In Vinyl Lives we spotlight and profile record stores around the country who offer music lovers an experience that goes beyond an iTunes purchase or a Spotify playlist. Vinyl has found a new resurgence and the good folks behind independent record stores are on the front line, directly responsible for curating a unique collection of music. Here at Glide Magazine we feel that record stores are a valuable part of the community and to music as a whole, and are therefore worth celebrating.
For the newest installment of Vinyl Lives we are excited to turn the spotlight on a little shop in South Florida. Since 2005 Sweat Records has been bringing music lovers in Miami a dynamic space that is really more of a community gathering spot than just your run of the mill record shop. All of this has come after the original location was damaged by a hurricane only to find founder Lauren Reskin setting up temporary shop in the back of a legendary punk club. Now in a more comfortable space at 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Sweat Records is a bustling Miami spot with a coffee shop, frequent in-store shows and events, and plenty of choice vinyl. This is a great thing, because although Miami has a vibrant musical history, it often gets overlooked as a major tour stop for bands. To get an inside look at what makes Sweat so special, co-owner Lauren Reskin took some time to talk with us about the history of the shop and what you can find there these days…
Can you give us a short history of Sweat Records?
I started Sweat Records in 2005 with my best friend Sara Yousuf who was studying for the bar exam at the time. I had been a street rep for indie labels, a DJ and booker for club nights, and had worked in a huge corporate record store for the six years before that. Sara was a DJ on the local college radio station and we both wanted Miami to have a shop that specifically catered to the people here and to our unique cultural landscape, as well as the fact that Miami is a very large and spread-out city that really needed a “hub”. We opened in a cool 1930s building in the Edgewater neighborhood in early 2005. We were hitting a great stride and then, that October, Hurricane Wilma completely destroyed the building and our landlord refused to fix it. We were out for six weeks then reopened in a tiny space in the back of Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti, which has been there since 1979 and is basically the CBGB’s of Miami. A year and change later we moved to the bigger storefront where we are now, directly next to Churchill’s.
What makes Sweat Records unique and different from the average record store?
We’re not the typical retail store in that we’re incredibly events-oriented. Our shop has a stage area where we’ve hosted everything from comedy nights to film screenings and hundreds of live shows. Last month we helped start the first Classic Album Sundays in Miami with local audio boutique Deja Vu Audio South and it was a packed house! Everyone who works at the shop is either in a band (or many bands) or DJs, and we also collaborate with a wide variety of other local cultural organizations. I’ve been on the board of the Recording Academy Florida Chapter for years and our GM Emile Milgrim co-founded the Miami Girls Rock Camp. We also throw a massive block party every Record Store Day and have had acts like Shabazz Palaces, Tobacco, and No Age headline.
Miami is geographically disadvantaged from the rest of the US so it’s been important for us to help galvanize the scene here and spread the word about great happenings, especially since the local audience and appetite for good music is growing constantly. Miami can be a great place to live and we’re proud to be a part of what’s going on here.
How much of your stock is used vs. new?
When we first opened we were about 50/50 LPs/CDs, and now it’s almost all vinyl with small sections of CDs and cassettes. I’d say we’re probably 70/30 new to used (or “pre-loved” as our section header states). We also stock turntables and all sorts of vinyl accessories, neat made-in-Miami merch items, and have a full coffee bar with handmade drinks.
Recent top sellers:
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
ANOHNI – Hopelessness
Dâm-Funk – DJ-Kicks
Horse Lords – Interventions
Anticipated upcoming releases:
Aphex Twin – Cheestah
Nonkeen – Oddments of the Gamble
Russian Circles – Guidance
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Given Lötz – MAW
“You’d be surprised, but we sell a lot of…”
Jazz, metal, cassettes, ambient/neoclassical titles.
Sweat Records is located at 5505 NE 2nd Ave. in Miami, Florida. For more info visit sweatrecordsmiami.com.
Check out other editions of Vinyl Lives:
Is there a record store you think we should profile? Feel free to shoot your suggestions to Neil Ferguson on Twitter: @musicjournzo!