Experimental, independent music seems to exist in a state of flux,  constantly vacillating between obscurity and prominence in certain circles.  While the internet and dutiful bloggers continue to spread the word about  various bands and songs, the beloved record store, once THE go-to spot to  learn about new music, is tragically becoming obsolete.  And yet, there are a few special spots that continue to survive–and thrive–and Paris is home to one of the best in the world.

I initially learned about Bimbo Tower upon my first explorations into the Coldwave genre. The French variant of dark, post-punk music, it often  featured young musicians with access to affordable synthesizers in the late  70s and early 80s and drew comparisons to English-speaking acts such as  Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and others. Usually  featuring French vocals, the genre managed to further bury itself into  obscurity, and we have nothing more than a few choice compilations from the past decade to  thank for bringing these gems to our attention.

But now, we also have Bimbo Tower. Located in the 11th arrondisement close to Bastille, the store is hidden in a remote alleyway in Paris that is often neglected in even the  most detailed street maps. Photographer Mary-Jane Lee, who captured these images, had to  walk down the street a few times to eventually discover that the “seemingly  abandoned building was indeed a shop.” She even had to pound on  the window to be let in!

But if you are adventurous, this store is a bonafide goldmine with a  remarkably knowledgeable and passionate staff to boot. Featuring a wealth of  obscure vinyl, it is the ultimate stop for fans of rare electronic and  avant garde music. Mary-Jane tells Untapped that  “They also had a small collection of CDs, magazines, and graphic novels. Although my husband and I aren’t  necessarily  vinyl collectors, being in the shop made us feel like we should be.”  Further proof that those secret spots off the beaten path  continue to be the most enriching.

Bimbo Tower
5 Passage St Antoine
75011 Paris, France
01 49 29 76 70

Photographer Mary-Jane Lee and her architect-husband Brian bring viewers to Paris through their photography and adventures at archi loves mary-jane.