Wall Of Sound, Huddersfield

2015 – MOVED TO : 35 The Headrow, Leeds [from 42 John William St. Huddersfield]

tel: 0113-3182050 or 08456-522822. Open Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-4

Elliot has emailed to say the shop has moved the The Headrow in Leeds, in the basement of Crash records. Crash is a long running Leeds indie shop (and ticket outlet) so the mix should be good.  The report below relates to their older Huddersfield shop, which I will leave up for posterity.
This one was new to me when I came across it on a trip to Huddersfield in Feb 2009. I enjoy visiting West Yorkshire towns for a mooch and it had been a few years since I’d ‘done’ Huddersfield. In fact the last time was probably four years back when we helped electro acoustic musician Chris Meloche out with driving and bag handling duties when he was in town for a University gig. This time we’d gone specifically to marvel at the 1970 Queensgate Market, a stunning concrete and glass edifice so impressive it was given listed building status a few years back. The local council are trying to pull most of it down regardless. They deserve a good kicking.
Anyhow we had our snap in the market’s absurdly retro Merrie England cafe (retro circa 1500 that is, all fake beams and wagon wheels), after which I was expecting the usual scrounge through a couple of charity stores and then home… when I spotted Wall Of Sound.
I didn’t expect much; sure it said ‘records’ on the big bright fascia but that’s often because owners haven’t got around to painting the word out. An arrow inside pointed to vinyl downstairs so I went down and did a double take. A brightly coloured and well lit basement room at least three times the size of the upstairs CD department, and crammed with vinyl. And Germans. Clearly it was not such a well kept secret after all!
I have to say it is one of the best stocked stores I’ve been into for years. Everything properly laid out, lots of categories; even off the wall header cards like ‘Library Albums’ were well stuffed with all manner of tempting oddities. Some nice posters on the wall, some for decoration (including a lovely Isle Of Wight poster), others for sale.
Anyhow, on the grounds that I can hardly moan about shops closing if I don’t use those that remain, I stocked up on a few covers for a book I’m working on, found a neat spoken word album sleeve by an American woodcut print maker, and added a couple of strange private pressing albums which always tickle me.
The store turned out to have been on the upper floor of the Halifax Piece Hall market for many years, and I’d bought some old flyers from them when they were there. They moved to this new site two years ago.
This isn’t a store for bargain hunters, but nothing was absurdly priced (except perhaps for a vintage vinyl bootleg in what looked like a rare sleeve. Closer examination showed it to be made out of Letraset and a laminated snapshot).
Certainly a store I’ve added to my visiting list already.
They have an interweb site with more info and stuff for sale:
UPDATE • I visited the store in October 2011 and got quite a shock. Wall Of Sound are still upstairs, but they have sublet the basement to Vinyl Tap Records. Vinyl Tap are using it as a bargain surplus stock outlet, and have rammed it with over 50,000 discs. The place is difficult to get round, and half the albums are on the floor. The room is mostly trestle tables full of 7″ singles. As Vinyl Tap are an online dealer (they used to be based in Leeds), you’re not going to find many massive bargains here as they’ve kept the good stock back in their warehouse. So OK for a mooch but nothing like it was. Shame they didn’t reopen a proper vinyl store here instead, their Leeds shops were great. So the photo below is now history!

6 Responses to Wall Of Sound, Huddersfield

  1. ELLIOT SMAJE says:

    Just to update you further. I’ve now closed Wall of Sound completely. I’m sure that under the current climate of download culture, online tax avoiders and the recession etc, you need not require me to go into a long diatribe about why. I’m very sad about it as Wall of Sound has been my life for 25 years, but it was no longer viable. The operation that Vinyl Tap ran has now taken over the complete shop and upstairs will be run on a similar model to how I ran it, but presumably with it’s own personality as I always wanted to stamp my presence on the way wall of Sound was. I’ll be more than happy to talk things over with anyone who might be interested if anyone wants to contact me on my email I now move on to pastures new and at this point unknown. My hope would be to find a future in the world of music, but we all know how difficult that is. If anyone has any work..?
    Elliot Smaje (now ex-proprietor Wall of Sound)

    • simon robinson says:

      Thanks for the update Elliot, though obviously I’d wish it was better news. It just defeats me why our local authorities and government cannot offer support for independent traders who contribute so much to the life of our cities rather than rolling over to London based property developers who couldn’t give a toss about where we live. The tax avoiders based off-shore have certainly hit my own business hard, though thanks to the campaign the rules on this will change in a few months. Anyhow, good luck for the future and anyone with offers of suitable work can drop Elliot a line via me (I took his email address out of the posting because it does generate a lot of spam).

  2. Elliot Smaje says:

    A further update.. Wall of Sound is back in a new smaller shop in Harrogate – upstairs in a shop called Space – a vintage shop – and there is a cafe/ bar next door. On a street called The Ginnel – where they are currently building the new Jamie Oliver nosh shop. I’ll be running it along the same lines as the previous place if you liked what was there before. Elliot.

  3. ian seddon says:

    Elliot, Glad to hear there is a wall of sound to visit again when over from Canada. Good luck with the veture.


  4. Elliot Smaje says:

    Hi Ian – been a long time. Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your good wishes.


  5. Elliot Smaje says:

    I’ve now moved from Harrogate. New address…

    Wall of Sound
    35, The Headrow
    LS1 6PU

    In the basement of Crash Records
    tel: 0113-3182050 or 08456-522822

    Open Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-4


    Wall of Sound

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