In this ongoing series, ArtRat Gallery Social Media Manager Maddy Visscher explores the people, places and things that make our neighborhood great. Email Maddy with feedback and suggestions about the topics you want to see us cover!
Vertigo Music (129 Division Ave. S) crackles with energy all year ‘round — but the holiday season gives our neighborhood record curators a special opportunity to hook you up with Christmas classics and unforgettable gifts for the audiophile on your list.
This year, Vertigo owner Herm Baker has stocked brand-new copies of 20 different holiday albums, such as The Temptations’ Christmas Card, Sufjan Stevens’ Songs For Christmas and the Home Alone soundtrack, as well as the albums Herm told ArtRat are his best seasonal sellers: A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash’s The Christmas Spirit, Elvis’ Christmas Album and Dolly Parton’s Holly Dolly Christmas.
Other seasonal collections feature Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones and the Beach Boys. And if you need your holiday Mariah Carey fix, Vertigo stocks two different albums to choose from: the 1994 Merry Christmas album, which features Carey’s original rendition of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” and the 2010 follow-up, Merry Christmas II You, which features an “Extra Festive” version.
New adventures in hi-fi
Vertigo’s staff of four is always ready to hook you up with music you’ll love. For this occasion, Ethan and Logan stepped up enthusiastically to help ArtRat explore Vertigo’s holiday collection.
“David Bowie and Bing Crosby!” exclaimed Logan, rifling through the racks. “This one just released this Black Friday on its 45th anniversary. How could you go wrong with Bowie?”
“And A Charlie Brown Christmas! This one is selling fast. It’s my favorite holiday album to listen to — you don’t normally get to hear it on the radio. We also have the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. I love a good movie score.”
“This one is like, post-rock Christmas, and probably the coolest seasonal record we have.” Ethan said, picking up a copy of Scarlet Holliday, a three-song EP the band MONO created with producer Steve Albini in 2021 as a “special little gift” to bring hope to listeners feeling isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Who wants to listen to the same music over and over again?” Ethan asked. “This one still feels festive, but it’s different.”
Vertigo has also stocked Canned Heat’s Christmas Album and Blondie’s Yuletide Throwdown, as well as No Presents on Christmas by King Diamond for those who really want to take the holiday season to the next sonic level.
If none of these picks jingle your bells, Vertigo has three crates of used holiday records priced at $1 each.
“I recently had a customer come in looking for a specific singer-songwriter Christmas album for a gift,” Logan said.
“I wasn’t sure we’d find it, but we flipped the first record and there it was. So, even if we all think we might not have it, we probably do!”
Vertigo’s crates contain yuletide music created with organs, music boxes, gospel choirs or guitars. One record in the store’s used Christmas section reads, “Obenkirchen Children’s Choir: a musical experience of unusual charm and merit, so appealing they make you want to cry.”
And if you want to find a gift for the discerning music fan, Vertigo probably has it. “This isn’t your average shop,” Ethan told ArtRat. “This is a real-deal, old-fashioned record store.”
Whether your tastes run to an instructional Jazz Dancing vinyl that guarantees to “prepare you for any current dance craze,” or John F. Kennedy: The Presidential Years, which offers “some of the key words uttered by President John F. Kennedy, humbly presented as a perpetual record.”
Vertigo’s shelves are stocked with B-side compilations and rarities, special-edition releases, and more, perfect for gifting to the music lover or trivia buff in your life.
Vertigo Music is open Monday through Friday 12-7pm, Saturday 11am-7pm, and Sunday 12pm-6pm.