Life on the street: discovering Winston-Salem

Hippo Records provides a range of records for the music enthusiast

Adam Coil, Assistant Life Editor

Life On The Street is a new weekly installment by, yours truly, the Life editors. We hope to explore Winston-Salem, finding and reviewing various locations just outside of campus, so that you can feel more informed the next time you venture off of school grounds.

This week, I headed to Hippo Records Winston-Salem, located in Silas Creek Crossings. Formerly known as Earshot Music, the shop was purchased by the owner of Hippo Records in Greensboro, and reopened under its new name this March. Boasting 142 reviews that round out to 4.8 out of 5 stars, I went into the store with pretty high expectations.

Because I grew up in a small town, record stores were a rarity and I had to buy all of my records online, making this outing my first visit to a physical record store. At first, I must admit I was somewhat jittery. Thoughts were racing through my mind: Am I doing something wrong? Is everyone looking at me? What will the guy at the desk think of my choices when I hand him my records? Am I even cool enough to be here?

Luckily enough, my anxious thoughts subsided fairly quickly. The store has a really nice atmosphere, and it was apparent to me that the owner wanted shopping in their store to be an experience in and of itself. From the decorations on the wall, to the floor layout to the steady stream of music emitted from the vintage record player behind the front desk, everything works together to form a space tailored to people who love vinyl and talking about music. I felt at home.

Hippo Records contains a fairly large inventory of LPs, as well as a few shelves full of CDs. There is a great deal of diversity to be found in the store as well, with pop, hip-hop, rock, punk, metal, jazz and even movie soundtracks finding their own respective shelves throughout.

Because many of the records are bought or traded from locals, the selection feels very personal and authentic. Rarely does one find repeats of the same album, making the process of sifting through countless records exciting and suspenseful — you never know what you’ll find next.

Some of the records I stumbled upon outdated me by decades, while others had just been released in the past year. Some of the more prized pieces, typically older and more expensive — find their way onto the walls of the store. Animal Collective’s 2005 project, “Feels”, was one such LP that caught my attention.

Hippo Records sells their products at a wide range of prices. Typically, each vinyl costs somewhere between 20 to 25 dollars, but one could wind up spending closer to 100 dollars if they find a rare gem in the mix. Overall, everything seemed valued appropriately.

If you’re looking for a spot that is packed with a lot of contemporary hits, you will probably have to head somewhere else. Aside from a small sample of new wave music, such as “K.O.D” by J. Cole, “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo and “Nothing Happens” by Wallows, the store mainly focuses on vintage and classic LPs.

Before heading out, I picked up “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel” by Wilco and “Meat is Murder” by The Smiths and chatted with one of the employees. I was expecting to find more alternative and indie works in the mix, but, for the most part, the store does a great job of diversifying its portfolio without overextending itself.

I think Google reviewer Jeff Sing” said it best in his 5-star review: “Good layout, fair pricing, and as always Adam’s great!”

Please let us know where you would like to see the Life section head next, and what kind of reviews you want to see in the future.