As you know, I was in Chicago in mid-July 2014; if you don’t know that, check out part one on this site. Part one covers G-fest, an annual convention catering to the heartiest Godzilla (and other giant monster movie) die-hards.
What kind of self-respecting record junkie finds themselves in Chicago and DOESN’T set up time to hit a spot or two, right? In fact, I’d planned my trip to allow a few hours Thursday evenings to explore the town outside of the G-Festivities. It was 6:00 by the time my flight came in and I dropped my bags off at the hotel; just enough time to catch the Blue Line from the airport and hit *one* record store. For me that choice is easy; Dusty Groove is a spot I’ve bought records from for the last 15 years (mainly online) and a visit there is a must every time I’m in Chicago – Chicago might be the best record store city in the US but I’ve never had the time to hit the other spots, and Dusty Groove is right in my genre.
The thing about Dusty Groove is most of the records in the store are new releases – it’s not like they have rows and rows of used vinyl treasures for the taking. Sure, you can find good used records there but the strength of the store is (most likely) their buyers – from Jazz CDs from Japan to a deep stocking of European cinema music to a wealth of harder-to-find compilations, they have better new releases than almost anyone. Not only that, but plenty of it is just… well, to put it plainly shit I’ve never even HEARD of. (ASIDE: I’d love to say I’m some sort of genius but that’s not the case – and really, the only way people get to know about other records is reading about them anyway, right?) So for me, digging in Dusty Groove takes on a kind of meta nature – as I find things I don’t know about I look them up on my phone ON the Dusty Groove website to get some kind of description to see if I’d like it (my key word is ‘Breaks’).
To sum it up I found some nice European Library music compilations that were VERY high on my want list as well as ‘Chinoseries Volume 1’ – a hip-hop sample record similar to Dilla’s ‘Donuts’, only if it used Chinese folk music as its sample sources (!). As for the other stuff:
Good eats 1: Gino’s East, one of the local favorites for Chicago-style pizza. I previously ate here based on a local’s recommendation and man is it good! I ordered the sausage pizza, relevant only because one sausage patty covers the entire area of the pizza! Sausage is actually its own layer on this pizza!
Good eats 2: La Pasadita, pretty much the best burrito you can get in Chicago (and recent first-round winner in fivethirtyeight.com’s burrito bracket). Double-bonus, it’s 100 feet from Dusty Groove!
Fun additional thing: Headquarters Beercade, a spot with 100+ videogames and pinball machines on free play. You heard that right; all you have to do is show your ID and play games – though now is a good time to mention they have tons of beers available. Insider tip: the Metallica, Family Guy and Transformers pinball games are serious amounts of fun – Metallica is faster, Transformers has the illest multiball ever and Family Guy is straight up batcrap insanity.