Friday, February 8, 2013

Chicago's Coolest Quarter for Record Shops

If the High Fidelity crew were scouting for a Championship Vinyl today, they'd totally head to Logan Square. Get in the Grammy mood (awards are Feb. 10) by trawling the bins at:

* saki - Forgive the lower-case. Focus instead on the intimate, in-store concerts by indie groups like Brokeback. They're free, as is accompanying food and drink by Goose Island Brewing, Bang Bang Pie Shop and other locals. The shop sells arty posters, zines and books alongside the CDs and vinyl. Plus, by god, saki accepts gift certificates from other retailers. So you can trade your lame Staples gift card for that new Panda Riot album.

* Logan Hardware - It's hard to resist a shop where flicking through a bin of "Non-Religious Gospel" is followed by a knockdown game of Donkey Kong. Rock, oddball and Chicago band LPs fill the crates, but the bonus here is the attached vintage arcade museum. Relive your '80s on the free Pac Man, Tron and pinball.

* Bucket O’ Blood Books and Records - Punk and metal vinyl comprise the "records" half of this wee niche shop, while sci-fi and horror paperbacks make up the "books." Owner Marc Ruvolo, who also runs the punk label Johann's Face, curates the wares and distills his bizarro favorites into the aptly named Awesome section.

Hell, you might even find some Sonic Death Monkey in the 'hood.

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