If you’re thinking about dumping your turntables and making the switch to CDJs full-time, you better think twice – or at least make a visit to KStarke Records (1109 N. Western, 773-772-4880) before pitching the 1200s to the curb or posting that ad on Craig’s List. Just off Division St. next to Clemente High School, Kevin Starke is tapping a nerve among DJs, collectors and people just sad to see black wax fade into history.
Still one of Chicago’s best kept secrets, KStarke is like an oasis in a world of iPods, iTunes and (i)nstant gratification: an old-school neighborhood shop stuffed with rare LPs, 12″ records, 45s and even a few racks of CDs for fans of House, disco, reggae, hip-hop, psychedelic rock, old punk, jazz and more. It’s the brainchild of lifelong DJ and collector Kevin Starke, who buys whole collections and sifts through them for hidden gems. On the walls are old WBMX posters, photos of some of the local and international legends who have passed through the doors and rainbow colored slabs of vinyl from the glory days of the needle-and-record industry.
More than selling a product, though, KStarke is also fostering the community. Once a month or so, he’ll open the doors, invite a DJ pal to spin and host one of the tightest underground events the city has going. Past DJs have included Traxx and Leonard Part Sixx. Drop by the store or check out myspace.com/kstarke for the next of these word-of-mouth events.