Guide to Austin Record Stores

Exploring the grooves, from black metal to blues

Waterloo Records (Photo by John Anderson)

Welcome to the “Record Store Capital of the World” (patent pending).

Austin boasts an impressive selection of recorded music emporiums brimming with vinyl and the curious characters who buy and sell them. The three most prominent, can’t-miss shops are Waterloo Records, End of an Ear, and Antone’s Records – each touting a vast selection of new and used “rekkids.” Meanwhile, a slate of boutique stores satisfy all the music nerd niches with their specialties including Breakaway Records (soul), Exploded Records (electronic beat music), Big Henry’s Vinyl & Gifts (blues),  Art & Vinyl (hip-hop), Encore (metal), and Groovers' Paradise (vintage country, rock, and soul). But don’t stop there: Austin is teeming with discotecas, too, including the dominant Discoteca Sanchez.

Waterloo Records

Austin’s reigning record emporium hosts regular in-store performances from roadshows and locals celebrating the release of a new album, with no preference in regard to musical genres. Shows typically start weekdays at 5pm and conclude with artist signings, during which the store remains open for business. During SXSW and on special occasions, the shop fences off its parking lot for a full-fledged show on an outdoor stage.

End of an Ear

South Austin’s best record store, founded in 2005, made its name on exceptional genre-specific vinyl before the LP’s post-digital resurgence. End of an Ear’s in-store performances likewise cater to an eclectic but in-the-know crowd, with bands setting up informally in the corner of the store for all-ages audiences that pack between the stacks. The shop also recently expanded with a back room for music gear and stereos.

Antone’s Records

Late, great Austin club impresario Clifford Antone (1949-2006) opened this tie-in to his world-famous blues sanctuary in 1987, a dozen years after the live music staple debuted on Sixth Street. (The club found a new lease on life on nearby E. Fifth in 2016.) The store retains vinyl prices of 30 years ago rather than today’s wax gouging.

Big Henry’s Vinyl & Gifts

And speaking of Antone’s: This storefront shop at Antone's Nightclub sells records, cassettes, Antone's merch, signed Susan Antone photography, posters, playing cards, and even dominoes.

Breakaway Records (Photo by John Anderson)

Breakaway Records

This vinyl-only shop specializes in soul. If you've got a few hours to dig, you can come away with something rare or get turned on to something new. There's also a healthy dose of punk, psych, and blues, all at realistic prices.

Exploded Records

Come for the fresh-pressed Ninja Bachelor Party with a shot of wheatgrass; stay for the vinyl selection. This record shop nestled inside of Hyde Park’s neighborhood JuiceLand has a small but highly curated inventory of electronic music, hip-hop, and more.

Art & Vinyl

Combination art gallery and used wax emporium, this South Austin shop features a stellar selection of records with DJ appeal.

Groovers' Paradise

Named after the 1974 Doug Sahm album, this lakeside record shop specializes in vintage country, rock, and soul.

Encore Records, Video & Apparel

Austin's best selection of heavy metal discs, stickers, and tees.

Discoteca Sanchez

Austin's undisputed champ of Latin music retailers, boasting the largest selection of CDs in town amongst three locations.

Sound Gallery

You’ve died and gone to hi-fi heaven with this stylish and sophisticated selection of turntables, receivers, speakers, and new records – plus a coffee/wine bar.

Whetstone Audio

Ear-pleasing boutique slanging connoisseur-quality turntables, tube amps, and speakers so high-tech we’re pretty sure they're harnessing alien technology. To boot: Their used record stash is a treasure trove.

Stay on top of record store culture and everything else Austin music with Kevin Curtin's weekly Playback column.

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record stores, Back to School 2017, Waterloo Records, End of an Ear, Antone's Records, Breakaway Records, Exploded Records, Big Henry's, Mindzai, Encore, Groovers' Paradise, Discoteca Sanchez, Whetstone Audio, Sound Gallery

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