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Best Indie Record Store Los Angeles 2011 

Wombleton Records

Last year, husband-and-wife team Ian Marshall and Jade Gordon opened Wombleton Records, an elegant and uplifting little spot in Highland Park that carries original pressings of '60s psychedelia, vintage soul, Britpop, reggae and other hard-to-find imported gems. Unlike L.A.'s more famous independent multimedia megalopolis, Amoeba, Wombleton forgoes fluorescent lights and music posters for ornate wallpaper, Persian rugs, houseplants and custom wood shelves in the shape of harpsichords. The intimate record store is named after The Wombles, a kids' book series–turned–1970s stop-motion animated British TV show, and the nostalgic, Anglo-inspired reference is meant to recall the quirky music shops of London's Oxford Circus and Portobello Road. While most indie record stores have been forced out of business by the likes of eBay, Wombleton brings shopping off-line and back to the streets, sourcing its inventory during international record-buying expeditions to places like Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Brazil and New Zealand. Marshall believes that physically finding rare 45s, 12-inch singles and limited-edition LPs yields a very different emotion than being the highest bidder in an online auction. "The Internet doesn't have any of that magic," he says. Indeed. 5123 York Blvd., Eagle Rock; (213) 422-0069, wombletonrecords.com.

—Tanja M. Laden

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