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Penrose Record Room Wants You To 'Hang Out'

Local record label finds success with downtown brick-and-mortar headquarters and record shop

Penrose Record Room at University and Lemon in the Life Arts Building.

As Downtown Riverside evolves into a nightclub destination for the Inland Empire, it leaves behind what many of us fell in love with. This isn’t a “Back in my day” lament, but I think the polish and the glamour of what is going on make some of us nostalgic for the faded charm of what it replaced. 

The Penrose Record Room is what many of us have in our minds as better times. It’s a COOL spot. The wood-paneled walls, the record stacks, the listening stations, and the couches in the corner greet you like a hug from a friend. It opened less than six months ago, but feels like it’s been around for a long time.

Matt Beld, Co-Owner of Penrose Record Room, said, “We were aware of the presence the label and the studio had in the community but we wanted a place. A place for people to have a cool hang.”

Penrose Records is the record label making actual records above the Record Room in the narrow maze of halls at the Life Arts Center on University and Lemon. Penrose bands recall the Soul and Oldies music of East LA in the 1950s through the ’70s, but a lot more is happening. The aesthetic may remind us of the past, but Penrose is at the vanguard of something exceptional and very “now.” 

It may feel cozy and quaint, but if you want to get in early on the secret... you’re too late. Penrose is here to shut up the “kids these days” crowd with a bona fide juggernaut of a roster making timeless music that reminds you of the past but isn’t rehashed. 

Penrose artists sell out the Riverside Municipal Auditorium whenever they come into town. Thee Sinseers, led by Joey Quinones, will be joined by fellow Penrose artists The Altons and the Escapers at the RMA on Saturday, March 23, 2024. It will be quite an evening if you are lucky enough to have gotten tickets. 

If you can’t get tickets, you can still participate. Stop by the Penrose Record Room, under the Life Arts Building on University and Lemon, for a pre-show gathering. From 3–6 p.m. on the day of the show, The Record Room will host a listening party for the new album, Sinseerly Yours, by Thee Sinseers. 

The “Hang Out” is an excellent example of what is great about what Penrose is doing in Riverside. Gabe and Matt are doing big things, but they aren’t big-time. They are building a community around the label and the Record Room. If you love timeless music, you’re welcome to join.