If emo could run through your veins, it would be what’s going through the members of Good Terms. The LA-based quartet is a close-knit group of friends who have started to emerge with a recent spat of successful singles, the most recent being “Cough,” which was preceded by the March release of “Old Friend,” and then the very well-received “Drive-In” at the end of 2022. Before joining together, these four men were finding success working behind the scenes of the music industry, but they finally decided that enough was enough, and it was time to embrace music in their own way. With nothing more than their instruments and their will, they got together to write their original music but also record, produce, and mix it all through their efforts.
It has worked out quite nicely with their growing following, a band easy to feel attracted to, thanks to their anthemic brand of emo-pop, mixed with the traditional elements of hardcore and the nuts and bolts of alternative rock. There’s a DIY spirit that motivates them to stay true to their roots, work as hard as they can at writing and recording, and connecting with their fans in a very personable way.
Today, we are joined by Good Terms lead guitarist Zach Boucher for Vinyl Variety as he, in great detail, runs down his six favourite record shops that have helped him fall in love with music. Check out the band online here: https://goodtermsband.com.
“Hello, everyone; my name is Zach Boucher! I’m a vinyl nerd who has been collecting since 2015, a Los Angeles resident, and (most importantly) a producer and guitarist in the band Good Terms, which is what brings me here to V13 today. Through this wonderfully addictive and fund-dissolving hobby, I’ve amassed close to 400 records in my personal collection over the years. I personally like to collect crazy-looking colour variants, exclusive pressings of my favourite albums, and pristine condition original copies of classics from the ’70s and ’80s.
At this point, I’ve been able to score many of the grails I’ve been chasing, but one of my favourite hobbies is to hunt for the remaining few and explore the many excellent record stores that Los Angeles has to offer. Today I recruited my golden-piped bandmate Brian McShea to travel around LA on this rainy Tuesday afternoon with me and help narrow down my list of LA’s top record stores.
Brian isn’t too much of a specific variant chaser like me. He mostly wants to just physically own a rad version of his favourite albums, but he’s also working on completing a full discography for The Boss, which today’s shopping was fruitful in aiding. Being the heavy emo-pop band that we are, we’re typically going to have a soft spot for any store with a robust offering of the punk/emo/indie variety, which most of these shops excel at. So without further ado, here are our top record stores in Los Angeles!”
Very solid spot in Highland Park down the street from many of our favourite coffee shops, sick tattoo parlors, and a great venue called The Lodge Room. Their Indie/Punk section is probably the largest section in the store. This is definitely a “digging” store, but they’ve got good collectibles up on the wall and a decent smattering of new releases and reissues throughout as well. Our bassist Geo Botelho found The Story So Far’s first EP, While You Were Sleeping, here, which was priced accurately, but is still a wild find. Great spot to hang at for an hour or two and dig through every crevice while hanging with a friend or your significant other.
The Midnight Hour is a newer spot deep in the valley up in San Fernando, so it’s a bit of a drive, but worth it for many reasons. This isn’t my favourite “place to buy records” per se, but overall this place just kicks so much ass. There’s a pretty large punk/hardcore section and an even larger separate indie section filled with emo, pop-punk, alternative, and other genres, so this is a great place to go if you’re chasing something under the broad umbrella of punk. Not a bad offering of hip-hop, rock, and vintage/secondhand band tees as well.
Its main highlight for me are the many insanely sick DIY and hardcore shows they have here weekly. I’ve actually been here for shows more often than I have for just shopping. I saw No Pressure’s first LA show here, which was my first show after the pandemic so in a way it felt like hearing live music again for the first time, and was just an overall special experience. I also saw Scalp, Doomsday, and Dying Wish here on separate occasions which all slapped.
Good Terms is trying to play here ourselves someday if the wonderful folks at S.O.S. Booking ever deem us cool and cred enough to rip a set (hit us up please, love you, thanks). If you’re into hardcore, I definitely recommend coming through for a show and checking out everything else the store offers in between sets!
4. Permanent Records Roadhouse (Google Maps)
Address: 1906 Cypress Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Phone: (323) 332-2312
Another awesome spot that doubles as a venue! Our friend Sarah from Illuminati Hotties did her most recent album release show here, which was my introduction to Permanent Records Roadhouse. The first floor venue area has a bar, booths, collectibles along the wall, and tons of crates with “classics” type offerings.
However the real gem of this store is out back, which you may completely miss if you didn’t know it was there. Outside the side door of the bar is a massive patio area and a completely separate building with a “guest house” feel that has about three times the amount of records than the main building. When I first walked in, I was floored with the prices and the quality of the selections up on the wall and in their “top shelf” section, which included an official press of Frank Ocean’s Endless, a test pressing of Noah Gunderson’s Lover, a sealed/mint first press of Led Zeppelin II from 1969, and countless other jaw-dropping collectibles. Really great place to come with your squad, have a few drinks, browse for hours, and catch some live music.
I credit The Record Parlour with sparking my interest in vinyl to begin with. Back in 2013 when I was living in LA for the summer, something drew me in here when I was in the neighborhood for a haircut. I must have refed my meter about three separate times for how long I spent exploring this store. Obviously it’s history from there for me with vinyl, and despite massive gentrification in this area that killed my favourite live music spot Piano Bar (there is literally a Tao & Dream Hotel across the street), it seems like The Record Parlour is still crushing due to a loyal local following and tons of foot traffic in downtown Hollywood.
Everything being sold here is second hand and 99 percent older records, but for whatever reason, the quality is top notch. The Record Parlour still scratches a very specific itch for me that no other store really can. When I want an older record, I want to find an original copy from the era the music came out. Your typical record store will either have copies that are beat to hell selling for super cheap or brand new reissues, which both certainly have their place, but don’t hit the spot for me. That’s not the case here.
The “New Arrivals” section right when you walk through the door is absolute gold. It’s full of super desirable titles in excellent condition typically priced between 20 to 30 dollars. Some of my favourite scores here include original copies of Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, Stevie Wonder’s Musiquarium, and from the trip I just made for this article, my favourite Aerosmith album Get Your Wings.
Pro tip: They restock these New Arrivals bins with new drops every Saturday.
Going Underground has a solid spread of genres, but I would go as far to say that this is a punk record store, and the best one in LA at that. I owe so many records in my collection to this store. (Lead singer) Brian (McShea) and I found the clear splatter variant of Turnstile’s Nonstop Feeling here for 15 dollars in the new arrivals bin a few years back, which is comical considering what that would cost now.
The store’s offering is the perfect combination of “digging for gold” and just easily finding a sealed copy of a record you’re looking for. They’re always stocked with new releases and indie exclusives, from great punk and indie labels like Run For Cover, Triple B, Relapse, Pure Noise, and Deathwish, among many others. This was my RSD store for many years when they were located in East Hollywood down the street from my apartment. They recently upgraded and moved to Little Tokyo, one of my favourite neighborhoods in LA, so my visits here aren’t as frequent but are equally as satisfying as they used to be.
Go get a Chashu Pork Bowl from Daikokuya down the street and spend a few hours in Going Underground while you digest.
You must have expected this would be coming, but it’s just the truth, Amoeba is the best record store in Los Angeles and probably the best record store I’ve ever been to. Whatever type of record you’re trying to collect, they’ve got it, not to mention dense offerings in every genre. It’s the perfect place for to buy the new Taylor Swift indie exclusive to begin your collection, pick up your favourite band’s new album on release day, grab that Dark Side Of The Moon reissue on black vinyl because who cares, rummage through the new arrivals or MISC *SA-SE* for hidden gems, or spot a grail up on the wall for a pretty penny that’s still cheaper than discogs.
I’ve had countless scores here in my lifetime. My favourite was when I found the elite first press split/splatter variant of The Devil Wears Prada’s Dead Throne in pristine condition for 19 dollars in the MISC-D-Rock section. The cashier was shaking his head while ringing me up knowing they goofed on the pricing for that one. On top of all of that, they have a great selection of clothing, blu-rays, CDs, and collectibles, and the selling desk is amazing.
I’ve sold my copy of Counting Crows’ This Desert Life to them for about 15 records worth of store credit, and my girlfriend recently traded in some unloved blu-rays for what became a first press paint spill variant of CHON’s Grow in quite possibly the best flip I’ve ever witnessed. This place just simply rocks and you can spend an entire day and paycheck in here if you’re not careful. If you can only choose one place from this list to hit, just go to Amoeba, you won’t regret it.