Vinyl spins back into action at new record store


The wooden record bins house thousands of LPs.

And so does Clint McKean’s living room.

This is why he opened the store in which he now sits behind a glass display case loaded with Metallica pint glasses, Kiss and Iron Maiden picture discs and a seldom-seen vinyl copy of Bathory’s self-titled debut, priced at $140, its goat-head cover image suggestive of Satanic rituals in Scandinavian forests.

Nestled in a strip mall across from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, the new Moondog Records (4440 S. Maryland Parkway) is a labor of love — and necessity.

“In our living room right now, there’s probably 2,000 vinyls,” says McKean, a bespectacled dude with a thick goatee, noting that the store only houses about 30 percent of his collection. “I have a storage unit dedicated to vinyl, basically. So I was like, ‘I need to do something with this,’ otherwise I’m going to be on one of those TV shows, ‘Buried Alive.’ But under vinyl.”

In recent years, more record stores have closed than opened, as digital sales have begun to become the industry standard.

But this shift has also catalyzed movement in the opposite direction, with significant increases in LP sales as well.

A recent report on Spin.com detailed how vinyl sales increased 18 percent in 2012, to their highest levels since 1997, while album sales overall dipped by 13 percent.

It makes sense, in a way: As your preferred tunes increasingly become files on a computer or iPod, some fans want something more tangible, something they can hold in their hands and also display.

And so the opening of Moondog Records is timely, especially for McKean, who began seriously collecting five or six years ago, spending hours online and in thrift shops hunting down rare LPs.

“I had a small collection from my childhood, anything from Zeppelin to The Doors and whatnot,” McKean says, explaining how his record collecting gradually developed into something more. “I just happened to get on an eBay fix and I was seeing what all this stuff was worth. I had all this extra stuff laying around. It kind of went from there.”

McKean’s especially fond of blues and jazz records, though psychedelic rock and ’90s alternative albums also form a substantial part of his offerings — he’s also got a sweet metal collection, though that’s not really his thing.

There are refurbished boomboxes and instruments for sale at Moondog, too, along with a selection of cassettes and a few CDs that he will add to his wares. Mostly, though, it’s all about the vinyl, an obsession that’s become a part-time occupation.

“You can get a CD, of course, but the vinyl, it’s art,” McKean says. “There’s just something about it, man.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.