An adventure in listening

In recognition of Saturday’s Record Store Day, The Red Ledger takes a look at Good Records in Dallas


All new vinyls are sorted alphabetically by the artists’ name.

By Catherine Hathaway

Walk into Good Records, and you’re greeted by an environment unlike any other. The feeling of the room is mellow and serene, the racks are lined with colored bulbs and the listening stations are clean and colored like something out of the 70’s. Aesthetics aside, what goes on behind the scenes at Good Records is designed to bring what was once considered an ‘old fashioned’ trend back from the grave.

An independent record store on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Good Records specializes in CD’s, tapes and LP vinyl records. Going on their fifteenth year in business, the shop has become a staple stop for music collectors and listeners.

Founded and owned by Tim DeLaughter and Chris Penn of the psychedelic pop band The Polyphonic Spree, the store is anything but an ordinary record store.

“I’ve known Tim a long time, and Good Records is kind of an extension of [him],” senior Garrison Clough said. “A lot of record stores tend to be kind of pretentious, but Good Records has a good vibe.”

The shop’s low key aura and hipster vibe isn’t the only thing that makes Good Records different. With nearly 150 bands playing free shows throughout the year on Good Record’s in-store stage, “The Astroturf,” this record store isn’t about more than selling music.

It’s easier now than ever to get into vinyl.”

— Penn

“When we first came out we were unique because there weren’t that many independent record stores,” DeLaughter said. “We did in-store [performances] and we were a little bit more refined in our taste and in our selection of things we had.”

Good Records popularity has skyrocketed with the recent resurgence of the vinyl record. From 2013 to 2014 vinyl record sales shot up by over 50 percent to 9.2 million sales in the United States alone.

“It’s very encouraging from a music lovers standpoint,” Penn said. “It’s easier now than ever to get into vinyl.”

DeLaughter and Penn are all for fueling the fire when it comes to the vinyl trend. With the popularity of Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube and other digital forms of media, it’s easy for people to listen to music for free, without having any sentimentality connected to the piece.

“There’s a romance there with vinyl records in particular because the size of them and handling the record, placing it on the turntable and just going through that motion for me,” DeLaughter said. “The sound of it is so much better, but for me it’s such a better listening experience than just clicking the button and hearing whatever you want to hear.”

DeLaughter isn’t the only one who is pleased with the reawakening of the vinyl media.

“I grew up with vinyl so it’s really great to see that it’s coming back as a media with all its pops and sounds,” animation teacher Ray Cooper said. “There’s something about actually having the big vinyl in your hand. It’s really neat to be able to see vinyl come back. You go back to the music you grow up with, even for that nostalgia.”

Most vinyl collectors have invested a lot of money into their collections and their equipment as dedicated audiophiles have been doing this for years and don’t intend on stopping now.

“[The thought is I] spent all this money on this record, I’m gonna get everything I can out of it,” Penn said. “It makes you appreciate the music more when you have a physical thing.”

Though the resurgence of vinyl may not withstand the test of time, both DeLaughter and Penn think there’s something to be said for the appeal of a physical album.

“It seems more like an event,” Penn said. “Like let’s get together and huddle around the turntable and let’s listen to the record, let’s flip it over, let’s talk about it. Let’s do that on Friday and Saturday night rather than go to the mall. People are more into the music than they were for a little bit.”