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ear X-tacy was a Louisville, Kentucky "alternative record store," owned and operated by John Timmons. The store announced its closing on October 31, 2011, after 26 years in business.
ear X-tacy first opened in 1985 in a 500 ft² (46 m²) building stocked with John Timmons' personal records "and a cash advance on his mastercard". The store name came from the band XTC, of which owner John Timmons is a fan. As the store grew, it changed location three times over a period of sixteen years; it then remained in the same location, on Bardstown Road just south of Eastern Parkway in The Highlands, until late July 2010. It then moved to the Douglass Loop, a former streetcar turnaround point on Bardstown Road about 1 mile (1.6 km) southeast of its previous location but still in The Highlands.
ear X-tacy carried almost every music genre imaginable in CD, cassette, and vinyl formats and also carried a large stock of DVDs, including many hard-to-find items. In 1995, the ear X-tacy label was formed.
The building that the store occupied before its final move had two stories and 10,000 ft² (930 m²) of floor space. The first floor was dedicated to CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, toys, etc. It also included a stage for live performances and a large selection of small and large stickers mocking current U.S. events or promoting Louisville. The second floor was dedicated to new & used vinyl records. The final store was on one floor, with comparable floor space. Like the previous location, it included a stage.
Due to financial issues, ear X-tacy moved for the final time to a smaller location in 2010, just south of where their previous location was on Bardstown Road. However, the financial issues continued and ear X-tacy owner John Timmons made the decision to permanently close. ear X-tacy officially closed on October 31, 2011, but due to the amount of unsold inventory still remaining after the close, the store held a liquidation sale in December 2011 before officially closing for good.
The store's signature logo stickers spawned a local fad wherein people cut up and reassemble the distinctive letters to form other words or phrases, such as "racy aXe" or "area X".
The insert of the Gin Blossoms' New Miserable Experience album features a photo of one of the band members with an ear X-tacy sticker in his mouth.
A documentary on ear X-Tacy was released in 2012 under the title "Brick and Mortar and Love".
ear X-tacy often had bands, many local, come and play during the day. One of the most memorable performances was on July 4, 2000, when the Foo Fighters played. The store was packed with 700 people inside and 200 people outside. They have had other performances by national acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, John Mayer, Sam Bush, Shooter Jennings, The Black Keys, Drive-By Truckers, Cage the Elephant, Tenacious D, and notable local acts like Skyscraper Stereo and The Villebillies to name a few. Louisville natives My Morning Jacket performed to a sold-out crowd of 500 on June 10, 2008, the same day that the band's album Evil Urges was released, and a portion of their concert was included on their 2009 Record Store Day release, Celebración de la Ciudad Natal, on which James praised the store on an interlude titled "The Local Independent Shit". Local goth metal band The Revenants were the final band to ever perform at Ear X-Tacy.