Anyone looking for the latest local record need not look further. Itís only fitting that the stores are crowded and crammed at every proverbial nook and cranny; all four of them have an extensive and impressive selection shoved into creative spaces. Everywhere you turn there is another shelf with CDs, and while the cheap bin is sometimes embarrassing to look at (with CDs that should never have been made, let alone been allowed in a record store), the used selection is pretty good, and the prices are competitive.
Thereís a definite emphasis on local music, each store having its own selection of music specific to that area of town, those bands on the North side, and those on the South. The staff likes to wheel and deal with people looking to sell old music, and are often less pretentious than many independent record stores. They tend to be more bent on cultivating an avid interest in a band than selling it for a quick buck. The Evanston and Hyde Park stores, each with a location relatively close to their respective universities, have extensive jazz and blues sections, which seem to serve the music students well. The Berwyn location offers a decent selection of hip-hop.
Centerstage Reviewer: Allison Augustyn