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My Favourite Record Stores: Billy Hamilton, Silverstein

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 15 April 2011 at 15.43

In celebration of Record Store Day, Silverstein bassist Billy Hamilton tells Rock Sound about his favourite music stores across the world!


Hi there, Billy from Silverstein here. I've been an avid vinyl collector for a number of years and have a 2000 piece collection to my name. One of my favourite things to do on tour is go record shopping, and I have been into a number of amazing record stores around the world. With Record Store Day fast approaching, I wanted to take a minute to reminisce about some of my favourites...

Manchester, England

Vinyl Exchange is an amazing record shop located in the Manchester City centre on Oldham Street, a few steps from the bus terminal. Their top floor is mostly CDs but their basement is full of vinyl, which is where the good stuff is! I found this shop my first time to Manchester, as it's on the same street as the Night & Day club where our gig was. It's about a twenty minute walk into the city centre from Manchester Academy where the majority of our gigs have been since then, but I always find time to make the trip to dig through their basement.

They have a great collection of used British and American Indie / Alternative / Punk stuff. I feel like at least half of my Smiths collection came from here, as well as a lot of UK pressings of 90's American stuff like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. On our last stop in Manchester, I found an original SST UK pressing of Hüsker Dü's 'Zen Arcade' with no barcode, an early 90's UK repress of The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' (which I have at least a dozen different pressings of), the original Joy Division Transmission 7" with the textured sleeve, as well as a Foo Fighters 'Big Me' and The Cure 'Just Like Heaven' 7"'s both on white vinyl. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and always willing to cut a deal for an excited collector like myself.

Hollywood / San Francisco, California USA

Amoeba is basically the mecca of American independent record stores. If you've never been, heard, or seen a photo, imagine a building the size of Walmart that was all Vinyl, CDs, DVDs and posters. The Hollywood location is on Sunset Blvd not too far from the Hollywood & Highland / Chinese Theatre area. The San Fran location is right on the corner of the historic Haight / Asbury district. They also have a 3rd location in Berkeley which I have unfortunately never been to. It's next to impossible to go in to Amoeba without spending several hours digging through their shelves, and even more money on all the amazing records you will find. They stock both new and used vinyl, conveniently in the same section so that you don't have to dig from A-Z more than once for the same genre. I've had many bank breaker at Amoeba, and have also scored some of my favourite collection pieces here.

Osaka, Japan

Time Bomb literally blew my mind! I've only been in once, and I left with two large canvas tote bags full of records while being a few hundred dollars poorer. I found so many old American Punk and Hardcore records in this store that are rarely ever seen on Ebay, at much more reasonable prices. I definitely scored a Jawbreaker / Jawbox split 7" that had a gold foil cover and one of a kind hand designed B-sides that each band made. This pressing was exclusive to 100 copies that were sold on the tour the two bands did together back in 1991. How a copy of this ever made it to Japan boggles my mind, and I was happy to pay an equivalent of 75 Canadian Dollars for it considering the only other copies of it I've seen go for upwards of over $300. Other scores I got that day were early American, German and UK pressings of the first Minor Threat LP, as well as a lot of great Revelation Records stuff like Gorilla Biscuits and Quicksand. The next time I go back to Japan I need to hide my credit card.

Allentown Pennsylvania USA

Double Decker is definitely a diamond in the rough. This is not a store on a main strip in a busy city centre. This shop is out of the way, in a small town an hour outside of Philadelphia. From what I've been told, the owner would much rather attract the most intense vinyl collectors that are willing to travel, rather than have to raise prices to afford rent in busy Downtown Philly. I've also heard that the owner has one of the largest Dischord Records collection in existence, and it shows in the store. I'm pretty sure I saw two original copies of the Faith / Void split hanging on the wall. Aside from the new and used records that pack this place wall to wall, there are a couple small boxes sitting on the counter filled with some of the rarest Punk / Hardcore 7"s from the last 30 years. I think I saw multiple copies of at least five different Misfits original singles, as well as the first Minor Threat & Bad Religion 7"s. This place is definitely worth the drive from Philly if you're in the area and have the time, and if you ever happen to be attending or playing a gig at Allentown's Crocodile Rock venue (like I was), you'd be stupid not to make the short trip over to Double Decker!

I'm extremely excited for Silverstein to be apart of this years Record Store Day with the release of our Support Your Local Record Store 7". The independent record store is something that is becoming more and more endangered in this day and age, and has been important to my discovery of music. When I first got into music I was listening to bands like Nirvana, Green Day and NOFX. Every time I would go to the record store, the clerk would tell me about a different band that I should check out. I found out about bands like Jawbreaker, Minor Threat, Husker Du and Propagandhi from these kinds of suggestions, and owe a lot of respect and gratitude to the institution of a local record store and that personal relationship that you build with the clerk.

Part of the reason Silverstein wanted to release a 7" for Record Store Day was to not only encourage fans to search out and support their local record store by buying our 7", but also to turn them onto some bands that we grew up listening to. We decided to cover Kid Dynamite, American Nightmare, and Propagandhi, three bands that we love but feel like the majority of our fans might not have heard. It has also been a blast for us to play and record these songs, and having a 7" of us covering them is, if anything, something I'm happy having in my own collection.


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