Local Current Blog

Ask a Cool Person: Laura Hoenack of Hymie’s Records

Photo by Andrea Swensson/MPR

Each week on the Local Show, we’ll meet a new person from the Minnesota music community who has some fresh discoveries to share in a feature called “Ask a Cool Person.” These people will come from all corners of the scene, including record store clerks, recording studio engineers and producers, artists, writers, bookers, photographers, and fans.

This week’s “Cool Person” is Laura Hoenack, who owns Hymie’s Vintage Records on East Lake Street in Minneapolis with her husband, Dave.

This might be an obvious question for someone who owns a record store, but how do you discover new music?

You know, a lot of it does walk into the store, pretty often. I hear lots of new things, new artists that walk in and ask me to buy their record. That’s a really fun way to hear new music. But I also try to go to a lot of shows. I really love when I go to see a friend’s band and there’s three other bands on the bill that I’ve never heard of. You get to hear new things that way.

So you deal with a lot of local artists selling records on a consignment basis?

Yeah, we try to. I always tell people when they come in that we don’t do consignment, because we would forget to ever pay you, so we try to just buy the records when you walk in. It’s fun when people are selling their records for the first time; you get a lot of local artists where it’s maybe their first recording or their first time on vinyl, and they just get so nervy, like, “Will you please by this?” So I try to always say, “Yeah, I’d love to buy it! How many copies can I have?” And just make them feel as good as possible. Because it’s such a cool experience to sell something you’ve made, and not feel self-conscious about it.

And you host live performances at the store too, right?

Yeah, we do! We have a little stage at the back of our store, and we have a lot of little local acts that play pretty frequently. It’s a lot of fun.

What did you bring in today?

I brought the What Tyrants disc from last year, it’s called No Luck — it’s by far my favorite record that came out in 2015. I really loved it, they’re a great band. It’s a brother duo with a bass player also, and they’re actually guys who are in a couple other bands you’ve heard of, too, like Black Diet.

The other one is Mike Munson and Mikkel Beckmen, it’s a live disc, which is kind of funny, and it’s from a little bar in Winona, Minnesota, it’s called Live at Ed’s. I play this record all the time. It’s probably my best-selling CD in the store; people just love listening to it. A lot of people think it’s Charlie Parr, and he sounds a little bit like him, but I think he’s different and unique, too, and people get excited. It’s funny how people don’t think they like blues, and then they hear it and they’re like, “Oh, wow, I love this kind of music! Why don’t I listen to blues records more often?”

And then the last one I brought is a disc from Tabah, this is a new release. It’s a six-song little EP, and I think they’re one of the greatest new bands in Minneapolis. I really love Cecilia [Erholtz]’s voice, and her songwriting is fantastic. I’m excited about what’s coming from them in 2016.

How can people keep up with Hymie’s and everything you’re doing?

We have a Facebook page and Instagram. We also have a blog that we write — we try to feature a lot of different things, obviously, not just local music, and you know, running a record store, so many weird things come in all the time, and you discover new-old things, too. So whenever something interesting sparks my interest, we try to put up a blog post — that’s at hymiesrecords.com.