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Photo by Joshua Ryan Jones.

Records with booze is as natural a pairing as you’ll find on this planet. It was only a matter of time before ingenious entrepreneurs saw the potential of combining the two vices under a common roof (see: West Magnolia Avenue’s Off the Record). 

The latest to throw in on Gen-X/millennial/xennial wish-fulfillment  – and provide hipsters a locale for burning an hour (or more) flipping through plastic-sleeved albums while sipping an ice-cold craft brew – is none other than Dreamy Life Records and Music, the retail storefront owned by the record label of the same name. After three years of slinging wax and tapes from the back corner of the Fairmount Community Library, the homey little music shop has relocated inside the cavernous, black confines of MASS. 

“We had been talking with various people about potentially starting a Dreamy Life venue or rehearsal space [that had shows] or something like that for a while,” said Cameron Smith, a co-owner of Dreamy Life. 

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MASS also wanted to re-open for happy hour, something they tried a year ago. Jon Carney, one of the bar/venue’s many owners, who also owns a share of The Chat Room Pub and The Usual, “serendipitously” said to Smith one day, “ ‘I wonder what we’d have to do to get [Dreamy Life] in here,’ ” Smith continued. “And I was like, ‘Oh, shit! That’d be perfect!’ ”

The marriage is a symbiotic one. Dreamy Life gets a new music-centric location in an up-and-coming, high-traffic neighborhood, and MASS benefits from additional walk-ins during the afternoon and early evening. Upon hearing of the move, I thought to myself, “Awesome idea, but how? Where are you going to fit a record store inside a rock club?” 

Dreamy Life’s modest collection of LP bins and cassette racks have replaced the pool table and dust-covered Golden Tee console that formerly sat in MASS’s game room. It’s a snug space but actually a tad bit larger than the floor plan at the library. A retractable metal gate (hidden behind blackout curtains) opens from the main floor, giving a line of sight to the sales counter from the front door. A custom neon sign of the store/label’s logo is currently being commissioned and will serve as a homing beacon to aid the adjusting eyes of music junkies entering the dark club from the brightness outside. Tour posters, vintage skate decks, and small works by local artists adorn the walls of the shop’s little alcove, and a big screen plays music documentaries, leaning into the ideal crate-digging-vibe aesthetic. 

In addition to music (and the full service bar), patrons can pick up an extra set of guitar strings or drumsticks while there, sundries the shop has always offered but is going to highlight more in the new location. They’ve also just started carrying prosumer-grade turntables for enthusiasts who are looking to get into vinyl but don’t yet have a proper turntable. With Four Sisters Vietnamese restaurant just across the street (and more as the South Main Street corridor continues to develop), there’s really no reason for touring musicians to have to leave the venue once they arrive. 

“One thing I really wanted to make sure of when I was building this space is something that if I was touring and didn’t know this was here, I would be so fucking stoked to find it,” Smith said.

The shop will continue its Friday night happy hour showcases featuring local bands and artists, usually held from 6 to 9pm, with the idea that attendees might stick around for the venue’s scheduled performances later in the evening. Store hours are 2-9pm on Sun, Tue-Sat, and they’ll occasionally stay open during the club’s normal shows. An official grand opening is scheduled for Wed, Nov 21, with a performance by Smith’s band, War Party, and others to be announced soon. 

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