Back-to-School Guide: Stores to Shop Your Way Into Austin Music

Dress for the job you want: stylish scenester – plus recommendations on record shops and instrument stores

Monkies Vintage (Courtesy of Monkies Vintage)

Dress the Part: Musical Tees

Under the premise of "dressing for the job you want," if you're interested in becoming a sweaty, second-row, bobbing-along, music scene townie, a splashy T-shirt is a great place to start. Atop your Wranglers or miniskirt or whatever else below, the perfect subcultural tee screams, "Hey, I know about this thing!" Beyond the always solid choice of local band merchandise, find manifold options vintage and new below to shop, in person or on Instagram.

Mazzy Star tee from Feels So Good

Feels So Good
Previously known as Fine Southern Gentlemen, this massive South Austin store/concert space screenprints the best modern tributes to musical legends, including local designer Meghan Baas' Mazzy Star tee, which Rue wore on the Euphoria finale.

Guad Vintage Market
Debuted last November, the Guad Vintage Market pops up every Sunday from noon to 5pm between presenting brick-and-mortars Pavement and Leopard Lounge, with over 30 small vendors packing your next Paul McCartney top or houseplant.

Lo-Fi Vintage
Situated just off Guadalupe behind Buffalo Exchange, Lo-Fi's Y2K-leaning collection includes rare, quick-to-sell-out band tees, from the Grateful Dead to Dead Kennedys.

Monkies Vintage
Sustained since 2014, this outlet directly across from the UT campus spans hip-hop to hard rock in a wall of zeitgeist-referencing concert mementos, alongside apparel from the Fifties to the Nineties.

Never Knew
Joining the blooming cluster of secondhand shops just north of UT, Never Knew opened in 2021 to mix colorful vintage standards with unexpected brand-new streetwear selections.

No-Comply Skateshop
Continuing the long overlap of skate and music scenes, this House Park-neighboring hub stocks notable wares – including exclusive Daniel Johnston collaborations with Vans – among the hardware.

Passport Vintage
Circulated on Instagram, this denim-centric South Austin shop hosts excellent Sunday markets with a variety of artful vendors mixing majority-vintage apparel with upscale indie designers, like Vada sunglasses.

TikTok-savvy 20-year-old Yazmin Garza promotes the new Guadalupe store she opened with her parents in February after launching in McAllen.

End of An Ear (Photo by John Anderson)

Find Yourself at the Record Store

Despite phones being the modern world's main conduit of recorded music, brick-and-mortar retail spaces selling physical copies of albums thrive in this musically enlightened city. Algorithms and playlists are fine for what they are, but nothing beats the record store experience: the surprise of a cool and unfamiliar LP sleeve catching your eye, the regional flavors, the informed clerks, and the fellowship of browsing alongside other music fans. Here's what Austin proper has to offer.

Antone's Record Shop
Campus-area classic with a Texas treasure trove of new and used vinyl, CDs, and cassettes, plus occasional in-stores, open to all ages.

Big Henry's Vinyl & Gifts
Doubling as a gift shop for Austin's Home of the Blues, Big Henry's bins contain a discerningly curated collection of used genre gems.

BLK Vinyl
Eastside used-vinyl hideaway with a wealth of classic LPs, obscurities, and local fare.

Breakaway Records
Wide-ranging but notably soul-centric shop including rare 45s worthy of a DJ's tote bag, with a vibe fitting for the vintage store strip it resides on.

End of an Ear
Veteran vinyl sellers maintaining an impressive stock of new releases, ranging from mainstream to ultra-underground, plus bountiful genre sections. EoaE holds occasional in-stores, too.

Exploded Records
While getting your Wundershowzen smoothie and wheatgrass shot at the JuiceLand on 45th and Duval, browse their vinyl enclave, which includes a clued-in clutch of beatmaker releases.

Feels So Good Records
A sizable record store in the showroom of FSG's South Austin print shop, which also hosts all-ages performances. Mostly used selection, except releases from the FSG label.

Love Wheel Records
New North Austin boutique shop with solid, mostly used selection at an affordable price.

Waterloo Records
Since 1982, Austin's most prominent record retailer. Austin's musical town square has deep vinyl bins and endless CD racks – both containing new and used releases. Touring artists and prominent locals play all-ages in-stores and appear for autograph signings.

Strait Music (Photo by John Anderson)

Tools of the Trade: Music Stores

Broke a string? Don't be basic and order a new set on Amazon or Same goes for buying that acoustic guitar for strumming songs in your dorm room or the audio interface you need to produce your contemporary bedroom-pop masterpiece. Get your tools of the trade in Austin's vast ecosystem of local shops. Here's some essential ones, ordered by their distance from UT's campus.

Austin Vintage Guitars
Small Hyde Park shop, the closest to UT's campus, with a primo selection of new and used instruments, amps, and accessories.

Switched On
A motherlode of vintage analog synths and electronic components that sees gearheads visit from the whole world over. Repairs and restoration also done in-house.

Tommy's Drum Shop
Whether you need a set of sticks or a custom kit, Tommy's Drum Shop is the place to go. Tried-and-true, it's been in the game helping local drummers keep the beat for over 40 years.

South Austin Music
New instruments and amps, plus repair and lessons at this classic spot next to the Saxon Pub on South Lamar.

Strait Music
A one-stop shop providing sales and repair services for guitar, bass, percussion, piano, orchestra instruments, recording equipment, and all else under the big tent of musical gear.

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Back to School 2022, Shopping, Vintage, Record Stores, Music Stores, Feels So Good, Guad Vintage Market, Lo-Fi Vintage, Monkies Vintage, Never Knew, No-Comply Skateshop, Passport Vintage, RagzRevenge, Waterloo Records, Antone's Record Shop, Breakaway Records, Strait Music, Love Wheel Records, BLK Vinyl, End of an Ear

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