Long Live Vinyl
Published Oct 2018
Since the Summer of Love, San Francisco has been a vanguard of music. Independent record stores have long dominated the scene in a city that lacks the megastores and giant music industry of LA. Taking a walk down 24th Street in the vibrant Mission District, you will run into one of the cities treasures, Pyramid Records. Though it opened less than ten years ago, owner Bobby McCole provides decades worth of music knowledge and a carefully curated vinyl selection. Back in 2010, it was called The Explorist International Records. Pyramid Records was orginally based in Oakland, until The Explorist’s previous owner Chris invited his friend McCole to share the 24th Street space. The two operated side by side, both selling their own personal collections, till an amicable split three years ago when Chris left the business. Previously owning a woodshop, McCole renovated the space building the record bins and art displays by hand. The store officially became Pyramid Records. White walls let the records do all the talking. The minimalist aesthetic allows McCole use the space for artistic purposes. Colorful records hang on the walls in repeated patterns. Unlike other stores, Pyramid doesn’t just use the wall space for its highest priced records. Reworking album covers as fine art, they showcase “stuff that looks interesting but sounds good too.” The store appears high end but offers reasonably priced records with something for everyone. Pyramid Records makes searching for new music approachable. McCole never wants his store to feel like a “boy’s club.” They buy all types of vinyl from a variety of genres. McCole’s expertise and personalized customer service makes the experience feel educational. He knows a lot of his customers by name. You can touch everything here. Records are arranged in alphabetical order, pushing you to discover artists outside of your preferred genre. You will find far-reaching selections from classic soul like Aretha Franklin to experimental and electronic heavy Stereolab. They also have a sizable stock of local artists. Every week, Pyramid is releasing a personal collection they acquired of records made in England, Belgium, and Germany through the 80s and 90s. Heavy on 4AD factory records and a lot of industrial, stuff that is en-vogue right now. They also carry other related merchandise, music books, vintage magazines, and an assortment of old cassette tapes. At Pyramid Records, everyone is welcome, McCole never allows it to have a “cooler-than-thou” atmosphere. With a uniquely customer-conscious approach, it is a special place for audiophiles of all ages and experiences. Visit this gem of a record store Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Open Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.