Where to shop for records
Friends of Sound
Friends of Sound’s official address is on South Congress, but the shop’s unassuming entrance is actually through the alley. The unconventional location and low ceilings give the shop a clubhouse vibe, and although customers need to be card-carrying obsessives to truly appreciate the depths of their rare soul collection, it’s an equally fun destination for casual browsers with an ear for classic rock, country and R&B. Hip-hop heads will flip for the regularly refreshed selection of ’90s singles and prog aficionados will find no shortage of noodle-heavy LPs, but no matter your genre it’s wise to save a few dollars for an impulse purchase at the counter, where they stock their classic soul 45s reissued through their own record label.
End of an Ear
If there’s one shop in Austin that fits the Championship Vinyl stereotype from High Fidelity, it’s End of an Ear. Serving South Austin since 2005 (and recently relocated to a larger location on Clawson Road), the shop’s shelves are rich in niche, rare and overlooked records that are dangerous to the pocketbooks of collectors, but the bins hold enough treasures to satisfy budget shoppers as well. Deep crates of psych, reggae, jazz, world and of carefully curated rock are where the shop flexes its encyclopedic knowledge, but close ties to an array of local scenes (punk, electronic, indie rock) mean that small pressings of Austin artists typically receive prime placement at the counter. Keep an eye on their Instagram for the occasional photo of visiting music royalty like Four Tet and Slowdive.
45 RPM diggers flock to Breakaway for high dollar singles ranging from doo-wop to classic country, but the breezy neighborhood vibe of the shop is inviting enough not to scare away listeners with less archaeological listening habits. The owners have built a loyal following thanks partly to their role DJing long-time parties like the Second Sunday Sock Hop and Cold Lampin’, and their expertise shows in the hip-hop and classic R&B sections, as well as an employee picks racks where genre-pushing electronic LPs and Colombian cumbia compilations sit together in harmony.