April 17 marks the third anniversary of Record Store Day, a nationally celebrated event spotlighting the unique characteristics endemic to independently owned record stores. It is a day pedestaled each year by the release of limited prints and reissues. This Saturday is an opportunity for vinyl enthusiasts to acquire the exclusive material offered by their favorite record stores. It also promotes the exploration of a town’s various options for musical consumption.
Located at 202 N. Walnut St., Landlocked Music is Bloomington’s dispensary of classic and current funk and soul. In addition to RSD releases, Landlocked Music will also be featuring live in-store performances from local and regional bands and DJs. Landlocked competes as the top Bloomington store by maintaining very competitively priced CDs and vinyl albums. Hip-hop heads, be sure to peruse the dollar bins at Landlocked, as they are one of the few records stores I know of with crates containing the works of Nas and Das EFX as well as productions of Pete Rock and DJ Premier.
On Kirkwood Avenue, you will find Bloomington’s own literally underground record store, TD’s. This shop extensively provides for the punk needs of Bloomington. While I was on a recent hunt for punk drummers, an employee had the best suggestion when he introduced me to Jeff Nelson of Minor Threat. TD’s also has an excellent selection of used $5 hip-hop CDs. Be sure to look through the 50 percent-off crates before you check out, and don’t miss the stacks of dollar CDs by the door. And stop by TD’s this Saturday, as it plans on releasing its stockpiled selection of used CDs and vinyl previously unavailable.
Across the street from TD’s, you will find Tracks, a record store which recently incorporated IU apparel into its merchandise. Tracks presents a large selection of new and used CDs and records in its collection in addition to a sundry assortment of stereo equipment and speakers. The business is home to the friendliest staff in Bloomington, so be sure to catch Andy, the owner, in the store. He will talk your ear off about rock ‘n’ roll, suggesting what records you must have in your collection to truly comprehend that classic genre.
For those looking to dig around Bloomington, the three best locations in my opinion are all conveniently located in a three-block walking radius. Both Amused and Material Plane have decent $5 record bins where you can find classics and singles that could cost $10-13 elsewhere. Finally, finish your quest at Salvation Army down the road.
Whether you’re looking for new releases or hidden vinyl gems, Bloomington offers its citizens enough options to indulge their musical appetites for a lifetime. As a concerned consumer of music, I request that this Saturday, fellow music enthusiasts go and support the record stores that make this town unique. I can’t stress this strongly enough: talk to the employees of the stores. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised by what they recommend.
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