Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


The Last Record Store – One More Chance To Dream

Music enthusiasts will want to pay special attention to the March issue of GQ Magazine (featuring Justin Timberlake on the cover,) available at your favorite local newstand now.

Inside this month's issue is a very cool story by Dan Kennedy called "The Last Record Store." Kennedy took a trip to the Chicago suburb of Geneva and spent two weeks working behind the counter at local indie retailer Kiss The Sky.

Kiss The Sky

As I stand in the doorway of Kiss the Sky, I’m awash in memories of my first job, eighteen years ago, when I was a record-store clerk in Chico, California, at a place called Sundance Records. I remember that the album Tim by the Replacements took up one-third of a face-out rack. I remember thumbing through copies of the Pixies’ Doolittle, which came on CD and cassette. The cassettes were always in one of those long skinny WEA boxes that you’ll never see again. I used to rip the paper seal open with a key or a ballpoint pen. I remember spending hours memorizing release dates, unboxing, pricing, filing, and displaying CDs on whatever Tuesday they dropped.

Excerpt from "The Last Record Store" by Dan Kennedy - GQ Magazine - March 2009

With Record Store Day right around the corner, Kennedy's piece is well-timed. People that aren't music freaks like us often don't understand our love for the record store. These are the people that cause me to shave a normal two hour visit to my favorite haunt down to a painfully abbreviated 15 minutes to a half-hour, because they're along for the ride. For me, my favorite early record stores like Crow's Nest and Toad Hall were important destinations that bookmarked important moments in my early life. I can remember the albums that I bought there, and the people that were with me when I bought them.

On a return visit to Crow's Nest (in Joliet, IL) prior to its unfortunate closing several years ago, I finally had the chance to share the Crow's Nest experience with my good friend Jon, who was amazed at the vast metropolis of recorded music and musical paraphernalia under one roof. It became a regular part of his Chicago visits, even when I wasn't along for the trip.

Kennedy's piece made me smile when it popped into my inbox late last week. The average person might read the piece and say "can you IMAGINE that?" And actually, having revisited record store employment in the past couple of years, I can completely imagine that.....and let me tell you, it was awesome.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to work in a record store, "The Last Record Store" will fulfill your wish, with a look at essential record store employee knowledge like the science that goes into filing music, and oh yeah, plenty of dirt on the customer service aspect of working in a record store. You think that your haggling over the price of that used Band of Horses CD isn't irritating? Think again...

The GQ piece also features a list (we love lists!) of 20 record stores you should be aware of, including Chicago-based Reckless Records, AKA Music in Philly, and Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ. Click here to check out the complete list, and check out Kennedy's article in GQ.

What is your favorite record store, past or present?

  • CB

    What is my favorite record store? What a tough question! Depends on the context, like anything else.

    Favorite in Cleveland – Music Saves, of course.

    Favorite outside of Cleveland – Good Records, in Dallas, TX (though Waterloo Records in Austin is a close second)

    Most influential to me personally – Dead Pan Alley in Normal, IL, which alas is no more, but has somewhat been reincarnated as Waiting Room Records.

  • brian

    Great read! Thank you for sharing this…

    I can tell you what record store I am NOT a fan of. In fact I will give you a quick guess…

    Growing up my store as a youth pre-car was Disc Den. Mike was great and always ordered that wierd crap I liked.

    Once I got a car I would go to Record Revolution in Cleveland Hts. That place soon went downhill and it bummed me out. Last time I passed the store it was slimmed down to the first room you entered where I used to get concert t-shirts.

    Riot 101 will be missed. I loved that store. Bent Crayon was tight too. I said tight.

    Outside Cleveland, America my favorite stores are Amoeba records in SF and Waterloo Records in Austin are my 2 new favorite stores. Not like I ever get there much but both stores still hold to the record store history.

    Finally one more to mention is Shake It Records in Cincinnati. I wish a store like theirs exsisted closer to Cleveland. Great selection, plently of variety.

    I feel like I am blogging within a blog. Sorry. I love me some record stores…

  • FeliciaCote

    Houses and cars are expensive and not everybody can buy it. But, loans was invented to help people in such kind of cases.