Everybody knows Austin, Texas is the live music capital of the world. You can walk down the street at 3 PM on a Tuesday and hear great music coming from somewhere. Willie Nelson famously retreated to Austin after he became frustrated with the music scene in Nashville. Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time, made a name for himself in Austin. As for newer artists, Gary Clark Jr lives in Austin and got his start at the legendary Antone’s Nightclub. It only makes sense that there are some great record stores in Austin. Here are the best record stores in Austin to get crazy for vinyl:
Waterloo Records is Austin’s biggest and easiest to find record store. They will have the most variety from major-label musicians as well as harder to find indie artists. Waterloo hosts many in-store performances from local and national bands coming through on tour. Artists of every genre are all filed together alphabetically without regard to category, and customers can listen to any LP or CD before they buy it. The place is so well organized, if there’s something in particular you need, you will be able to pop in and out without hassle.
Breakaway Records has built a devoted following thanks partly to their role Deejaying long-time parties like the Second Sunday Sock Hop and Cold Lampin’. They have great vinyl categories including guilty pleasures, rainy day albums, date night music, employee picks, and rarities. There are multiple listening stations and an area in the back where you can purchase your very own record player and vintage speakers. They also have wall displays of cassettes, and a bookcase full of old VHS tapes.
End of an Ear
End of an Ear is a super cozy record store with a diverse array of new, vintage & rare vinyl records, plus CDs & DVDs. The staff is very knowledgeable, and Dan the owner is a longtime record store owner who is a great person to chat up about music. The store is clean, well laid out, and always spins good music, making the browsing experience very enjoyable. There’s always a reason to come and check in once a week to see what is in stock. Also, they pay very fairly for your trade-in vinyl.
The Sound Gallery
The Sound Gallery is home to an unbelievable collection of vintage amplifiers, speakers and turntables, but if you don’t have the bread to drop on a hi-fi, it’s still worth a trip to check out the expertly curated vinyl displayed beautifully on the shelves. The key to building a good sound system is to have a personal relationship with the salesman who understands how to correctly pair each component. The friendly staff is one of the most knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to stereo equipment. Great vibe. Oh yeah, and there’s good coffee.
Antone’s Record Shop
Antone’s Record Shop was founded by legendary Austin music icon Clifford Antone from Antone’s Nightclub. Current owner Mike Buck was the drummer for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, one of the best live bands in history. You might expect this store to be stocked with vinyl from the best blues, Americana and classic Texas musicians, and you’d be right. If you’re looking for a record store that fits the vibe of classic Austin, this is the place. You will likely find some local gems that would be hard to find elsewhere. They occasionally host live record releases for Texas artists.