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The Reader’s guide to Record Store Day 2023

a close-up shot of someone's hands flipping through stacks of vinyl in a record store
A customer browses vinyl at the farewell party for Dave’s Records on December 18, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Hinkel for Chicago Reader

Record Store Day began 15 years ago as a way to mobilize consumer support for independent brick-and-mortar record stores, which were seen as niche enough to be at risk of extinction from big online retailers. Streaming wasn’t yet the behemoth business it is today—Spotify also launched in 2008, and it wouldn’t reach the U.S. till 2011. 

Vinyl sales had already been growing for a couple years at that point, and they’ve grown every year since. Last year, the Recording Industry Association of America reported that in 2022, sales of vinyl records (41 million) outpaced sales of CDs (33 million) for the first time since 1987. Physical music sales totaled $1.7 billion last year, according to the RIAA, about 13 percent of streaming’s $13.3 billion in revenue during the same period. Of course, that huge number—84 percent of the industry’s total take—doesn’t translate into a living wage for the vast majority of artists who stream their music, but that’s a different story.

Selling vinyl is still a niche business, but some record shops have found a way to thrive. Many of them will participate in this year’s Record Store Day, which falls on Saturday, April 22. RSD typically entices shoppers by supplying stores with vinyl manufactured specifically for the occasion, but for all the good this commercial holiday has done, it’s also produced some harmful side effects for record stores and the record-selling business

For almost as long as RSD has existed, for instance, savvy record resellers have stalked shops to flip limited pressings online at outrageous prices. RSD special releases have also contributed to the strain on the handful of remaining vinyl pressing plants, so that these days, independent bands and labels often have to wait about a year for their records. I love a good gimmick, but I’m less inclined than ever to highlight the special RSD releases (you can find a list here). I’d rather encourage you to visit Chicago record shops for their own sake.

I collaborated with my colleague Micco Caporale to compile this roundup of almost every Chicago store doing RSD business. The Reader most recently published a guide to local record shops in 2021, and at least a couple have closed since then. Chicago Ray Records in Rogers Park shuttered in February 2022 upon the death of its founder, Ray Pate. In December, Dave Crain bid adieu to his Lincoln Park vinyl mecca, Dave’s Records, after more than 20 years in business. After a monthlong goodbye sale, Crain sold his remaining stock to Signal Records, an Avondale shop that former Chicago Research founder Blake Karlson opened last summer. Other new shops since our 2021 guide include Washington Park storefront Miyagi Records and Hegewisch spot Katalyst Coffee Lounge & Music Gallery, which opened in October 2021. 

The following RSD listings aren’t exhaustive, unfortunately. We couldn’t reach a few shops, including Let’s Boogie Records & Tapes in Bridgeport, to confirm RSD plans (but Let’s Boogie is definitely still truckin’, as Caporale wrote in this year’s Best of Chicago issue). Some pop-up shops are deliberately concealing their locations (No Requests wants you to DM for the address of theirs). But even with those omissions, we’ve compiled more shops than you could reasonably visit in one day—especially given the distance between, say, Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl in Flossmoor and Vintage Vinyl in Evanston. 

With that in mind, you might want to bookmark this guide and refer to it whenever you’re out and about and looking for the nearest record store. Some shops may have special hours for RSD, but the other directory information here will remain reliable year-round—as will the map. Happy digging! —Leor Galil

606 Records
Select RSD titles. Free Topo Chico while supplies last. In-store DJ sets from Jacob Polhill (10 AM), Selective Listening (11 AM), Kevin Moore (noon), DJ La Queen (2 PM), Chula (3 PM), and Jordan Knecht (4 PM). 10 AM-7 PM, 1808 S. Allport, 312-585-6106, 606records.com

Beverly Phono Mart
Select RSD titles. Free samples of BPM Roast, a custom blend for the occasion by 606 Coffee Roasters. From noon to 2 PM, WXAV 88.3 FM from Saint Xavier University will broadcast live from the shop as part of Vinylthon, a national college-radio fundraiser to supply broadcasting students with scholarship money. Special guest DJs will spin all-vinyl sets throughout the afternoon. 10 AM-7 PM, 1808 W. 103rd, 773-629-6089, beverlyphonomart.com

Beverly Records
Select RSD titles. Twenty percent off all opened vinyl. 8 AM-6 PM, 11612 S. Western, 773-779-0066, beverlyrecords.com

Bob’s Blues & Jazz Mart
Select RSD titles. 10:30 AM-6:30 PM, 3419 W. Irving Park, 773-539-5002, bluesandjazzmart.com

Bric-a-Brac Records
Select RSD titles. The Brewed next door opens at 7 AM for early-bird customers. In-store performances every hour beginning at 2 PM: Spread Joy, Edging, Orisun, Soup Activists, and Denara Auriel. 8 AM-7 PM, 2845 N. Milwaukee, 773-654-3915, bricabracrecords.com

Bucket o’ Blood Books and Records
Select RSD titles. Giveaways all day from 97.1 FM the Drive. Select merchandise marked down. Birthday party for co-owner Jennifer McKee begins at noon, with food from Bullet Proof BBQ and beer from Metropolitan Brewing—including a specialty collaboration only available at Bucket o’ Blood. 9 AM-7 PM, 3182 N. Elston, 312-890-3860, bucketoblood.com

Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl
Select RSD titles. 9 AM-7 PM, 1042 Sterling, Flossmoor, 708-960-0231, conservatoryvintageandvinyl.com

The Reader was unable to reach anyone at Dorian’s. 6 PM-2 AM, 1939 W. North, 773-687-9824, throughtherecordshop.com

Dusty Groove
Select RSD titles. Free giveaways with every purchase and free toys for children. Free doughnut holes and snacks plus free coffee from Dark Matter. Live magic from 6:30 AM till 8:30 AM. 7 AM-7 PM, 1120 N. Ashland, 773-342-5800, dustygroove.com

Gramaphone Records
Select RSD titles. In-store performances from 3 PM till 5 PM by Photism (DJ set), QTC (DJ set), and Donkey Basketball. Noon-6 PM, 2843 N. Clark, 773-472-3683, gramaphonerecords.com

Groovin’ High
Select RSD titles. 7 AM-7 PM, 1047 W. Belmont, 773-476-6846

Hyde Park Records
Select RSD titles. Thousands of 12-inches, seven-inches, CDs, and DVDs on sale for $1. Hyde Park Records staff say they’ve also accumulated rare records over the past few months to sell on RSD. 11 AM-8 PM, 1377 E. 53rd, 773-288-6588, facebook.com/HydeParkRecords

Interstellar Space
No RSD titles. Noon-5 PM, 2022 W. Montrose, 847-920-8159, interstellarspacerecords.com

Katalyst Coffee Lounge & Music Gallery
Ten percent off all records; get one $5 record free with any purchase. In-store performance by multi-instrumentalist Khari Lemuel. DJ King George will host a rock and soul broadcast in the shop, after which WHPK’s Microphone Bill will spin a reggae set. 11 AM-9 PM, 13257 S. Baltimore, 773-406-4899

Laurie’s Planet of Sound
Select RSD titles. Laurie’s says it has acquired a large collection of used records that it will put up for sale on RSD. 9 AM-8 PM, 4639 N. Lincoln, 773-271-3569, lauriesplanetofsound.com

MetalEdge Records & Tapes
No RSD titles. Noon-5 PM. 6682 N. Northwest Hwy., 312-471-5576, metaledgemusic.com

Meteor Gem
Fifteen percent off all stock. 10 AM-7 PM, 3082 N. Elston, meteor-gem.com

Miyagi Records
Resident shop vendor South Rhodes Records has curated a selection of new and used vinyl. All-vinyl DJ sets by Sonorama Discos, Soulphonetics, and Sol Son from 1-6 PM. Food by Omarcito’s. 11 AM-7 PM, 307 E. Garfield, 708-586-9773, miyagirecords.com

The Old School Records
Select RSD titles. Book signing with Russell Lissau (a contributor to Tori Amos Little Earthquakes: The Graphic Album) and Steve Horton (Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams) from 10 AM-noon. Free goodies with purchase while supplies last. 10 AM-7 PM, 413 Des Plaines Ave., Forest Park, 708-366-7588, theoldschoolrecords.com

Pinwheel Records
Select RSD titles in limited quantities. To buy RSD titles, customers will need one of the numbers that will be handed out to people waiting in line, so anyone interested in those releases is encouraged to arrive early. Coffee vouchers will be available for nearby restaurant Pochos, and owner Scott Schaaf will provide free baked goods made by his mom. Aura photography by Aura/Iris. 9 AM-7 PM, 1722 W. 18th St., 312-888-9629, pinwheelrecords.com

Rattleback Records
Select RSD Titles. DJs Lee Collins and Marc Davis will spin vinyl from 6:30 till 10 PM. After 10 PM the party moves across the street for a wine tasting at In Fine Spirits featuring Lo-Fi Wine from Santa Barbara. 9 AM-10 PM, 5405 N. Clark, 773-944-0188, rattlebackrecords.com

Reckless Records on Belmont
Select RSD titles. 10 AM-7 PM, 929 W. Belmont, 773-404-5080, reckless.com

Reckless Records on Madison
Select RSD titles. 10 AM-7 PM, 26 E. Madison, 312-795-0878, reckless.com

Reckless Records on Milwaukee
Select RSD titles. 10 AM-7 PM, 1379 N. Milwaukee, 773-235-3727, reckless.com

Record Breakers
Select RSD titles. Live music from noon till 4 PM by Fury, Sharp Pins, Impulsive Hearts, and Sleeper’s Bell. 9 AM-7 PM, 2935 N. Milwaukee, 773-698-8387, recordbreakerschi.com

Rolling Stones
Select RSD titles. 9 AM-9 PM, 7300 W. Irving Park, Norridge, 708-456-0861, rollingstonesmusic.com

Round Trip Records
The shop will shelve a large volume of original-issue records for the occasion. Free doughnuts and coffee. Ten percent off all used inventory. WZRD DJs will spin records and broadcast live from the store all day. 9 AM-8 PM, 3455 W. Foster, 773-654-3092, roundtriprecords.store

Shady Rest Vintage & Vinyl
Select RSD titles. In-store DJs will spin all day, and the shop will make a large trove of used records available. Free snacks and drinks. Noon-8 PM, 1659 S. Throop, 872-444-6488, shadyrestchicago.com

Shuga Records
Select RSD titles. Free coffee and doughnuts. Grab-bag giveaways. 10 AM-7 PM, 1272 N. Milwaukee, 773-278-4085, shugarecords.com

Signals Records
Twenty percent discounts storewide. Noon-7 PM, 3156 W. Diversey, 773-654-3781, discogs.com/seller/signalrecordschicago

Squeezebox Books & Music
Employees will dress in what the shop promises will be “funky outfits” all day. Any customer making a purchase will receive a coupon good for 20 percent off a future purchase. Tenille Townes performs at 2 PM, and tickets to see Townes at SPACE that night will be raffled off. 10 AM-6 PM, 743 Main St., Evanston, 847-943-9309, squeezeboxbooks.com

Tone Deaf Records
Select RSD titles. Free coffee and doughnuts. 9 AM-6 PM, 4356 N. Milwaukee, 773-372-6643, tonedeafrecs.com

Val’s Halla Records
Select RSD titles. Twenty percent off used vinyl. Taco Mucho will sell food and drink all day. Live music begins at noon and lasts till close. At 1 PM, Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos will sign merchandise, including unopened copies of the band’s 1978 debut album, Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles. At 6 and 9 PM, Rosas will perform with a band of local blues artists he’s calling the Chi-Town Playboys. Tickets are $50 and available through the Val’s Halla online store. (The 6 PM show is sold out.) 9 AM-5 PM, 239 Harrison, Oak Park, 708-524-1004, valshallarecords.com

Vintage Vinyl
WXRT-sponsored giveaways. Live music starts at 10:45 AM with White Wolf Sonic Princess, followed by Hannah Frank (11:30 AM) and Custard Flux (noon). 10:30 AM-6 PM, 925 Davis, Evanston, 847-328-2899, vvmo.com

Wild Prairie Vinyl & Vintage
Open decks all day for anyone who wants to spin a set up to an hour long. Noon-6 PM, 1109 N. Western, 773-683-7414, facebook.com/wildprairiechicago


It’s always a good time to skip the lines and get acquainted with the great neighborhood shops that don’t partake in the annual retail circus.

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