If you’re experiencing some sickening concoction of nostalgia and FOMO for Record Store Day 2016, or just the holiday in general, fear not. In honor of the holy day, here is a a little taste of Chicago’s record shops!
Bric-a-Brac Records | 3156 W Diversey Ave | 773.654.3915
Q&A with Nick Mayor, co-owner of Bric-a-Brac for almost three years
JBTV: How would you characterize Bric-a-Brac in comparison to other record stores?
Nick Mayor: We try to cultivate a much more comfortable and welcoming atmosphere than the other shops around town. Somewhere that would be that kind of iconic record shop where kids would just go to hang out and learn about new music. We also skew our stock to cater more towards the punk/garage/rock n roll scene.
JBTV: What’s the top-shelf gem you’ve come across in your time buying/selling records?
NM: We recently picked up a first US pressing of the Stooges “Fun House” that’s worth over $200, but the coolest top-shelf item I think we have is an original “Teenline” 45 by the Shivvers given to us by the lead singer, Jill Kossoris.
JBTV: Why have Record Store Day?
NM: When Record Store Day started, it was a great idea. But, like most anything worthwhile in this country, it has in recent years been commandeered by major money interests trying to take advantage of a captive market. So many superfluous and egregiously over-priced releases that just back up pressing plants for months so actual hard-working musicians and small-time labels are forced to the back-burners and can’t get their products released on time. But like I said, the basic philosophy is honorable. It is a phenomenal day of business for us and is a really fun time. We try to treat the day as more of a holiday to celebrate the business itself and not the unnecessary records. And there are a few cool releases, like the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet boxset.
JBTV: Can you comment a bit on the resurgence of vinyl-seekers?
NM: It warms my heart to see people moving away from the digital obsession and coming back to placing value in material possessions… within the context of my salty opinion on RSD [though] the answer is a little different. The influx of purchasers to the market has driven the demand to a point that overwhelms the possible supply. We were unable to be allocated the amount of product I ordered for the majority of titles being released, and weren’t able to get any copies at all for several of them… The pressing plants in this country are woefully incapable of keeping up with this resurgence so even though there are more customers and probably more stores, the volume of product is not increasing in a similar fashion.
Bucket O’ Blood Books & Records | 3182 N Elston Ave, Chicago IL 60618 | 312.890.3860
Q&A with Grant and Jeni McKee, owners of BO’B as of August 2013
JBTV: How does Bucket O’ Blood differ from other record shops?
G&J: The store reflects our personal interests largely, so we specialize in punk rock, heavy metal, indie rock, and horror soundtracks, as well as a tailored selection of some of our favorite classics on used vinyl. The vinyl community in Chicago is strong, and we feel like we’ve carved out a niche based on our personal interests.
JBTV: Have you noticed the resurgence in vinyl seekers at your store?
G&J: We’ve both been avid record collectors our entire lives, and the resurgence in interest in the format has brought about both excellent new releases being available on vinyl, as well as reissues of rare records that have been out of print for years.
JBTV: Why have Record Store Day? Shouldn’t every day be Record Store Day?
G&J: Record Store Day was really created to support both vinyl in general, and independent stores like ours. We look at it as a fun day to celebrate records and record collectors we typically draw a crowd of music enthusiasts that are as excited as us about what special releases come out for the holiday. We really believe that the format is the ideal way to enjoy the album-listening experience from the audio quality to the aesthetic created by the artwork.
Record Store Day always features some cool packaging ideas! This year, we’re really looking forward to the Star Wars The Force Awakens picture disc, David Bowie “The Man Who Sold The World” picture disc, “Wake Up You: the Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock” boxed set, Run The Jewels “VRTJ” viewer, Iron Maiden “Empire of Clouds” picture disc, Ol’ Dirty Bastard “Brooklyn Zoo/Shimmy Shimmy Ya” single (picture disc, shaped like his food stamps card), and so many more!
JBTV: Who are you listening to right now?
G&J: Grant’s picks: Zhrine, Shitfucker, Direct Hit!, Banner Pilot, Zombi, Wand
Jeni’s picks: Bear Hands, Modest Mouse, Foxing, Moose Blood, Jose Gonzalez
Both: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala, Drug Church
Laurie’s Planet of Sound | 4639 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago IL 60625 | 773.271.3569
Q&A with Sam O’Rama, a manager of Laurie’s for 10 years
JBTV: How would you characterize Laurie’s in comparison with other record stores?
Laurie’s: I think all of the stores in Chicago take on the flavor of the neighborhood. We are definitely influenced a lot by the Old Town School crowd and people who’ve been in the neighborhood a while. I think a lot more young families are moving in, too. So we’re kind of picking up on that whole vibe.
JBTV: What is your favorite record you’ve come across in your time dealing with records?
Laurie’s: Personally, back before I was doing this professionally, I found a pretty well-known album The Beatles Yesterday and Today butcher cover. Nerds will know all about this. I found a pasted over copy, which is like less desirable to find but it’s still kind of desirable. As like an 18-year-old I found one of those in a thrift store and I had it in my collection for about two years. Then I realized this is worth hundreds of dollars. So I sold that. That got me into records, but, you know, a $2.99 record is as desirable to me as a $200 record.
JBTV: Is vinyl dead? Has it been coopted by the suits?
Laurie’s: I don’t want to say it’s dead. We’re selling as much used, awesome, vintage stuff as we can get our hands on. From being here the past ten years, I have seen it go from where we were selling CDs for $40 and LPs for $1. Now that’s flip-flopped. Nobody wants the CDs and the LPs that ten years ago were $2 are now $40. So I’m happy people are buying records.
JBTV: Why have record store day?
Laurie’s: I guess it was started back when there wasn’t as much momentum and we really did need the visibility. Most people trying to remember that first Record Store Day don’t remember it. It was a non-entity. There were like three or four special releases and now there are like three or four hundred. But it’s still fun for us we love it. It has evolved from like, “Hey our friends brought us some snacks today” to “There’s a line out the door for John Darnell from The Mountain Goats.” We’re happy however we get it.
JBTV: What are you listening to?
Laurie’s: I’m gonna be one of those people who is like, “I like all kinds”. I’ve got a DJ gig tonight and pulling records for that, it’s anything from some weird avant-garde 70s album that no one’s heard of to Guns N Roses. I love everything.