After years of hearing stories about record stores closing, it seems the tide has turned and stores are popping up everywhere with increasing frequency. While Dallas lost two of its best spots in the past year, Groovenet and Dead Wax Records, there's no shortage of crate digging options in the area. Thanks to the recent opening of Retroplex Records and the multitude of Half Price Books locations, Dallas actually has more places to feed your vinyl habit than ever — and these 10 are the best.
10. Spinster Records
In the past few years, Spinster has become part of the fabric of Davis Street in Oak Cliff, not far from Bishop Arts. The shop regularly features shows with local talent and gives neighborhood residents a spot to shop for records. A friendly staff, modest selection and a generally great vibe makes Spinster a perfect spot to visit on your way to a show at The Kessler or any other happenings in Bishop Arts.
Off the Record has carved out quite a niche for itself in Deep Ellum. They are conveniently located next to Club Dada and a stone's throw from Trees and Three Links placing, in the midst of the live music epicenter of Dallas. With 20 different beers on tap, Off the Record is the perfect spot to grab a beer and some vinyl before or after a show. Off the Record has the smallest selection of vinyl on this list, but that section runs the gamut of new vinyl releases. Their section is curated by Good Records and is basically an extension of their back stock.
Half Price Books is mostly known for books, as their name implies, but amongst their many locations spread out over North Texas they keep a healthy stock of used vinyl and CDs. While not the place you go for new releases, it's truly a crate digger’s delight. Their stock has a high turnover rate and is thoroughly picked over on a daily basis. With 20 locations in the area, you are never going to run out of Half Price Books spots to dig, no matter what part of the metroplex you live in.
Denton has a long-time reputation of being a music town, thanks to its college of music and a long list of well-respected musicians and bands to come from there. Denton also has a long history of going without a solid record store. Recycled Books has deep roots in Denton, but its focus is still on used records. Mad World has filled that void with a well-curated stock of new and used releases, and easily one of the best selections of punk in the area. With its prime location on the town square, it's the record store you'd hope to find in any decent-sized college town.
Bill’s has been around forever, so long that at this point it’s more of an institution than a record store. Bill Wisener has outlasted everyone in town and digging into his mountains of records has served as a rite of passage for many veteran vinyl collectors in Dallas. Even in an era when everyone has access to online vinyl shopping, Bill's has managed to maintain its often unpredictable no-price-tag pricing system. Sometimes that works in your favor and sometimes not as much. The shock and awe of the amount of music and music history within Bill's walls still makes it a must for any local record collector.
1317 S. Lamar St., Dallas, billsrecords.com
Recycled Books has a long history of servicing Denton college students with affordable used CDs and vinyl. Thanks to a staff with deep music knowledge, you're likely to be surprised by some of the releases you discover on their racks. Unlike its big chain counterparts, Recycled has a high hit ratio for really decent finds at reasonable prices. Their primary focus is still books, which lends a library-like ambience to the shopping experience.
Forever Young is easily one of the largest record stores in the country. You can get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of records in stock. If a record has ever existed there is a really good chance at least one copy has passed through these doors. Open since 1984, they've moved locations a few times, but planted roots in an 11,000-square-foot building in Grand Prairie. Not exactly the best spot to find a cheap deal, they are well aware of the value of their stock and charge accordingly. But if you have not been able to find a particular record anywhere in town and you are willing to spend the time digging through a massive inventory, Forever Young is your best option.
Retroplex can be divided into three distinct parts: the storefront record store, the vintage vendor and their online business. The vintage side of the business shares the retail space and online resources with the vinyl business. Retroplex stocks a wide variety of used rock, synth-pop, classical, jazz, funk, soul, disco, a vast amount of 12-inches from the '80s, retro, industrial, comedy records and thousands of 45s, all graded and labeled for quality. The selection of DJ music touching on techno, house, drum and bass and hip-hop makes Retroplex stand out from the rest of the stores on this list. There has not been a store carrying this much used dance music vinyl in one spot since the early 2000s.
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Good Records has been at the forefront of the big vinyl comeback in Dallas for over a decade. They are one of the first stores to help pioneer Record Store Day in the area. Their location on Lower Greenville makes it the most centrally located record store in Dallas proper. Their stock leans heavily towards the indie rock side of the music universe, but amongst the well-stocked bins you are just as likely to find Iron Maiden re-issues, Fela Kuti, classic jazz and Motown box sets. Good has a long history of hosting top-notch in-store performances from touring and regional bands, making it a mainstay in the regional music scene.
Josey Records is a record store owned and staffed by vinyl addicts. This is abundantly clear as soon as you step foot in the warehouse-sized retail space filled to the brim with records of all genres in the racks, on the floor, on the walls and everywhere you can direct your eyes. Record players, vinyl cases, multiple vinyl listening stations and all kinds of assorted vinyl accessory knickknacks contribute to a full service vinyl nerd experience. Josey also serves as a great performance space with a stage and PA at one end of the store and one of the nicer DJ booths in town. Now the owners are stepping into the label and vinyl manufacturing side of the business. Opened in 2014, Josey has quickly become a top destination for vinyl enthusiasts in Dallas.
2821 Lyndon B. Johnson Fwy., Carrollton, joseyrecords.com