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Another CD buying jaunt... 2 stores in Bloomington, IL

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I had the need to go to Bloomington, IL, about an hour west of me, so this time instead of just thrift stores in that town, in the wake of the JL Records trip I figured I would check and see if there were still any dedicated "record stores" there. The last time I went CD-hunting in Bloomington was almost 25 years ago. Since pawn shops stopped carrying CDs, and I only got into thrifting since I retired, for the last 20 years or so almost everything I buy has been online in one form or another.

I always forget that college towns *can* be good sources of CDs, but it's soo damned inconsistent. West Lafayette (where JL Records is located) is the home of Purdue University (39,000 students), and Bloomington, IL is the home of Illinois State University (21,000 students). Why do I always forget about this?... because I live in the town with the main campus of the University of Illinois (44,000 students... bigger than either of those)... and it has NOT A SINGLE FUCKING MUSIC STORE on campus. There's only one, way off campus, and it's absolutely pathetic. It's basically a 100,000 population community with ZERO music stores.

So I've gotten away from thinking about those opportunities for CD hunting... which as it turns out, has been a major mistake on my part.

There are two record/CD stores on the ISU campus in Bloomington, located 2 doors apart on the same street! They both opened 20 years ago this year (after I had stopped my regular CD hunting trips to Bloomington). I wondered if, given the timing, they were both owned by the same party, but no they are competition, but friendly competition. Each owner spoke positively of the other and recommended I visit their counterpart.

The two stores are North Street Records and Waiting Room Records.

They are very similar to one another, and yet extremely different from JL Records from my last trip. Whereas JL was 80% CDs and 20% vinyl, both of these stores are the exact opposite. JL stocked a lot of current releases in our euro-centric genres, whereas these two stores are more what you would expect: rock = "classic rock", with very little in the way of import releases from the labels we know.

That said, both stores had dedicated "heavy metal" sections, although primarily focused on death metal and thrash, as opposed to melodic, power, or prog metal. There were some interesting items of note in their used sections. Where JL typically priced things closer to full retail (used CDs $10-15, new CDs $16-25), these stores made up for their lack of variety compared to JL, in lower price points: used CDs $4-10, new CDs ($10-16).

I didn't have time to take pics of the stores themselves this time out, as I was a bit rushed, but I plan to make a return trip at a more leisurely pace (although it's always going to be a PITA, as the campus parking enforcement rigorously enforces the 1-hour parking time limit or you get a $20 ticket, so moving your car every hour sucks).

So going over my store-specific impressions and acquisitions... outside of a few music blu-rays for my collection, everything I picked up was for resale on eBay; stuff that I thought had enough room to justify picking up.

First Waiting Room Records. This store was the larger of the two, more brightly lit, spacious, and appeared to cater more to the artsy-fartsy clientele. More of an emphasis on jazz and world music. Vintage audio equipment for sale in various places. This store had several boxes of $1 CDs (6 for $5, 13 for $10) as well as a box on the sidewalk outside the door of free cds. I availed myself of both, this cheap stuff just more out of curiosity and experimentation than anything in my wheelhouse. Lots of CD singles and radio station promos.

The vast majority of what I bought here were actually bootlegs. A local collector who was getting out of physical media had sold a spate of Russian 2-on-1 boots. These were very common on eBay in the 2000-2010 period, but have dried up since then. Only really of interest to diehard completists, but depending on the artist, they can sell for fairly big bucks.

As I typically do, prior to purchase I asked "any discounts for larger purchases?" I learned early on that while discounting varies greatly from store to store, if you don't ask you don't always get... so I unashamedly always ask. In this case it amounted to 10% off, which basically covered the sales tax... better than nothing.











Assassinator is a local metal band, found zero examples listed on eBay





And the carton of $1 and free CDs.



Now we move on to North Street Records. Smaller location, more dimly lit, but more my speed. Proprietor looked like he stepped out out of Duck Dynasty... a bit reserved initially, but opened up as the visit progressed. Stuff was stacked EVERYWHERE. I know I missed things, so I know I will go back to look at things more thoroughly. More rock-focused than the other store. Lots of Mobile Fidelity vinyl releases brand new, quite a large selection of CD box sets.

No $1 CDs like the other place, but the pricing was better to begin with, and the discount he offered at the end was better.

What caught my eye was a whole run of 13 Todd Rundgren and Utopia albums. Not inherently HH fodder per se, although certain songs definitely could fit... the material is all over the map stylistically, from pop to rock to experimental and DEVO-esque. Historically, the Utopia releases resonated with me more so than his solo efforts.

These, however, were all Japanese vinyl-sleeve replica releases from 2008, part of the limited edition 80th anniversary reissue series. Looking them up online on both eBay and Discogs reveals that they are in very short supply and some of them can sell for above $50 each. They were stickered EXTREMELY reasonably to begin with at $10 each. When I checked out, he basically offered that if I bought those 13 as marked, he would knock off most of the sales tax and the other titles I had pulled would be free. I couldn't argue, as that worked out to approximately 25% off. Not to mention that his marked price on the still-sealed Dream Theater Luna Park 3CD + blu-ray set was dirt cheap to begin with.

All in all, at was a great trip, and now a more semi-local source to shop at periodically.













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Todd is a legend ! Just added up his solo and Utopia CDs that I have of his and came up with 25.

And I still have a couple of his LP's as well

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