(Tie) Friends of Sound
, 700 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 971-8044, friendsofsound.com
; Southtown Vinyl
, 1010 S. Flores St., Suite 120, (210) 231-0512, southtownvinyl.com
It once seemed like the brick-and-mortar music store was destined for extinction. Of course, this was before vinyl and cassettes enjoyed the surge in popularity that they are still enjoying today. Thus, it has come to be that this year’s Critic’s Pick for Best Record Store is split between two relatively new, and equally righteous, spots in SA: Southtown Vinyl and Friends of Sound. For its part, Southtown Vinyl is the more local of the two — since Friends of Sound originated in ATX — and sells hardware, as well as a solid selection of vinyl, much of it specifically catered to crate-digging DJs. Meanwhile, Friends of Sound, which is roomier and more conducive to hanging out than Southtown Vinyl, has a crazy deep selection (with much more available online), hosts rad concerts from time to time, and boasts one of the sweetest music-related murals in towns. All in all, SA is lucky to have both of these establishments and it’s up to us, the music-loving public, to keep them around.