Monday, November 3, 2008

Local Record Store Reviews

(pic from Corner Record Shop's site)

Vertigo Music in Grand Rapids, MI - owner is a nice chap who was originally one of the co-owners of my once favorite but now departed Vinyl Solution. Vertigo is located on Division Ave, famous for drug dealers and prostitutes - but the block that Vertigo is on is relatively safe most hours of the day. A nearby coffee house provides all-age punk rock shows. Vertigo is in an older building with creaky floors, high painted tin ceilings and a large collection of music. Selection is geared towards newer indie - but there is a fine representation of older music and 'dinosaur rock'. Used vinyl selection has usually been picked through but I still manage to find a gem every once in awhile. Used CD is alphabetized only by letter, not by artist name. This makes it more difficult to find particular items on your list. But nonetheless I rarely go there without buying something.

Corner Record Shop in Grandville, MI - owners are friendly and there is a massive collection of vinyl here. Most of their large floorspace is dedicated to records though I've been surprised on what I've found in their CD bins. They also have a used vintage stereo equipment room where I've bought a few pieces - prices here are very fair. Most of their selection is geared towards mainstream/dinosaur rock with a smattering of punk. The CRS carries new vinyl, used audiophile releases and plenty of old records. Again, most of the selection has been thoroughly picked through but I've found some rare stuff by taking my time and checking out the latest arrival bins. They've also given me 'first crack' at some just arrived goods. Highly recommended.

Flat, Black and Circular in Lansing, MI - an old college record store geared towards indie and new releases. Plenty of older stuff too. CD selection is very good and I can usually find something to buy. Record collection is big, though it seems very crammed together almost as an afterthought. Honestly I have a hard time mustering the energy to dig through the vinyl - for example the R&B section shares the same space as their Rap/Hip-Hop 12"ers and its hard going even for a zealot like myself. Prices on used CDs are very good, but new releases can be a tad high.

Encore Recordings in Ann Arbor, MI - this is exactly the old school type of record store you would expect to find in such a big college town. Records and CDs are piled everywhere and the floorspace is squeezed tight by the sheer amount of vinyl. Half the time you are saying 'excuse me' to dodge past some other yob looking for their music fix. An extensive collection of every genre, you may be disappointed on the actual slim pickings. Like every popular record store 'destination', the selection has usually been picked through by the local regulars. But still I've been able to find some obscure stuff and I always enjoy the hunt there. Encore keeps the actual CDs behind the counter and you bring up the cases to purchase. I've had several occasions whereI brought up the case and they couldn't actually locate the CD - a little disappointing but I still visit the store when I'm on that side of the state.