In Chicago, we have more record stores than you can shake a hipster at. Some are good if you want to find the newest rising stars CD or an old classic. Some have the best collections of jazz and blues you will ever come across. Some are a Sam Goody for all intents and purposes, which is fine. (I mean, people still like listening to Fallout Boy in this city, though most can say they knew them when they were just a garage band in the burbs.) But if you want to find all these things, plus one of the best vinyl collections around, you go to Lauries Planet of Sound in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.
I live about a stones throw from Lauries, and I try to frequent it as much as humanly possible. I always assumed it was merely our neighborhood record store and did well enough to stay open and keep bringing great records to locals. So, imagine my surprise when I heard that it had been picked by Rolling Stone as one of the top 25 record stores in the country. Not only the top 25, #11. (If you spy in the left corner of the RS photo below, youll see local band Johnny and the Limelites lead singer Johnny Agatucci and drummer Luca Cimarusti picking through albums after their Record Store Day performance.) There couldnt be a more deserving store.
Courtesy of Rolling Stone
The close-knit group of employees who run Laurie’s do their best to make sure you can find rare vinyl singles from todays biggest indie hit-makers but also classic albums from the greats, as well as CDs, t-shirts, movies (VHS and DVD), and books. They also host many live in-store performances from some of Chicagos best bands along with DJ nights at local bars, where the store’s employees spin their favorite albums for drunken hip kids the city over. They support their neighborhood and customers, and the customers return the favor over and over again.
It may seem like a small, unassuming place, but its packed full with amazing stuff. Those in-store performances are something to see, too. There is nothing like seeing a local thrash band blowing that small store up with people crammed between record racks, movies, and books. So do yourself a favor: If youre in Chicago and looking for a fantastic selection with a great atmosphere and quasi-High Fidelity vibe (dont get mad at me for making that comparison), check out Lauries Planet of Sound. As one Yelp reviewer puts it, I should give them one star because I always end up spending all my money within the first 15 minutes of arriving there.