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Reckless Records: head dive into funky music culture

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Chicago is a city bustling with culture, pizazz, diversity, and, of course, beats. One of my all-time list-toppers for music vendors is Reckless Records a secondhand shop selling both brand new and lightly used vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs and videos. Reckless Records is conveniently located in three Chicagoland hot spots—Madison, Broadway and Milwaukee—but I am a loyal regular at the Wicker Park location on Milwaukee Avenue. Here, amid streets lined with quaint boutiques, clothing thrift shops, used book cellars, and quirky cafes, one can’t miss the bold and provocative red-and-black statement that is “Reckless Records.”

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Need some reasons to drop by? Here are five.

1. Music lovers unite! This shop invites music patrons all of sorts, boasting a broad and impressive collection of every musical genre and artist fathomable. Despite the barrage of used goods purchased on a daily basis, shopkeepers manage to keep the place tidy, stocked and well organized. Music philandrers and curious onlookers can freely peruse rows of vintage records, comb CD racks, rifle through stacks of cassette tapes, and browse an expansive video selection. Do not be alarmed if you pass hours in this store. That tends to happen.

2. Need some cash? This is the perfect place to make a quick buck. Have any old cassette tapes from the 80s still lurking around in desk crevices? What about CDs hiding in the car dashboard? Any old videos collecting dust on top of a forgotten VCR or DVD player? Whatever it is, don’t discard them. Bring them in to Reckless Records and trade them in for some cash. One man's junk is another man's future playlist.

3. Discover new music. At every Reckless Records location, there are headphone stations conveniently situated along the wall where customers can freely jam to and explore new music for as long as they want. These headphone stations are a haven for a music glutton such as myself. Here, I find inspiration to delve into new musical territory and broadcast it to the rest of the world.

4. Spread the mellow vibe. Workers, though welcoming, will never pressure visitors to buy anything. At Reckless Records, their motto is to share their universal love for and knowledge of music, and their mission is to encourage guests to explore, discover and fall in love. This is a place free of judgment, time constraint, buyer’s remorse or regret. Nothing bad ever came from setting foot inside a Reckless Records store—far from.

5. Unbeatable prices. Because this is a secondhand store, all the prices are fair and affordable. The vinyl records range in price depending on the condition, but CDs and videos are all fairly cheap. The best method is to swap in some old classics for some new ones. On some occasions, they will even include free concert passes with CD purchases and host live in-store band performances.

So, pay a visit to one of three Chicagoland locations, immerse yourself in the vast musical culture, and jam to some funky beats.

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