Tag Archives: vinyl record stores

TD’S CDs & LPs in Bloomington, Indiana

The second stop of Vinyl Road Rage 4 was another familiar shop–TD’s CDs and LPs in Bloomington, Indiana. This shop, located at 322 East Kirkwood Avenue, is a basement record store in a building with a good coffee shop and several other attractions.

It’s been running in the basement there for over ten years, giving love to local bands, selling rare and weird music and with quite a good, diverse selection too.

Any fan of 80s/90s electronic or experimental music should definitely have a look. Nurse With Wound is very well represented there (just one example) and the soundtrack section is crammed full of great, obscure and hard to find titles–especially Goblin. Vinyl and CDs are both equally represented–this is not a shop that has one or the other as an afterthought.

Like other great indie record shops, the notes about some of the more attention-worthy releases handwritten or printed out by the staff on stickers make the shopping experience a lot more fun and informative.

There’s something about notes written by the people who work in that particular shop that make you feel like you’re really connecting with the store overall. It’s a great touch and a habit I like to encourage.

I can’t tell you how many albums I’ve purchased strictly on the content of those notes alone, and my visit to TD’s was no exception–at least one of my purchases was on the strength of those little writeups. TD’s is friendly, fun to shop and very cozy. The fact that you can go right next door for a caffeinated jolt and review your purchases is also a big plus.

I highly recommend this record store and it’s definitely on my “must shop” list for anytime I am in the area.

Fellow vinyl junkies, why not join me on Facebook? You can also become a fan of the official Facebook page for the upcoming Turntabling.net book WTF Records: The Turntabling Guide to Weird and Wonderful Vinyl.

Crate Digging In Chicago

A YouTuber called Zolione76 posted this video about adventures crate digging in Chicago. The clip features Dave of the Chicago vinyl stalwart Dave’s Records, a shop I’ve long enjoyed. Dave’s is a friendly, genuine vinyl-loving shop and if you come to the Windy City you owe yourself a look there.

There is also a look at Dusty Groove Records which you cannot miss if you come here. Turntabling, being based in Chicago, is VERY spoiled with the availability of great LPs, rare stuff comes through here all the time and is definitely a destination city for vinyl in the same way as Pittsburgh, PA.

Shake It Records, Cincinnati Ohio

by Joe Wallace

By the time Vinyl Road Rage got to Cincinnati, I was ready for something crazy. Something big, consistently good, and a little overwhelming. I’d seen big. I’d seen good. But the cramped quarters of some of the smaller shops was starting to make me feel a little claustrophobic, and the biggest shops were heavy on the new releases. In short, I yearned for a New York City style record store in terms of size and selection (not price, to be sure).

And that is EXACTLY what I got at Shake It Records in Cincinnati, Ohio. Friendly, well-lit, and a massive collection of used vinyl that forces you to cancel your plans for the rest of the morning, slow down and take a serious look.

Don’t let appearances fool you. This picture shows nothing but compact discs and books–and what an AMAZING selection of books it is, too. This part of Shake It Records is deceptive as it doesn’t LOOK like a book store, but there are enough titles along the walls and above the CDs to qualify this as a genuine bookseller. But not at the expense of distracting you from why you really came here.

Like many of the most impressive New York City record stores, Shake It has a downstairs area stocked to the brim with well-organized, easy to browse vinyl. It is a bit overwhelming at first–where to start? My advice is to begin looking at the rarer titles along the walls. Behold:

But it doesn’t stop there. The obscurities, the weirdness, all the things I love best about vinyl shopping were all handed to me on a silver platter at Shake It.

Shake It is one of those stores you go out of your way to hit, and on top of everything else, it’s located in a GREAT part of Cincinnati with plenty of indie coffee shops and restaurants nearby. It was by far one of my favorite parts of the trip and I can tell you I will DEFINITELY come back to Shake It at my earliest opportunity. This store is clearly a work of love–every single inch of the place is a joy to shop. DO NOT MISS.

Underground Sounds Louisville Kentucky

by Joe Wallace

One thing I like about doing Vinyl Road Rage–there are plenty of contrasts out there. Some indie record stores are massive, multi-story affairs that are mind-bendingly tough to sort through.

Then there are the smaller, scrappy indie record stores like Underground Sounds in Louisville Kentucky. They generally don’t take long to shop for a dedicated crate digger, but they do often yield plenty of rewards.

Underground Sounds, like many similarly-sized indie record stores, has an eclectic mix of old and new vinyl, and while

I didn’t find much in the way of soundtracks at all (one of my own obsessions) the jazz and soul lover doesn’t get left out

in the cold while the indie rock kids get all the attention. It’s a diverse collection. There is also a nice case crammed full of boxed sets, so collectors of these should definitely take a look.

Underground Sounds is cozy, well laid out, and easy to browse. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend here but thanks to an intelligent, customer-friendly layout I was able to get the gist of what they had fairly quickly–and that is a real bonus for short attention-span browsers, I’m here to tell you!

Of all the Louisville record stores I found on my trip, Underground Sounds was hands-down the best. Another place of similar size had nothing but grandpa rock and battered Linda Ronstadt albums, and larger spaces–while organized well–didn’t seem as fun to shop. Maybe I just like small, scrappy indies better?

Underground Sounds has my vote for Louisville Kentucky’s best indie record store for the overall experience. Nothing beats selection, organization and atmosphere combined. I’ll be back here.

NYC Record Stores: Generation Records

Generation Records, at 210 Thompson St (between 3rd St & Bleecker) is the sister store to the New York City record store institution, Bleecker Street Records. Like its’ counterpart, Generation Records has a lot of floor space, more titles than you’ll be able to comfortably look through over a lunch hour, and plenty of CDs, tees and other odds and ends to round out the shopping experience.

By this time on the Vinyl Road Rage journey, I was pretty fried out. All the stores start blurring together when you hit the wall, but even though this was the last stop in a very eventful and expensive day, Generation Records managed to stand out and make me wake up long enough to appreciate the collection.

Reviews of the store on Yelp.com make noise about rude, obviously tweaking or barely knowledgeable staff; I didn’t have those experiences because I walked in knowing where I wanted to browse, didn’t have an agenda aside from hoping cool stuff leapt out of the stacks for me, and wasn’t feeling particularly chatty myself. It was nice not to be bothered every five seconds with “Can I help you find anything?” so maybe I’m just anti-social and prefer a non-talkative rudie behind the counter sometimes.

Just as with Bleecker Street Records, Generation Records has a downstairs and it’s chock full of the good stuff. Yes, there is a lot of vinyl upstairs, but I’ve always had better luck in basements. Don’t know why. They–the inscrutable, ever-present they–always stick the soundtracks in the basements (unless it’s a bargain basement setup where the thrashed and buck-a-pop vinyl lives).

I always notice the little quirky things about a record store. One quirk that brought a smile was the way Generation Records chooses to label its overstock. Me personally, I think if you have a problem with people misunderstanding what’s considered “for sale” and what’s not, you should HIDE the not-for-sale items. But I’m just this guy.

New York City is jammed full of great record stores. Generation Records is one of them. You might need some deep pockets if you’re a collcetor–Bleecker Street and Generation Records are shops that have savvy buyers and the rarities are priced accordingly. To quote the junk store shopkeep in that great Swingin’ London classic Blow Up, “You’ll find no cheap bargains here…”

But that doesn’t mean you won’t buy. And sometimes you CAN find some decent bargains—some nice little things do slip through the cracks. Like a sealed, original pressing of the Sheba, Baby soundtrack, or my personal favorite, the sealed version of Petey Wheatstraw, The Devil’s Son-in-Law soundtrack. But maybe I’m just a rabid crate diggin’ fool.

–Joe Wallace

Continue reading NYC Record Stores: Generation Records

Even More Vinyl Road Rage Random Images

Vinyl Road Rage posts have gone from Cleveland to Philly and we’re not done yet! I’ve got a lot of New York City record stores to get through and there are a few posts that haven’t gone up yet from Ohio and Pittsburgh yet to come. New York comes first though–I’ve been posting these in chronological order. In the meantime, here is another collection of Vinyl Road Rage images collected from the trip. There were 1500 photos in all! Not that you’ll see all those here, but I have picked some of the best….

Continue reading Even More Vinyl Road Rage Random Images

More Random Pics From Vinyl Road Rage 2

Vinyl Road Rage has been a crazy journey but definitely fun. There are TONS of record store reviews from the road yet to come…I have stores in Allentown, Toledo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City and elsewhere to write up yet…the final leg of the trip begins Thursday (Aug 19 2010) with Toledo, and finally the drive back to Chicago where I’ll do my very last vinyl store of Vinyl Road Rage 2 at Laurie’s Planet of Sound.

All in all, I’ve hit 22 record stores on the trip so far and there are three more left. It’s been great and I am already thinking about Vinyl Road Rage Part Three…but I’ll save THAT discussion for another day. Now, enjoy some random images from the Chicago to New York City vinyl spree:

Saucy Silvia? I cannot WAIT to hear this one. Sex is the thing that started it all, indeed! Does she mean her recording career or what?

IndieWax Records had a tiny little dog that falls in love with each and every person that walks in the door. It was cute. But I was more interested in that pile of vinyl. Does that make me heartless? Or just obsessed?

I remember Not My Son from my days in San Antonio, Texas. Carol Steele, one of the members, got me hooked up with a massive interview (as in, there were five or six guys all talking at once) with the members of Voodoo Glow Skulls during a show at Emo’s in Austin back in the 90s. Then she sort of vanished off the face of the earth and I never saw her again. Always wondered what happened to the band and I was taken down memory lane here seeing this single.

Akron Ohio Record Stores: Square Records

The Akron Ohio record store Square Records is a cozy, fun place to buy vinyl and CDs. It’s at 824 W. Market in Akron and when I stopped there on the Ohio leg of Vinyl Road Rage, I had one thing on my mind–a copy of the new DEVO album, Something For Everyone.

Naturally, that’s not ALL I got, but it was a MUST. Visit an Akron indie record shop and NOT buy DEVO? That’s crazy talk.

There is plenty to love about Square Records. There is vinyl aplenty there–I scored some reggae on the Pressure Sounds label, an amusing bit of strangeness by one Saucy Silvia, and for only a dollar, a Space 1999 LP. Oh yes, I do love me some weirdness on vinyl and especially stuff I can throw into a live Paisley Babylon show to mash up with Coil, Aphex Twin and other space travelers.

You can’t see it from the photo here, but against the far back wall is a small performance space, so Square Records is definitely a place that supports the indie musician beyond just tossing the tunes on the rack. Did I mention this is an art space and not just a performance space? One of the reasons they have survived since 2003, no doubt in my mind.

I enjoyed the visit at this Akron Ohio record store and plan on making a return visit. Honestly, I’d love to arrange a Paisley Babylon live vinyl mashup performance there one of these days…no matter what, if you’re in the area you owe yourself a visit to Square Records. I’m loving this one. Indie rock, dub and reggae, the vinyl oddities I love, and yeah, DEVO love. This is one awesome shop. RECOMMENDED.

Continue reading Akron Ohio Record Stores: Square Records

Is the Record Store Dead?

vinyl1by Joe Wallace

I’m throwing this question out because I’d really like to know what Turntabling readers think (there’s a hint–post your opinions in the comments section!) about the state of indie record stores in America. In the last two years we’ve lost a LOT of good ones, but the ones that have survived seem to be in it for the long haul.

One of my favorite indie record shops, Laurie’s Planet of Sound in my Lincoln Square, Chicago neighborhood, is a good example of what I’m talking about. Recently Laurie’s revamped the store setup–once upon a time CDs were the main event judging from the placement and display of the compact discs. But now the shiny disc has been almost marginalized and vinyl is front and center.

It was a brilliant move and one that was long needed–CDs aren’t totally extinct, but they’re really for people with old car stereos and people resistant to going all-digital. There are enough digi-resistant folks out there that the compact disc will probably limp along for a decade or so more, but the writing is on the wall.

Laurie’s will survive if the local vinyl junkies come out and support. I’m one and I do. But what about the record store in general? Do you think it’s an endangered species? Chicago has more vinyl shops than I can name here-literally. In or near Lincoln Square alone we have Laurie’s Planet of Sound, Deadwax, and until only recently, Metal Haven which died in spring of 2010. Elsewhere in Chicago there is the local chain of Reckless Records shops, Dave’s Records, Dusty Groove America, and the recently-opened Leland Hardware Records.

Are they all running uphill here? I personally think not, partly because of changing business tactics (bravo, Laurie’s Planet of Sound) and partly because of a (painfully slow) economic recovery which keeps trying to happen. And then there’s US. The few, the rabid, the vinyl junkies.