Vintage Monkeys (Courtesy of Monkies Vintage)
Dress the part: musical t-shirts
Under the principle of “dress for the job you want”, if you’re interested in becoming a sweaty, second-row, dancing music scene city dweller, a splashy t-shirt is a great place to start. Above your Wranglers or your miniskirt or whatever’s underneath, the perfect subculture t-shirt screams, “Hey, I know about that stuff!” Beyond the always solid selection of products from local bands, find plenty of vintage and new options below to shop, in person or on Instagram.
Feels So Good Mazzy Star Tee
It feels good
Formerly known as Fine Southern Gentlemen, this massive South Austin store/gig space screen prints the best modern tributes to musical legends, including local designer Meghan Baas’ Mazzy Star t-shirt, which Rue wore on the Euphoria final.
Guad Vintage Market
Launched last November, the Guad Vintage Market pops up every Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. between presenting Brick-and-mortars Pavement and Leopard Lounge, with more than 30 small vendors packing up your next Paul McCartney top or houseplant.
Located just off Guadalupe behind the Buffalo Exchange, Lo-Fi’s Y2K collection features rare and fast-for-sale band t-shirts from the Grateful Dead to the Dead Kennedys.
Open since 2014, this outlet located just across from the UT campus spans hip-hop to hard rock in a wall of concert memorabilia referencing the zeitgeist, alongside clothing from the 1960s. 50s to 90s.
Joining the thriving cluster of thrift shops just north of UT, Never Knew opened in 2021 to mix colorful vintage standards with unexpected new streetwear selections.
Skateshop without compliance
Continuing the long overlap of the skate and music scenes, this neighboring House Park hub features some notable merchandise — including exclusive Daniel Johnston collaborations with Vans — among hardware.
Running on Instagram, this denim-centric South Austin boutique hosts excellent Sunday markets with a variety of savvy vendors mixing mostly vintage clothing with high-end independent designers, like Vada sunglasses.
TikTok savvy Yazmin Garza, 20, promotes the new Guadalupe store she opened with her parents in February after it launched in McAllen.
End of an ear (Photo by John Anderson)
Find yourself at the record store
Although phones are the main conduit for recorded music in the modern world, brick-and-mortar retail spaces selling physical copies of albums are thriving in this music-lit city. Algorithms and playlists are fine for what they are, but nothing beats the record store experience: the surprise of a cool, unknown LP cover that catches your eye, the regional flavors, the knowledgeable employees and the camaraderie of sailing alongside other music fans. Here’s what Austin proper has to offer.
Antone’s Record Store
Campus classic with a Texas treasure trove of new and used vinyl, CDs and cassettes, plus casual stores, open to all ages.
Big Henry Vinyl and Gifts
Doubles as a gift shop for Austin’s Home of the Blues, Big Henry’s bins contain a carefully curated collection of used genre gems.
Eastside used vinyl haven with a host of classic vinyls, darks and local fare.
Expansive but particularly soul-focused shop, featuring rare 45s worthy of a DJ’s tote bag, with a vibe befitting the vintage shop band it resides on.
Tip of an ear
Veteran vinyl sellers who maintain an impressive stock of new releases, ranging from mainstream to ultra-underground, as well as numerous genre sections. EoaE also organizes occasional in-store shopping.
While getting your Wundershowzen smoothie and wheatgrass shot at JuiceLand on 45th and Duval, browse their vinyl enclave, which includes a handful of beatmaker releases.
feels so good
A great record store in the South Austin FSG Print Shop showroom, which also hosts shows for all ages. Mainly used selection, with the exception of FSG label releases.
love wheel discs
New North Austin boutique with a solid and mostly used selection at an affordable price.
Since 1982, Austin’s largest record retailer. Austin’s city music plaza has deep vinyl bins and countless CD racks, both containing new and used releases. Touring artists and local personalities play in stores for all ages and show up for autograph signings.
strait music (Photo by John Anderson)
Tools of the Trade: Music Stores
A broken chain? Don’t be basic and order a new set from Amazon or GuitarCenter.com. The same goes for buying that acoustic guitar to strum songs in your dorm room or the audio interface you need to produce your contemporary bedroom masterpiece. Get your tools of the trade from Austin’s vast ecosystem of local stores. Here are a few essentials, ranked by their distance from the UT campus.
Austin Vintage Guitars
Small shop in Hyde Park, closest to UT campus, with a primo selection of new and used instruments, amps and accessories.
A mother lode of vintage analog synths and electronic components that sees gearheads come from all over the world. Repairs and restoration also carried out in-house.
Tommy’s drum shop
Whether you need a set of drumsticks or a custom kit, Tommy’s Drum Shop is the place to go. Tried and true, he’s been in the game helping local drummers keep the beat going for over 40 years.
South Austin Music
New instruments and amps, plus repairs and lessons at this classic spot next to the Saxon Pub on South Lamar.
A one-stop shop offering sales and repair services for guitar, bass, percussion, piano, orchestral instruments, recording equipment and everything else under the big musical equipment tent.
A version of this article appeared in print on August 19, 2022 with the title: Back-to-School Guide: Stores for Austin Music