I heard Led Zeppelin the moment I walked through the door and immediately felt at home.
I spent an evening in Cedar Rapids last week and decided to make a stop at the Analog Vault, a record shop in the city’s resurgent NewBo neighborhood. The store moved to its current location earlier this year after it grew out of its old space. The shop features new and used vinyl and audio equipment, and owner Jeremy Vega does repair work on audio gear as well.
Led Zeppelin II played on the store’s speakers as I entered the shop, a particularly tasty pick to my ears since it was my first Zeppelin album, which I bought on CD during junior high. The album had progressed deep into side 2 by the time I stepped into the shop, but I enjoyed ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Bring it on Home’ while I flipped through shelves full of vinyl.
Vega talked music with customers while I picked out a couple selections to add to my collection. A careful sweep through the bins identified maybe a half-dozen candidates, but I decided my bank account would allow me to go home with only two. So I selected Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian by Johnny Cash and I’m Ready by Muddy Waters and took them up to the counter to pay and ask Vega some questions about his shop.
Music-themed décor covers most of the walls, and Vega said he tries to provide customers with an “old-school record shop,” like the kind that made a deep impression on him as a child.
“I remember being waist-high to my old man, and we’d go to record stores around town and I’d just be awestruck,” Vega said.
He hopes his store can provide a similar feeling for kids today. He said a common sentiment he hears from his adult shoppers is, “Whoa, this takes me back.”
I asked him if there were any records for sale in the shop that he would point to as particularly interesting, and he went over to a bin and returned with a copy of Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, priced at $64.
Classic atmosphere, wide selection and a friendly owner. Check, check and check. The Analog Vault gets my full recommendation. And for anyone wondering, those Muddy Waters and Johnny Cash albums sounded fabulous on my home setup.
2 thoughts on “‘Old-school’ record shopping at the Analog Vault in Cedar Rapids”
The NewBo area is fantastic! With RayGun and Lion Bridge all in the same vicinity you have something for everyone. I will need to make Analog Vault a stop on my next visit to Cedar Rapids. Highly recommended road trip if you are traveling that way.
I took a stroll around the neighborhood and was really impressed. I hadn’t been in that part of Cedar Rapids for close to a decade, and it’s night-and-day different. I’d love to spend more time there and take in a concert at CSPS Hall.