A New Record Store In Asheville: Records in the RAD, Delights

records in the rad - storefront
The River Arts District is a great place to spend a day walking along the French Broad River checking out art, eats, and now…records

Asheville got a new record store last spring when Records In The RAD opened near Wedge Brewing in Asheville’s River Arts District. As we have been working hard on a household task for some weeks now, and it finally finished last Saturday, so my wife wanted to spend last Sunday walking in the River Arts District and getting food from a Cuban food truck now there. We strolled along the riverwalk, stopping to browse art studios in the former derelict warehouses that have happened over the 20+ years we’ve lived here. It’s a great way to spend a day.

After a great Cuban meal at Guajiro food truck, we passed Records In The RAD on the way back to the car. After getting another spectacular flan to go at Guajiro, I checked to see if Records In The RAD were open. I was morbidly curious. I’ve been hating visits to record stores locally for the last decade as they have really lost me. Eliminating used 12″ and 7″ singles, and then CDs for the wave of modern records that are of little interest to me. When the pandemic started I basically stopped going to stores. And was fine with that. But we were here, and the store had excellent air circulation with their garage door open on the cool day. We had our N95’s on. We weren’t the only customers masking! So we checked it out.

records in the rad - entryway
a spacious store built for comfort

My wife knew that the owner of the store was Brian Haynes, who had run Almost Blue in Asheville. We had moved here in 2001 and shopped there for a few years. As it was high-Napster era, the record stores then were being decimated by the P2P plague. I remember seeing a full page ad in Goldmine with the family trying to sell the store and stock as a unit set sale thing, but that didn’t fly. The store was the best in town, but they shuttered in 2004. To be taken over by a wine shop. Harvest Records opened in 2006 and took up the slack big time for at least a decade, but they’ve not done much for my temperament lately.

records in the rad - CDs!

The store had a wide, open vibe and bins of records and a wide variety of other things for sale; mostly music related. They could have fit twice as many record bins in there but I noted that they had a little bit of everything that I was interested in. I first noted the CD racks. Not to much to flip through but at least they were there! Prices were good. One wall of the store had the same record store folk art the owners had made at Almost Blue, which was always a way for them to differentiate their brand. The far wall of the store had the new releases on LP only. A glance revealed nothing I was looking for, but it’s hard to remember what new LP-only titles I might actually be interested in! I decided to dive into the bins and see what was there.

records in the rad - soul section
The Soul/Funk section had plenty of prime goods every home should have [note masked youth browsing the bins on the other side]

I was immediately drawn to the 10″ single section. I’m always looking for OMD’s “Dreaming” 10″ so I flipped through and…mamacita…there were a lot of nice 10″ record here! As see below. Need that still sealed “Look Sharp” 10″ album with badge? It’s there for fifty bones. Right there at the going rate for still sealed. I’m always thrilled to see The Motors “Love + Loneliness” but I got that one a few years back. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Special A.K.A.’s “War Crimes” 10″ before! And they did have an OMD 10″ with “Messages” there for an astonishing $45.00 – do they know something I don’t? There were a few dizzy prices here, but I can’t fault the selection.

The back of the store featured a Blu-Ray display with used discs for $4.00 but nothing I needed. I sometimes forget that I have an HDTV and Blu-Ray player now! We’re so late to that game. I liked the selection of used stereo equipment for new buyers who have to start somewhere. This grizzled Monk has multiple formats pinned down in my Record Cell. I can play ßeta, VHS, Laserdisc, cassette tape, CD, records but there’s one major format that’s a blind spot in my wraparound visor shades: 8-track! This store can scratch that itch with the Pioneer unit for sale below!

8-track player
even I can’t play 8-tracks currently

It was now time to look at the 12″ records. This could go either way. The LPs had new and used stock mixed in together. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount of stock, but it was very tightly curated. I was impressed. This was almost the Apollonian ideal of a record store that was doing everything it could to mitigate the horrors of record shopping in 2023. I saw some genuinely wonderful things that I already had… always a great sign. The price for new LPs was on the low side of things. I was very impressed with the white 2020 Demon LP of Split Enz “Mental Notes [International]” for only $20.75…a third less than the price every other US dealer in Discogs has for it! And need a still sealed copy of 1977’s “Roxy Music’s Greatest Hits?” It’ll only set you back $16.00!

I next walked over to the counter were what did mine eyes perceive but two bins of 7″ singles! I had a glance through them and was getting a lot of love back from the pristine goods, all priced to move. As I flipped through them I was seeing so many acts and titles I already had so that’s the mark of a store I will need to return to again. The owner was curating the store like I would. When shopping for records, this is what you look for; a simpatico between the sensibilities of the people in charge and your tastes.

records in the rad - 7" boxes
You don’t see this every day!

As I kept looking at everything, I noted the combination of modest price [$4-$10] as well as the immaculate condition of the easily banged up little records. I kept looking until I found something that I not only had never seen, but something I didn’t even know existed! A US Mari Wilson 7″ with picture sleeve of “Just What I Always Wanted!” Now I have the US double A-sided promo 7″ of this title, but I had no idea there was a commercial release! $5.00 and it was mine!

records in the rad - mari wilson
Kicks keep getting harder to find…but it does happen!

At this point I began chatting with the owner; letting him know what a delight the curation in this store had been to observe and browse. He said he still has a warehouse full of goods and he sells on Discogs, so I will need to see what he’s got that I need and can pick up without postal charges. My wife and I spent a lovely half hour at least in there. The music playing was the Love + Rockets “Express” album, so there was that, too. The experience was soothing and pleasing to us. It was great to see that the years hadn’t dimmed Brian Haynes ability to run a great record store. There was even a cheapie bin of $3.00 records with some some good ones I already had in there. Though I had to check my Discogs collection to make sure I really did have “Lene Lovich’s “New Toy” US 6-track EP as I had wanted that one for so long I’d forgotten picking one up.

In all candor, I’d approached the notion of looking at a new store with some trepidation. They are not places conducive to my happiness much these days, but Brian Haynes still has the magic eye and taste needed to make a store that is welcoming to a crusty old bin diver like myself. This store felt of a piece with Rockaway Records in Los Angeles for being the kind of place that had a supremely well-curated stock of some expensive show pieces as well as plenty things I’d want [or not] at modest prices…with no chaff to annoy me. I didn’t get the sense that a single record was in that store to fill space. It was a store of good intention that I will be happy to return to in the future.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Badges, Core Collection, Designed By Peter Saville, The Great Record Stores and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A New Record Store In Asheville: Records in the RAD, Delights

  1. Cary Berger says:

    Very nice write up. You captured a lot of my feelings about modern record stores or should I say contemporary record stores. Any record store that has something from the compact organization it’s going to warm my heart as well. Almost like out of a dream. Yes I do have dreams about record stores and the record stores in my dreams unfortunately, no longer exist except maybe in Japan. Talk soon love your stuff..


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Cary Berger – I don’t need much to enjoy myself in a record store, but this one had what it took. The single Mari Wilson 7″ was icing on the cake. A lovely wrapup to a perfect day. If you ever find yourself in AVL, we’ll have to go!


  2. Steve Shafer says:


    Nice write-up of what looks like a great record shop! Do you have the link to their Discogs store? I didn’t spy it on their website.




  3. Mel Creighton says:

    On my list for a visit next time I am in Ashe Vegas! I hope to visit soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Obviously I’m delighted to see you found a “natural habitat” once again in your adopted city! The place and your description of the owner marks them both as Our Tribe and I must pay my due respects the next time I am out your way!


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