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© Photo Olga Kirsanova

Vintage vinyl and CDs in the center of Moscow

by Natalia Antonova at 08/05/2013 18:37

"Let me explain it to you. Mitchell's the man. I'm the idiot. You're the screw-up. And we're all losers."

Back in 1995, "Empire Records," the movie my school friends and I watched and re-watched obsessively (don't judge - it starred a young Johnny Whitworth, among others), correctly predicted that record shops were in for trouble.

The era of online piracy was still years away, but many independent music stores were already struggling to compete with sleek corporate chains.

I suppose the struggle is part of the glamour of an independent record shop, however. If that has earned me a slap in the face from all of the independent record shop owners, so be it.

If you're looking for a bit of that glamour in Moscow, meanwhile, your best bet is Transylvania record shop, conveniently located on 6/1 Tverskaya Ulitsa, building 5, just a couple of blocks away from the Kremlin. This basement shop is the place to shop for vinyl and rare CDs to impress your friends with.

The store boasts an impressive selection, and whether you're into doo-wop or dubstep, or just really wish to relive the glory days of "The Bodyguard" soundtrack, Transylvania will likely have you covered.

Transylvania's web store, predictably located at Transylvania.ru, has the kind of old-school design that communicates authenticity. These people aren't here to impress you with awesome graphics, they're here to sell you some freaking music. You can also create your own account on the site, and sign up for e-mail updates when something new in your favorite genre is added to the stock.

Still, Transylvania's greatest appeal still lies in taking your time to come over to the actual record shop. Camaraderie is a big part of shopping for music, and camaraderie is something that iTunes still can't deliver, no matter how convenient it is.

Of course, shopping for music from the privacy of your bedroom is very convenient in the dead of the Russian winter (it's also very convenient when you feel like listening to old Cascada songs, but are worried about being side-eyed by the snobs). Yet when the weather in Moscow is warm, a walk to Transylvania is practically a formal requirement for those who want to enjoy a proper stroll on Tverskaya.

The biggest single complaint that is routinely made about Transylvania has to do with their prices, though they are not always higher than average, particularly for the rare stuff that's otherwise hard to get in Moscow on short notice.

As DMX famously sang: "It don't matter if you win or lose, you still gotta pay them dues." And paying your dues at Transylvania is worth it.

Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #18"
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