Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, May 24, 2024 — Houston, TX

Record stores that turn the tables

Jennifer Liu / Thresher

By Jay Collura     4/16/24 10:40pm

Record Store Day, a celebration of independently owned record stores, happens April 20 — but knowing where to celebrate can be challenging. Whether you are just discovering records via one of the 9,000 Taylor Swift vinyl variants, are addicted to flipping through the bins or infuriated by the fact that I referred to an LP as a “vinyl” earlier in this sentence, here are some local, independent record stores you should check out.

Cactus Music

It is impossible to talk about Houston’s record scene without mentioning Cactus Music. This institution is the city’s oldest independent record store, opened in 1975, and has the closest storefront to Rice. Located just north of campus, Cactus is a giant space filled with a wide selection of new and used records and CDs. Whether you are looking for a solid selection of new material, a place to go diving for an undiscovered classic, a brand new CD for your car or a sick piece of memorabilia — Cactus is the place to go. If you plan on going on Record Store Day, be sure to check out their social media to join their virtual queue.

Vinal Edge

   Whenever you find yourself in The Heights, check out Vinal Edge. This store has a strong selection of new records, with niche sections for all sorts of genres. While it doesn’t have a wide selection of used records, it makes up for it with an excellent selection of CDs, alternative-rock classics and rarities, and some cool used audio gear if you need to upgrade your setup. Vinal Edge usually gets a wide selection of the exclusive Record Store Day albums released every year, so it’s worth checking out on Saturday — just be prepared to wait in a long line.

Sig’s Lagoon

If you decide to go out on Record Store Day, you’ll probably see me in line at Sig’s Lagoon. Located conveniently next to the Ensemble/HCC Metro stop, Sig’s perfectly encapsulates the stereotypical “record store” vibes and has a wide selection of LPs to match this atmosphere. Pretty much every genre is accounted for — the store has the best selection of brand-new albums in the city and a treasure trove of rarities to be found in its used section, located upstairs. While the CD selection is not as thorough as Cactus or Vinal Edge, the friendly service and the absolute gems that are always in stock make it my favorite Houston record store.

Sweet Spot Audio and Records

Sweet Spot is the furthest record store from the downtown Houston area on this list but is a great place to stop by if you’re ever on the way to Galveston or on a visit to NASA. Without a doubt, Sweet Spot has the strongest selection of used records in the city, with a new arrivals section that has probably, at one point, held every album you have been searching for. The space also has a small CD selection and some vintage audio gear if you are ever looking for some unique upgrades to your listening set-up. If you want to find an undiscovered classic or pick up an authentically vintage copy of your favorite album, Sweet Spot is definitely the place to check out.

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