Austin may bill itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, but we submit that it is an equally incredible place to live if you like to buy records from live human beings.
For years, record stores have been rising and falling in the River City, but to the town’s lasting credit, there has never been a time when record shopping vanished.
Not a lot of cities can boast the sheer number of shops we have in Austin.
From rock to jazz, from Houston hip-hop to Dallas death metal, from Tejano CDs to Bach 78s, you can find something incredible to buy and listen to all over the city.
And, yes, please contact us, politely, if we left off your favorite shop. This is intended to be a living document to be updated as frequently as needed.
In alphabetical order:
Antone’s Record Shop
2928 Guadalupe St.
Years ago, in a record store guide that looks completely different from this one, I mistakenly implied that Antone’s was NOT on the Drag since it wasn’t directly across from UT. The irony is that Antone’s is now the last proper record shop on the Drag and one filled to overflowing with rock, jazz, soul, country, Texas music and blues blues blues.
211 W. North Loop Blvd.
Currently the only store in an area that used to feature a few (Sound on Sound, we will never forget you), Breakaway has a strong rave groove/soul/R&B thing going on, especially when it comes to 45s. Expect plenty of that, plus strong selections of jazz, hip-hop and the usual complement of various rock musics.
809 E. Sixth St
All metal, all the time. Well, they have more than just metal, but if you are looking for a particular metal thing, especially an older, somewhat obscure title on CD, you could do worse than checking here first.
End of an Ear
4304 Clawson Road
Packed to the gills with underground rock, jazz, electronic, punk, avant-garde, classical, folk, blues, metal reggae and more. End of an Ear also sports one of the city’s few VHS collections (for sale), plenty of rare records on the wall, interesting posters, a wild used (and a few new) zine section and a completely separate stereo room. And in sharp contrast to the stereotype, staff members remain blissfully attitude-free.
Exploded Records (at JuiceLand)
4500 Duval St.
A tiny selection of wax is set just adjacent to JuiceLand. Lots of hip-hop, dance music and R&B.
Groovers Paradise Record Shop
6550 Comanche Trail
All kinds of new and used vinyl (including a mess of $1 45s) at this shop at the Oasis.
Immortal Performances Classical Records Tapes & Compact Discs
1404 West 30th St.
All sorts of classical music -- LPs, CDs, 78s. Also a font of knowledge on all things Edison cylinder and Victrola. Usually a good idea to call first.
1208 North Interstate 35 in Round Rock
A full-service shop that is also one of the few Austin stores to consistently stock a wide range of rock, jazz, country, contemporary hip-hop, vintage hip-hop and, more importantly, Texas hip-hop (much of which is only available on CD). Piranha’s Round Rock location means that is probably not as well know as many Central Austin stores. Believe me when I tell you: Get familiar.
The Sound Gallery
4930 S. Congress Ave
A whole lot of vintage audio equipment with a solid selection of new vinyl. Also has a coffee bar.
1903 South First St.
Totally old school hole-in-the-wall outfit in the heart of the Bouldin neighborhood. Plenty of Tejano and conjunto plus hip-hop, rock and dance. Some digging is required, but bargains are to be found.
600 N. Lamar Blvd
The big kahuna, the one tourists know about, the colossus that bestrideth the city. For 35 years, Waterloo has been home to rock both mainstream and obscure, hip-hop, Texas twang, the newest pop, classical, avant-garde music and so much more. Over the years (and in keeping with the market), Waterloo expanded its vinyl selection to become one of the city’s best, and their used wax selection is updated (and dated) daily. Waterloo has plenty of new and used CDs and a terrific selection of new and used DVDs and Blu-rays, not to mention its endless parade of in-store performances.