Now Open: Record Revival's Newer, Bigger Midtown Location
Record Revival near Seventh Street and Osborn Road.
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
Local vinyl junkies in need of a fix now have a new place to score. Namely, the recently reopened Record Revival. Earlier this month, the LP emporium went from pint-size to supersize after debuting its newer, bigger digs along Osborn Road near Seventh Street, which boasts three rooms' worth of used records. And more reportedly are on the way.
Store manager Matt Martinez, who's also the bassist in local death metal band Landmine Marathon, estimates that they currently have 10,000 to 12,000 records on display throughout the 1,500-square-foot location, a former office space and food bank on the bottom floor of an old fourplex apartment building. It's a far cry from Record Revival's original home as a smaller pop-up shop inside Guitar Tree next door.
Martinez says they've got space to spare, including another room that will open in the next month or two and eventually contain even more records that he and other employees haven't sorted yet.
"I've counted the back stock that we haven't gone through and sorted yet from trades and buys," he says. "And there's another 4,000 to 5,000 that we haven't put out yet."
Martinez, is eager to dive into the task, since he's been a vinyl fanatic since his teenage years when he began haunting the old Eastside in Tempe.
"Eastside Records raised me," he says. "I shopped there as a kid and learned a lot about records and always had a passion for 'em. In the '90s, I was shopping there as a kid and picking up punk. And the passion never left me. That's kind of been the whole thing of it, I've always been into records."
So Martinez, a onetime employee of Guitar Tree, was plenty stoked when the shop's former co-owner, Mike Casey, asked the bassist's advice last fall about records. More specifically, how to go about selling off an enormous vinyl collection that Casey had inherited from a recently deceased relative.
"He asked me about with this massive collection of records, about 7,000 or so, and wanted to know, 'What would you do with this? How would you go about distributing all these records?," Martinez says.
Record Revival manager Matt Martinez inside the store.
Casey recruited Martinez to do just that, opening Record Revival as a pop-up last November in Guitar Tree's back room. Martinez describes Casey's collection as being "very vast, genre-wise," which made it easy to base a record store around it.
"It has, really, a little bit of everything, and, in some cases, a lot of everything," Martinez says. "Everything from prog and psychedelic rock to common classic rock to jazz to Dixieland, movie soundtracks, comedy, world music, weird novelty records, old country, rockabilly, and blues. It's really staggering to see the range of this record collection."
After only a few weeks in business, the shop's vinyl haul started getting bigger.
"It started to grow with a lot of trades and buys. And, of course, I'm bringing in a lot of punk and hardcore stuff," Martinez says. "And it got to the point where it made sense to be a standalone record store instead."
Hence the reason Casey and Martinez's breaking off Record Revival from Guitar Tree into its own location and identity next door.
"Having a guitar store nearby makes this a very music-centric destination," Martinez says. "We're going to work hand-in-hand with the guys from Guitar Tree and maybe do some parking lot events and get some live music going in the future."
(In fact, the whole intersection of Osborn Road and Seventh Street has also become an enclave of cool businesses in adaptively re-used buildings like Record Revival and Guitar Tree -- which is located in a former residence -- such as neighboring eateries Taco Guild and Gadzooks.)
Martinez says other plans in the works for Record Revival include expanding into selling things like T-shirts, audio equipment, vinyl from local distributors like King of Monsters and Gilgongo, and maybe even some tapes.
"We're possibly open to cassettes it if it's a local artist or label," he says.
Meanwhile, he and other employees will be busy getting the new room ready and sorting through heretofore unexplored boxes of records from the store's collection.
"It's a fun process," he says. "Going through records, sorting records, seeing stuff that you didn't know existed. It's a flashback and a constant learning experience."
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