Local Music

Miami's Yesterday and Today Records Hits 35 Years in Business

By now you're aware of this whole "vinyl resurgence" thing. An industry once thought to have been crushed by more advanced technology was suddenly deemed "cool again," and, voila, the record survives, your local shop lives to see another day — sort of.

Because while vinyl is still enjoying a renewed popularity, it's nowhere near the size it was in its heyday, and record stores across the country are still struggling to stay afloat.

Which is why the 35-year lifespan of Yesterday and Today Records — located at 9274 SW 40th St. — is so impressive. 

As for me, I have focused on the psych/garage section of the shop since I was 16, but a record store can’t stay open for 35 years by selling obscure garage rock to frenzied Norwegians. Yesterday and Today’s selection of soul, funk, and jazz is as impressive as its psychedelia and classic rock supply. Dizzy Gillespie and Chaka Khan can both be found at affordable prices, and in fine condition. 

It’s not like the store is some dusty antique haven. A cobalt-colored Sony television from the '70s that reigns over a file cabinet is one of the few obvious allusions to yesteryear. Cloud-white plastic tabs signifying genre and artist divide the music, and the walls of the shop are lined with old photographs, taken by the owner himself, Evan Chern, of music gods like Jefferson Airplane's Jorma Kaukonen and Frank Zappa. 

If record stores can still accrue street cred on this planet, then Yesterday and Today has it in abundance.

In 1987, the Ramones stopped by the store for a signing at the humble location. Maybe that’s why, when you’re browsing Yesterday and Today, you get the feeling that you are somewhere essential, at the heart of something bigger than you. Or maybe that’s just the old stack of turntables next to Mr. Chern’s desk. 
The mystical stuff starts when you start rummaging through the unparalleled selection. Yesterday and Today’s collection of rare records (and CDs) is world-class, and much of it is music that has been forgotten. I, for one, plan to pick up the rare record by the Iowan guitar phenom, Vulcan, sometime before this article gets published. It is a fuzz guitar masterpiece, and it’s been sitting on the Yesterday and Today shelves for years. 

For the past three decades, Y&T has been situated by Southwest High School, which was ground zero for pioneering bands such as the Montells and the more sinisterly titled band, Evil, way back in the '60s. You may not find any of the Montells’ or Evil’s work at Chern’s store due to certain collectors' insatiable appetite for rare garage rock, but there are still hundreds of unclaimed rarities that could be yours — locally and globally sourced music from around the planet.

There is no celebration associated with Yesterday and Today's birthday. It'll be business as usual while the shop silently celebrates its milestone. But you should make a point to stop by this month to enjoy one of Miami's musical landmarks.

And after you shop, you can hop over to the adjacent Bird Bowl, a post-Yesterday and Today tradition. 
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