A Local’s Guide to Record Buying & Show Hopping at SXSW


Austin is a city near and dear to my heart. I grew up an hour away in San Antonio, making trips for shows once in a while, but spent my college years in Austin aka the live music capital of the world. Over the years, as my musical knowledge culminated and I went to more and more shows, I started to have an idea of which venues and record shops were my favorite. After reminiscing just a bit, here are a few of my top picks.

Top 3 Record Stores:

1. Waterloo Records: Easily the most famous record store in Austin, its earned a reputation far and wide for a large selection of the new and old. Occasionally shows are put on inside (I fondly remember seeing bands, such as The Bird & the Bee and Girls there). This year for SXSW, theyre holding some amazing shows outside all week long!

2. Trailer Space Records: This store is a bit more indie-centric than Waterloo. They too put on shows, but are more of the local variety. I always went there to discover awesome, local music Ive never heard of. Just like Waterloo, they too will have lots of SXSW shenanigans in their store this week!

3. Antones Records: I always remember Antones as the place to stop in between clothes shopping since its right on Guadalupe Street next to Buffalo Exchange and Sonnys Vintage store. I wander in a post-vintage hunting daze and always find the best old records at the best prices. I remember buying my first girl groups record at Antones! You could spend countless hours there.

Top 3 Music Venues:

1. Cheer Up Charlie’s: Its a happy coincidence that StyleCaster has chosen this venue favorite of mine for their stellar sounding SXSW party. The thing I love about Cheer Up Charlie’s is that on any given night, it has the potential to be completely chill or a total mad house. Most of the shows take place on the patio area outside and right about now is perfect showtime weather. What’s my favorite thing about this venue? You can buy a coconut which they will chop open all fancy for you to drink from. Not to mention, theres a Chicken and Waffles stand 10 feet away.

2. The Parish: The Parish is generally one of my favorite venues, but its especially great if youre looking for a more intimate kind of show. Somehow the venue attracts a more polite crowd than others and the shows Ive seen there, such as Sondre Lerche and Sean Lennon, have been amazing because of it. The venue itself, with its dim lighting and whimsical balls hanging from the ceiling, creates a mellow vibe where people can concentrate solely on the music.

3. The Mohawk: I think the Mohawk has one of the best set-ups. I think its a great venue to see a big band because there are so many places to stand with two different balconies plus an open floor area that you can see from almost anywhere in the venue. Ive seen lots of amazing bands here from St. Vincent to Matt and Kim. Plus, if youre hip to it, theres a secret bathroom.

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