malasaña: the unexpected vintage shop romp

It all started with my single mission to check out a record shop in Malasaña. But nothing these days is a single mission when you are a naturally curious person living in a foreign country with a penchant for talking to friendly strangers. The record store I wanted to visit was Cuervo Music, where I could get my much needed music fix. As of late, I’ve been listening to the melancholic croonings of musician/songwriter — Molly Nilsson — on repeat. Although her woeful lyrics and electronic beats are catchy, she was really starting to put a damper on my spirits. I mean there are only so many times you can listen to song titled, “I Hope You Die” before you just want to curl up into your cave of a room and punch a bunch of roses and those spanish language flashcards you never got around to memorizing. So, I decided to open the blinds and venture out in search of fresh tunes, records, much needed sunshine and maybe a palmera or two.

My journey led me to an area in Malasaña located around Plaza dos de Mayo (an area that’s great for those late nights when you don’t want to stand in a crowded/enclosed bar and prefer the evening air whilst illegally drinking your preferred alcoholic beverage in a courtyard). So I ventured towards Calle Velarde and upon turning onto its cobblestone pathway I realized I had landed in the middle of a thrift shop paraíso! This street boasted what I think to be the jackpot for all you alternative/indie/shawl wearing/fleetwood mac lovin people. My lungs actually started to feel like Stevie Nicks after venturing around these streets. My quest for Cuervo Music was going to have to wait so I could scour all the 1 euro boxes containing possible thread gems. Below are a list of all the shops I thought were worth mentioning. If you liked anything you heard within these sentences, then I believe its about time you venture over to this street. If not to bask in the vintage paraíso of second hand Doc Martins and Paul Bunyan plaid shirts, then definitely to sit at plaza de dos mayo or to get a better feel for the hidden pockets in malasaña (which are plentiful).

La Mona Checa: the circus thrift shop decked out with a red and white tent outlining the walls … and some decent looking “Babysitter Club” overalls.

Magpie Vintage Shop: This was by far the best one out of the lot. I didn’t buy those shorts previewed in the second picture, so if you are reading this and live in Madrid and watched Save by the Bell and think you are the missing cast member, then they should belong to you. You are welcome. I also think I saw some of my old middle school jewelry reincarnated in some boxes. How they ended up in Spain, I will never know. Have at it, amibros.

After I had had enough of all the stores (and yes there are many more than the measley two I previewed here, but there are only so many words about denim vests and plaid shirts a girl can work with), I just wanted to accomplish what I had set out to do and listen to new music and gawk at weird novelty spanish album covers. The path finally led to Cuervo Music at the very end of the street and I was kind of relieved to be rid of all the obligatory rummaging I must do whenever I see a 1 Euro box filled with goodies. I was home free in Cuervo Music. Further inspection made me realize the place was just as overpriced as it looked. Mind you, I think overpriced is anything more than the value of 5 empanadas. And yes I think in empanada values. Cuervo was swarming with “Cheap Monday” jeans (idk who had the brains to call them Cheap Mondays because they cost a pretty penny and the last thing I want to wear on Monday after a weekend of binge drinking are super tight anything). But hey, they had a kickass speaker system and a too-cool-for-school Vice magazine taking over their even cooler black leather couch. If I had the time, I would’ve posted myself on that couch all day and pretended to be this man. Their album collection wasn´t that impressive and they didn’t have a listening station. I saw a particular Motorhead album, I would’ve liked to listen to. But what they lacked in their records, they made up for with the friendly shop owner who gave me a handful of free stickers and allowed me to take pictures of the store. You´d be surprised how many disgusted looks I get from shop owners after I ask to take a picture of their store.

HOWever, If you are looking for a great record shop then you should make your way to Recycled Music Center on Calle de la Palma, 34. They didnt have the huge wall of sound speakers, but they had an intimidating selection of second hand electronic, house, minimal, funk, and jazz music aaand listening stations. I won’t buy a record if I haven’t listened to it first. I don’t care how cool the album cover is (unless you are Big Pun). One hour later and a few euros down, I walked out of Recycled with a Herbie Hancock record and some peace of mind. Thank you, Recycle-ed (as the shop owner called it). Gotta love those unnecessary -ed syllables the Spaniards use.

side note for all you record lovers: I visited two great record shops when I first arrived in Madrid and failed to mention it here. They are nestled right next to each other — Discos Babel and Bengla Desh Discos — near Gran Via and are pure hidden gems. Both of these shops are perfect for all you punk, alternative, rock, folk, blues, jazz, electronic … and well just about any genre fan. They don’t discriminate.

Welp, there ya have it folks. Hopefully my impromptu journey around town will send you off in high spirits to find some awaited locations in Madrid. Bon Voyage, adventure seekers.

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