There's a particular image we tend to conjure up when considering the typical indie record store. It’s so exact, in fact, we don't feel the need to describe it in detail. But there's also the antithesis of this, an indie record store that strives to be anything but typical.
With a unique emphasis on dance music, an inclusive LGBT pride, and a "love what you love" philosophy, We Got the Beats brands itself as the opposite of a traditional indie record store.
Owner Tony Cicalese started selling dance records online in 1999. He opened We Got the Beats in 2010 and relocated to Federal Highway last year, quadrupling its space. The year, since the move, has brought better business, strong friendships with other local record stores, and a devoted clientele, enabling the store to expand to a parallel unit and broaden its inventory. The main room features dance, soul, pop, ’70s singer-songwriters, and ’80s stuff. Affectionately nicknamed “Side B,” the other room represents mostly mainstream rock and contains one of South Florida’s most comprehensive hip-hop selections.
We Got the Beats stands proud as the only LGBT-owned and -operated record store in the area. Walk in and you’ll first meet the disco and LGBT sections. But the staff and music selection is inclusive of all. You won’t find any openly antigay musicians’ records (sorry, Ted Nugent fans, and fuck off, Ted Nugent), but as long as the artist is socially accepting, We Got the Beats will return that respect.
This reciprocal respect and acceptance is the store’s ethos. Cicalese says emphatically, “Don’t ever apologize for what you buy,” which is a habit he’s noticed in a lot of clientele. “Love what you love. We love it too.”
Cicalese recognizes that, as the literal new guy on the block, We Got the Beats is less known than the more established places in Fort Lauderdale like Radio-Active Records. But he’s nonetheless determined to boost his brand. He hopes to open a second location some day. His near-future plans include more in-store performances and listening parties.
He’ll begin to implement some of these plans on Record Store Day.
Despite its intentional irregularity, We Got the Beats will indeed celebrate the worldwide vinyl event with special releases, mystery giveaways, vegan cupcakes, free beverages, indoor and outdoor DJs, and something they’re calling an “A-ha-off.”
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The orgasmic sounding “A-ha-off” — held in conjunction with the special limited release of a seven-inch picture disc of A-ha’s “Take On Me” — will be the climax of the store’s Record Store Day celebration. Three contestants will perform their version of the iconic ’80s hit, “including,” Cicalese stresses, “the high note!” because that’s the best part. Whether the contestants actually hit the high note is irrelevant, as long they rile the audience into raucous applause. The winner — determined by said applause — will have their version recorded and pressed into a seven-inch record right there in the store. The winner gets to keep the original copy of his version, and another copy will be immortalized with a spot on the wall. Each of the three contestants will also take home A-ha’s limited-release picture disc.
Visit We Got the Beats anytime before Saturday to audition for the A-ha-off. Your audition will be videotaped and posted online, where viewers can vote for their favorite rendition of “Take On Me.” The three auditions with the most likes on Facebook will perform on Record Store Day.
The store will open with eight cashiers at 8 a.m., and it will stay open until everyone’s had their vinyl fill. Arrive before 10 a.m. for an early-bird bracelet that lets you pick from almost all the store’s used records, CDs, and DVDs that are priced at $1. The shop has ordered all the major Record Store Day special releases, but you can find a specific list with prices and quantities at the We Got the Beats Record Store Day 2015 event page on Facebook.
Record Store Day at We Got the Beats. 8 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at 5130 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Entry is free. Call 954-671-9482, or visit wegotthebeats.biz.