Houston's Top 10 Record Stores 2014
It's true, Rocks Off brought you a very similar list of Houston's best record stores almost a year ago. But times change, people come and go, and information falls out of date. Mostly, there are probably tens of thousands of new Houstonians now who weren't here in February 2013, and might like to know where they can go buy some music already.
Man Alive! via Flickr What record stores in other cities look like...
We're happy to report that none of the places on our 2013 list has shut down (that we've heard of, certainly), but wanted to be a little more scientific this time around. So we polled ye olde Rocks Off round table for their choices of the Bayou City's best places to buy music, and tallied up the scores. The results may surprise you, or they may not. Either way, we'll probably do this again next year too.
10. HALF PRICE BOOKS/SOUNDWAVES
These two chain stores (or former chain, in Soundwaves' case) serve as the demarcation line between serious record geeks and our favorite oxymoron, "casual music fans." But value judgements aside, neither should be dismissed out of hand by record shoppers just because a large part of the inventory is devoted to other stuff. For the record, that's one of the biggest selections of surf and skate gear in town at Soundwaves, and all manner of non-digital content (books, LPs. CDs. DVDs, magazines) at one of the area's five Half Price locations.
But the bottom line is the bottom line: both places are inexpensive, both will buy the music you don't want anymore (within reason), and they're both apt to contain hidden treasures that might be quickly snapped up at more "serious" music stores. Stop by sometime.
9. MUSIC TOWN
Music Town is a little store in northwest Houston that's been around since 1979. It might not be the most famous store in Houston, but it has a long legacy and is filled with memories for those who grew up shopping there. Among mine are going there to buy new records from my favorite bands, or just stopping in to check out what they had in stock.
This is a place that stocks anything and sells things at good prices just for the love of music. You can find old Metallica bootlegs, the latest box sets, obscure country or the latest Lady Gaga CD there. Whatever you want, owner James May keeps it stocked, and will go out of his way to order it for you if he doesn't have it. It's a tiny store compared to a place like Cactus Music, but has a heart and soul you don't find in many places anymore.
17034 Stuebner Airline Rd., 281-251-2924
Part of the charm of going to record stores in favor of ordering music online is dealing with the characters that occupy them. In the case of Allrecords, that character is Fred Allred. For more than 20 years, Allred has helped music lovers in his always packed store in Highland Village, after a move from its original location in the River Oaks Shopping Center.
Allred is friendly and about as knowledgable as one human gets about a variety of music, particularly jazz and classical. His choices are always impeccable and his advice spot on. Going to Allrecords not only gives you access to some outstanding music, but to one of the most underrated music aficionados in Houston.
3211 Edloe, 713-524-4900, Facebook page
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1846 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX
239 W. 19th St., Houston, TX
3122 White Oak Drive, Houston, TX
3622 Main St., Houston, TX
2110 Portsmouth St., Houston, TX