New Beginning for the End Oxford’s little shop of vinyl heads uptown. written by Michael Newsom photographed by Joe Worthem
When the needle hits, there’s a pop, a few seconds of light crackling, then the magic happens. The rich, room-filling sound of vinyl music is something that isn’t easy to replace once you’ve had a taste of it. For many, the full sonic experience, coupled with having artwork and liner notes you can hold, becomes an obsession. Riding the wave of vinyl’s resurgence since opening on North Lamar Boulevard in 2012, Oxford’s End of All Music has built a reputation and a strong following. The success of the store has made owner David Swider bullish on the future, so he’s moved it into an upstairs spot at 103 Courthouse Square. “We opened at a good time with the end of the era of the iPod and at the beginning of vinyl resurgence,” owner David Swider said. “We got really lucky.” Vinyl loyalists swear off MP3s, instead spending hours each week listening to and talking about records. They talk about loving the smell of the sleeve of a record that was pressed decades ago. Searching for them then becomes a kind of sport. Scoring an original Chess blues 78, an “unpeeled” banana-cover Velvet Underground, a Beatles “butcher cover” or a first pressing of a Phil Spector-produced album is the LP collector’s equivalent of winning the Super Bowl. Cassette tapes have been reborn in recent years because they offer a good-quality sound and a low manufacturing cost. Many now sell for about $7 new. Unlike cassettes, though, the appeal of vinyl records never really went away, and they remain especially popular these days.
44 INVITATION OXFORD | April 2018
Owner David Swider in End of All Music’s new location on the Square.
The reason is simple for Swider, who calls it “the coolest way to own music.” “You get the total package,” he said. “Big artwork, superior sound, and records also retain their value really well. They’re both collectible and functional, and also a conversation piece, as well as a good way to listen to music. If you
go to somebody’s house and they say, ‘Look at my iTunes music’ or ‘Look at my shelf full of records,’ one of those is definitely going to sound better than the other.” The new location gives Oxford a music store on the Square for the first time in more than a decade. It still has the same chill blue