Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Veoba Post: Laurie's Planet of Crap.

This was originally posted on

There is a classic children’s story about the “Little Engine That Could,” who huffed and puffed and worked really hard and made it over the hill. Well, if Laurie’s Planet of Sound was that little engine… the hill would have won. That might sound a bit harsh, but when I walked into the shop on a Friday morning the girl behind the corner didn’t even acknowledge my existence – and I was the only customer in the shop. Seeing as they were missing the customer interaction part, I figured they might be missing some other things as well.

What’s so strange about me typing that first paragraph out is that I was looking forward to going to Laurie’s Planet of Sound. In fact, I even went there on my birthday. I took the day off from work and thought about checking out a record store before hitting the skate park. The reviews on Yelp were all good, and the shop gets good press. Lincoln Park is such a cute little neighborhood in Chicago that a hip little record shop would fit in well.

There are so many issues with this shop I can’t even name them all, but how can a record store have a 12” used section for Jazz and not have one single Miles Davis album in it? (Plenty of $1 Kenny G records for $3, but no Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, or Thelonius Monk.) There is no Reggae section, but a Soul section that’s without Marvin Gaye since all of his records are shoved in with the piles of rock records.

Simply put, Laurie’s Planet of Sound is filled with $1 records that are overpriced and in the way. The used Rock/Pop albums are mainly just filed under the first letter since artist categories are few and random. They do have a section for Hall & Oates though, but no section for Bob Dylan. Oh, and thankfully Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band have their own section (what?). The albums in the Led Zeppelin section were all Columbia House copies (worthless). Basically, I spent a good amount of time flipping through records and found nothing I was terribly excited about. Nothing. To dig through crap and find no gems is very sad.

The shop has plenty of other odds and ends (DVD, 8-tracks, VHS, buttons, games, etc) which I did not look at since I review record shops, not crap warehouses. Maybe it’s these odds and ends that pay the rent, and if so – well good for them, but if that’s the case then maybe just toss the records. I did end up buying a few things because I just felt bad for the shop. I didn’t really need a few more Frank Sinatra albums, but if I didn’t purchase them, who the hell would?

On the plus, the location is great and the size of the shop is perfect. Something they are doing is working since so many people say good things about this store. My co-worker thinks their Banner Museum is funny. I think if they mixed the new vinyl in with the used, and maybe took some of those crap $1 records and put them in their own section, or on the floor, the shop would be more appealing. They should add a Reggae and Ska section(s) too since they are both filed under Rock/Pop. They could also add some other customer friendly options – like turntable listening stations, and maybe acknowledging customers when they walk in the shop.

4639 N Lincoln Ave (773-271-3569)
El: Brown to Western. Bus: 11, 49.
Mon–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 11am–7pm.