The resurgence of vinyl records in modern culture is definitely a thing, as recently evidenced by the whole city running out of Prince vinyl in the wake of his unexpected death, and by the RIAA's 2015 report that record sales were up 32 percent on the year. Vinyl records are larger, heavier and aesthetically more pleasing than digital music (or CDs).
They don't so much contain your music collection as display and curate your musical tastes, which makes hunting down collection-worthy records a pastime that celebrates not just the artist, but the self.
For the casual record collector, the only reason not to buy vinyl directly from artist websites, Amazon.com or an online secondhand record dealer is to support the local record store. This is why there is Record Store Day: to remind you where that store is and why it all matters. For the hardened audiophiles and vinyl collectors, Atlanta and the metro area offer several great spots at which to score that elusive LP.
1154 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta
Criminal Records is the most celebrated record store in the city, an Atlanta institution in the heart of Little Five Points for what seems like an eternity. Their top-of-food chain status is not an accident; Criminal offers a great collection of new records by modern acts, ranging from the hits and under-the-radar gems of today on through to a well curated selection from tomorrow's rising stars of counter-culture. In addition to vinyl, there are any manner of comic books, CDs and more. The prices are not cheap (as is increasingly true of all record stores) but the selection, especially for the new music, is simply unrivaled.
Wax n' Facts
432 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta
Where Criminal Records is a depot for all the things one could ever want to "nerd out" on, Wax n' Facts is a record store, through and through: a 40-year old store still standing after all these years. It's cut from the same cloth as John Cusak's shop in High Fidelity. The Little Five Points institution has an impressive second-hand collection, and plenty of great new records. If you are in search of a specific album, Wax n' Facts is among the best stores in the city to check first. But if you are just browsing, you'll have to work hard to get from A to Z in one trip.
464 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta
Located in Little Five Points in a space behind Junkman's Daughter is Beatlab, which is as much a DJ supply store as a vinyl collection depot. Professional mixing equipment, repair service and expert advice are the highlights of the store. Beyond the services geared towards professionals is a killer little record collection for those whose tastes shade towards hip-hop, R&B, jazz and other non-rock driven tastes.
360 Pharr Rd NE, Atlanta
There aren't many bells and whistles to be had at Fantasyland. Instead, record collectors will find a great many bins, filled with new and used albums, between which you can browse keepsakes (like old ticket stubs and buttons) as well as 45's, CDs and cassette tapes. The condition of used records is respectable, and the prices at Fantasyland match.
2096 North Decatur Road, Decatur
The selection at Decatur's Wuxtry Records (the sister store to the original Wuxtry in Athens) is worth celebrating. The Athens location has been a mainstay in the downtown community since 1976, and in Decatur since 1978. Better still is the Seinfeld-nee-Superman reference that is the comic book arm of the brand, Athens' Bizarro Wuxtry. The stores are simply great. But that greatness comes at a premium; there are few conventionally desirable records priced to move.
2747 Lavista Rd, Decatur
The selection is small at Ella Guru, a Decatur record store offering mostly used vinyl. Where this store shines is in it's $1 bin, which is perhaps the best in the city. Where most record stores are moving towards the high end new releases at price points at and beyond $30, Ella Guru keeps the vinyl roots by offering some surprisingly great albums at the cheapest prices you'll find.
26 Webb St., Roswell
The selection at Mojo is moderate but respectable; generally limited mostly to the top-line rock releases of yesterday and today. But the prices for used albums are decent, and the location sits just off Canton Street, in Roswell's main historic district and city center.
520 S Main St., Alpharetta
A comparatively new entrant into the vinyl marketplace, Comeback Vinyl is a mother-and-son owned shop in Alpharetta. The cumulative experience shopping at Comeback is exceptional. There are hidden gems to be found among the collection, which is easily Alpharetta's best.