8 Great Record Stores in Austin for New and Vintage Vinyl
Austin’s best record stores will spin your head right round.
Austin may be known for its live music, but sometimes you just need to curl up in your own home for a “concert” experience with the sound of crackling vinyl. And, with Record Store Day (April 22nd) just around the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate the hipster holiday than visiting one of the city’s storied record emporiums. Whether binge watching Daisy Jones & The Six has you wanting to cop a pre-loved copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, or your Phoebe Bridgers obsession means you need to get your paw on the new boygenius, our list of Austin’s best record stores provides the goods.
You’ve probably seen your coolest friend already carrying around one of Breakaway’s James Brown-emblazoned totes. And, believe us, the hip factor at this record store extends beyond merch offerings. They have seriously solid offerings of new and used 45s, LPs, and tapes, especially in the genres of soul, R&B, rock, and jazz. A true standout at this spot however has to be the wide variety of turntables, receivers, speakers, and other accessories. For those newbies just buying into vinyl listening systems, Breakaway’s knowledgeable staff lead your needle of needs down the right track.
Ask most local musicians what their favorite record store in the city is, and they will mention this South Austin treasure. The sheer amount of new and used records, CDs, DVDs, and VHS this shop contains makes it perfect for the type of afternoon when you have the time and ambition to browse. In addition to its assortment of formats, there’s another component which makes it so popular amongst creatives: the price is always right. The lovely staff might spy what you’re buying and give you recommendations of a similar sort. While they boast a mixed bag of music, this locale will be a stand-out favorite for any metal-heads, as they offer one of the widest collections of the genre to be found in the entire state.
Waller Creek District
Big Henry’s is another record shop with a connection to Antone’s, and we mean that literally and physically. This spot is attached to the legendary venue and serves as the box office and location for Antone’s merch. It’s much more than just a glorified gift shop though, Big Henry’s houses an awe-inspiring collection of records steeped in the sound traditions that define the performances on the adjacent stage. Their selection may appear small, but what can be found within the racks will pack a big punch for fans of blues, soul, and jazz. The tunes may be delicious, but you can also score one for your taste buds with the shop’s po’boys while you peruse.
When it comes to vinyl in Bat City, there is no name more synonymous with the concept than Waterloo. This independent record store, which has been around since 1982, is world-recognized among stereo-heads as a top-notch spot for chart-topping tunes. In addition to both new and used vinyl, Waterloo has a charming collection of CDs, DVDs, turntables, speakers, and various pop culture tchotchkes. Keep an eye out on Waterloo’s social media for a schedule of in-house performances and artist signings they host on a regular basis.
East Cesar Chavez
East Austin’s Drinks Lounge is already one of every Austinite’s favorite spots to down a whiskey shot and challenge a stranger to a game of pool. Add in their bar-adjacent, music shop, Drinks Records, and it’s surprising that residents of the Live Music Capital of the World grab a cocktail anywhere else in the city. The selection here leans more towards spanking-new vinyl, but their number of used records continues to grow due to their generous buying policy for those customers looking to offload old albums. Plus, a trip to Drinks Records makes the perfect pre-game for one of Drinks Lounge’s notoriously fun music themed parties, like the Bowie Bash or the Bidi Bidi Birthday.
If you’re looking for a copy of Rubber Soul or an out-of-print soul record, East Austin’s BLK Vinyl has got all your auditory desires covered. This shop specializes in used vinyl, with a particular focus on the pop, psych, garage, and prog classics from the ’60s and ’70s. The genre spectrum here runs broader than just that, though, as bin diggers can easily earth up a ’50s jazz staple or lounge record from the deep stacks. Be sure to check out the back room for great deals, including vinyl you can score for 99-cents a pop.
Music may feed the soul, but, at Exploded Records, you can get a little something extra for your stomach to go along with that vinyl purchase. Exploded is located inside every health nut’s favorite local chain, Juiceland. This means you can enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of the peanut butter and blueberry bonanza drink alongside shopping for some sweet beats. The mix of electronic, hip hop, psych, jazz, and funk records are carefully and thoughtfully curated. Whole sections devoted to picks from Austin music experts, such as Soundfounder, the host of a popular electronic music show on local radio station KUTX.
Associated with iconic Austin blues music venue, Antone’s, this spot is a true gem for diehard audiophiles. While its namesake may have moved downtown, this record shop still resides in the same campus-adjacent location since 1987. However, you don’t need to be a University of Texas student to be a pupil of the Texas groove—this place is especially notable for its focus on homegrown sounds, with an entire section dedicated to Lone Star state artists.