Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Crate Digging at Cheapo Discs, Minneapolis, MN


Huge selection.  This is only one sliver of their stock


Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ

After a long night of excess, resulting in the need for triple of my daily allotment of coffee in the morning, my only desire was to hit up the local record stores in Minneapolis.  After all, it's not often I get to go crate digging in the Twin Cities.  Besides, finding records is therapeutic, it's my detoxifier of choice, because for whatever reason hang overs are slowly quelled as you flip through records.

Like David Arnold, crate digging always leaves you "feeling mighty fine!"


On this trip I figured it was best to hit up Cheapo Records, I'd dug there before, and looking at the few remaining balled up bills in my same-as-last-night jeans, it seemed like a place called "Cheapo" was the sensible choice to dig for wax.

I plugged Cheapo in to Google Maps, and after a short trip it sent me to their old store.  Cheapo, if you are reading this, please tell Google wassup on maps!

The detour was no big deal though, they put their new address in the window of their old address, so I could see they were now located at 2600 Nicolette St, just a short distance from their old store, now fairly close to one of their competitors, Electric Fetus which I reviewed a few years earlier.

Walking thru the door I could see they had just moved in recently, but it was nice and clean and basically mostly setup as it was clear the main sections were now well organized.  

I started with the rock section as it had the biggest footprint in the store.  Plus, it seems like the more I learn about rock, the more I realize I'll always have some voids in my own rock section that need filling.

No one ever circle jerks the Circle Jerks and that's a damn shame.


I should have bought that Circle Jerks album, it was a fair price for an original pressing of this classic punk album, but I had to be extra picky with my money today, so I reluctantly passed this by looking for my must-haves at true cheap-o prices.  

I figured maybe buying a few good 7" records would be easy on the wallet, so I asked one of the store clerks where the 7" section was.

"We don't have a 7" section set up yet, sorry we're still moving stuff around.  If you dig thru the various 12" records you'll find a few in each section but we don't have a 7" section right now."

I was disappointed, but I get it, moving all those records must have been a back breaking feat.  Now putting the pieces back together again while still staying in business is a task that will take weeks.  Hopefully the next time I pop in they will have 7 inch records section all set up.

So I asked them if they had a regional music set up and the store clerk said "Yep, sure do." and without hesitation he was kind enough to stop what he was working on to lead me to their nice big section of Twin Cities based regional records.   

"When in Rome, right?" 
"Definitely!" he replied with a smile.

What'ya know, there really are Hypstrz in record stores!

Nice!  The Hypstrz, this one I had to buy.  I found out about these guys from a regional rock compilation on Twin Tone called "Big Hits of Mid America Volume 3".  This is exactly why I buy regional rock comps, so I can learn about what bands speak to me the most from whatever city or location I happen to be in.  

Inner Gate fold of Big Hits of Mid America Volume 3


Little did I know when I bought that compilation years ago that not only would it become one of my all-time favorite personal compilations that I never seem to get sick of listening to, but now it's paid off again by giving me enough of a taste of the Hypstrz to know I needed to buy that live album, "Hypstrization!" today. 

Price wise, it wasn't exactly cheapo, but it was mint, and when in Rome, don't pay for shipping.

Then I ran into multiple copies of Yo La Tengo - I can Hear the Heart Beating As One LP




I went ahead and picked this up as well.  It's the reasonably priced reissue on Matador from 2015.  After a quick Discogs search, I could see no one bitched about the quality of this repress yet, and everyone else had it priced a bit higher.  

This is one of those albums that when you tell people you liked their newer stuff, they tell you...  

"Well you gotta have this one!"  "You can't TRULY appreciate Yo La Tengo unless you have yada yada..."

Well I got it now, and I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for the original, so I don't have to hear that again.  It's a good album BTW, maybe not my favorite of theirs but I'm glad I took the advice nonetheless.

Past the rock section's Ys and Zs and onto the end cap where I spotted...

Mark Andrews ‎– How To Set Up And Test Hi-Fi Stereo Systems

I've always wanted one of these test records for putting my home studio's amp and speakers through the fine tooth comb, but today wasn't the day to try to justify buying a record I'd use only once and maybe sample several times for the "oddity" factor it had.  Besides I saw on Discogs 1 seller in the US had it for $5, and Cheapo had it for $20, so if I really needed it I would just pay for shipping, still pay a lot less, and wait a bit longer for something that basically wasn't essential.

Saving the best for last, it was time to hit up their Hip Hop Section...


 Rodney O & Joe Cooley ‎– Me And Joe LP
I pawed at this essential Egyptian Empire release a few times before putting it back reluctantly.  File under: Yet another Hip Hop classic LP that I still don't have on vinyl.  It was in great shape, the price was not horrible, but not low enough to make me jump on it. 

In a nutshell, that's my overall take on Cheapos...  Their prices really aren't that cheap, but compared to Discogs pricing along with whatever shipping you would have to pay to get it to your door, they are fair and their selection is solid.  So don't expect to walk in the door and dump 100 bucks on a thousand dollars worth of records.  

These guys know what they are doing, they know what sells for what, and they often price right in that comfort zone where they aren't making a killing on each sale, but they are moving enough records to keep the doors open for many more years to come.  Yes, if you spend a few hours in the store meticulously digging through their shelves, you will find some legitimately cheap and good records, but for the most part, I think it's safe to say their prices are basically "up to par."  I don't think you should really shop at Cheapos to get cheap records, you should shop there for the huge selection so you can buy good records at a fair price. 

Eventually it was time to hit the long road home.   As I stood at the counter to pay for my tiny haul, the last remaining sales staff in the store was on the phone.  She didn't look like she wanted to be on the phone, on the contrary she appeared to be in pain.  

Apparently someone in the store earlier didn't like the look she gave her, or how she stated one of her sentences,  so she was getting an absolute earful from this irate customer.  The UPS guy showed up with a delivery and waited along with me for his signature for delivery as she carefully listened to the grievances being shouted at her on the phone.  She had to hold the ear piece away from her ear a few times and I could hear from my vantage point that the woman on the phone was not done giving her as much hell as she could possibly dish out. 

I sympathized with her as I watched her take it in stride, doing her best to fix the situation, so I waited while the UPS guy couldn't wait a minute longer.  Mind you, I was in metered parking so I was getting anxious waiting myself, but I patiently waited until the customer hung up on her a third time.

After all that she looked at me and smiled and said...

"I'm sorry for making you wait, that customer really needed my attention and I couldn't just tell her to hold on while I checked you out."

"Don't worry about it, I understand completely!" I told her.

"For being patient with me I'll give you this 7" for free." she added.

I was grateful for the freebie, and genuinely impressed with how that situation was handled.  Honestly, I have to give them props for being good people and running a good operation.  That situation she dealt with is a part of business sometimes, and I get that you can't please all the people all the time.  Yet long ago, and again today, they won me over, so I'll definitely be back to dig again in their shelves in the future.


TLDR: if you ever find yourself in Downtown Minneapolis, longing for a few hours to kill to do a little therapeutic crate digging, hit up Cheapo records and you'll find a few great records to add to your collection.




1 comment:

  1. Nice write up homie ! If I ever get up that way I will have to stop in .

    ReplyDelete