Sunday, 24 April 2011

Secondhand Record Shops: #10. Helsinki

Sorry if April seems to be a little Suomicentric...but I've been on (a working) holiday.
Vinyl shopping in Helsinki was a joy. Helsinki is a wonderful city to go shopping in because it is so small, nothing is no more than a 15-20 minute walk away. The trams are cheap and I did use them to get out to the 'burbs of Arabia, but I claim Helsinki a walkabout city.
Most of the vinyl shops can be found by walking down Fredrikinkatu. Head East out of the main train station towards Mannerheimintie, cross the road to walk up Simonkatu and on the corner with the huge Hesburger (who do a great veggie Falafel burger + chips) you are at the start of Fredrikinkatu. On the way you will pass Kiasma, Helsinki's gallery of contemporary art, they have a small shop that is worth a browse...they sell CD's, tapes and vinyl too....I managed to buy a copy of "Musiikkivyoryn B-Osa" by Musiikkivyory in ultra limited C132 format.
Fredrikinkatu runs parallel to Albertinkatu where there is a secondhand vinyl shop called Fennica. (There's also a comic shop with the same name on the same street). Fennica specializes in "Rock", I could not find a punk/new wave/experimental section. There was strangely enough an "Australian Indie Vinyl" section and a large selection of Suomi Rock, but nowt for me. A large shop that may hold some bargains but Rock Orientated. Back on Fredrikinkatu and walking South towards the Baltic you will cross Uudenmannkatu, turn left and there is the Myymala2 Gallery. A lovely small boutique style gallery with a few racks of secondhand vinyl, tapes and CD's. Standard punk/new wave fare but a lovely browse nonetheless. It sells comics and graphic novels too, so the wife & kids were happy.... Carry on and turn left at Iso Roobertinkatu and there is Stupido Shop. A kind of Sister Ray-cum-HMV-cum-Selectadisc type of chainstore. They were playing The Saints when I walked in, always a bonus. At the end of Fredrikinkatu is where I found the beef of the vinyl shops in a small area known as "Fiveways" - a place where all roads meet...well five of them anyway.
Popparienkeli is a large shop full of secondhand vinyl. A large selection of new wave LP's in boxes on the floor - large red chair available to sit and browse, friendly guy behind the counter who wanted to reminisce about early 1980's UK DIY Tapes and told me he had every Bad Vugum release, but not for sale. Foetus LP's on the wall going for about £30 each. Across the road is Digelius. This shop (mainly new CD's and Vinyl) is a Wire subscribers dream, lots of modern classical, jazz, experimental electronica etc. I managed to buy a Paavi 12"EP on Lal Lal Lal Records and the guy behind the counter tried to put me off buying it! "It's just abstract piano" ... "OK" ..... "Why are you buying it"? .... "I have other Lal Lal Lal releases and I like the label" ... "You have heard of Lal Lal Lal"!!!! etc. The 12" EP cost 10 Euro. Not bad.
Around the corner from Digelius on Laivurinrinne is Eronin. Again, modern jazz, hippity-hoppity and an Augustus Pablo section.
By far the best and finest secondhand vinyl shop in Helsinki that I found was A.H.Records. It's on the right hand side if walking towards the sea and just before Popparienkeli. A huge selection of vinyl..both LP and 7". I saw stuff there I hadn't seen in years and some I desperately need, but a tad too much....Sort Sol "Marble Station" 7" was 35 Euro and not really mint condition. There were some Essential Logic records and a couple of compilations I would have loved to of bought - and an old Skrewdriver LP I should have bought for Mr. Underwood - but I found the shop on my last day in Helsinki and the euros were looking thin. I did leave with a copy of "All About You" by Scars on pristine 7" vinyl. Ahhhh.

I am certain I did not find all the secondhand vinyl shops in Helsinki, and I would have loved to of chanced upon some old Bad Vugum, Hyster Tapes or Freak Animal stuff, but no.

1: Myymala 2 Gallery.
2: Stupido-Shop.
3: Oscar outside Fennica Records.
4: Digelius.
5: Popparienkeli.
6: Eronen.
7: A.H. Records.
8: A.H. Records business card! (Go There).

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