A year ago it wouldn't have made sense to make a list like this.It would have been quite difficult to number off 10 local record stores, much less 10 good ones, much less ten great ones. But now our city is in the midst of a record store resurgence of sorts (the last few months alone have seen three new entries open shop). Call it fate, call it divine intervention, call it optimistic business planning; it doesn't matter. Regardless of the hows and whys, here we are, and so a victory lap is in order.
It wasn't easy to nail down the list, even less easy to order it. Fingers were dirtied, miles were driven and bank accounts were crippled, but the dirty work rendered a top 10 that makes one thing very clear: When it comes to record shopping options, Dallas is pretty damn lucky.
10. Off The Record
Off The Record solves a problem record store customers have been wrestling with for years: How can I be both drunk AND record shopping? Even better, at OTR you can drink while record shopping. (Pause for gasps, silent smiles of content and the spitting of liquids from mouths.) Even better yet, the stock does not suck; it's quite good in fact. Curated by Lower Greenville's Good Records, the inventory clocks in at roughly 2,000 pieces, boasting a varied span stretching from essential classics to whatever flavor-of-the-month disc is presently in demand. Apart from the 20 beers on tap, full bar, lively atmosphere and vinyl offering, OTR offers an ever-growing series of cultural/social events. From lectures to music-specific speed dating, the ideas (and alcohol, and good times) just keep flowing over at our new favorite bar-slash-record shop.
2716 Elm St., Dallas, offtherecordbar.com
Spinster has come a long way since its grand opening. First impressions were of a store with great promise, sadly lacking in quality used stock and overall variety. However, with time to mature their inventory and gain footing, Spinster has finally started to tap into its potential. The stock is eclectic but not fussily hip, admirably geared towards urban record hoarders as much as vinyl-curious suburbanites. Better even than the increasingly enlivened selection and handsome interior is store owner David Grover's hands-on approach; he's unpretentious, smiling and ever-available to help with even the smallest of customer service needs.
829 W Davis St., Dallas, spinsterrecords.com
Mad World, which occupies prime real estate on Denton's historic downtown square, is a relative newcomer to the DFW scene. Opened in 2011, MW helped fill a void in Denton that sat painfully and conspicuously empty for years: that of a proper, honest-to-goodness record store. Stocked with the freshest sounds and respectable showings in both older and newer music (on both CD and LP), MW is the most consistent record shopping experience you'll find in Denton. Recycled Books might have more titles and Books and More might have more classic LPs, but MW delivers a better curated combination of both sealed and used offerings than both. Plus, you'd be hard pressed to find a deeper selection of punk music anywhere else in DFW.
115 W. Hickory St., Denton, facebook.com/madworldrecords
You might think Half Price is a stellar book store but poor record store; thankfully, you're dead wrong. Large, eccentrically random vinyl selection? Check. Equally random, but surprisingly fantastic CD stock? Check. Highest inventory turnover in Dallas? Check. Competitive prices? Check. Sure, HPB isn't an efficient spot for locating any one specific title or artist, but it's a goldmine of unexpected finds and odd gems. The genuine highlight, though, is the discount CD section (those hard-to-reach, easy-to-ignore rows of CDs positioned just above the floor), which remains one of the great untapped sources in local music shopping. A secret trove where out-of-print albums, limited edition runs and import discs pepper a sea of otherwise very, very shitty music, this section is your best chance at a cheap, day-making album find in all of Dallas. Really.
5803 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas, halfpricebooks.com