Spring 2011 Record Store Round Up
Don’t forget that April 16 is Record Store Day!
Text and images by Lauren Arute.
When you enter Tequila Sunrise, chances are you’ll find owner Anthony Vogdes with his dog, Penny.
Vodges says you’ll also find organization and good, courteous service at the vinyl- only shop. He will even mail customers their records after making an in-store purchase if they don’t feel like lugging them around with them.
The genres in Tequila Sunrise can be narrowed down to psychedelic rock, dance, and international music.
“Lots of these genres overlap,” Vodges points out.
Vodges explains that the name has nothing to do with the cocktail. Rather, he had a friend who worked with paint and Vodges had a fascination with the paint names. Tequila Sunrise is the name of a color from nearby Benjamin Moore Paints.
Right in the front of the record store Beautiful World Syndicate, located on East Passyunk Avenue, are two listening stations. These aren’t just any listening stations, however.
These listening stations are two turntables, and Beautiful World Syndicate is one of the last in Philadelphia that allows customers to listen to the records they want to buy before they buy them – a service that sets the store apart from the numerous other music stores located in Philadelphia.
For owner Jon Yates, of West Philadelphia, his hobby turned into a business. Before he began the store, Yates had an obsession with collecting books and records. He decided to open his own store six years ago.
Although the store sells a variety of different genres of music, Ian Galloway, 35, of Kensington, who has worked in Beautiful World Syndicate for five out of the six years it’s been open, says they don’t specialize in any genre in particular.
“We’re known for having used records rather than new records,” he says. “We have more used records than anybody else. We travel out of state a lot to buy them, too.”
For the past 12 years, a.k.a music has been the place to go for in-store shows, merchandise from local and international bands and tickets to R5 Productions shows.
“I approach this store as a fan of music,” says owner Mike Hoffman. “Not just as a business or just to make money.”
Inspired by his grandmother’s interest in jazz music, Hoffman began collecting vinyl as a child.
“She bought me my first Rolling Stones and Beatles records when I was only six-years old and there was no turning back,” he says.
CD racks line the walls and run down the middle of the store, creating two long aisles that stretch to the back of the deep building, where you’ll find the vinyl section.
“About a third of this store is vinyl,” says customer Mike Tolbert. “They almost always have what I want.”
Long in the Tooth is approaching its five-year anniversary but the vast selection of books, vinyl, video games, CDs and DVDs in the shop make it seem like it’s been around for much longer.
Janis Devlin and her husband Nick, two music lovers who currently live in South Philadelphia, own the eclectic store.
“Music’s just always been around,” Janis says, explaining how her parents sparked her initial interest in music by exposing her to different genres at a young age.
Now, she often brings her 2-year-old daughter to the store.
Janis says they’ve worked hard to cultivate the comfortable atmosphere.
“We’re not record store jerks, and we try not to be,” she says. “We really are a mom-and-pop kind of place.”
When Repo Records first opened 25 years ago, it specialized in carrying hardcore and punk merchandise.
But now, store owner Dan Matherson says his goal is to expose his customers to more types of music that are harder to come across, such as underground or foreign/international bands and older albums.
“If you’re looking for stuff in print or out of print, tell us,” he says. “We can usually find it for you.”
Matherson is well aware that buying music online has certainly grown in popularity, so he strives to provide the type of service that people just can’t get from the click of a mouse online.
Reid Benditt, 27, of South Philadelphia says he can’t even remember his first impression of Repo because he’s been a regular customer at the store since he was only 12-years-old.
“iTunes is no fun,” he says.