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Shiny Dome Records leading Morgantown’s vinyl revival

MORGANTOWN — You don’t have to be in a basement to have a cool record store.  

But it sure does help. 

“I think it’s a very punk rock thing. A lot of punk record shops throughout the country are in basements,” Chris Herrod said. “It’s just a cool aesthetic. You don’t really know what you’re walking into.” 

Herrod, better known as Baldy, is Morgantown’s punk-rock purveyor and keeper of the dome behind Shiny Dome Records, his supersonic subterranean lair at 128 Pleasant Street.  

Or, as he’s fond of calling it, the record store your mother warned you about.

A lifelong audiophile and a hired gun in Morgantown’s food scene over the last two decades, Herrod explained he’s likely got some 6,000 records in his personal collection. 

He said it was the COVID-19 lockdown that pushed him to finally turn his passion into a profession and drop the needle on the next episode. 

So he took a crew of kitchen vets and local musicians and hung the proverbial shingle. 

The timing couldn’t have been better. 

It seems the era of iPhones, Spotify and digital downloads has sharpened the world’s appetite for physical media, and when it comes to music, vinyl is king. 

Americans spent more than $1 billion spinning the black circle in 2022 as records easily outsold compact discs for the first time since 1988. 

“There’s just something about being able to hold it in your hand and look at the album art. There’s nothing like it. Records are timeless. People listen to records with their kids, then end up passing them down,” Herrod said.  

“This has been something I’ve been working toward forever and it just seemed like the right time for everything.” 

Shiny Dome Records works hand-in-hand with Morgantown’s live music stalwart 123 Pleasant Street. 

Herrod said the record shop will serve as the venue’s box office for physical ticket sales and he would like the store to be a live music venue in its own right for selective shows.

Undoubtedly, the taste of the owner skews toward punk and metal, but the shop carries new and used records and CDs of all genres as well as books, movies and apparel. 

In the end, Herrod said he wants the shop to be home for locals who love music and can’t help themselves around a stack of old records.

“This is my calling, man,” he said, gesturing to a wall of used vinyl. “Let’s do it.”