It claims to be “the last record store,” and while this self-appointment is a touch off (just ask the loyal customers of Freakbeat, Rockaway, or – hell – Amoeba), Record Surplus is a prize of a record shop.

In existence for nearly 25 years, and run by managers Neil Cantor and Mike Colstock, Jr. for almost as long, the shop takes up a generous chunk of Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles and, still, is easy to miss, even despite the charming, colorful mural that adorns its exterior.

Catering to the city’s vinyl collectors, the West L.A. store embraces dust as much as it does the beauty of cover art; CDs are somewhat of an afterthought here, and its relatively sparse collection boasts as much filler as its record selection boasts hidden gems. That said, the focus on vinyl here means that prime used CDs are occasionally priced at half their worth. DVDs are in abundance only as abundance is defined by the store’s compact disc selection, but pricing is – as is the theme – more than fair.

What makes Record Surplus worth the drive west, if not the likelihood that you’ll run across hundreds of rare musical soundtracks mere yards from every release in David Bowie’s catalogue, is the narrow staircase leading to the narrow upper floor, appropriately called the Attic. This small space, full of old music publications, seven-inch singles and (to be blunt) a few extras, is where you’ll never find an item priced beyond 92 cents, rounding out every purchase – say, a 1982 issue of Rolling Stone – to a perfect dollar.

And during in-store sales, it is here where you’ll find those seven-inch singles priced at three for 92 cents, making a copy of the Ikettes’ “I’m Blue” as much of a steal as the Journey singles that are taking up the bulk of the space.

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