Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

Customers browse through rows of records at Angry Mom Records in Ithaca.

September 5, 2023

Angry Mom Records: A Decade of Musical Diversity, Affordable Vinyl In Ithaca

Print More

Since its opening in 2009, Angry Mom Records has remained a sanctuary for Ithaca’s music enthusiasts, offering a wide range of alternative music and budget-friendly albums.  

Originally located in the basement of Autumn Leaves Used Books, the store moved to the upper floor of the bookstore in December 2022 for additional space.

The record shop prides itself on its diverse offerings, including rock, punk, indie, soul, R&B, country, international, reggae, psychedelic, folk, electronic, metal and oddities. According to George Johann, the owner of Angry Mom Records, their inventory extends beyond the boundaries of alternative music.

“We sell everything. I grew up as a punk rock kid in the 80s. That’s my first love. Then record collecting sent [me] down all sorts of crazy paths [such as] psychedelic music, old soul, R&B, reggae, jazz,” Johann said. “We also have mainstream music — we sell tons of Fleetwood Mac, and mainstream classic rock is probably what we sell the best. The college kids love a lot of indie rock, a lot of hip hop and a lot of Taylor Swift.” 

An Angry Mom Records employee sorts through a diverse wall of CDs. (Jason Wu / Sun Senior Editor)

This wide selection of music at Angry Mom Records draws in a diverse crowd of locals and students alike. 

“The selection here is fantastic,” said Hailey Howgate, a student at Ithaca College. 

Reflecting on the store’s history, Johann noted on his initial conversations with Joe Wetmore, the original owner of Autumn Leaves Used Books — who has since retired, selling Autumn Leaves to leftist publisher PM Press

“In 2009, Joe Wetmore asked if I wanted to open a record store in his basement,” Johann said. “I said yes.” 

Angry Mom Records owner George Johann presents rare and notable records for sale. (Jason Wu / Sun Senior Editor)

This unique fusion of books and records has laid at the core of Angry Mom Records’ charm for years.

“I didn’t know there was a record store inside before I walked into the bookstore,” said Angelina Guo ’26. “It felt like the owner intentionally wanted to hide and wait only for those people who venture deep into the bookstore’s shelves. Angry Mom Records feels like a hidden world.”

Johann also emphasized the synergy between books and records, stating that having his record store within a bookstore just makes sense.

“It’s a celebration of all sorts of culture. Sometimes the boyfriend wants to shop for books while the girlfriend wants to shop for records, and vice versa,” Johann said. “Some people want to do both. [Books and records] have been a really good fit.” 

Angry Mom Records is also a record label that produces music by local artists and pre-World War II music.

“We have [worked with] some local bands and compil[ed] Greek music. We specialize in pre-World War II music from the north of Greece,” Johann said. “It’s pretty esoteric. The music is sad and lonely.”

“Five Days Married and Other Laments” sits atop a row of records. (Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor)

Aside from its unique offerings, Angry Mom Records also sells its high-quality records for affordable prices.

Guo said she once stumbled upon a Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” record priced at four dollars, which she said surprised her given that the band’s albums usually cost around $40.

Johann emphasized his dedication to making music accessible to a broader audience.

“I try to keep things affordable because you [have to] keep moving stuff,” Johann said. “I want to put music in people’s hands.”