The Way Back: Indie Darling

From 1970 until 1997, Inner Sanctum Records thrived on West 24th Street as a place for UT students and Austinites to expand their musical minds at the first—and eventually oldest—indie record store in Texas. 

Opened three weeks after Armadillo World Headquarters, the two businesses flourished in a state of symbiosis made possible by the city’s then-relative smallness. As the Austin Chronicle’s Margaret Moser wrote: “You went to see the headliner at the Armadillo because you had the record you bought at Inner Sanctum. If you liked the opening act, you went back to Inner Sanctum and bought their album, and that’s where you saw a poster for the next show you wanted to see at the Armadillo and bought your tickets right then and there.” 

The Armadillo shuttered in 1980, just as blues and country were giving way to punk in the city. Inner Sanctum raged on, supporting local groups by stocking their LPs and hosting record release keggers for Austin punk and new wave upstarts like Big Boys, the Dicks, and the Standing Waves. In a 2010 remembrance, the late Moser summed up this era—as pictured above—thusly: “Walking into Inner Sanctum in those early punk days was like High Fidelity on biker speed.”  

Credit: Ed Malcik, Daily Texan staff, courtesy of the Briscoe Center for American History


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