Best Of 2019

Best Record Store that’s Almost Old Enough to Drink: Shake It Records

Next year Shake It Records will be old enough to buy beer, but this year marks the momentous landmark of two decades in business. Recognized as one of the best record shops in the freakin’ world, Shake It has done much to put Cincinnati on the map of cities driven by music. Co-founded and co-owned by brothers Jim and Darren Blase, Shake It first opened its doors in Northside in 1999; two years later — on, of all dates, Sept. 11, 2001 — the store moved into its current location at 4156 Hamilton Ave. Shake It — which, along with used and new vinyl and CDs, also stocks an eclectic mix of books, magazines, T-shirts and various tchotchkes and other esoterica — began as a record label. Jess Hirbe and Daryl “Doc” Kalmus founded the Shake It label in the late ’70s to release music by Cincinnati-area artists like The Customs. Darren — the “Sam Phillips of Cincinnati” — revived it (with the founders’ blessing) in 1993, releasing a 7-inch single by Cincy Garage Rock greats The Mortals. The Shake It label is still a thriving indie imprint, home to one of the area’s most acclaimed bands, Wussy, and also an outlet for ambitious reissue projects for long out-of-print local classics. Shake It, the store, is also home to a permanent exhibit dedicated to the region’s music scene. Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Ave., Northside, shakeitrecords.com.