A diptych showing the interior of metal-focused record store Meteor Gem, showing racks of vinyl and walls decorated with a Meteor Gem banner, a Dying Fetus basketball jersey, and posters from Insect Warfare, Xibalba, Vomitory, and Contaminated
The interior of Meteor Gem, complete with Dying Fetus basketball jersey and posters from Insect Warfare, Xibalba, Vomitory, and Contaminated Credit: Photos by Mikhail Fedyukov

Chicago’s newest record store specializes in all things metal. Meteor Gem occupies a garden-level boutique at 3082 N. Elston, and its stock is so laser-focused on extreme music—including death, doom, black, post-, and progressive metal—that the records in just one subgenre outnumber the entire metal inventory of many local shops. Owner Mikhail Fedyukov has been involved in Chicago’s heavy underground for about a decade, booking and occasionally performing at DIY shows. He began selling records online about five years ago, and when the pandemic hit, he decided to devote all his working hours to that pursuit. “I had a small vinyl warehouse in my one-bedroom apartment,” he says. Fedyukov launched Meteor Gem’s website in January 2021, signed the lease for the Avondale brick-and-mortar location in February 2022, and opened the store on July 1. “The selection is all my taste and my friends’ tastes—it’s what my customers are looking for. I don’t have anyone telling me what to buy,” he says. “I make sure to get the stuff in here that I care about.” Meteor Gem is open Monday and Thursday from 11 AM to 7 PM, Friday from 11 AM to 8 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM. 

In local electro-rock favorites Chandeliers, Chris Kalis and Lisa Armstrong have learned to combine deft melodic interplay and sublimely danceable rhythms. As Drasii, the duo recently dropped “Memory,” which Kalis describes as “influenced by 90s house and techno, ambient film scores, and cosmic disco.” This wolf thinks the chilled-out track is a future dance-floor classic! On Wednesday, July 27, Drasii performs at Elastic Arts for the Chicago Underground Film Festival’s opening-night afterparty. The bill also includes Extreme Animals, Blake Parker, and a DJ set from 2016 Chili-Synth Cook-Off champion Mike Broers.

The battery of instruments on “Memory” includes a wonderfully named synth called the Arturia MicroFreak.

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