In this dire age of freeloading downloaders, crap major-label product (okay, some things never change) and clueless RIAA machinations (suing potential customers = bad policy, generally speaking), massive respect must go to any independent record shop that's still in business. Since 2003, about 2,700 music emporia have become defunct. So it is especially heartening to visit Fingerprints, which seems to be thriving in its hip little corner of Long Beach's Belmont Shore district. Selling both new and used vinyl and CDs, as well as books, mags, band T-shirts, collectible figurines and other cool accouterments of the music-freak lifestyle, Fingerprints caters to folks with deep, exceptional taste (to thank them, it often holds in-store concerts). This shop is really tailored for folks who like to get their fingers dusty riffling through moldy vinyl, people who consider WaxPoetics their bible, DJs who have gigs in small venues, obsessives who take notes while they read music blogs. Fingerprints stocks a wide range of genres, and its staff seems to know a lot more than most record-store clerks (stellar DJ/musicians such as Elvin "Nobody" Estrela and Dennis Owens work there). You can satisfy your indie-rock fix, of course, but Fingerprints will also attend to your more esoteric needs, like vintage funk and soul, psychedelia, dub, reggae, jazz, experimental, electronic, and underground hip-hop. Tons of interesting releases from tiny indie labels crowd Fingerprints' shelves. It's a bit overwhelming to spend an afternoon browsing there, but ultimately rewarding for your music collection and education. When the White Stripes wanted to open their own temporary, SoCal-based record store to hype the release of the new Icky Thump album in July, Fingerprints received the call to set up and operate the makeshift establishment in the old Tower Records Sunset location. That's respect, brothers and sisters.