End of an Ear

Local record store provides vinyl fix for south Austinites

When End of an Ear co-owner Dan Plunkett and his business partner, Blake Carlisle, decided to open a shop together, they wanted to give south Austinites a spot to call their own.

They settled on a location at 2209 S. First St. Then they went on buying sprees to stock up on used music and called a few distributors Plunkett knew from his days at a record store he previously owned on Guadalupe Street, Thirty Three Degrees.

"When Blake and I first opened the store, we kind of followed what we're into. Blake's really into reggae, so we wanted to have a big reggae presence and have a deep catalog," Plunkett said. "There's stuff that everybody touches on, but we just try to go in-depth. So we have a lot of psychedelic stuff and a deep catalog in experimental. Other stores might have it, but we just have more than they do."

Shopping for records is an experience many music lovers cherish, and vinyl afficionados tend to be rabid fans of their favorite spot.

End of an Ear regular Cassie Robles visits the store, combing through the stock looking for a find. She said she lives in the neighborhood and can feel good about supporting the locally owned business.

"This shop is different because it has a great selection. Every time I come in, I find something. Last week I came in and found a collaboration CD for 99 cents. You come in here, and you find cool stuff," Robles said.

End of an Ear is named after the debut solo album by Robert Wyatt, member of the psychedelic band, Soft Machine. The store has hosted a slew of in-store performances. Many were artists who may not top the charts, but who have cult status, much like what End of an Ear enjoys itself.

Plunkett said there have been too many great in-stores to pick a favorite, but a few notable artists who made appearances at the store are Gary Higgins, Stevie Moore and The Bats.

"There's been a few that we thought, 'Wow, that'd be a dream if we could get them for an in-store,'" Plunkett said. "Just these kinds of legends that in the big world, nobody cares. But to us, it's a dream."

End of an Ear buys records, CDs and DVDs from customers. Plunkett said what they can buy and what sells varies. He said one week there will be "just tons" of Grateful Dead, and the next week it will all be gone. He said there are certain things that will always sell, and others that he can only sell as a dollar record. But sometimes, Plunkett said, the customers surprise him.

"Who knew we could sell as much Joni Mitchell as we do, or Tears for Fears?" he said.

End of an Ear, 2209 S. First St., 462-6008, www.endofanear.com