Houston Music

Houston's Top 10 Record Stores

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5. HEIGHTS VINYL Houston's newest record store opened in late 2011 and has quickly climbed the ranks, winning "Best Vinyl Shop" in our 2012 Best of Houston® awards and establishing itself as a serious pickers' destination.

Owner Craig Brown is meticulous in caring for his stock, ensuring that every used record is cleaned, re-sleeved and bagged before hitting the shelves. The High Noon Stage hosts in-store appearances and acoustic performances, which are often accompanied by free adult beverages. The pricing model is a bit unorthodox -- records are categorized into price ranges (named for the characters in Reservoir Dogs) -- which can result in a bit of confusion. For those with an armload of finds, it can be a chance to strike a deal.

Heights Vinyl also has a surplus of vintage turntable and sound equipment and a huge back stock of cartridges, and Craig will go to great lengths to track down whatever parts are needed to repair your turntable or simply tune it up to make sure it's in proper working order.

3122 White Oak, 281-974-1234, www.heightsvinyl.com

4. SOUND EXCHANGE Down on Richmond Avenue in a small two-story Montrose house sits Sound Exchange, a bastion for the local musician. In business since 1977 -- although it has changed locations several times through the years -- this fiercely independent record store does it all, except carry major labels.

They'll fix your turntable, host your band for an in-store, help you track down records and even sell your music, no matter how ridiculous the packaging. There are bins of dollar records in the back for digging through, rare releases stretching along the walls, a large selection of local music that spans decades at this point, and the bins of sorted vinyl stock, all worth a picker's time.

1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555, soundexchangehouston.com

3. SIG'S LAGOON Run by the lovable Tomas Escalante, this eclectic record store benefits from being surrounded by cool bars and music venues. Dealing in a swath of vintage vinyl, toys, tiki mugs and more, Sig's is a small joint that's packed to the rafters. Seriously, prints are crawling up the walls, and a trek up the stairs leads to another landing jam-packed with more records.

Escalante also brings in new stock and re-pressings, including pretty much everything from the Norton Records catalog. Sig's is a bit too tiny to host in-store appearances, but there's always great music-related art crowding the walls, and the depth of the stock is surprising. You could even snag a gem and a tiki mug and take it next door to Double Trouble, play the record and score a drink. Sig's also garners bonus points for being open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

3622-E Main, 713-533-9525, sigslagoon.com

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Marc Brubaker
Contact: Marc Brubaker