Best Record Store to Die - 2009
This Broward County institution announced its closure suddenly this past winter through an email notification about a clearance sale, and the cries of horror were nearly audible. Nearly every Gen-X and Y music geek in the tricounty area had made a pilgrimage at some point to the store, which was South Florida's original temple to independent culture. It had all the classic record-store fixin's, including dusty vinyl, locally produced CDs, and perhaps overly knowledgeable employees. Through its nearly 30 years in existence, Uncle Sam's remained dedicated to hosting kick-ass in-store performances, even operating a separate, adjoining Loft at Uncle Sam's venue for a few years earlier this decade. Blame iTunes, blame PirateBay, blame the big, bad economy in general — either way, a piece of local music history is gone. RIP. But all is not lost — at least the Miami Beach location remains open.