As you descend the stairwell at the back of downtown Regina’s Tiki Room you might feel like you’re about to stumble upon a fight club and not X-Ray Records, the city’s top independent music store. But there aren’t any shirtless dudes grappling on the cement floor – instead you’ll find a crazy amount of vinyl albums, CDs, posters and band t-shirts. The latest releases, old favorites, and those rare hard-to-find treasures are all available at X-Ray, by far the most unique option for record shopping in the entire city.
Located at 2323 11th Avenue, X-Ray specializes in bringing in a wide variety of eclectic releases. You won’t find the shelves stocked with 100 copies of any given album, but you will find more than enough unique names to keep you flipping through the stacks. There’s been an intense demand for vinyl copies of “El Camino” by The Black Keys – the album has been restocked a couple times after the initial 30 units sold out in three days. Those may not be chart-busting numbers, but for an independent record store in Regina it’s an encouraging sign that some Queen City residents are still willing to pay to have their music on a physical format. If you sign up for the mailing list at www.xrayrecords.ca you’ll receive 10% off anything in the store, which makes each purchase even more pleasant. You honestly won’t get spammed (usually only about one message per week is sent out) and you’ll stay on top of all the new arrivals; it’s a list worth adding your email address to.
Seeing how physical music retailers are dwindling in numbers it’s refreshing that X-Ray Records is still going strong. I could spend hours in there flipping through the rows of vinyl (I don’t even own a turntable) just to take it all in. I still buy the occasional CD and as there isn’t a huge market for that format anymore the mainstream sellers (HMV, Wal-Mart) don’t often carry the independent releases that music fanatics seek out. Places like X-Ray are few and far between, without the support of their dedicated patrons they wouldn’t be able to survive as long as they have. Most of Regina’s music lovers are probably aware of X-Ray’s existence but there will never be a thing as too much exposure for this gem of a store. If you care about music more than just listening to the Top 40 radio in your car you owe it to yourself to pop in for a visit. Bring a friend, take your time, and allow yourself to get caught up in the atmosphere and those sweet, sweet tunes.