Vinyl is not dead. Heck it’s always been around. I remember trawling thrift stores during my uni days, picking up $3 finds like a Liberace, a Boyz II Men single and even one on pastoral German folk songs. And then we paid legit prices for the legit records like Bob Dylan, Bon Iver and Neil Young. Thing is, you don’t have to be a DJ, a snooty audiophile or from the baby boomer generation to be a vinyl enthusiast.
And surprising (or not), the vinyl culture is very much alive on this island, as our writer Daniel Peters had previously argued for in The Vinyl Strikes Back (yes we do love our Star Wars puns). This time, we decided to get our hands dirty and immerse ourselves into the world of vinyl collecting. We really got our hands dirty you could say.
Stay tuned for more of our vinyl excursions!
Red Point Record Warehouse
Located at Kapo Factory, in the very offbeat area of Tai Seng (Circle Line, CC11), Red Point is probably the only warehouse of records in Singapore. The first thing you will notice and have to observe, is the taking off of footwear. Somehow this made it even more home-y for me. With fluorescent lighting and a dated Chinese record playing, it may not be the coolest or most hip joint in town but it was comfortable.
With a couple of individual vinyl listening stations and some people checking out records on the floor, I suppose everyone sort of make themselves comfortable in Red Point. The collection is vast, with over 10,000 records in stock, apparently. The owner Mr Ong may not be in-the-know about modern music (although he did ask me a bit about Low) so if you’re thinking of getting the latest Grizzly Bear, sorry. There is however a small indie collection in the store that includes Okkervil River, Let’s Wrestle and Low but do peruse through the classical and electronic section. We also found Chinese, Indian and even Filipino records; and one called “Music of the Cosmos” that we liked immensely.
In the audiophile central that is Adelphi, you can find a bunch of record stores but definitely not one as packed as Memory Lane. Every Saturday, you find this little shop filled with every demographic going through new shipment – he has new records and 2nd hand ones – he gets or just browsing the ‘permanent collection’ – classic electronic, classic rock, classic pop, classic classical. You can always find a David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix and Prince here. Best thing, records here are decently priced. On some lucky days you might even get a discount. Like the day we went so coincidentally, this was where I succumbed and bought my first record even if I did not have in my immediate possession a record player. It was a very decently priced Japandroids so I really had no excuse.
It is impossible not to leave Vinylicious without making a purchase and becoming friends with the owners Eugene and CK. Window art, familiar titles on display and good music playing, you might even learn of new bands while you’re hanging out at the store. In this case, it’s Motorama and Night Beds (we reviewed them), which CK plays for anyone lingering near the Joy Division section. Verdict: It’s good. Clearly knowledgeable about his music, CK also asks almost every customer what they are after/like/listening to and makes some recommendations, you can trust him that’s for sure. We left after a couple of purchases, extensive smoke breaks with the owners, some McDonalds and new friendships. Think High Fidelity but with friendlier and nicer staff.