Before I went to Movimientos in Notting Hill this week, I had a couple of hours to kill. No problem, because directly opposite the Notting Hill Arts Club you will find a string of shops that belong to what is, in my opinion, the finest chain of second hand shops in the country.

Soul and Dance Exchange, Notting Hill, London W11

Soul and Dance Exchange (photo by Kate Pugh - image links to her Flickr profile)

I’m talking of course about Music and Video Exchange. These shops have been around since I started collecting records 10 years ago, and probably a lot longer than that. They’re a great place to pick up a bargain. I’m guessing they started out as purely music and video, but they have now expanded to several stores up and down the country, some of them very specialist stores dedicated to items like clothing, furniture and books. Even the music is now split across several shops, my favourite of which would have to be Soul & Dance Exchange - naturally!

On this particular shopping trip I found a couple of classic little gems. They’re tracks that I’ve loved over the years, both in what I would call ‘collectible’ packaging.

CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen To Death From Above

CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen To Death From Above

First up is a Brazilian synth-pop band called Cansei de Ser Sexy, or CSS for short. The phrase is Portuguese for ‘tired of being sexy’ and is said to be a Beyoncé quote – presumably cited with tongue-in-cheek. I discovered CSS while I was a bicycle messenger in 2006, thanks to a free download from their label Subpop, and they were part of the soundtrack to many a cycling day in London. You will be hearing a lot about Subpop from me in the future, being one of the most amazing record labels on the planet – but more on them later!

The track I picked up is called ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen To Death From Above’ (Spotify, YouTube), and is an upbeat, quirky little tune that I fell in love with on pretty much the first listen. Quirkier still, some of the lettering on the outer sleeve is actually cut out from the cardboard, which shows off nicely the yellow coloured vinyl inside.

The song title references Death From Above 1979 – a punk-funk band I have tried listening to but haven’t gotten into – yet…

Mylo - Muscle Car

Mylo - Muscle Car

Next up is Muscle Car by Mylo (SpotifyYouTube). You’ve all heard Mylo. If you think you haven’t, then you probably actually have but just didn’t know it. He’s the one responsible for the massive dance hit Drop the Pressure (Spotify, YouTube). Muscle Car is perhaps one of his lesser-known singles, but again, you’ve probably heard it somewhere before – on the radio, as background music for a TV show, etc. It’s a catchy, dancy, lovely bit of electronic music.

Like the first record, the lettering is cut out of the outer sleeve. Unusually, it’s still in pretty good condition – you’ll usually find letters like ‘E’ have been ripped off long ago! What’s more, it doubles up as a handy mirror so DJs can check their hair mid-set.

The CSS record cost me £3, while the Mylo record cost me just £1 – you can see what I mean about bargains!