Rolling Stone names Vinyl Fever, Bananas Music two of America's best record stores
Here's some good news for anyone who thinks vinyl (or even the CD) is dead: Rolling Stone has named Tampa's Vinyl Fever (above) and St. Petersburg's Bananas Music two of the 25 best record stores in America.
"Vinyl Fever sells CDs, cassettes, DVDs, and more, as well as good old-fashioned black wax, to a large, loyal, and appreciative core of central Florida's more discerning music lovers," reads the writeup on Rollingstone.com. "The used inventory is as consistent as the new stuff, everything is priced to move, and the staff really knows its stuff." (The article didn't mention their in-store performances by the likes of Anberlin, 30 Seconds to Mars, Alejandro Escovedo, Justin Townes Earle, the Avett Brothers and more, so we will.)
And then, a few clicks later, Bananas Music gets its own shout-out: "Stories abound of fanatical collectors who plan vacations around all-day (or longer) excursions into its LP and 45 catacombs. And they find good stuff there consistently, in all kinds of categories, from classical to blues, and rock to comedy. One shopper tells us how he found so many rare Brazilian recods from the '70s that it overwhelmed his budget."
It's a pretty impressive showing on a list that also includes famed locations like L.A.'s Amoeba Music and Laurie's Planet of Sound in Chicago. Tampa Bay is one of a handful of metropolitan areas with multiple entries on the list -- New York, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore and Minneapolis are the others. (See? We got culture, yes we do!)
Don't wait for the next Record Store Day to pay these gems a visit. Heck, buy an album or two, just to help keep them in business.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: Luis Santana, tbt*