I had the pleasure to go to Washington, DC, last summer to visit family, and I figured I’d find some cool vinyls in the United States capital, even though it’s not a city as big as New York. After all, there was a huge punk scene in the mid-80s to early 90s with such names as Fugazi, Bad Brains and others that emerged from the area.

My first surprise was to find a few great vinyl record stores in Fairfax, Virginia, which is a comfortable neighborhood near DC where we were staying. My hunt in great jazz, reggae and indie rock music would actually start before setting foot in Washington, DC! I wasn’t expecting to find such quality vinyl record stores in a small town, much more known for its historical features than anything to do with music. But hey, I won’t complain!

mobius records outside

MOBIUS RECORDS

10409 Main St, Suite D, Fairfax, VA 22030 – Website

The first store I visited in Fairfax VA was called Mobius Records, located in a fairly large store on one of the main streets of the city. I learned that they had just moved from their original place and had just finished setting up when I got to Mobius Records store.

The place is brand new and it shows! Clean bins of records that are nicely placed in alphabetical order, within each genre: a lot of rock from all eras, local scene bands, hip-hop and punk were also represented in good number and quality. And also a great used jazz records section. This is where I spent most of my time and found a few gems.

mobius records inside

Friendly staff let me sit at the turntable for a few hours (it was a workday where there wasn’t a lot of customers, except for half a dozen regulars who came in and out looking like they were expecting something very specific). It’s important for me to be able to listen to albums – especially the ones by artists I don’t know too much – before buying them, even if they are cheap. I don’t buy albums I won’t listen to afterwards. Most albums I saw at Mobius were in great shape, both vinyl and sleeve, which is always a good sign of quality.

Mobius also has a nice selection of t-shirts, a few posters and frames. Not a lot. But nice ones. This store has a lot of character and selects only quality merchandise. A 5-star store all music lovers should absolutely visit.

mobius records fugazi local band INSIDE

Where Fugazi is filed under “local bands”

mobius records bought

The records I bought on that day at Mobius

RTX RECORDS

9448 Main St, Fairfax, VA 22031 – Website

Another record store in Fairfax VA is RTX, located in a small mall, near a video game store and a Chinese restaurant. RTX has more used records, many that were not in great shape. The kind that seemed to have been dropped by someone who just emptied their grandparents attic.

RTX inside jazz albums

The most interesting section of the store is completely at the back of the store where there is a “jazz & classical section of imports and audiophile LPs”. Obviously, these records were new and expensive (from $30 to over $50), and often were Japanese imports. There were also a few rarities in store, especially from 70s rock bands, and a lot of CDs and even cassettes. This is not really what I was looking for, but music lovers who are ready to invest more dollars should definitely check RTX out.

RTX audiophile section

It’s not a very big store, so one can spend 30 to 60 minutes in there to have a look at the best selection there is without wasting time with worn-out albums. I wouldn’t travel only to go to RTX, but once in Fairfax, it’s worth dropping by and keeping an eye of what comes in.

RTX inside

RTX bought albums

The records I bought that daty at RTX

 

Check out our other “Vinyl Hunter” articles here! We write one in every city we shop for vinyls!

 

Thank you Mohamed Chalal and Layla M. Hashemi for their help in maximizing my August 2017 visit to DC and surrounding area!

All photos by Nico Pelletier, RREVERB, all rights reserved

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.