BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL - 2004
O vinyl, ravished bride of hissiness, you will ever earn our praise. Your elegant brevity, your malleability in the hands of an artful DJ, the beautiful pop and scratch of your gradual deterioration--so much more like life than compact discs. Fortunately for us purists and Luddites, the Twin Cities provide no paucity of spots to buy oldfangled records: For hip hop there's Fifth Element; for collectables there's Hymie's, Hazen's, and Root Cellar Records; for indie-rock and off-the-wall stuff there's Treehouse, Let It Be, and Roadrunner; for dance there's Vital Vinyl and Let It Be (again); for classical there's James Mary Laurie Booksellers. And that's just, if you'll indulge the pun, scratching the surface. But for generalists, there's no place like Cheapo, where you can find a bit of all of the above-mentioned styles, and more, under one roof. They have a good selection of new hip hop, R&B, and rock albums and 12" singles, a decent supply of jazz reissues, and a regularly updated stash of imports. The real fun, though, is in scouring the racks upon racks of previously owned jewels and junk. Cheapo is where you can buy the vinyl version of both Atmosphere's Seven's Travels and Duran Duran's Seven and the Ragged Tiger, and no one will make fun of you at the counter. The St. Paul location on Snelling Avenue, while not quite as big, is still worth killing an hour or two in on a sunny afternoon.