A couple of years ago, if you were based in Leeds and wanted to hunt for some new tunes, your best options were Discogs, Juno or the train to Manchester.
This was a pretty dire state of affairs really, considering that it seems like every other person in Leeds is a DJ.
A few years ago, before I lived here, Leeds had a good selection of decent record stores, but in the years when vinyl sales dipped, things were not good for record buyers…
We still had Crash and Jumbo, which are great and have vast selections spanning many genres, but have fairly small choice for the kind of music I’d be looking for.
Now, though, all this has changed…
A while back Andy Pye of Balearic Social the Disque 72 distro took over the small record store in Outlaws Yacht Club.
I’d always loved Outlaws anyway – it was one of the first places I started going to regularly when I first moved to Leeds.
You go in and there’s artwork to look at and buy, tunes to browse, great cheese boards and sandwiches, and a decent selection of soft drinks and alcohol – and it’s just a wonderful place to be and observe.
I joked to my mate that if I was in the middle of a war zone and needed to teleport somewhere quick, I’d be like ‘take me to Outlaws Yacht Club’. He has, since then, vastly quoted me on this and will post things on Facebook like ‘Gig tonight at the favourite teleport destination’.
Anyway, I digress…
When Disque 72 took over the Outlaws record store, I was surprised at the vast selection available, considering that it takes up a relatively small space in the bar.
If I had a browse I’d almost certainly end up buying something.
The next bit of goodness was that Tribe Records re-opened. Tribe is great, and if I’m not too flush, it’s dangerous for me to pop in there on a flyering mission for Schwein because I’ll always come away with tunes.
The guys in there are brilliant. They’ll always pick me out a mint selection, and they’re always happy for us to put a poster up and leave flyers for our nights, and they’ll ask about our events and chat with genuine interest in what we’re doing.
Tribe also host events at Wire. Shop owner Simon Scott is a director of Dimensions and Sub Dub and Alex T, who’ll be behind the counter most days, is a resident at Dimensions and a founder and resident at On Rotation, one of the best nights happening in Leeds right now.
Also, the other half of the store is ArtOfficial, which stocks art supplies and tees, and hosts small art exhibitions, which are always worth checking out. Obviously, doing what we do at Schwein & Bad Ornament, we’re always buzzing about anywhere where music and the visual arts met under one roof.
Kirkgate, where Tribe currently has its home, is Leeds’ oldest street, and until recently was extremely run down. Over the past couple of years however the area has been undergoing regeneration, and not that shit ‘lets build some flats and offices nobody here wants and kick out everything decent’ kind of regeneration. The boarded up shop fronts are gradually being renovated and occupied by local businesses – food, drink, art, a cool barbers where my housemate works – good places. And now there are TWO record shops…
As well as Tribe, across the road we now have Doghouse, a bar owned by the good folks who run 212, where we have our monthly residency. And Doghouse isn’t just a bar – the top floor is a record store.
The bar opened just over a year ago, and the record shop followed a few months later (I think the upper part of the building was still being renovated).
As well as new stock, there’s also a decent selection of second hand gems in Doghouse, and I’ve found some excellent EPs that I probably wouldn’t have searched for on Discogs, but was happy to stumble upon browsing.
Also, they have two listening stations, which is really decent, as a lot of smaller record stores only have one – and there’s a YES, NO and (this bit I really like) a MAYBE slot for your tunes.
Also – the staff, Alex Brown (resident at Sub:terranea, one of our favourite nights in Leeds) and Nev, and owner JCub, are all very friendly and know the right tunes to pick out for you.
There’s also a small bottle bar in the corner, and a sofa and table round the back, which is probably nice for your non tune buying mates, and decent for settling into when there are DJs on.
The DJ booth in the record store is truly brilliant. Set up on a raised platform in the rafters, you can hoist your tunes up on a winch and climb a rope ladder to get to the decks.
A while ago, my mate Nigel (Perseus Traxx) and Alex Handley (who together are responsible for Northern Powerhouse) played a mint acid house set upstairs in the record shop, and I spent a great afternoon on the sofa, drinking beer and listening to the wonderful music.
Before our last event at Wire, we got to do a day party in Doghouse, and were guests on JCub’s KMAH show.
“Here’s Schwein looking very fresh faced” was the tongue in cheek introduction (we’d played in 212 the night before and partied on).
Our next night is imminent and I’m looking forward to more crate digging in advance of that.
Thank you, Leeds x
Words: Roya Brehl