In the past few years, it has become exponentially easier to buy a record in San Antonio. Hogwild, that purple citadel of punk and metal on North Main, continues to thrive as the city’s capitol for shit-talking glitzy metal and bad pop. Lerma’s, on the West Side, is the tejano store of note this side of the border. When they’re not hosting all-ages, rock ‘n’ roll gigs, Imagine Books & Records challenges Half Price as the crate digger’s preferred used book/record depot. And, earlier this year, Southtown Vinyl joined the fray with a clean, industrial-leaning space and a specialization in dance music and DJ equipment.
With a soft opening this Saturday, Friends of Sound makes the next move, trekking down from the vinyl-lusting city of Austin to open a San Antonio location. At 700 Fredericksburg Road, the store hopes to capitalize on SA’s growing taste for the medium when they open for good on Saturday, August 6.
In 2004, Dave Haffner opened Friends of Sound on the bustling South Congress strip south of downtown. In such a saturated music market — Austin has over a dozen full-time record stores — Friends of Sound needed a niche to set it apart from the crowd.
“At our Austin store, we like to think we carry the stuff that’s hard to find—spoken word, Bollywood” says George Mendoza, a long-time employee and co-owner of the San Antonio outpost. “We cater to record heads. But at the same time, because we’re on South Congress, we still carry for the casual record buyer, the person who comes in and wants a Fleetwood Mac record.”
A San Antonio native, Mendoza helped spearhead the San Antonio location, working with Rambo Salinas of the Alamo City Soul Club to find the right spot. Located in the former Uptown Studio, Friends of Sound will share the building with Nite Lite and K23 Gallery — two of San Antonio’s best-booking DIY locations. Turning this Fredericksburg block into a destination for music lovers only sweetens the move to SA — a longtime dream for Mendoza.
“When I started working at the store, Dave asked me, ‘what do you want out of working here?” Mendoza says. “Honestly, I told him I wanted to open a store in San Antonio. I wanted to bring something that I care about to the city I’m from.”
In San Antonio, Friends of Sound will follow the model of their Austin avatar, selling hard-to-find gems alongside reissues of desert island classics. Already, their deep selection of 45s will draw serious nerds from across the city. “There’s tens of thousands of records,” says Rambo Salinas, who will serve as store manager. “Too many to count.”
Friends of Sound
700 Fredericksburg Road