Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best River Walk Restaurant

Best River Walk Restaurant

Best of SA 2012: 4/25/2012
Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Guide: It’s almost summer, which means that your government-subsidized free daycare (aka public school) goes on hiatus thanks to an archaic allegiance to a rural agriculture economic system that hasn’t been in play for decades. What to do with the wee ones whining 5/21/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Local record shops will need to up their game to weather the substanceless future of music

Photo: Photos by Adam Villela Coronado, License: N/A

Photos by Adam Villela Coronado

Last of the independents — Imagine Books’ Don Hurd is San Antonio’s latest stand for vinyl.

Photo: , License: N/A

Javier Gutiérrez, part owner of Del Bravo Record Shop on Old Highway 90.

When local vinyl enthusiast Gene Hopstetter plays me Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Swingin’ Lovers!, he pulls three pressings from his collection of roughly 700 albums, indicating the differences in each. The changing packaging and track listings chronicle the start of Sinatra’s 1950s disenfranchisement from Capitol Records. He places the needle as if preparing holy communion; “You Make Me Feel So Young” pours from his ’77 Klipsch Cornwalls.

Hopstetter complains the later edition sounds like it’s coming from inside an aquarium. He swaps in the first pressing and the oft-celebrated “warmth” of vinyl rears itself. Sinatra feels so incredibly near.

We soak it up.

Hopstetter respects digital audio, but won’t listen to MP3’s or other common formats. He exclusively uses lossless audio (FLAC) fed through a digital output — no headphone/audio out jacks. While he also likes Pandora and cloud services, he’s committed to vinyl. The problem is, “San Antonio is really not a good city for buying vinyl,” he says, adding that local stores can be counted on for having around 100 copies of Barbara Streisand’s People on inventory, however.

Everything he buys comes from Austin or is purchased online.

It’s no mystery the music industry is hanging record stores over a fire. Piracy remains difficult to track. Cloud services and online vendors indulge customers with speed and low cost. While there is a resurgent interest in vinyl, Side-Line Magazine recently reported that major labels will nearly abandon the CD in 2012, pressing only special editions. We are living through the end of the physical music era. And reports from the home front depress.

“We’re fueled by pride,” says Javier Gutiérrez, part owner of Del Bravo Record Shop on Old Highway 90. “We haven’t been profitable in four or five years.”

Gutiérrez’s father Salomé opened Del Bravo, specializing in Latin music, in 1966. They’ve battled format changes, economic turmoil, and big box providers, with good customer service and fair prices for a mostly new inventory. Salomé also recorded musicians on his own DLB Records out of his house from the early 1960s to 2000. Strangely, the day I speak with Gutiérrez is one where he has just had a difficult breakfast with his parents.

“They’re like, ‘Javier, we’ve weathered storms before,’” he says. “‘But this storm is different. There’s no other media coming.’”

In early October, I interviewed Hogwild Records owner Dave Risher about the state of his shop. Hogwild (on Main near San Antonio College) is the closest thing to an indie shop in town, carrying a variety of new releases on CD, DVD, and vinyl, plus merch and used discs and records. Its reputation is iconic, especially to local musicians who peddle their work there. The shop turns 30 this year.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus