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Best Way to Pretend You're in a Foreign Disco While Staying at Home San Francisco 2001 - Medium Rare Records

Going to a nightclub can be tough these days. You have to deal with the long wait in line, the budget-busting cover charge, the drunken pickup lines -- not to mention the music itself, which often leaves something, if not everything, to be desired. Unless you're a multimillionaire, it's even harder to hear the latest groovy club sounds from Japan, France, or Germany. Sure, there are plenty of local spots that highlight imported dance, trance, and techno music; but if you want to hear something a bit more loungetronic, you're out of luck. Unless you shop at Medium Rare. When the small store initially opened in 1991, its two owners, Sean Connors and Arnold Conrad, offered only vinyl LPs, with an emphasis on lounge and kitsch. But when the "lounge revival" hit in 1996, the store began stocking CDs as well. Fed by the revival, artists in Germany and Japan began crafting electro-pop music from lounge and easy-listening sources; soon, Medium Rare was the first -- and often only -- local store to carry them. Current offerings range from the Japanese electro-samples of Mansfield to the '60s French go-go of France Gall to the '70s jazz-funk of Good Night Tokyo. And if you're not sure just where to start, the store features a handy listening station.

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