Treasure island found, riddled with jewel cases

An excursion through the tumultuous racks of Cheapo’s used section yields equal parts musical bling and musical blah

Jay Boller

Everyone loves a treasure hunt! From the hyper-marketed characters of Disney pirate blockbusters to the cripplingly lonely old-timer at the beach; searching for rare gems is always a treat. But the truth is, a treasure hunter must have a high tolerance for failure. For every diamond-encrusted saber sheath, there’s bound to be a minimum of 50 empty syringes and condom wrappers.

So how can Minneapolis college students without maritime access or metal detectors engage in the thrill of the hunt?

Enter Cheapo Records.

This massive Uptown warehouse boasts an ever-circulating selection of used CDs and vinyl priced well within the college budget. The racks are oftentimes riddled with little musical treasures, but beware: for every ruby tiara of a Pavement record, there’s a Bo Bice or Insane Clown Posse album waiting to spoil your booty.

Just last Saturday I braved the ever-hungry parking meters and drunken yuppies of Uptown in search of dusty gems at Cheapo.

Behold the soaring highs and eardrum-raping lows of my quest! The following albums are fit for the three richest kings of Europe:

Treasure Chest

Frank Black and company’s third record perfected the signature quiet-LOUD-quiet Pixies sound. Kim Deal’s fwapping baselines set the stage for Black’s eccentric vocal delivery and the malleable guitar sound of the band that effortlessly shifts from screeches to plucks. “Doolittle” is an essential recording by one of alternative rock’s most essential groups.

Long before Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy, what passed as punk rock actually ruled. On this, their debut album, The Clash is already in fine form as they tear through 35 minutes of English punk. Songs such as “Police and Thieves” and “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais” hint at the punk-reggae sound the band would later pioneer.

All but ditching the rootsy alt-country of previous records, Wilco dabbles in electronic music in the seminal record of their accomplished career. Jeff Tweedy’s cigarette-tinged voice is addicting throughout this absolutely seamless album. The band was steeped in internal drama during the recording process (See the revealing documentary: “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”), but the end result is 11 masterfully orchestrated pop songs.

Kudos to The Stones for not only being one of the greatest bands ever, but for also featuring a totally badass cover for “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” The record, which was recorded in 1969 at Madison Square Garden, is the band’s first live album. Classics such as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil” shine as the band shows off their considerable live chops. If you like rock music, you will like this record.

The Cheapo shopkeeper also informed me of a most unusual treasure that once graced the building. The ultra-rare original cover of the Beatles’ album “Yesterday and Today,” which features the band covered in decapitated babies and raw meat, sold for an incredible $300 dollars, despite being badly damaged.

While the above haul is impressive indeed, there’s a disgustingly large amount of garbage and fool’s gold out there. Be wary of records the likes of these:

Garbage dump

A tribute record to the band least deserving of a tribute record. Actual excerpt from the back: “Young, brash & full of angst Ö ain’t that the way punk rock should be? Few do it better than Maryland powerhouse Good Charlotte.” Correction: Good Charlotte does ONLY two things better than anyone:

A. Impregnate Nicole Richie;

B. Become increasingly irrelevant.

Oh, and the “A” in the title is an anarchy sign. But I’m sure you had already gathered as much.

In case you were still wondering, after hearing the name of the band and every song they’ve ever recorded, whether KMK enjoys weed, the album title takes away further guesswork. In hindsight, isn’t it pretty clear that nu-metal and rap-metal were bad ideas? Very bad ideas? The sad thing is, KMK fans are losing brain cells at twice the rate of your average stoner by listening to this.

Behold: the solo record of a brawlin’, boozin’ and sex-tape starrin’ former lead singer of one of the worst bands in history. At the very least, this record answers the age old question: Is Scott Stapp really talented and was Creed just holding him back? Turns out the answer is NO. “The Great Divide” possibly sucks more than any Creed record – if that’s even possible.

So go forth, collegiate treasure seekers, and pluck the racks clean of riches. Anchors away.