Radio-Active Records – Imperial Square Shopping Center, 5795 North Federal Highway, Suite 130, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  33308 – Open – updated April 24, 2024 – now with a 4.6 star rating in Yelp reviews on a 1-5 scale (see below).

When I originally wrote this post, in November 2022, Radio-Active Records was located at 845 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. As they advised on their website, they were soon to move to new (nearby) digs. Still in Fort Lauderdale, the store is now off a breezeway in the Imperial Square Shopping Center. As you will see from the pictures of the store’s new location, it is still worthy of a visit or two. Indeed, it is now even bigger than the old location, with an expanded inventory to boot.

Here’s my original November 2022 post describing the 845 North Federal Highway location. Clicking on this link will take you to pictures and a description of the Imperial Square location.

Radio-Active Records – 845 North Federal Highway – November 2022

Yellow. I could start this article with the fact that Radio-Active Records has long been named one of Florida’s best, getting the nod from both Authentic Florida in 2020, and the Miami New Times in 2017. Or that it was founded in 1995, when it was named CD Collector, before it switched its main focus to vinyl, and became Radio-Active Records. Or I could mention the in-stores and meet and greets, or the excellent selection of used vinyl they offer. But I keep coming back to yellow. From the walls, to the floor, to the exterior, to Little Richard’s iconic image from his Speciality records debut, Here’s Little Richard, yellow is everywhere. Even the record dividers and rear of the store are – you guessed it – yellow.

But this store is more than a celebration of yellow.  It has ample floor space, which contains its plentiful racks of lps. It also offers some cds and 45s. All the usual suspects are here, Rock, Pop, Indie, Alternative, House, Reggae, Classical, but more important for our discerning readers, the prices were quite reasonable.

Wanna go?  You can find Radio-Active Records (at its new Imperial Square location) on our Record Stores Map.

Always been a big fan of Tom Waits.
Try before you buy.
Gotta love any record store that puts its spin on the Velvet Underground’s iconic banana in its record store t-shirt.
Almost bought it for the cover alone. Can’t say I’ve seen another record featuring a fridge either in title or on the cover. A surf band, this offering is from 1994.
Natalie Smallish at the register.

What the Press Has to Say

Here’s a January 29, 2020 article that appeared in Voyage Mia(mi) Meet Sean Kayes of Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale interviewing store owner Sean Kayes about the store and its history.  

And another, that appeared on Woman In Vinyl in January 2020, interviewing store manager Natalie Martinez also known by her stage name Nat Smallish https://womeninvinyl.com/2020/01/25/natalie-martinez-radio-active-records about the store and its history.

Radio-Active’s website reports that this version of their store may not be with us long.  The site’s home page reports the store will be moving to its new location in November 2022 at Imperial Square, 5975 North Federal Highway, Suite 130, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  33308

In-Stores

Here’s False Flags doing an in-store in January 2015. Sounds like early Cure to me, very goth rock.

Cool Vinyl Bought There – Round One

While I was at the store, bought some nice late 70s punk records. But also bought some singles, including The Wrens – Napiers, and Belle and Sebastian – Jonathan David, both very worthy. I have long carried the Wrens in the back of my mind as a band I should explore, but never ran into one of their records.

The Wrens – Napiers

The Wrens are one of those sad rock and roll stories, the great band that should have been a contender, but didn’t get the support it deserves from the record industry. From New Jersey, they put out three great indie rock records between 1994 and 2003. Napiers, from 1994, was their first single as the Wrens (they released a prior single as the Low) and is excellent guitar driven indie rock. It led me (and hopefully you) into a happy exploration of their catalogue, which deserves a listen or three. At least they got a Record Store Day re-release.

Here is the Wrens doing Napiers.

And for good measure, the Wrens doing Surprise, Honeycomb, which will let you see the lads in person (well, in a music video).

Belle & Sebastian – Jonathan David

Jonathan David is the best Belle and Sebastian song not written by Stuart Murdock. This one is by long time guitarist Stevie Jackson, who sings the lead, about losing the girl of your dreams to your best friend. But not to worry, it fits right in with Belle and Sebastian’s sound.

From 2001, here’s Belle and Sebastian’s excellent music video for Jonathan David.

Radio-Active Records – Imperial Square Shopping Center – February 2024

A worthy store deserved another trip when my travels permit, which occurred in February 2024. The store’s new digs – opened in November 2022 – did not disappoint. If anything the new improved space was, well, new and improved. While there was less yellow (its still to be found in the record dividers and store signage), there was much more space. The store now has multiple rooms of vinyl, featuring used and new vinyl in all the usual genres. Rock, pop, punk, post hc, jazz, blues, prog, French, latin, Japanese, foreign, alternative, and folk are among the many present, all reasonably priced. Ample listening stations were available to try before you buy.

These pictures are of the new (current) location.

Radio-Active Records Fort Lauderdale Fla. store front
Paintings of your favorite rock star are also available.
Radio-Active Records store merch for sale.
Plentiful try before you buy listening stations.
Store owner Sean Kayes.

Cool Vinyl Bought There – Round Two

Another trip. Another round of happy purchases (aided by the store’s listening stations to make sure the album/single’s cover delivered on its promise). Pleased with a number of purchases, including the Who’s the Who Sell Out from 1967 and Bill Deal and the Rhondel’s Vintage Rock (1969). The former features the hit I Can See For Miles as well as a number of tremendous psychedelic pop songs that foreshadow the Tommy to come. As well as a cover that made me resist buying it forever. The later is by one of the leading (and mostly forgotten) second wave of beach music bands, a form of soul dance music big in the Carolinas. It has most of their hit singles, when they briefly rose from dance band to hit makers. And then back to their regularly scheduled program as a cherished live dance band. Cap tip to Uncle Steve for the tout.

But my favorite purchases were Durand Jones and the Indications self titled 2016 release, and the Marlowe’s first single from 1993 Shanghaied b/w Wink.

Durand Jones and the Indications – s/t (2016)
The Marlowes – Shanghaied b/w Wink (1993)

Durand Jones and the Indications (2016) is the first offering by the band. Formed by musicians who met at Indiana University, they are a retro soul band, led by lead singer Durand Jones. Here, they showcase their knowledge of mid to late 60s soul in an album featuring strong cuts from top to bottom. The songs are backed by excellent organ and guitar playing, as well as drummer Aaron Frazer’s falsetto (he takes a lead vocal turn on one of the tunes). Throw in a dolop of horns, and you have a soul album you’d be happy to hear in the late ’60s, and a perfect fit for the retro soul revival.

Featured below is Smile, the A side of their first 45. The flip, the organ driven Tuck ‘n’ Roll, is also worth a spin, if you like this one.

The Marlowes were a Rhode Island power pop band led by John Larson. Shanghaied is from their first 45, issued in 1993. It features some searing lead guitar work, courtesy of Paul Curcuruto. I never heard of them before I picked up this 45. Have you?

Yelp Reviews

Don’t just take our word for it. See how the Yelp community rates Radio Active Records.

custom logoRadio Active RecordsRadio Active Records
4.6 Stars - Based on 139 User Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *