. These are called New Slang and have just moved from the Works nightclub to McClusky's because the works isnt really the scene for music fans who dont like garage and whilst it is skanky, the drinks are cheaper in McClusky's!
OhI almost forgot to mention. They are the shirt sponsors of the local football team Kingstonianfootball and music, a match made in heaven I reckon!
Best Record Store ever? Surely yes. Extraordinary friendly staff, great Mailorder and big player in the kingston music and party scene. Thank you for everything so far.
One of the last living independent record shops.. Let's keep it going!! X
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