Now first off I am not talking about CD’s. I am strictly talking Vinyl here. There are more than enough Exchanges around the area for decent deals on used CD’s. They are all over the place; Lakewood, Parma, North Olmsted, Coventry and they are very hit or miss especially on the new release stuff. They only really carry the more hyped up new releases but most of the Exchange stores carry a decent selection of used CD’s, games, and a small selection of records. However they are good for what they are and that is a place to unload your unwanted games, music and movies. I dig the Exchange experience and they give a fair price on most trades, but their limited selection of Vinyl cuts them out of the top 5 list.
#5…Record Den in Mentor. Record Den has been around for ages as has the majority of their stock. They have tons of records in boxes, laying on the floors, and in bins. They tend to carry some good new release stuff but the selection is limited to the more mainstream stuff. The prices are on the high side and the Record Den has a ton of CD’s. They have so much product that it makes walking around in the shop kind of a pain in the ass. The aisles are narrow and you are seriously stepping on records at times. The issue is the CD area takes up so much space, and the CD’s are not budget priced. Sure you will find a lot of imports here but you have to look for them and if you are like me your shopping experience is cut short after knocking over shit, or bumping into things or people constantly. Record Den as vast as it is reminds me of an episode of Hoarders. No one can know what they have in stock in vinyl because it is all over the place. So a trip here, for me at least, lasts maybe a half hour. There just is no order to the vinyl for the most part and the CD’s only a little better.
#4…Hausfrau Record Shop is a small little shop just outside of the Capital Theater in Ohio City. It’s a pretty new entry in the local Cleveland shops. It is small but mighty though. They have some great quality used records. Mostly everything is alternative, punk or rock with not much outside of that world here. The issue is everything is tagged at a pretty premium price. Most used albums are in the $12-$15 range. Everything is in very good to mint shape though and that is a plus, but at $15 a pop you could get a hell of a lot more for your dollar elsewhere. Because it is such a small shop you can pretty much go through all the racks in record time.
#3. For new vinyl I really like Music Saves, and earns the #3 spot because they carry a ton of the latest releases. As far as used goes, meh, can’t really compete with the neighbors on that so they really don’t. The staff here is knowledgeable and very friendly. They love music and can tell you release dates and point you to what you are looking for. They carry a decent selection of CD’s as well and have a listening station. Music Saves has some great sales here and there and they are very supportive of local artists. I feel good about that and what they do for the community they are in and the local music community as well.
#2…My Minds Eye is a great shop on the Lakewood Cleveland border on Madison. They have a decent selection of new releases and from what I understand their metal selection is very good. Not digging the metal myself, I dig into the used bins and can always come up with something to take home. There are a lot of records here. Some of the stuff is campy shit that I would find at Goowill but that’s part of the coolness of the store. They carry a bunch of CD’s as well but I just come for the records. They are constantly filling the bins with new stock. So, there is always something new, used that you are going to find. Parking can tend to suck balls, but find a spot and walk it’s worth it.
#1…with a bullet is Blue Arrow without a doubt. This is a true record store. The floors are record covers which ads to the fun factor. If you have enough old stock records to make a giant floor out of it you love what you do and that is exactly the vibe of this place. They have turntables for listening stations with a makeshift DJ station for some added listening pleasure. They have a huge stock of everything. They have country, funk, soul, rock and jazz. They carry a lot of old 12 inch remixes and even have a decent but small industrial section. They lack a little bit in the punk rock area but you’ll find a Black Flag or Husker Du here and there. I cannot walk out of this store spending less than $100 at times easily spending a car payment on the new used bin alone.
Are there others? Yeah sure, but these are all regular haunts for any vinyl collector. Real independent music shops in the area where you can spend some Cleveland coin.