Vinyl Veterans: Miami's Best Record Stores
BY ARIELLE CASTILLO
LLO Radio-Active Records
Fifi’s Record Shop
Some of the more visible establishments labeled “record store” in Little Haiti are, sadly, devoted more often to bootleg copies of American albums. But 32-year-old Fifi’s is the real deal. The CD selection covers everything from classic soul to the latest urban-fusion Creole. You just may need to step through some rows of house- hold goods and clothing to get to them. 159 NE 54th St., Miami, 305-756-5998.
Museo Del Disco
If you come from a Spanish-speaking family in Miami, this is the store that your mother and abuela love. Any kind of Latin artist can be found here; the sheer breadth of inventory is jaw-dropping, and for lovers of tropical sounds, this is paradise. 1301 SW 70th Ave., Miami, 305-267-5511.
Musicians Discount Center
At first glance, this strip-mall spot deep in south Miami-Dade County looks like your typical entry-level music instrument shop, full of families buying their kids’ first guitars. What it doesn’t advertise is its gold mine of vinyl LPs in the back. A corner full of crates teems with gems from rock to disco to soul. Particularly treasure-filled are the sections devoted to early electro, synth-pop, and hip-hop. 19405 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami, 305-255-9466.
Located a short trip across the county line, many music fans consider this the Fort Lauderdale counterpart to Miami’s famous Sweat Records. The shop is similarly young, energetic, and friendly, with a program of in-store shows and troves of new and vintage rarities. Radio-Active is especially heavy on vinyl, and always stocks the latest limited-edition concert posters from IronForge Press. 845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, 954-762-9488 .
Part record store, part village green, Sweat is ground zero for all underground culture in Miami. A good chunk of the store—which is located next to Churchill’s Pub—is devoted to the latest indie releases and classics on both CD and vinyl. But there’s also a healthy book section, a stage, and even a snack bar featuring vegan goodies. 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami, 786-693-9309.
Top Five Records
Some two counties away up in Lake Worth, Top Five Records is a bit of a trek, but is worth checking out if you visit the next-door venue Propaganda. This store is purely devoted to vintage sounds, from doo-wop to jazz to rock. Vintage posters and other knickknacks for sale round out the two-room shop’s nostalgic vibe. 10 S. J St., Lake Worth, 561-313-9387.
Uncle Sam’s Music
Much about Uncle Sam’s, like the music world in general, has changed over the years. These days, the store is a little heavier on T-shirts, stickers, gifts, and other novelty goods. But in spite of all that, it’s still the only place on South Beach to score a wide range of music on both CD and vinyl. And there’s a particularly good selection of hip-hop and electronic music here. 1141 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-532-0973.
Yesterday and Today Records
Hidden in the suburbs of southwestern Miami, this is a vinyl hunter’s dream. Vintage sounds reign supreme here, mostly of the psychedelic, garage, and classic rock varieties, and boxes and boxes of records line the walls. Almost any kind of exotic or obscure sound, as well as medium, is represented here—rare eight-tracks, anyone? 9274 SW 40th St., Miami, 305-554-1020.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MONICA MCGIVERN (RADIO-ACTIVE RECORDS)