Volume 4: Parasol Records

And now…Parasol Records! Parasol is the hidden little secret of downtown Urbana, tucked away at 303 W. Griggs Street in the unassuming little red building. While it’s known to most as a mail-order business with a strong web presence (parasol.com) amongst music fans, local folks in the know are aware that in-store shopping is not only possible, but maybe even encouraged. Not only is it good because it breaks up the staff’s long days of staring at computer screens and eating Chinese food, but it also allows you to utilize the staff’s vast musical knowledge to point you in the direction of some great new music.
Parasol’s people have the benefit of hosting several record label imprints right in-house, on top of all of the other indie mail order stuff they do, so they listen to a LOT of stuff. The shop has plenty of new vinyl and CDs on display for easy viewing, along with scores of older releases on CD, 7″ and 12″ tucked into the back corner. Pricing on the new stuff is commensurate with other places, though if you’re like me, you like the instant gratification of getting stuff at a store and not having to wait for shipping; so really, finding that Maritime record at Parasol is saving you money by saving you time. Well, that’s if you’re also like me in that your time is very valuable. Sarcasm is also a thing we do.
Used stuff is priced fairly, with some LPs as low as a buck or two, and some old promo CDs sitting around just asking to be hauled away. As I often lament: there are far too many copies of Ward’s (yes, Ward Gollings, booking agent) 7″ single sitting around not getting played. You can grab one for you and one for a friend for something like sixteen cents, which works out to one of the highest rock-to-dollars ratios ever. “Boom” is a solid gold jam. This is just one of the many gems that you can find if you spend a little time digging (old Low 7″ stuff, you say?) through the massive amount of stock.
Lots of hard-to-find local releases are tucked away on the shelves (hell, I think they still have copies of my shitty CD). I spotted a Japanese import copy of Absinthe Blind’s Rings sitting there awhile back. That’s good stuff right there. So, take the short trip over to downtown Urbana and be pleasantly surprised by the shopping experience offered by Parasol Records. And be sure to ask for the “Angie Heaton Lollerskating Waaaambulance Special.”

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