Your Local Black Friday/Record Store Day Shopper's Guide

Historically speaking, "Black Friday" is a phrase synonymous with discount hand-mixers and 5 a.m. tramplings at the local Walmart. By definition alone -- so not hip. And while all of you normal folks -- who would rather pay the extra $50 for a PS4 over pitching a tent in the shantytown that accumulates outside Best Buy every Thanksgiving night -- are highly advised to sleep in and enjoy some tasty Tofurky leftovers this Friday, you may just want to venture out after the early-bird deals have ended and get in a little record-shopping at your favorite locally owned spots.

The reason being that, as you may not know, the organizers of April's nationwide Record Store Day have declared Black Friday a secondary annual event aimed at encouraging shoppers to buy from independent shops. To that end, indie record stores around the country are scheduling various special events for this coming Friday, November 29. In addition, major labels have planned special releases and limited editions to be debuted for the occasion. (See a full list here.)

So, if you're a vinyl junkie, there's no better time of the season to supplement your collection or do a little early gift-shopping. Not a record enthusiast, per se? Who cares! Everyone is bound to need a little family-time time-out... and did we mention free booze?

And now, our early X-mas gift to you -- an exclusive Black Friday record-store guide to help you plan your day and make the most of the festivities. Happy holidays -- and happy hunting!

SIG'S LAGOON 3622 E. Main, 713-533-9525 Friday hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Proudly self-declared "Midtown's Only Record Store," Sig's is conveniently located right off of the light rail's Main line, nestled in Houston's hippest block and adjacent to Tacos A-Go-Go, the Continental Club and Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Yelp-ers, this shop not only boasts an impressive selection of vinyl but has an added gift-shopping bonus: namely, the random but endearing assortment of souvenirs, sundries and knickknacks, from assorted tiki-themed collector's garb to bobbleheads galore, ideally suited for picking out a perfectly adorable piece of crap for that difficult-to-buy-for relative in your life.

SOUND EXCHANGE 1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555 Friday hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Housed in a cozy Montrose cottage, Sound Exchange is a favorite among neighborhood collectors, who frequent the shop in search of hard-to-find DIY and indie gems. The owners are also devoted to supporting the local scene, striving to carry even the most obscure of Houston-act releases.

Though the inventory may be small, what Sound Exchange lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality -- superiorly catering to the underground lot and maintaining prices that won't break the piggy bank.

VINAL EDGE RECORDS 239 W. 19th, 281-537-2575 Friday hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Smack in the middle of the bustling Heights shopping region, Vinal Edge is a respected Houston music institution. Open since 1985 though only recently transported to the new location, this one-stop album shop boasts an impressive assortment of both records and CDs -- a technology quickly becoming a rarity in its own right -- with a friendly and knowledgeable shopkeeper always just around the corner, ready and willing to answer questions and perhaps even engage in a good old-fashioned music debate.

Also, Vinyl Edge was voted "Best Record Store" in this year's Best of Houston Awards, thus lending it the official HP seal of approval.

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CACTUS MUSIC 2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272 Friday hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. A popular venue for local acts to host CD releases and participate in the store's live performance series, Cactus has secured a position as a staple of the Houston scene -- with or without the vinyl. Fortunately, the vinyl makes for a hefty bonus: huge selection, lots of variety and plenty of rarities and quirky finds sprinkled about. Additionally, the CD and DVD sections are nothing to squawk at, with indie flicks galore (no surprise, since the shop also hosts a film-night series).

Cactus is also hosting ample Friday festivities, including live performances by Miss Leslie and Lincoln Durham and a generous helping of exclusive buys (some of which are teased on the store's Facebook page).

HEIGHTS VINYL 3122 White Oak, Ste. D, 281-974-1234 Friday hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Another Heights-area favorite of collectors and DJs alike, Heights Vinyl also has a full day of post-turkey shopping and entertainment planned, with live performances beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing all day, in addition to drinks courtesy of Karbach Brewery, loads of giveaways and plenty of exclusive releases and rare finds.

Scheduled performers include DJ Flash Gordon Parks, Come See My Dead Person, the Rozz Zamorano Jazz Trio and Bel-Ami. A full schedule is available here.


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