photo by Dawn Thorfinnson
words by Michael Todd
Newsflash (for the uninformed, that is): Nebraska record stores are alive and well.
Last Wednesday, we asked you to submit your vote for the best one of all, and over the week, we've received and tallied your reviews. We even checked for unique IP addresses, and are happy to report all votes were cast in good faith.
Two newcomers to the state's music shops gathered the most thumbs up. Having opened just two years ago on Aug. 20, 2011, Lincoln's Lefty's Records has built a strong following, as evidenced by its winning number of votes. And Omaha's Saddle Creek Shop, which also celebrated a grand opening in summer 2011, took second place.
Read on for your reviews of Lincoln, Omaha, Bellevue and Columbus record stores, and leave comments further below with additional votes or notes:
2776 South St., Lincoln, Neb.
contact: (402) 438-0038 & email@example.com
"The prices are always reasonable, the owner is always friendly and knowledgable. He is also great with the younger kids. My 4-year-old daughter loves to come to his store!"
— Geoff Dillavou
"Les Greer has been nothing but helpful and amazing when it comes to my newfound vinyl obsession. He has always been a supporter and promoter of the local music venues and I think will be an asset to our promotional wheelhouse for Vega. Thanks, Les!"
— Jeremy Wardlaw
"I come to Lincoln from Seattle once or twice and year and always head to Lefty's on my visit. I have never walked out empty-handed! Les knows all types of music and knows exactly the kind of stuff I like. He even lets me rustle around through the records behind the counter! Great store."
— Jim Jones
"Les is the man. He knows his records, supports the scene, and always does his best to order particular LPs for me. He has diversity in his wax and keeps the store clean. Maybe the best and most affordable new vinyl in the state. Homer's and Drastic are always overpriced. Backtrack is awesome, too. That's the record store gem that now one knows about. Lincoln is very lucky to have three great stores in such a small town."
— Spencer Munson
Lefty's photos by Dawn Thorfinnson
"Great selections and service."
— Scott Wade
"Because Les is always right there, knows his stuff, and keeps his nose clean. Lincoln LOVES Les Greer and Lefty's Records… well, mostly."
— Ske Bauble
"Good quality store, awesome owner."
— B. Dillavou
"Best collection. Rotates his stock a little bit. Nice bins of new stuff, and an interesting mix of old stuff. Plus, Les is a hell of a guy."
— Wordy Ginters
"Simply the only record store in Lincoln with a decent selection and a somewhat normal owner, who will simply let you browse and hang out without being bickered."
"Personalized, passionate service by a true music lover."
"Cheapest vinyls and Les is one bad mofo!"
"Great local shop. Great selection. Les is always ready to help locate and find vinyl."
"Les is not a hater."
"Has a great mix of old and new vinyl."
"Lefty's is small, but what's in there is pure awesome. No having to dig through rooms of junk to find things actually worth listening to. Lefty's has a great Facebook presence, too, which keeps you aware of the cool new things coming into the store. Great contests like the Danzig photoshop contest, and funny stuff like the 'Night Before Record Store Day' poem, too."
"Best selection and seemingly the most willing to special order some of the more rare items. Run well by a great guy with a passion for the local scene."
"Lefty's is clean and well-organized, and Les, the owner, is always glad to help answer questions or give a suggestion, in additon to just being a cool guy to talk to. Lefty's inventory is of a consistently high quality while remaining fairly priced. Considering the atmosphere of the store and the quality of the product, I can't think of a better place to purchase records."
"Best prices. Best used selection. Most importantly, the vinyl is always in top condition. I don't even look at the record before buying. I trust Les. He only sells vinyl that is clean and noise free."
"Lefty's always has a solid selection of new, used and really used vinyl. Les is great to talk to and knows his shit when it comes to records."
"I've hit them all and most stores have their merits, but Lefty's is a dream come true. Records that I've been hunting after for years show up at Lefty's: John Zorn, Gong, Ornette Coleman, The Residents, stuff that rarely even turns up in the bins at big city stores. What makes it even better is that Lefty's prices are unusually affordable. These records are meant to be played, not collected–most of my favorite finds there have been a fraction of the going rates online."
"It is better than Righty's!"
"Alongside being the home of Bright Eyes, Cursive and many talented others, they have awesome service, amazing selection, and great prices… need I say more?"
— Zach Robinson
"They have the largest selection of modern records in Nebraska with the best prices and a friendly staff, all in a very unique environment."
— Grady Smith
"Friendly staff, stellar atmosphere."
— Allison Ahlers
— Brian Schloemer
"Great selection, reasonable prices, friendly, knowledgeable staff, plus Record Club every month!"
"Saddle Creek is one of my favorite labels and an amazing shop. Also, how could you not love that Fevers and Mirrors wallpaper?!"
"It's a great space, lots of good vinyl."
"Best prices and helpful staff."
"Because Nate Welker rules!"
"They've got nothing but sweet records (no filler!) and memorabilia from the history of Saddle Creek."
"Nate Welker is so handsome and makes sure he orders me all my records."
"If they have what you're looking for, it will be cheaper than anywhere else in town. If they don't, they will help you order it!"
1209 Howard St., Omaha, Neb.
contact: (402) 346-8843 & firstname.lastname@example.org
"It's a magical experience every time I visit."
— Mel Killin
"It's gave me great friends, great music, great shows and great memories. Thank you, Drastic Plastic!"
— Todd Putnam
"I always find something new and interesting at Drastic Plastic."
"Friendly employees and Rick has an insane amount of knowledge about records."
"It is the one place that stands for something genuine, authentic and sincere, which is that spirit in music that aspires us to be better humans."
"Good prices, interesting selection, knowledgeable employees!"
1549 N. Cotner Blvd., Lincoln, Neb.
contact: (402) 464-4567 & email@example.com
"Jeff Loos is a man living his dream. He gets to sell records all day to people that he loves to talk music with. It's small, off the beaten path, but always full of the best of the new and a huge collection of used and collectibles. Going to Backtracks is less about the records, as it's more a place to hang out. The hours are odd (Tuesday-Saturday, opening at 1 p.m.), but that only adds to the charm."
— Ben Frerichs
"A good supply of new records, and a plethora of cheap used albums in great condition. It's also fun to just go in there and browse while chatting it up with Jeff. A steady stream of regulars make their way to the store as well, which keeps the conversation going. If they don't have it, and you want it, Jeff will always do his best to get it for you. Another great locally owned shop!"
— Nick Roth
"It has a large selection of new and old both. However, it's not too overwhelming! The guy that owns/runs the shop is a real peach, too. He's helpful but not annoying!"
— Kallie Steyer
"The relationship that Jeff (the owner) has with his customers is great. We are on a first-name basis with each other and he will order anything special for you. Jeff will go out way to accomate your vinyl needs. Jeff has a passion for music which makes the customers experience more like visiting a friend than buying merchandise. He also, for frequent visitors, will personally call you to say you have an order in, and in general will open up his store outside of regular hours for anyone interested to shop."
"Great selection and the owner is always friendly and knowledgable."
909 O St., Lincoln, Neb.
contact: (402) 476-8240 & firstname.lastname@example.org
"The owner is incredibly knowledgeable about all things music. The shop is well-organized and has a large selection of vinyl, cassettes, posters, CDs and cool miscellaneous stuff as well. He has a themed store front display window. Whenever a person involved in the making of a record passes away, he usually has an album or more displayed on a rack in the window in tribute. You can tell he enjoys what he does."
— Jim Salber
"Stuart knows more about music than anyone I have ever met in my life. If you go into the store with even a vague notion of what you're looking for he can not only point you in the right direction but tell you rare details about the band."
"This guy knows everything about music. Shopping here is a full-on experience."
2241 Franklin St., Bellevue, Neb.
contact: (402) 292-6411 & email@example.com
"Randy is a great owner who will help you dig out gems from his shop. He has a massive selection of used vinyl and tons of 7" singles. Additionally, he repairs turntables and warped records."
— Jack Cohenour
"Best kept secret, hidden in old town Bellevue. Bodacious selection and the grooviest couple run the place."
"The Antiquarium will never die."
"They didn't sell bullshit there."
contact: (402) 502-7579
"For being an antique store, they do have a pretty decent collection in the basement."
2509 13th St., Columbus, Neb.
contact: (402) 564-4823
"He's a G-ass muddaphukker. On da real doe."
— Dyann "Busta Rhyme" Dicostanzo
1210 Howard St Omaha, Neb.
contact: (402) 334-8844 & firstname.lastname@example.org
"I've been to many record stores in Washington, California and Nebraska, and Homer's has always been at the top of my list. The collection, the service, the atmosphere. Everything about the store is fabulous."
— Steph (no last name provided)