Best for trying new things, new wave nostalgia
As the name may imply, Sunday Records is only open on Sundays. Owner Brian Volkman, a lawyer by trade, works during the week. He said the Riverhead shop, which opened its doors is 2018, is more of a low-pressure hobby than a business.
A frequent record store shopper in his youth, Volkman said he enjoyed getting home from a record store with new albums he had never even heard of before. His goal is to instill his passion for discovery in his customer.
“I can always sell a copy of Dark Side of the Moon, or A Night at the Opera,” he said. “But I want people to get beyond that and really dig into the crates and discover new music.”
Volkman foments this discovery through the help of Universe Publishing’s “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” The three-inch-thick reference book is open for customers to read and learn about music beyond their purview. Any of the book’s albums that Volkman has in-stock are marked with a “1001 Albums” sticker so customers can read up on the release before they purchase.
Sunday Records is one of two stores on this list that has a listening station with a turntable and headphones, completed by a leather chair so clients can listen comfortably before they make their purchase.
The small shop is the most curiously organized of all the entries on this list. All the artists are arranged according to the Long Island radio stations Volkman would tune into growing up on Long Island.
“If I wanna hear Led Zeppelin of Pink Floyd, I’ll turn up WBAB,” he said. “I want to hear anything new or more mainstream rock, I’ll turn on WEHM.” The former section resides on the left-hand wall, with the latter placed in the middles of the shop.
The New Yorkers who dared to be different in the decade after disco will feel nostalgia at the sight of the 45s that veneer the right hand wall, boasting Talking Heads, U2, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and yellow and purple Sire Records labels. This is the WLIR section, honoring the station that helped introduce the nation to all sounds punk and new wave.
The station was famous for its “Screamers of the week,” tracks nominated by its staffers and decided after listeners called in their votes. Volkman has print-outs of all the station’s Screamers from 1980 to 1997 available in the store, and each screamer in the shop has a numbered sticker boasting when that hit was crowed victorious.
Sunday Records will not participate in Record Store Day. But if anyone asks Volkman, “every Sunday is Record Store Day.”