Attempting to appear modern, although it was think-tanked by a Dallas contractor wearing cologne that is equal parts aphrodisiac and appetizer, and who has a Hungarian assistant that he only refers to as “Legs,” it looks just like all of the other Siamese-twin constructs of loft apartments/business storefronts, perpetually on the heels of a tech-industry boom or a UT Business School graduate migration.
However, as hipster-sage Bo Diddley so wisely stated, just as “you can’t judge a daughter by looking at her mother, you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover,” and in this case, it rings true. The building surrounded by industrial warehouses and just south of the Judson Lofts is the new home of Southtown Vinyl, a joint venture by partners and DJs Tommy Newman and Gabe Garza. The shop around the corner will house, not only new and used vinyl records, running the gamut from metal and indie to country and jazz, but will also specialize in and sell record players and DJ equipment, synthesizers, tapes, cables and turntable needles, from the most economical to the high-tech and luxurious, and many other miscellanies for the music snob. Though originally slated for a December opening, Southtown Vinyl’s had to push back its opening date to early January.
“We’re gonna try to cover all the bases. I’ve worked at Hogwild so that gives me an idea of the variety of stuff that you should carry,” says Garza. When asked about the ambience of the shop, he replies, “We are trying to be a little more on the loung-ier side as far as the shop itself … a lot of listening stations and an actual lounge area. We’ve got a lot of things we’re going to do for First Friday, and definitely push local artists if they’ve got an EP out or other material … Definitely do in-stores. We’ll have a little patio, too … We’re envisioning some happy hour [activity].”
- Southtown Vinyl/Facebook
Garza is no stranger to the vinyl retail market as he worked at Hogwild from 1991-97 as a dance music buyer, “during [dance music’s] heyday,” and works off and on at the Main Street staple. “[Newman] was gracious enough to offer me an opportunity, and his business model is solid. I met him years ago, actually, at Hogwild. He used to buy records off me and they used to throw parties at La Louisiane and I used to go out and see him spin, then we connected again … and just wanted to do it, and we think the city is really ready for it. The bars and the restaurants are opening up; we’ve got a lot of new people coming here … A lot more ingredients just make it all the more flavorful.”
What I wanted to know was what Southtown Vinyl will offer, besides actual record players, that Hogwild, Janie’s, Imagine or Flipside don’t currently provide.
“Turntable specialization. We are going to do some workshops as far as Tractor and Ableton. Even though we are going to be a record shop, we’re not excluding other types of mediums. It’s really the message behind it, I think. There’s a lot of people doing laptop stuff and a lot of guys still playing records. As long as the music is good and the message is on the money.”
Garza’s passion for music was palpable, having DJ’ed for over 20 years and somehow managing to describe others' sentiment for music in a non-stuffy, but hierarchical way.
“A lot of people like music and are really into music and some people are really, really into music and they’re making budget choices, ‘Am I going to be eating Top Ramen for the month?’ and it’s the same thing for musicians. It’s that passion that goes into it.”
Despite my general distaste for the architecture, I am thoroughly stoked for a new opportunity to blow all my money on records and record accessories and subjugate my family and my digestive tract to a strict diet of Top Ramen. I just hope Tommy and Gabe don’t mind me Jack Black-ing the place up and shooing away white, pony-tailed World Music fans and dads that believe their daughters will actually dig the new Don Henley record.