Review: Retro vinyl stores near UIndy

Many people may consider records a thing of the past, but music junkies have begun flocking to vinyl. Records let music-enthusiasts listen to the nostalgic sounds of classic musicians in the original audio format that was the foundation of modern music. Because of the revival of the medium, record stores have blossomed by selling modern music produced on vinyl.

There are five record stores not too far from campus where University of Indianapolis students can buy records and CDs and expose themselves to new music.

Indy CD & Vinyl, a record store in the Broad Ripple area, provides customers with a broad selection of reasonably-priced records and CDs. Prices range from around $5 to $50. Listening stations provided along a wall allow customers to explore the music. Indy CD & Vinyl has a small collection of music from Indy locals and sells retro merchandise supporting locally-owned record stores. Turntables are also for sale, providing some application to the aesthetic-seeker’s record collection. Customers can even bring along their kids because Indy CD & Vinyl has a kids’ station, where they can entertain themselves with coloring and other crafts. Located in Broad Ripple, this record store has a laid-back and artistic atmosphere.

Luna Music, slightly closer to campus but still on the north side, has a more energetic atmosphere with window placement that allows for more natural lighting. I saw more records and CDs by local artists at Luna Music, and they still provided an extensive collection of major-label music. Stations with headsets and small screens are available for customers to preview music before buying. Merchandise such as pint glasses, pins and clothing items are displayed on small wire shelves. The staff at Luna Music is especially helpful, reaching out to customers and assisting them in any way possible.

To the east, in the small suburb of Irvington, Irvington Vinyl sits on a cozy backstreet across from a small coffee shop. This record store is also a small bookstore and smells like an old library, but after  a little wandering, I came across a miniscule collection of ancient records. Classic rock and 90s-to-current genres make up the majority of the vinyl collection. The shop sells an even smaller collection of CDs, most of which are classical, rock or jazz. A kids’ station is provided,  giving children a place to play while parents shop. While Irvington Vinyl may not be the place to go to for records, it displays a variety of books ranging from children’s genre to classic literature and even some Indianapolis originals.

Square Cat Vinyl changes the concept and aura of the traditional record store by also being a coffee shop and bar with live music. Located in the unique and artistic Fountain Square neighborhood, this idea of a coffee shop,  bar, live music venue and record store all in one makes perfect sense. Square Cat Vinyl provides a diverse collection of vinyl, both old and new records alike. The live music, performed by Indianapolis area local artists, creates a fun and lively atmosphere. This record store also sells merchandise such as clothing items and record players.

To the south, on the edge of Greenwood, is a record store called Vinyl Rescue Project (VRP). I was not immediately impressed with VRP’s staff; I felt unwelcome while browsing for records. The vinyl collection consists largely of rock and pop genres, and other genres were not as well represented. The selection of local artists music selection was especially small and there was little merchandise for sale. What merchandise VRP does offer is mostly in the form of used and resold T-shirts. Despite VRP’s shortcomings, the record store does sell record players at a reasonable price.

Visiting record stores and exploring different types of music not only makes for a fun-filled day, but it also provides for an enlightening experience. I have been visiting a local record store, The Thirteenth Floor,  in my hometown, Seymour, Ind. since I was 10 years old, and I believe my perspectives have been broadened because of the music and people I have encountered in that store. Learning about a different type of music and the culture it was developed in can provide greater context for our world’s history.

Graphic by Andy Carr and Madison Hays
Graphic by Andy Carr and Madison Hays