One Lucky record store: Yeti Records

Gayngs' keyboardist and his wife are enjoying being newly wed to Yeti Records in south Minneapolis.

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Keyboardist Jake Luck and his wife Lisa run Yeti Records in Minneapolis.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Instead of a matching dinnerware set, a breadmaker or a honeymoon, Lisa and Jake Luck got something they really wanted for a wedding present: their own record store.

"We signed the lease two days after our wedding," Lisa recalled, talking over a Funkadelic record last week at Yeti Records. "We figured it was now or never. When else would we be getting wedding money?"

Since opening their small shop in south Minneapolis four months ago, the Lucks have shown the kind of clever approach to Yeti Records that Jake was already known for applying in his reverb-drenched psychedelic band Leisure Birds, and from being a keyboardist in Gayngs. Their niche-carving gimmicks include a mix-tape exchange program (bring a cassette, you can take a cassette), and a cared-for local section that boasts an assortment of one-of-a-kind items (i.e., recordings of Daughters of the Sun's DJ sets from the Hexagon Bar).

Perhaps savviest of all -- at least to those of us whose attempts at bringing a toddler into a record shop have been met with pouty faces (from the clerks, that is) -- Yeti boasts a small lounging and play area at the front of the store with a collection of music-related toys.

"Customers are supposed to have a good time in record stores," Jake said. "These days, what's the point if it's not fun?"

So far, their plans have worked, or at least they say they've managed to pay their bills. Jake, 28, said the idea was "one of those things you talk about like, 'Yeah, we should do that...' but then one day you're actually doing it." They had been storing up used vinyl for more than a year from estate sales, Craigslist, eBay, you name it. They were ready to open by early fall but had to put it off for a few weeks so Jake could join Gayngs' first tour in October. Running the store together allows them flexibility to pursue their other interests (she's also an artist).

The couple met in Lisa's native Connecticut while Jake was on tour with his earlier band, Thunder in the Valley -- although Lisa, 26, is quick to point out, "I didn't have any idea he was in a band. It wasn't one of those things."

Happy enough newlyweds to want to work together every day -- and big enough music lovers to want to go into a business they know doesn't exactly promise riches -- the Lucks have indeed enjoyed a little luck since opening Yeti Records. Shortly after signing their lease they found out that restaurant empress Kim Bartmann (Red Stag, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette) plans to open a gastropub called Pat's Tap next door, near the corner of 35th Street and Nicollet Avenue S. that also already boasts the popular B-Squad vintage shop.

Jake's musical property value has also risen in that time, following Totally Gross National Product's release of Leisure Birds' debut album, "Copper Scroll," and especially since Gayngs' ascent. The all-star band returns to First Avenue on Sunday for its "Affiliyated" showcase and has been working on a second album. Said Jake, "Nobody in Gayngs really knows what's going on besides Ryan [Olson, the group's ringleader], but it's been so much fun, we're all up for anything."

Ironically or not, neither Gayngs' nor Leisure Birds' albums were in the bins at Yeti Records last week, a fact that underscores the store's focus on rare and/or used items. Still, you'd think the bands' labels could deliver a few copies -- at least as a late wedding present.

Hands in the air

"Last call at the Uptown Bar / The snow came all night." So sings Idle Hands frontman Ciaran Daly in "Uptown Burning," another in his saga of late-night tales and boozy epics that ring true to those of us who haunt the same venues and streets. The Irish-born Brit-rock specialist branded his style on Idle Hands' breakthrough 2009 album, "The Hearts We Broke on the Way to the Show," and picks up right where he left off on a new EP, "Life Is Beautiful," whose other standout track is a snide, Franz Ferdinand-style dance-rocker called "Socialite Death Squad." Release party is at Nick and Eddie on Saturday with BNLX and We Became Actors (9:30 p.m., $8.).

As if Idle Hands won't offer enough Bowie-copping for one weekend, Nick and Eddie also hosts a CD party Friday from another Brit-rocky band called the Brutes, a newish quartet whose frontman, Gregg Garvey, could probably pull off a mean "Suffragette City" based on their not-so-boastfully titled debut, "Wonderous Punch."

Random mix

"Believe it or not, we've gotten a lot better at this as we went along." That's what Chris Koza said about his band Rogue Valley's impressive run of four seasonal albums. They are finishing up the final one this week (or next), and have booked an April 1 show at the Varsity Theater for the release-party/grand-finale. ... Haley Bonar also has a party on the calendar at the Cedar Cultural Center for April 22, which happens to be her birthday. She is releasing her fifth album, "Golder," with help from Kickstarter.com donations.

Theater/dance haven Patrick's Cabaret is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by initiating a live music series. TBT picker Dave Carroll's side band Two Many Banjos plays there Friday (8 p.m., $5, 3010 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls.). ... Another nontraditional venue that's hosting more concerts, Anoka's main-street theater Lyric Arts -- literally on Main Street -- welcomes the Twilight Hours to its stage Tuesday (7:30 p.m., $18-$22).

Owl City (Owatonna's Adam Young) will play his biggest home-state headlining concert to date July 30 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul to promote his sophomore album, "The Bright and Beautiful." Tickets go on sale April 1. The CD, out May 17, was entirely Minnesota-made at Young's place in Owatonna, although mixing was handled by Grammy-winning producer Joseph Puig (Green Day, John Mayer).

Pink Mink has a new video for its locally fabled song "Seeking Scott Seekins," a must-see over at the Mpls.TV site. The videomakers used a crowd of lookalikes dressed in the same fashionable garb, moppy hairdo and pointy mustache that are trademarks of the song's namesake, an artist and man-about-town. Pink Mink is gearing up for SXSW with a sendoff party March 11 at the Turf Club, also featuring Maggie Morrison's H.U.N.X., Hastings 3000 and Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollsteimer's new band the Hounds Below.

chrisr@startribune.com • 612-673-4658 • Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisRstrib

  • YETI RECORDS

    Where: 3506 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.

    Hours: Noon-8 p.m. Tue.-Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun.

    Phone: 612-822-0490.

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