Frau stöbert in einem Plattenladen
For some they're about the memories, for others they're a cult phenomenon: these Cologne record stores should be on every music fan's radar. Photo: Tim Purnell/Groove Attack

Spinning around: record stores in Cologne

Cologne loves vinyl - and many of the trendy record stores are full of stories. We present 5 record stores from Cologne

The rest of the world may be opening new record factories and celebrating the comeback of vinyl, but in Cologne the record store never really disappeared. The city lives and breathes music, be it krautrock, pop, jazz or electronic beats. A key element of the score are Cologne’s record dealers – and they bear no relation to their stereotypical eccentric image. These are people who are passionate about music and love talking about it.

Kontrapunkt Vinyl: second-hand, organic grooves

Blick auf die grüne Vinyl Wand im Kontrapunkt Vinyl-Plattenladen
Kontrapunkt Vinyl in the district of Deutz specialises in second-hand records. Photo: Kontrapunkt Vinyl

Based in the heart of the Deutz district, Sebastian Koschmieder loves his job, which largely consists of unearthing vinyl treasures. “That’s the adventurous part of my work,” the second-hand record dealer says. Kontrapunkt is a good place for record collectors who happen to be in Cologne on business as it’s only ten minutes from the trade fair complex and a 15-minute walk from the city centre.

Kontrapunkt Vinyl, Helenenwallstraße 2, 50679 Köln-Deutz, Cologne

Kompakt Record Store: electronic music and hip-hop

Frau von hinten vor einem Plattenregal im Kompakt Record Store in Köln
Kompakt offers a well-curated selection of electronic music. Photo: Kompakt Record Store

On 1 March 1993, local techno musicians Wolfgang Voigt, Jürgen Paape, Reinhard Voigt and Michael Mayer set up Delirium, the record shop that later spawned the legendary Cologne techno label Kompakt. The shop remains a core part of the Kompakt family, which now has 20 businesses members. It’s a little hidden away at its location on Werder Straße but a visit is worthwhile, especially for connoisseurs of the genre, as techno pioneer Michael Mayer can still be found behind the counter – if he’s not on tour. As well as their own catalogue, they have a well-curated selection of international electronic music, as you’d expect.

Kompakt Record Store, Werderstraße 15-19, 50672 Cologne

Parallel Schallplatten: rock, pop, jazz, indie new wave and classical

Blick auf das Sortiment des Schallplattenladens Parallel Schallplatten in Köln, unter anderem Platten von Ella Fitzgerald
Parallel Schallplatten stocks golden oldies from the realms of rock, pop, jazz, indie new wave and classical music. Photo: Parallel Schallplatten

Probably the city’s largest range of second-hand and new records is to be found at Parallel, which opened on Brabanter Straße in 2013. Christian Meier-Oehlke started the business with Thomas Rhein and Mark Sommer fresh out of university 22 years ago and they’re still a team today. The shop has 120m² of sales floor space (and the same again for storage) and stocks records spanning a wide range of genres and eras. Whether you’re looking for original American pressings from the 1960s or rarities that are hard to find elsewhere, you’ll get them here for a fair price and the second-hand vinyl always comes with a precise description of the condition.

Parallel Schallplatten, Brabanter Straße 2–4, 50674 Cologne

Groove Attack: hip-hop, soul and jazz

Ein Mann mit Capy stöbert durch Plattenin Schallplatten-Laden Groove Attack in Köln.
Groove Attack has been supplying vinyl fans with a fabulous blend of hip-hop, jazz, soul and rarities like Japanese or Turkish releases for 30 years. Photo: Tim Purnell/Groove Attack

If a record store can be described as an “institution”, Groove Attack in Cologne definitely is one. Located in the Belgian Quarter, this place has been giving music fans their vinyl fix for 30 years. In the days of the legendary SPEX pop culture magazine, the editors were frequent visitors as their office was just around the corner. Today, as always, the range reflects good taste, with hip-hop, jazz, soul and rarities like Japanese or Turkish records all getting a look-in. There’s also a good selection of limited editions by Cologne labels and artists.

Groove Attack, Maastrichter Straße 49, 50672 Cologne

Underdog Recordstore: punk, metal and indie

Blick auf ein gefülltes Plattenregal im Underdog Recordstore in Köln
Underdog Recordstore in Cologne started life as a small punk record shop and is now the place to go for a fine range of indie, hardcore, metal and punk. Photo: Lars Hoffmann

This has been the place to go in Cologne for punk, metal and indie for 25 years. Owner Lars Hoffmann is as famous as a concert organiser and label manager as his shop is. It was him who brought Jimmy Eat World, International Noise Conspiracy and At the Drive to Cologne to perform. “I only sell music that I can relate to myself,” he says and, being the great curator that he is, he has the complete back catalogue of most bands at his store.

Underdog Recordstore, Ritterstraße 52, 50668 Cologne

1 comment on “Spinning around: record stores in Cologne

  1. Alexandra Nuijen

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