Ow -- this hurts. A nefarious chain selected as the area's finest representative of a retail establishment where independence is a virtue? Yes, 'tis true. Since mom-and-pop record stores haven't been able to mount stiffer competition in these parts, Border's Books, Music & Café wins because: (1) it sports the most comprehensive and complete new compact disc selection in Broward; (2) the staff would be working at a cool, hip indie store if there were a decent one around; since there isn't and they don't want to wear ties, they punch a clock here; (3) if we can't have housecats lounging around on hand-built bins under blacklight posters while the new Ministry album blares from a tattered speaker, at least you can get a decent cuppa joe while you browse the clean, well-lighted big-box floor; (4) no one else carries the extensive line of music-oriented DVDs that can be found here, like Gotham, a live Bauhaus concert film, or Icky Flix, a collection of artsy videos that puts the Residents in New York's Museum of Modern Art. A record shop's only as good as the back-room purchaser who orders product, and the buyer at Border's is obviously no shrinking violet, making sure the store is stocked with edgy stuff like Richard Kern's sexploitation series Hardcore Collection. Put that in your latte and drink it.

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