Hard-Pressed Places: Vinyl Stops Throughout Georgia
Get on board the vinyl revival by visiting independent record stores across Georgia.
Very few locally owned businesses are admired as much as a record shop. In fact, some urban explorers say you can measure a city’s vibrancy based on its indie record shops. So, say thanks to these business owners for keeping it real.
Take a spin around Georgia and create a phenomenal record collection. Read on for the road map and a suggested treasure trove of rare and iconic Georgia artist albums that are out there, waiting for you to flip in a bin and find.
Start with a few in the Atlanta area and, after winding your way through the metro area, head south. First stop, Georgia’s granddaddy of record stores:
Wax ‘N’ Facts
In 1976, for just a little under $1,000, Danny Beard and Henry DeMille rented store space and bought inventory from estate and yard sales and began Wax ‘N’ Facts, a used record store in Atlanta’s Little Five Points district. During the early years of the store, Beard ran his DB Records label from the same location, most famously recording the B-52's "Rock Lobster." The store hasn’t been renovated since the late 1980s, but its old-school record store feel is part of the charm. Wooden peach crates are full of records, neatly alphabetized and organized into genres with hand-written divider cards alerting shoppers to big name artists. The wood floors are unfinished from years of traffic, and posters on the wall are well worn.
432 Moreland Avenue, NE, Atlanta
Because it has quite possibly the largest collection of used vinyl in the state, set aside a few hours to explore Fantasyland Records in its entirety. Carrying everything from vinyl to back issues of "Rolling Stone" to music equipment to playbills, Fantasyland is an audiophile's one-stop-shop for anything and everything music. Even the likes of Eric Clapton, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello have shopped the bins at Fantasyland.
360 Pharr Road, NE, Atlanta
Owner Mike Tyson is a Wuxtry Records alum who graduated to open his own boutique record store in 2014. Sunbrimmer Records is clean and modern, from its sleek industrial interior to its well-curated, hand-selected inventory. Attention to detail doesn’t end there. Mike cleans each used album before it’s merchandised, samples records for customers before purchase and makes great recommendations.
4 N. Clarendon, Avondale Estates
Tobago Benito opened DBS Sounds in 1994, and though the store specializes in R&B, neo-soul, gospel, Reggae and hip-hop, it also offers other mainstream titles on both vinyl and CD. The store prides itself on being community-minded, highlighting Atlanta artists through inventory and special events. Their Record Store Day festivities often include free activities for kids.
6610 Highway 85, Riverdale
Take 75 South to Macon, or head down Highway 41 if you want the scenic route (and get the Allman Brothers reference). Next stop, Macon’s vinyl store that burns the incense from music past to present:
Fresh Produce Records
Store owner Willie Dantzler serves up more than just new and used albums at Fresh Produce Records. Since 2013, this Downtown Macon storefront has served as a showroom for rotating music titles, music memorabilia, and locally grown organic vegetables and fruit. To top it off, Fresh Produce hosts in-store live music by underground and indie artists at least once a month.
451 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Macon
Savannah & St. Simons Island
Take I-16 East to I-95 South toward the Georgia coast. Decide if you want to stop in Savannah or St. Simons Island first. Or, maybe start with Savannah and catch a boat ride to the Golden Isle, your own Moon River style.
Graveface Records & Curiosities
A curiosity in and of itself, Graveface Records & Curiosities popped up 12 years after owner and musician Ryan Graveface moved to Savannah and started an independent record label. The shop deals in new and used vinyl, taxidermy and other curiosities, and even includes a VHS rental store in the back. One more reason this store marches to its own beat? Graveface works to preserve, record and distribute music from his favorite B-movies.
5 W 40th Street, Savannah
While this island village shop specializes in unique vintage clothing and accessories, its vinyl collection is just as impressive. Moondance Vintage is purposely retro, through and through, so be prepared to be dazzled by not only the collections in the crates, where many Georgia artists have been hand-selected, but also inquire about the top-shelf records, a collection of well-cared, rare originals, found behind the register.
202 Mallory Circle, St. Simons Island
Let’s end this in Athens, where vinyl never grew old. Cruise into Downtown Athens with the B-52’s blaring. Start with a survivor, then find out where modern records are made.
Since it opened in 1976, Wuxtry Records has spawned other storefronts, including the Decatur location and Bizarro-Wuxtry, specializing in comics, collectibles and other novelties. Wuxtry grew up with the Athens music scene in the '70s, '80s and '90s, and remains a mainstay in the city’s more commercialized downtown area. With a huge selection and clerk alum like Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Kate Pierson (the B-52’s) and Danger Mouse, it’s no wonder why "Rolling Stone" has featured it as one of the best records stores in the U.S.
197 E. Clayton St., Athens
It’s hard to label Kindercore. It started as an indie record label in 1996 with acts like Dressy Bessy, Of Montreal and even British imports like Birdie. But most recently, Kindercore has morphed into an actual vinyl pressing facility, one of only 20 in the United States and the only one in Georgia. Kindercore’s manufacturing space houses impressive technology that can produce between 2,000-3,000 pressings per day and positions original founders Ryan Lewis and Daniel Geller on the forefront of the rebirth of the vinyl industry. Stay tuned for opportunities to tour the manufacturing facility to see where vinyl comes from, as the record-making world continues to turn back time.