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Open Mind Music

No disrespect to the massive barns of Amoeba Music or the lovingly catered new-music boutique of Aquarius Records, both of which are perpetual faves amongst the wise music shoppers around town, but since 1994 this shop in the Western Addition has been quietly holding down a smart middle ground. It's big enough to carry all the major releases but small enough to accommodate a well-selected stash of hip singles, vinyl, and collectibles. In the past two years, it's also gotten very wise on the hip hop and electronic music fronts, and is well stocked with the latest offerings from labels Ninja Tune, Om, and Talkin' Loud, as well as vinyl Fela records (all the rage among sampler-stalkers these days). But even the more backward-looking folks can take pleasure in the rare rock vinyl that graces the walls, the decent selection of videos and fanzines, and reggae and lounge departments that are fuller and better-maintained than most. Old 7-inches are in abundance, and while many are in the snap-crackle-and-pop state of disrepair, they can usually be had for, um, a song. All cared for by a refreshingly non-snooty staff. Whether it's a rare Cocteau Twins album, an import-only John Digweed single, that cheesy ELO record that'll only cost $2 for the memory, or just a sense that music is all about a great atmosphere and a sense of adventure, Open Mind Music is rife with possibilities.


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