Wednesday, March 22, 2017

More Stores You Can Still Buy Metal Records At: Texas Edition

I'm sitting in front of my computer listening to the new Pallbearer, I'm pretty damn excited to buy this one as they remain one of the best new bands in metal in quite some time. I've got the Memoriam record ready to go next; ex-Bolt Thrower guys delivering more of the same...solid expectations for that one...

That's not what this entry is about though. This is an update to my previous entry where I listed a few places around the country you can still buy metal. With M on Spring Break, and only a few states left for us to visit before we complete all 50, we used her week away from her studies to venture to Texas: the land of enormous highway overpasses, respectable BBQ, and the only hotels in America that have their TV sets in the lobby turned to Fox News.

There were a lot of these types in Texarkana. You'd think a state founded by fellow Virginians like Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston wouldn't make me feel like such an outsider...
That said, Texas has a long and storied history in metal music that extends well beyond Pantera; it is a cauldron of sounds as diverse as Absu, Devourment, and Solitude Aeturnus. Shows and festivals there are known for high turnouts; there's even a distinct death metal sound known as TXDM (best way to describe it is as a sloppy sort of Suffocation worship.) It only stands to reason that such a state probably has several cities with multiple shops you can find metal CDs and vinyl. With consideration for M, I only checked out shops in Austin and San Antonio, but if you're passing through these are must stops and if you're from the area you're spoiled and should support these places; most of the country is not so blessed.

I was able to acquire a pretty decent stack of fresh tunes and harder to find classics, if not for my semi-adult-ish sensibilities it would've been much larger...

Encore Records
809 E 6th St
Austin, Texas 78702

So the unfortunate timing of M's Spring Break was that we passed through Austin during SXSW week, so this store looked pretty well shopped. That said, they've got a really solid variety of metal across multiple genres both on CD and on vinyl. Lots of shirts as well. The store is run by an older gentleman that has probably smoked a TON of weed in his day, and who likes to ramble on about feeding his dog peanut butter. I would assume that without SXSW that parking would be easier, but the prices are reasonable and I imagine he has more in stock during the rest of the year. I picked up records by Avulsed and Serial Butcher here.

Waterloo Records
600A N Lamar  
Austin, Texas 78703

This is the hipster shop in Austin where girls in thick framed glasses and those weird super high waisted pants go to buy their Mumford and Sons records or whatever Coachella approved bullshit the young and affluent artsy crowd is into today. That said, while they don't seem to have the decency to put their metal offerings separate from the rest of the pop/rock section, they do have a lot decent underground metal on their shelves. I was able to pick up records from a diverse array of artists ranging from out of print Agalloch to up and comers Sunlight's Bane (fucking great record, btw. Apocalyptic blackened hardcore that delivers!) It reminds me a lot of what Plan 9 Records in Virginia used to be years ago. 

End Of An Ear Records
4304 Clawson Rd
Austin, Texas 78704

From what I gathered, this is mostly a shop for the eclectic minded; particularly those into jazz or prog music. Mostly vinyl focused, but with a small and lovingly curated section of underground metal against the wall in a far corner. I was able to pick a pair of albums by Canadian black metal troop Weapon as well as the new Blood Incantation album from last year. I contemplated buying the back catalogue for Angel Corpse that I don't currently own, but after realizing that I don't actually listen to Angel Corpse all too often I decided to be responsible with my money. I probably lose tr00 points for that. Still, between this shop as well as the other aforementioned record stores, Austin has to rank as one of the best towns in America for a metal head to reside. 

Hogwild Records
1824 N Main Avenue
San Antonio, Texas 78212

The best for last. San Antonio is pretty cool city to visit, and given its reputation for metal (it has recently been the host for Phil Anselmo's Housecore Festival) I couldn't resist looking up online if there was a metal-centric record store there. Hogwild does not disappoint. There's actually a very solid selection jazz and hiphop to be found there, but the primary focus of the store is metal and punk. Good assortment of new releases on CD; I picked up the new Hour of Penance and Gatecreeper albums here. Lots of vinyl, and holy shit they've got a TON of metal shirts for sale. On street parking was easy to find and abundant. A great store and a must stop if you're in San Antonio.

On this trip I didn't really spend much time in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, but I'd imagine somewhere in that labyrinth of highways and dirty concrete structures there's a decent shop there. Likewise, while I enjoyed passing through Houston and especially it's food, I had already spent a fair amount of money and wasn't looking to bankrupt myself. Given Houston's diverse population and vibe, I'd say it's a certainty they've got some great shops but alas, those will have to wait until M and I hop in the car again for another long road adventure...we still haven't reached West Texas (or New Mexico, Arizona, or Oklahoma...)