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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Oct 2019 > Lion Vibes BRIXTON

Lion Vibes BRIXTON

Brixton Market used to be a vinyl mecca, especially if reggae was your cup of darjeeling, but the number of specialist stores in the South London hotspot has dwindled and now just one remains: Lion Vibes. Will Simpson investigates

The history of Lion Vibes is somewhat convoluted. There has been a record shop in its space in the Granville Arcade since the early 80s. Originally, it was owned by reggae legend Alton Ellis and punningly named Alltone. Later, it became Music Temple and ran until 2015, which is when Lion Vibes, at that point an online-only retailer, took over the premises.

Lion Vibes itself was launched in the early 90s by owner Matt Downs, initially as a stall near Brixton station selling CDs and vinyl from Jamaica. Current manager Ben Bell takes up the story: “At that point, Matt had started going to Jamaica to produce his own music. While he was there, he would always get people offering him records and he’d always say ‘no’. Then, after thinking for a while, he changed his mind and started bringing back some second-hand records. Eventually, he launched a website in the late 90s – it was one of the first purely reggae online stores.”

Meanwhile, Bell was a white musician growing up in leafy Andover, a drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep devotee who eventually alighted on their source genre and fell head over heels. “I was 16 when I heard a King Tubby dub and thought, ‘what the hell is that?’ I thought it had come out last year. I just loved the rawness of it. It spoke to me. Its heaviness shocked me.”

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 31 of Long Live Vinyl is now on sale! It was The Beatles' last stand and remains one of the greatest albums ever made. Issue 31 of Long Live Vinyl brings you the inside story of Abbey Road, including interviews with some of the key figures who were in the studio with the Fab Four back in 1969. You'll also find an in-depth look at the making of the amazing new 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and an expert collector's guide. Elsewhere, our packed interviews section features chats with Ezra Furman, Metronomy, Hiss Golden Messenger and Fionn Regan about their new albums. We round up 40 Essential Southern Soul records you need to own, tell the story of the legendary Decca label on its 90th birthday and dig deep into the making of R.E.M.’s ninth album, Monster. If that's not enough, Long Live Vinyl has the most comprehensive range of album and hi-fi reviews anywhere on the newsstand, as we run the rule over new releases from Pixies, Bon Iver, Wilco, Blur and Liam Gallagher, as well as the awesome new AVID Ingenium P&P turntable. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today…