Tag Archives: record stores

Back From Vinyl Road Rage, Turntabling to Resume Selling Vinyl

Back from Vinyl Road Rage V and the last week has been busy busy getting ready to start selling rare, vintage and just plain amazing vinyl records again. There have been a boatload of amazing new finds and there’s much to share. Stay tuned for updates on the latest vinyl for sale.

In the meantime here’s a little gallery of images from the road trip which covered one thousand miles from Chicago to Pittsburgh and back with plenty of stops in between. To view a larger version of each image, yes, just click on ’em…

The Passion of the Vinyl

This YouTube clip is outstanding…the annoying thing about it is that there’s no mention of WHERE this awesome record store is located, but a quick bit of research shows it’s at 3770 Denis in Montreal. It looks like a GREAT place to shop for vinyl. You can also get a closer look with another YouTube clip featuring Beatnick Music or check out the Beatnik online shop.

Record Store Day 2012

Record Store Day 2012 was, for Turntabling at least, a great success. Scoring rare/weird and unusual vinyl isn’t something we limit ourselves round here to one day a year, but it seems that some vinyl sellers like to save some of the REALLY good stuff (RSD exclusives aside) for the big day.

In Chicago, RSD started quite early thanks to Dusty Groove America’s 8AM opening time. That might sound too early on a Saturday morning, but when the lines are forming outside Chicago record stores at 7AM and many of the stores not opening til 9 or 10, the Dusty Groove plan is actually quite nice for hardcore vinyl lovers.

RSD exclusives were definitely what these people were after, though some of those exclusives are pretty bewildering. An RSD re-issue of The Breakfast Club soundtrack? Are people CLAMORING for a brand-new version of this on vinyl? So be it…

Unfortunately, the most lust-worthy exclusives can’t be found on these American shores, and many were disappointed to learn about that. ‘Tis true–those UK editions stay in the UK, friends. If you’re after that Phish RSD vinyl, you’ve got a good chance of scoring one on RSD (you can have ’em all, jam bands don’t really float the Turntabling boat) but if you were hoping to score the Satanic Rites of Dracula/Dracula A.D. 1972 limited edition, you went home with a great big death metal-style frowny face.

There are some, including our very own Chicago Reader, who feel Record Store Day has jumped the shark because of all the “who cares?” reissues, long lines and general hullaballoo associated with the day. But when it comes to supporting your local record shop, Record Store Day is a crucial event.

Never mind the goofy re-releases you can still buy used for more affordable prices and all that–Record Store Day is something the shops have needed for quite some time and as such you’ll never hear us dissing it. If you want to continue having a record store in your area, events like this can’t be marginalized. It’s like getting cranky about the price of a Guinness at your favorite band’s live show–if you want to see ’em perform, you’re going to pay that extra two bucks for the stout. It’s just part of the biz, is all.

Here are some of the sights the Turntabling camera caught on Record Store Day 2012 in Chicago:

Laurie’s Planet of Sound was nice-n-orderly on RSD 2012, thanks to a pretty savvy head-counter/door opener setup. No fire marshall problems for THIS record shop. Also, some really excellent rare stuff in the stacks for the eagle-eyed crate digger.

Bravely manning the door at Dusty Groove America. We salute you, DGA crowd control volunteer–hope you survived the onslaught with no incidents to report!

All the crap nobody wanted from last year?

The people below were waiting outside at 7AM-ish. The hardcore vinyl junkies of Chicago, waiting outside Reckless Records in Wicker Park. Directly across the street was a different line of people outside a shoe store, waiting for god knows what.

Jack White: Vinyl Junkie

One of the stops on Vinyl Road Rage 4 in Nashville was the most excellent Third Man Records, the boutique record store and home of the record label of the same name.

Jack White started Third Man after his recording contract expired with V2. The White Stripes signed with Warner to record Icky Thump, but Jack White pulled off a shrewd deal to keep the rights to vinyl pressings…and Third Man wasn’t far behind with reissues of the back catalog, plus new releases by bands like The Dead Weather.

If you’re into learning about the entire saga of Third Man, have a look at this excellent interview with one of Third Man’s major players, as published by Collector’s Weekly. It’s a pretty interesting look behind the scenes at Nashville’s prime iconoclast labels/record stores.

Shangri-La Records Memphis Tennessee

One of the best stops in the December 2011 edition of Vinyl Road Rage was the Memphis Tennessee record store Shangri-La Records.

For those just joining us, Vinyl Road Rage is Turntabling’s annual cross-country road trip to find the coolest record stores in the USA. Shangri-La Records, at 1916 Madison Avenue in Memphis, was definitely a “mission accomplished” moment in that regard.

For some reason, most of the best record stores found during Vinyl Road Rage are basically converted houses. Maybe it’s the large number of rooms packed full of vinyl, plus the attention to detail that most of these stores pay to the whole record shopping experience….whatever the reason, Shangri-La Records is one of those stores that makes a road-weary traveler remember why an extended journey in search of cool vinyl records is a good thing to do.

Shangri-La Records has a very respectable 80s alternative/New Wave/Industrial section and the soundtrack selections were pretty excellent, too. There is a staggering amount of vinyl to look through here. Dedicated crate diggers, don’t bother coming in as a first-timer until you have an extended amount of time to marvel at all this.

And like all truly great record stores, it’s a friendly, chatty place. Shangri-La has a high pain threshold for vinyl geek chattiness–kudos to the poor soul running the show when the most socially awkward record shop denizens in the USA are firing non-stop questions at light speed. Maybe this store should be renamed “Patience Of A Saint Records” instead.

There were some excellent rarities, some common-but-collectible finds, and a great selection of new releases and re-issues. The Sun Ra spoken word titles on display there were of particular interest, and reasonably priced. All in all, a most satisfying stop indeed. Don’t pass up a chance to stop at Shangri-La, it’s aptly named.

–Joe Wallace

Jack White’s Record Store: Third Man Records, Nashville Tennessee

When Vinyl Road Rage 4 pulled into Nashville, it wasn’t just to gawk at a music scene overwhelmed by southern hospitality. It was also to get a nice, close look at Third Man Records, the ultra-boutiquey record store owned by Jack White and basically the storefront for his label of the same name.

An out-of-towner will have a bit of difficulty locating Third Man Records, and the shop is in a vaguely (to an outsider, anyway) sketchy part of town–as are most wonderful subculture destinations. But the trip is definitely worth sorting out the directions for, even if you’re not a massive White Stripes fan.

From the moment you roll up on Third Man Records at 623 7th Avenue South, Nashville, it’s obvious that this record shop is different. It’s a very small, cozy space indeed, and as you can tell just from the outside, oozing with style.

In fact, it’s got as much style as a Mario Bava film, with the same attention to detail in every corner from the listening station record player to the short little hallway off to the side of the counter, lit only in red, leading to a private doorway where one assumes Jack White’s musical Wonkaland begins.

Third Man Records only sells music and merch by its artists, so this is the very definition of a boutique record shop. Limited edition 45s, hard-to-find vinyl by the 5,6,7,8s and all the Third Man roster you could want are here (and online at the official Third Man Records site).

The shop is friendly, but feels slightly crowded with more than three people in it…but even if you have to wait a bit to get your hands on some ultra-limited or just plain lustworthy Third Man vinyl, it’s well worth it. I spent quite a lot of time (comparatively) in Third Man just soaking up the atmosphere…if more record stores fussed over their approach like this, vinyl collecting would probably double just out of sheer enjoyment alone.

It’s obvious that Third Man and Jack White love vinyl. The respect they have for the medium is all over the shop. For me personally, the prize find was the 5,6,7,8s album, but major fans of The White Stripes like my friend Lisa Sumner over at the Rare Vinyl and Just Cool Records blog should consider a pilgrimage here–there’s much to take home! Sure, you could likely get all the same titles online, but seeing Third Man in person is definitely one to add to your to-do list.

–Joe Wallace

P.S. I regularly update the collection of bad, misguided and insane album covers on Facebook. “Like” the WTF Records page and see the latest awfulness.

Landlocked Music Bloomington Indiana

by Joe Wallace

The first stop on the cross-country record store road trip we call Vinyl Road Rage was a familiar one-Landlocked Music in Bloomington, Indiana.

Bloomington is a great place to be if you’re a fan of good record stores, indie music, and weirdness overall. Landlocked Music has plenty of that–mostly found in the used soundtracks, ambient/experimental, and miscellaneous record sections. It’s easy to become a big fan of Landlocked as they’re open to a lot of musical craziness both genre-wise and in terms of format.

I found a nice selection of cassette-only projects which always makes me happy. I think today’s cassette culture people are totally nuts and I can’t imagine releasing anything on tape, which is why they are totally awesome to have around.

It’s good to see people fighting conventional wisdom so hard–AND making an interesting success of it as near as I can tell. Shine on, you crazy cassette people. (PS-I would love to know about cassette-only projects for coverage here. It’s just too retro not to do! Get in touch.)

Landlocked Music has a wonderful experimental/avant garde section that definitely needs a look if you’re a fan. I always gravitate toward the soundtrack/miscellaneous categories first as I’m a rabid collector of weird vinyl in the last couple of years.

While it’s true that I’ve covered Landlocked before, they deserve a second mention. Not only is the selection great, well-organized and fun to browse, but the staff are friendly and fun, too. The best record stores seem to have people who get it–the old cliche about folks being too cool to talk to you doesn’t exist at the really good shops I’ve found time and again.

Personality goes hand in hand with selection and Landlocked has both. Always approachable, never pretentious, and full of surprises (one visit I spotted a vinyl cutter on display and apparently for sale…) your opinion of Indiana as a vinyl destination will change after a stop here, rest assured.

Honestly, I wouldn’t go on and on about how fun and easygoing this shop is if it hadn’t been for some of the truly bizarre and unpleasant experiences I had at other shops on the road trip. When you find the awful stores, it makes places like Landlocked Music seem even more noteworthy.

Join me on Facebook as I’m quite active there and am always glad to make new friends–especially those obsessed with vinyl. Also, you can become a fan of the official Facebook page for my upcoming book WTF Records: The Turntabling Guide to Weird and Wonderful Vinyl.

More Video from Austin–Vinyl Road Rage

Vinyl Road Rage Four still has a lot of material to be written and posted including some vinyl reviews on video…the road trip itself is nearly over but there are more than 25 record stores awaiting reviews and a ton of vinyl finds to discuss. Here’s one of the clips shot in Austin Texas during the earlier part of the trip…we test drive the Crosley Revolution portable turntable and hear a bit of Allen Ginsberg on vinyl to boot.

Vinyl Road Rage gets off the highway tomorrow (Wednesday December 21) and the record store reviews begin in earnest…

Vinyl Road Rage: 21 Record Stores and Counting

by Joe Wallace

If you can’t make out what that sign says, it reads “Welcome to SLACKERVILLE”. Which is only fitting since I am currently reporting from Austin, Texas (home of Richard Linklater and the setting for his breakout pic, Slacker”) and have basically been the anti-slacker ever since hitting the road.

With 21 record stores now visited, Vinyl Road Rage is going like gangbusters. I’ve been reminding people that the individual record store reviews are coming, most likely once I get off the road and settled into a normal routine…but the updates from the journey will keep coming because there are plenty of wonderful discoveries along the way.

Two of my favorite discoveries so far on the trip are located in Austin. End of an Ear Records is a complete treasure, crammed full of rare, obscure, and wonderful vinyl.

I’ve been hearing about The Feederz LP, “Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?” for years, but have never seen or heard it until today when I found a copy sitting in the End of An Ear bin waiting for me, complete with its sandpaper cover and all.

Also discovered at End of An Ear, vinyl copies of the From Beyond and Big Trouble In Little China soundtracks, and soooo much more. This shop is a dream for collectors and there’s plenty in the way of both new and used LPs.

Also fairly impressive–the DVD section for both music and genre films. Austin has a rep as being a cinemaphile town, so the really good record shops seem to try to keep pace with that and the standard set by Waterloo Records, which has an exhaustive DVD section along with the vinyl. End of An Ear will please vinyl junkies who also love genre filmmaking.

And then there’s Friends Of Sound Records, which is difficult for a newcomer to find because while it is located on 1704 South Congress in Austin, the entryway is located in the alley—there’s no sign on the main sidewalk to let you know a great, eclectic and friendly indie record store is lurking there. But rest assured, friends, it DOES exist and IS worth a stop.

Friends of Sound Records had some wonderful, bizarre and obscure titles including a Polish New Wave record, a copy of the ultra-collector-riffic Cross and the Switchblade soundtrack in the budget bin, and plenty of other highly collectible weirdness.

My assumption is that because of their location they probably need a bit more support than other, more visible indie shops. Maybe I’m wrong about that, I have no idea, but I can tell you this–I will ALWAYS stop in this place when I’m in Austin. I did very well there and would NEVER pass it up if I had the opportunity to go. VISIT THIS SHOP, folks.

After these two discoveries, I totally geeked out and ate at the infamous Guero’s, which was featured in Tarantino’s Death Proof. Naturally the place looks completely different in many ways than in the film, but you can see where many of the scenes took place and it was a cine-nerd cheap thrill to eat there. So many of my friends hated this movie, but not me….

There are loads more updates coming, I just need to find time to get it all down. Video coming again soon, too.


Vinyl Road Rage: More Views From the Road

More views from Vinyl Road Rage Four. I have more from-the-road reports to file, including a look at Denton, Texas record shops, Dallas, Austin and much more. I’m still out on the road–currently reporting from Austin, Texas where there are a TON of shops to hit. It’s bee a very good vinyl buying trip so far and there’s more to come.

The mighty Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas–rated by several publications as one of the top ten record shops in the country, and with GOOD REASON. They are basically massive and awesome.

Waterloo has a staggering amount of vinyl in every category—and plenty of rarities hiding in these stacks–you gotta dig to find the good stuff.

At Mad World Records in Denton–very new and hip. Not a hell of a lot of vinyl, but I’m sure that will change soon. I HOPE it will change soon! Loads and LOADS of CDs for sale. The vinyl for sale there was a mix of old and new and the selection was pretty decent in spite of the small size of the collection.

At Good Records in Dallas–APTLY NAMED, I must say–wall to wall with thousands of titles–mostly new records, too. There is a small used section which was kind of underwhelming, but those new titles? WOW. Impressive. And this shop has a huge (for a record store) stage for live shows.

An amazing uber-limited edition soundtrack LP for Maniac by William Lustig starting Joe Spinell. WOW. I scored with this one. Only 500 made…