Reckless crossed the ocean from the UK about a decade ago and somehow ended up on the shores of Lake Michigan. Since then it has grown from its flagship store in Lakeview to an additional branch in Wicker Park.
If there is any record store in Chicagoland that epitomizes the hipster-indie vibe, it's Reckless. From the signed memorabilia on the wall from such acts as Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malkmus and Ted Leo (what he wrote is especially funny), to the countless selection of used CDs and brand-new vinyl, those seeking an alternative to "alternative" come here.
Most of the Reckless' clientele weigh in as Wicker Park residents and people who could have been extras in High Fidelity. There are actual, legit reasons for shopping at Reckless other than looking cool. Amongst them are listening stations that showcase employee favorites, low prices for used vinyl that's almost always in great condition (I bought a copy of The Walkmen's second album for about seven bucks) and stacks of the latest copies of Punk Planet, Mojo and Venus.
Reckless isn't all about music, though. It sells books, new and used DVDs, and, for those of you who aren't quite ready to embrace technology, cassettes and VHS tapes. One caveat of sorts is that the albums are organized according to sub-category (punk, emo, IDM, etc.) along the rectangular racks. This can cause the occasional problems in locating music, but the staff is a veritable roadmap.
Most of the music at Reckless runs in the $8-15 range, with the new CDs occupying the higher end. T-shirts hang from behind the seemingly never-ending counter along with some of the rarer records one can find. Front windows pasted with concert posters support local and national acts, a pleasant nod to what you'll find inside (which includes fairly frequent in-store performances).
Centerstage Reviewer: Jon Graef