BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL Minneapolis 2010 - Treehouse Records
As the brass at big-box stores trip over their tasseled loafers trying to parse a phenom they don't get—and far savvier staffers at the likes of Cheapo and the Fetus play furious games of catch-up—the petroleum-based, analog audio software advantage resides with retailers who never abandoned it. Roadrunner, Vital, Eclipse, Fifth Element—notice a pattern? Single-store entities, one and all, and either specialist, highly idiosyncratic, or both—as with Treehouse. Though the lower Lyn-Lake hole-in-the-wall has been pandering new and pre-owned plastic since it opened as Oarfolkjokeopus in 1972, current owner and seminal Oarfolk staffer Mark Trehus would shove a flaming earbud up his urethra before letting the place turn into an old-guy operation. Nobody in town can touch Trehus and de facto big boss Dan Cote at balancing depth in jazz, blues, reggae, folk, punk, soul, and other legacy genres with the metro's best selection of new sounds both within and well beyond the Current and Radio K's compass. Prices are reasonable, especially when you subtract online competitors' shipping charges and factor in the store's accommodating special-order policy. Trehus and Cote walk the walk in more ways than one: Both run labels, and the latter hosts Treehouse Night at the King and I on the last Friday of every month. Most tellingly, they've been selling more vinyl than CDs for well over a year while operating solidly in the black.