Death of CDs, eh? There have been articles left and right springing up about how physical CD sales have been in the decline for the past few years and how everyone’s going digital. Not just digital though, seems like streaming may just be the common music consumption of the future. Not every artist agrees with that, but we’ve saved that for another piece.
Despite the apparent lack in demand for plastic circular objects, another kind of circular object has been on the rise. The ones that have been around even during the time of your grandparents. Yes, we’re talking about vinyl. We’ve been proponents of the format for a long time and we’re happy to see that it has indeed been taking off.
We may be picky semi-audiophiles but vinyl isn’t just about the sound quality. We’re pure suckers for gorgeous packaging and nothing else excites more than listening to an album back to front, without the intrusion of...well, anything else. It is an exciting time for the format, with vinyl sales at its highest since the 90s and. Although rumours are floating that prices may increase this year due to plants being unable to keep up with demand, let's hope things will turn with reports that there will be new machines to press records.
We understand that our readers have different tastes so we took the time to travel around Singapore to seek out the different kinds of record stores to go to. From indie-rock centrals to soundtrack sanctuaries and the shops that’ll give your metal cravings the right fixin', here are some of the best record stores our country has to offer. We also decided to add in some online distros because they've got some of the good stuff too.
Before you start hunting for some sweet vinyl, check out how you can properly pick out used records and take care of them!
A staple favourite of many crate diggers in Singapore and beyond, Red Point Record Warehouse is the perfect record store (or uh...warehouse) to get lost in and dig for hours in peace. With a wide range of second hand records, spanning from disco to classical to rock and pop, shop owner Mr Ong’s best known for stocking an extensive collection of Chinese and Malay records.
Where?: Kapo Factory Building, Blk B #06-11, 80 Playfair Road, Singapore 367998.
When?: 11am - 7pm on Thursdays to Fridays. 11am - 8pm on Saturdays. 11am - 7pm on Sundays. Closed on other days.
Currently the next biggest record store aside from Red Point, Roxy Disc House (not to be confused with Roxy Records) originated from a small, cramped unit in Adelphi of which still exists today. Stocking mainly audiophile favourites along with deluxe reissues of classic albums, they also have new releases and (just like Red Point) an impressive amount of second hand records that vary in price. Also, if you’ve been wanting to get that Shirley Nair single featured in the excellent SG50 short, they have one more copy left, at least he did the last time we were there. Be warned though, it doesn’t come cheap.
Where?: 39 Jalan Pemimpin, #01-03.
When?: 1pm - 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays. 2pm - 7pm on Sundays.
The classic quintessential Singaporean record shop. Around for more than 50 years, it's the place where metalheads converge to get their fix of rare European imports, the hot spot for cheap 90s house 12”s and cassettes, the joint for luxurious vinyl boxsets and so much more. Roxy Records & Trading is a quaint nest plastered with gig posters all over its walls, manned by a very kind shop owner Richard who’s always there to help you dig around if you’re looking for something.
There are boxes of records on consignment along with new arrivals, so you can find the newest record by Pink Floyd not far away from an early pressing of The Fall’s This Nation’s Saving Grace.
Where?: Excelsior Shopping Centre, #02-15, 5 Coleman Street, Singapore 179805.
When?: 12pm - 9pm on Mondays to Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.
A well-known spot for vinyl enthusiasts here, Hear Records has an extensive and very updated collection of records. Nick, the owner, is a friendly and good guide if you’re looking for recommendations at the store. The catalogue is stocked quite regularly (and you can get email updates!) while their Facebook page is also kept up-to-date. There’s always a rush of excitement during the week when checking out new shipment at work. From The Observatory’s recent release Oscilla to Four Tet’s There Is Love In You, or the Old Boy OST to classic jazz records, Hear Records is the place to be. If you’re lucky.
Where?: Burlington Square, #01-39, 175 Bencoolen Street, Singapore 189651.
When?: 11am - 7.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays. 12pm - 6pm on Sundays.
A sister outlet to the OG shop in Burlington Square, Hear Records At Chinatown offers a similarly eclectic range — you can find jazz, soundtracks, metal, indie pop.
Both shops have their fair share of Japanese-pressed used records which are — for the most part — wonderfully value for money. There's simply plenty to dig into at their Chinatown branch, which is managed by DJ Robin Chua aka KiDG, also the man responsible for the shop's eye-catching display of sleeveface photographs.
Where? Blk 5 Banda Street, #01-98
When? 11am to 7.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays, 12pm to 6pm on Sundays.
There’s more to Spize and Ayam Penyet Ria at Simpang Bedok - tucked into the corner, adjacent to the supermarket is Zenn Audio Electronics. It first started out as a vinyl player repair store before venturing to juggle both record collecting and repairing.
It’s a cosy joint: his dog napping in the doorway, turntables stacked around the store for sale, and the boxes of classic records Gabriel, the shop owner has. Expect to find Led Zeppelin, Teresa Teng and a lot of Chinese records from yesteryear… and a gentle but slightly lazy mutt.
Where?: Bedok Shopping Complex, 292 Bedok Road, Singapore 469448
When?: 1pm - 8pm on Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
The new record shop on the block, they’re tucked away in a boxy Tiong Bahru unit along the road with its sleek logo emblazoned on its window. Enter the shop and you’ll find Tremon, the amiable and knowledgable owner of Curated Records.
In its inventory, you’ll find an impressive selection of contemporary pop records seated neatly alongside obscure titles from small labels on the other side of the world. Tremon is unapologetic of his equal love for radio pop and extreme metal and his eclectic tastes attests to its selection. Synth-pop, hip-hop, thrash metal, drone, punk. A must-visit!
Where?: 55 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-53, Singapore 160055.
When?: 1pm - 8pm on Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
Fancy a cup of coffee to go with an afternoon session of crate digging? You'll feel right at home in Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee Blaccsmith HQ, where you can dig through a hefty selection of records ranging from hip-hop to soul, R&B to afrobeat and anything else in-between. Choice Cuts occasionally holds parties, like their recent Dilla celebration, so it's an incredibly lively place anytime you step foot into its quarters.
(UPDATE: As of now, Choice Cuts has vacated its Serangoon Road premises, reopening in a new location soon.)
486 Serangoon Road
12pm - 10pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays and Sundays, 12pm - 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed on Mondays.
A haven for crate diggers who can’t afford a lot of time and money, Memory Lane is situated in a cramped unit in the corner of the basement of audiophile centre The Adelphi.
There, you’ll find a neat selection of second-hand records that go from the early 60s all the way to the 90s, with the occasional new record on consignment popping up here and there — all going from only $10 onwards. Owner Gary is friendly and easy-going, updating customers whenever a new shipment arrives through SMS. You’ll have to be early to get some of the good stuff before his regulars do.
Where?: The Adelphi, #B1-17, 1 Coleman Street, Singapore 179803.
When?: 1pm - 5pm on Saturdays. Other than that, depends on when Gary is free. You'll have to ask him yourself.
A hub for audiophiles on their lunch breaks on weekdays, New Disc Village houses a catalog of records that run the gamut from rock and pop to folk and classical music. You'll also find an ace selection of new and reissued jazz titles.
There are also several audiophile vinyl and CDs but that doesn't mean it's a rich man's playground. We found a recent reissue of Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left at the low price of only $29. Also, try saying "New Disc Village" casually.
Where?: The Adelphi, #03-15, 1 Coleman Street, Singapore 179803.
When?: 11.30pm - 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.
The Barbershop Music, like Choice Cuts, isn't your average spirited record store — as their name implies, it's also a barbershop (otherwise known as The Panic Room) and the combination is something that you won't get in any other store here (or possibly in Southeast Asia).
Mix that in with the crew's impeccable music taste — harboring a soft spot for dirty funk grooves and bluesy garage rock rhythms — and you get a barbershop you'll never tire of. The shop's also active on Instagram, with daily music recommendations.
Where? 311A Geylang Rd
When? 11am - 9am all week, closed on Tuesdays.
Located just at a unit adjacent to New Disc Village is Simply Music, a shop renowned for their jazz and classical selections along with pricey Japanese pressings of various titles. You can also grab quality but affordable turntables there like the Audio-Technica LP120 if you want to start out right!
Where?: The Adelphi, #03-12, 1 Coleman Street, Singapore 179803.
When?: 12.30pm - 7.30pm all week.
Definitely one of the more well-known shops on this list, due in part to its prime location at Plaza Singapura (UPDATE [21/4/17]: The shop is now located at Millenia Walk). House of Turntables features, yes, turntables — the kind that sound as good as they look, and they are all very sexy.
Hawking almost exclusively Pro-Ject turntables, you can worm your way up the audiophile ladder beginning with the Debut Carbon model. And of course, they have records too; a fine selection of new titles along with a wide range of second-hand titles, mostly in very good condition.
Where?: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-42 Millenia Walk.
When?: Opens 11am all week — closes at 8pm on Sundays to Thursdays, closes at 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
While they’ve gone through a bit of a change in their selection in recent times, the homeliness of Vinylicious Records and its unfailingly friendly owners have remained. They’ve taken great care into the title selections, sporting a nice catalog of modern titles with reissues of older ones. What’s unique about their shop is that due to shop owner Eugene’s expertise in 80s contemporary music and partner Rachel’s affinity for film soundtracks, you can find a wide selection of 80s albums and singles and an array of film soundtracks. Formerly at Parklane, they’ve now taken residency in a relatively spacious unit at Peninsula Shopping Centre.
From dramatic scores to quirky song compilations, film soundtracks have been high in demand by vinyl collectors and you’ll definitely be able to get your reel fix here. Another crowning jewel of the shop is their Vinyl Vault, a selection of hard-to-find titles — ranging from an original pressing of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless to the much-lauded but exceptionally rare Tron: Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk.
Where?: Peninsula Shopping Centre, #03-01, 3 Coleman Street, Singapore 179804.
When?: 12pm - 8pm on weekdays, 1pm - 7pm on weekends.
It’s impossible to miss this shop on the third floor of Excelsior Shopping Centre. With 60s Singapore psychedelic music playing from the store, vintage knick-knacks and classic film posters adorning the shop window, we could not resist checking it out. If you’re feeling adventurous and nostalgic, this is the place to dig up some local acts from the glory days like Rita Chao, Anita Sarawak, The Surfers, keroncong music and more. If you’re gonna be picking up some vinyl there, you might as well check out the collection of antique memorabilia they have for sale there as well!
Where?: Excelsior Shopping Centre, #03-08, 5 Coleman Street, Singapore 179805.
When?: 12pm - 6pm on weekdays, 11am - 4pm on weekends.
A relatively new store in the building, the husband-and-wife duo behind Mosta Records LP have briskly made their mark by securing record shipments directly from reputed labels like Jack White's Third Man Records, Light In The Attic, Waxwork Records, Fat Possum Records, Jump Up Records, Mondo Records and Death Waltz Records. Step in and you'll find yourself digging for hours, with an abundance of records across a wide spectrum of genres, but we especially recommend their reggae and soundtrack sections.
Where? 3 Coleman Street, #02-21, Peninsula Shopping Centre.
When? 3.30pm - 7pm on Tuesdays to Fridays, 12pm - 7pm on Saturdays, 12pm - 4pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays.
Enter For the Record and you'll find a room, top to bottom, stuffed with records from different decades. It can be daunting digging in this room, especially if you're new, but all you have to do is to ask owner Giri or his brother Sree to help you find a title and they'll oblige without fuss.
Giri is a man of humor and fine music; ask him for some recommendations if you're up for it and he'll be able to find you some records to fit your taste. His collection ranges mainly from the 50s all the way to the 90s, spanning from Frank Sinatra to Discharge to Bach, so don't expect to find Arctic Monkeys here. What you'll find instead is a shop you'll want to keep coming back to.
Where?: Peninsula Shopping Centre, #04-28, 3 Coleman Street, Singapore 179804.
When?: 12.30pm - 8pm all week.
Nestled in a cosy unit at the back of Chinatown Plaza, Retrophonic Records style themselves as a “boutique vinyl record store”, offering a variety of records that range from alternative English titles, like classics by Bjork or Alice in Chains, to classic Mandopop ones packaged in deluxe sleeves. What sets them apart from most record stores is the range of equipment for sale — they have turntables, amplifiers and speakers to help you get started, especially since they're stocking the casual turntable favourite, the Audio Technica AT-LP60.
Where?: Chinatown Plaza, #02-02A, 34 Craig Road, Singapore 089673
When?: 11am - 6pm on weekdays, 11am - 3pm on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.
Originally known for importing a wealth of metal releases, along with a variety of band t-shirts, Inokii has been stocking up their own catalog of vinyl records, spanning across various subgenres of metal and rock. They have tonnes of CDs for sale if you’re looking for some good bargains too. The man in charge of Inokii, Chan, organizes the occasional hardcore/metal gig as well.
Where?: Far East Plaza, #03-30, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213
When?: 2pm - 8pm, all week.
The newest shop in the block, Surface Noise was only recently established by the heads of three Singaporean distros — 4490 Records, Canopus Distro and Azadghei Distro. They've convened to offer a healthy selection of local, regional and international music in the alternative department — hardcore, punk rock, doom metal, grindcore, post-punk and more. Located at the unassuming Textile Centre, they've stocked up on plenty of cassettes, CDs, merch and of course, vinyl records for more than one visit.
Where?: Textile Centre, #04-16, 200 Jalan Sultan, Singapore 199018
When?: 2pm - 8pm on Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
Formally an extension of Vinylicious Records, The Analog Vault is located in the swanky confines of the Esplanade. And while they continue the tradition by Vinylicious with a stunning selection of soundtracks and various new indie and pop titles, The Analog Vault arguably has bragging rights to the best catalog of hip-hop and electronic titles in the country. Store owner Sharon is a noted avid listener and fan of hip-hop and jazz, and you’ll find plenty all around the store. Say hi to our writer Matt when you’re there too, who manages the store daily.
Where?: Esplanade Mall, #02-13, 8 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039802
When?: 1pm - 9pm, all week.
Their name suggests a gathering of friends, and you'd be right to assume the best out of this shop. With a generous array of used records, mostly from Japan, you'll get a kick out of Vinyl Kakis if you're especially into music from the 70s and 80s. Definitely worth a few hours of intense digging, or if you'd just like to congregate with like-minded music lovers.
Where? 5 Coleman Street, #B1-28, Excelsior Shopping Centre
When? 12pm - 7pm on Wednesdays to Fridays, 12pm - 8pm on Saturdays, 12pm - 6pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
An underground favourite, Ravage Records stocks the best and darkest extreme metal has to offer. The shop is owned by a gregarious gentleman named Khaal, who also leads the black metal band Balberith. A visit to Ravage not only allows access to a rich and concise catalog of metal from all over the world, but his collection of vintage flags, figurines, first-pressings of classic albums and custom-patched denim jackets is enough to gawk at, if you’re not already busy exchanging knowledge with Khaal. A worthwhile visit for purveyors of extreme music. And hey, why not catch a movie while you're there too?
Where?: Golden Mile Tower, #02-41, 6001 Beach Road, Singapore 199589
When?: 5pm - 10pm on Wednesdays to Mondays. Closed on Tuesdays.
Nestled just above popular barbershop Hounds of the Baskervilles, Straits Records has been an enduring establishment in Singapore since 1995, selling a wide range of vinyl records and CDs, books, t-shirts and other assorted merchandise, leaning towards punk rock, reggae, hip-hop, soul, funk and alternative rock. They’ve also been ardent supporters of the independent rock scene of Singapore, and you’ll find plenty of local and regional music for sale.
Where?: 24A Bali Lane (2nd floor), Singapore 189860
When?: 6pm - 11pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 4.30pm - 11pm on Fridays. 2pm - 11pm on Saturdays. 2pm - 9pm on Sundays.
Keeping Music Alive is their tagline, fully believable with their vibrant catalogue of new, reissued and used vinyl. Located in the area of Joo Chiat, RetroCrates bucks the trend of a central location so eastside music lovers with an afternoon to kill and money to spare would do well in this lovely store.
Where? 448A Joo Chiat Road
When? 12pm to 7pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays, 12pm to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.
Dangerous Goods' presence is restricted to a Facebook page but you’ll be able to find punk and hardcore titles at reasonable prices. The owner, Paulo, hand-delivers each record at his discretion and you’ll meet a very unassuming but passionate fan of the extreme side of music.
He ships in titles from labels like Deathwish Inc., No Sleep Records, Topshelf Records and more, along with his own releases by Singaporean hardcore punk bands. A record junkie himself, he occasionally posts pictures of vinyl from his own collection for us to salivate over — owning rare variations and pressings of various classic titles.
A familiar sight for most gig-goers in Singapore, Canopus Distro is almost a mainstay outside most gig venues in Singapore. If you’re looking for cassettes, CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, and artwork by local, regional, and also international bands - Canopus will probably stock it, regardless of genre. You can find the upbeat indie release of Stopgap, to your favourite nostalgic album by b-quartet. If you’re not in the +65, no worries! Canopus Distro also handles international shipping.
Aside from their storied discography of experimental and avant-garde releases from Southeast Asia, Ujikaji Records also stocks plenty of records from international labels — from Beirut and Sun City Girls to Les Rallizes Denudes and Omar Souleyman, there's plenty to learn and discover from their catalogue.