HONORABLE MENTION: SOUND REVOLUTION This head shop is way out in the hinterlands, located on 1960 just west of I-45. Open since 1976, it's more than just another place to buy papers and a cheap poster of Bob Marley. Sound Revolution has a nice selection of well-inspected used vinyl stock and a hearty selection of new releases and reissues.
There are some dusty gems hiding away in the dollar bins, and some racks filled with back issues of Rolling Stone. Alicia and her fellow owners will track down any new releases for customers, and orders a healthy dose of the annual Record Store Day releases.
1312 Cypress Creek Pkwy., 281-444-5454, Facebook page
10. JOEL'S CLASSICAL SHOP This small shop sits on Shepherd just north of Richmond. Beloved by classical musicians and fans for years, Joel opened up his own shop in 2002 after spending 18 years at other stores. His shop does cater to a niche market, offering up primarily classical recordings as well as a selection of jazz, world music, film scores and musicals.
Don't let the narrow selection deter you from dropping by, though. Joel and his staff have a broad knowledge of composers and pieces -- down to the variations in their different historical recordings, and are quick to make a recommendation based on a customer's musical interests.
3514 S. Shepherd #B, 713-526-7010, joelsclassicalshop.squarespace.com/
9. ALLRECORDS It seems that every shop in town moves at some point. After 31 years in its West Gray location, Allrecords took up residence in a small set of suites on Edloe in early 2011. Owner Fred Allred (Allred/Allrecords -- see it now?) fills customer orders daily, having everything shipped overnight so it can get in their hands as soon as possible.
The new location has swaths of CDs and records, offers a calm bit of respite and feels like a nice change compared to the old surroundings of the River Oaks shops.
3211 Edloe, 713-524-4900, no Web site