Record Store Day 2021 in Singapore: where to visit for latest vinyl, CDs, cassettes and more

Record Store Day 2021 in Singapore: where to visit for latest vinyl, CDs, cassettes and more

Every year, Record Store Day (RSD) is celebrated by vinyl records and CD lovers all around the world, an occasion that whets cratediggers' appetites further.

It's not rare to find many record stores organising musical performances, meet-and-greets, and the occasional guest DJ on board, wax heads and passers-by alike flocking into stores to catch a glimpse of all the action. Artists and bands are also known to drop a list of exclusive releases just for RSD, so the most fervent of fans ought to pay their local record stores a visit in order to get their hands on one of the usually limited copies.

This year, the first drop for RSD is set to take place on 12 June 2021 (Saturday), a day before restrictions from current measures are set to be lifted. 

While celebrations in Singapore may continue to take on a more muted approach given the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions, the spirit of RSD remains alive and strong amongst record stores and music-lovers alike. We spoke to some participating stores in Singapore to find out what they had planned, and included a few other listings that you should check out. Read on to find out more - Ready, Sanitise, Crate-dig!

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Featured in this article (click to jump to section): 

  1. Mosta Records LP
  2. Vinyl Kakis
  3. The Analog Vault
  4. Hear Records
  5. Vinylicious Records
  6. RetroCrates
  7. Red Point Record Warehouse
  8. Choice Cuts Goods

Mosta Records LP 

Photo Credit: Mosta Records LP. Facebook

Where: 34 Arab Street, #02-02

Website

Mosta Records is a vinyl record store that also became an indie artist management label in 2017. They're authorised dealers of Third Man Records (owned by legendary rockstar Jack White), Audio-Technica turntables, Fat Possum Records and several more. We spoke with head honcho Mr Azri Ali to find out what Mosta Records has up its sleeves this RSD. 

Tell us what is the one record you’ve been happy to play non-stop in your store! 

Too many to list down, but definitely Ibrahim Maalouf's S3NS. He's one of our favourite artists. All our staff who've worked here loved that record. We got the album directly from the management of the artist, which was really special. We have his whole catalogue. The artistry of the French-Lebanese jazz trumpeter, composer and conductor is just mesmerizing. A must-listen and buy.

What are some of the must-have new releases in your shop this Record Store Day?

It’s hard to reveal the RSD releases that are going to be available to us. The allocations are out of our hands to be honest. As for must-haves, different people have different tastes in what they are looking for. Some may go for Beastie BoysBill Evans or the ever-popular Linkin Park. Yet, we can’t promise all these will be available and that rings true for all record stores. We hope customers understand that.

Give us some recommendations for records by Singaporean artists that you have in stock this Record Store Day.

Local vinyl records are sold out, especially Mosta's own releases for Singaporean artists. But there are other physical release formats such as CDs or cassette tapes by local artists like Moods, Iman’s League, Hardihood, including a 90’s rare cassette of Pink Elephants. There may be one rogue LP of local dark-synth artist Microchip Terror if you can find it. But I’m not promising anything.

In your opinion, why are record stores an important part of Singapore’s music scene?

Record stores are essential, period. Streaming is convenient, sure. But it shouldn’t be the only way to consume music. It should go hand in hand with the physical format. That’s the original way people consumed music. Ignore record stores' existence and you will lose a piece of understanding of the beauty of music.

Record stores connect you with not only the music but the people who love music. The human connection is important in this age of instant gratification. You don’t get that satisfaction of buying a piece of music if you stream it digitally. Record stores are essential entities for music to live and not die a thousand deaths. Record stores are also an epicentre of local music, to propagate its growth outside of mainstream media. Without record stores, life will be less enjoyable.

How differently will Record Store Day be celebrated at your store this year given that we’ll still be in Phase 2 Heightened Alert?

We have always done a treasure hunt for RSD. If you find it, it’s yours! It’s fair that way. We will have our staff spin records the whole day — they’ve been practicing :) We will also do the standard, such as mandatory temperature-taking and checking-in using the TraceTogether app or token. Only three persons are allowed in at a time. 

Then, there will be a time limit for every person in the treasure hunt. We will blow a whistle when the time is up, so people have to stay focused during the treasure hunt!

By the way, we will also have our crazy sale too on that day. And maybe some sweets. Am I joking about the last 2 points? You just have to come down to find out.

PS: Mosta Records will also upload a special DJ set by MC Jahi from the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy. He is doing it exclusively for Mosta Records to celebrate RSD and the release of his record 'Forward Future', which will be available in-store too! 


Vinyl Kakis 

Photo Credit: Vinyl Kakis Facebook

Where: 5 Coleman Street, #B1-28 Excelsior Shopping Centre 

Website

Vinyl Kakis, run by Cherilyn Tan since December 2016, is a record store that largely stocks used vinyl from 'uncommonly common' genres such as retro pop, metal, experimental and more. It hopes to spread the love of these lesser-known styles of music to its customer kakis (Bahasa Melayu for 'friends'). We speak with Cherilyn to find out what she has in store for RSD. 

Tell us what is the one record you’ve been happy to play non-stop in your store! 

On this day, I am most happy to play this one record non-stop: '[ Ikkubaru’s Chords and Melodies ]'. In fact, there is no strange coincidence that Vinyl Kakis is well-known for Japanese titles. This おすすめ (recommended) vinyl album hints strongly of 'Japan-nee-cee' city-pop vibes.

A bit more of ikkubaru: they are an Indonesian 4-member band which debuted in 2014. Frontman Muhammad Iqbal named his band 'ikkubaru' from the Japanese-equivalent sounding of the word 'Iqbal'. Inspired by city-pop mavens Tatsuro Yamashita and Toshiki Kadomatsu, it is very interesting how the 'outsider' (non-Japanese) ikkubaru took charge and delivered the city-pop/techno-pop/new-wave tracks on 'Chords and Melodies'. This album is scheduled for the July 2021 RSD drop! 

What are some of the must-have new releases in your shop this Record Store Day?

Haha, it depends very much on what we could get our hands on or what we are allocated. Let me focus on titles from Japanese bands.

Firstly, Nulbarich. The name itself is a portmanteau of 'null' (for nothing) and 'rich' (for fulfillment). It is started by beat-maker JQ (Jeremy Quartus), and is a band whose members constantly change due to their fluctuating playing style. For this RSD, Nulbarich has collaborated with local and foreign musicians to showcase works that reflect their respective thoughts of living in a 'new normal' world through an album aptly titled 'New Gravity'. 

Secondly, broadcast channel 'Tokyo LosT Tracks' has released their first ever analog 'Sakura Chills'. Generally, their songs are relaxed and slow, with no lyrics. They are mellow and have a rhythm hovering around 70-95 bpm. Very suitable as background fillers while completing tasks! 

We don’t know which vinyl we will receive, so if there be any vinyl that catches your fancy (they are always in very limited quantities), do pick it up! Our Vinyl Kakis community thanks you for supporting this vintage format. 

Give us some recommendations for records by Singaporean artists that you have in stock this Record Store Day.

Currently, our in-stock Singaporean releases run the gamut from hardcore-punk SIAL, rock outfit The Padres, experimental trail-blazers Yuen Chee Wai and George Chua, to Singapore-based Camille Miller and our local ambient-friendly Kin Leonn from KITCHEN. LABEL. 

In your opinion, why are record stores an important part of Singapore’s music scene?

As social creatures, the tactile experience is what defines us. A physical record store serves as a platform to reinforce the interactive nuances that bring pleasure to our vinyl kakis. Even in these challenging times, with the RSD dates shifting here and there, the independent spirit of our record stores remain strong.

This is evident from how each record store owner continues to create and conjure up their unique vibe, signature scent, window display looks etc. This is all such a truly therapeutic experience! Having said that, we also need to find the sweet spot in managing the right online-offline balance, so that we can extend the limited presence of the brick-and-mortar shop through its 24/7 social media channels and outreaches.

How differently will Record Store Day be celebrated at your store this year given that we’ll still be in Phase 2 Heightened Alert?

Vinyl Kakis launched her 5th Anniversary 「l.lyrahs x Vinyl Kakis」BwB (Bag With Benefits) where 10% discount will be applied to vinyl, cassettes and CDs when customers bring this tote bag along to shop (except on pre-orders, reserved items, consignments, accessories and cleaning services). Of course, we will also be adhering to the current social-distancing rules/regulations in order to ensure everyone's safety. P.S. please stay updated via our Instagram handle @vinylkakis


The Analog Vault 

Photo Credit: Hafizh Rizqi Laksmana

 

Where: 8 Raffles Avenue, #02-10 Esplanade Mall

Website

Established in 2015, The Analog Vault is a retail store offering a wide and carefully curated mix of vinyl records in the genres of jazz, hip hop, electronica, soul, blues, reggae, indie, modern/experimental classical, world and Singaporean music. It also has other analog goods, including books and magazines relating to music and music culture.

We spoke to Nick from The Analog Vault's sales and marketing team to find out what the store has planned for RSD 2021. 

Tell us what is the one record you’ve been happy to play non-stop in your store! 

Woah, this is a hard one! We have too much great music on these shelves to willingly listen to anything more than once in a day! Our favourite records tend to change every week, and a lot of the time, come from customers picking out things. Come by for a dig and stay to listen! 

What are some of the must-have new releases in your shop this Record Store Day?

1. Eddie Chacon Pleasure, Joy And Happiness 
This is a thoughtfully considered album of quiet, confident R&B: it doesn't jump out at you, but rather gets in you. Produced by John Carroll Kirby, the like-minded artist and collaborator with Frank Ocean and Solange Knowles, it features restrained percussion from Kanye West’s Sunday Service drummer Lamar Carter. A break from chaos, these are quietly challenging songs as timeless as they are contemporary.

2. Sons Of KemetBlack To The Future
The fourth studio album by experimental jazz quartet Sons of Kemet released via Impulse! Records. 11 tracks of free-flowing soul and improvisatory jazz instrumentation with poetry and spoken word laced on top. Led by tenor saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, Black to the Future is strong in its message about hope as the driving force and spirit as the guiding light. Like all Hutchings albums, the LP comes with a manifesto-cum-sleeve note, translating the message of the music onto paper. Have a listen and don’t forget the source ❤️

3. Tony AllenThere Is No End
Out on Bluenoterecords/Universal, this has ‘outreach’ written all over it. Produced by the late Tony Allen, Vincent Taegar and Vincent Taurelle back in 2019 before his passing, this is 'musical baton passing' at its best. It features a slew of voices and messages from artists like Sampa The Great, Ben Okri and Skepta. 

4. Amancio D'Silva ‎– Konkan Dance  (New Reissue)
Amancio D’Silva’s Konkan Dance explores the uncharted possibilities of Indian music through jazz fusion. It views modal jazz and Indian classical music through the psychedelic lens of swinging London. Recorded in 1972 and only released in the 2000s, The Roundtable has absolutely nailed this reissue, remastered from the original tapes and sounding fresh on the turntable. Almost hard to believe this is from the '70s!

5. Gerry Weil ‎– The Message (New Reissue)
Right up the alley of fans of ‘Bitches Brew’ era Miles, Hendrix and Tower of Power, this album’s raw funk is met with big band horns and Gerry’s gravelly Tom (Waitsian) vocals, accompanied by thrilling energy all round. First released in 1971, this reissue is out on Olindo this year through a limited pressing of 500 copies, featuring brand new artwork and an extensive interview with Gerry whom many consider an overlooked cornerstone of Venezuelan jazz. Check it out!

6. Hoodoo FushimiKenka Oyaji (First Reissue!)
This is a killer electro-funk/hip-hop musical album from 1987 Japan! Reissued for the first time since its original release. Get it on this!

7. Various ‎– Virtual Dreams (Ambient Explorations In The House & Techno Age, 1993-1997) (Compilation)
Volume one of Virtual Dreams features tracks by Bedouin Ascent, David Moufang, LA Synthesis, LFO, Marc Hollander, Mark Pritchard and Kirsty Hawkshaw, Richard H. Kirk and more. This is for the electronic music heads that need something to listen to without the 'thump' of music made for the club. A beautiful collection of tracks to sink into.

Give us some recommendations for records by Singaporean artists that you have in stock this Record Store Day.

If you haven't already, we implore you to check out .gif's Hail Nothing LP. It was released on our sidecar label TAV Records just on the brink of Circuit Breaker last year, with a message that seems to hit harder as time goes on. Pertinent for the current state of things and a modern classic in Singaporean music, if we may say so! 

Next up, it's going to be an exciting time to snag yourself a copy of Intriguant's Spirits LP, also a TAV Records release! Seemingly made for the club, but revealing its depth upon closer inspection, this album is for those with strong feelings for the venues we hold dear. The finishing touches are being sprinkled on a remix album of Spirits, which will be released digitally in the coming week. It features remixes of every track on Spirits done by local and regional producers, and will come free with a purchase of the original record. 

We also have a pre-loved copy of an older Analog Girl record (a piece of history right here!), a slew of envelope-pushing Ujikaji releases on LP (including George Chua's 'Smokescreen'), Dru Chen's Mirror Work LP (one of our favourite pop albums to rinse), Chok Kerong's Tales They Told Me LP (TAV's mainstay Singaporean jazz/blues delight), Hanging Up The Moon's 'For The Time Being' (our 2020 favourite) on 7'' vinyl, Kin Leonn & Hiroshi Ebina's 'Faraway Vacinity' (a masterful ambient excursion) on cassette, Tserg's 'Serenity In A Crowded Place' (eclectic electronic goodness) on cassette, Opposition Party's 30th Anniversary Cassette Box Set (OG's!), Pink Elephant's '18 Minutes In Wonderlands' cassette (a slice of the 90's!) and Coming Up Roses' new release, Waters on LP.  Halal Sol's new EP on vinyl titled Dijamin is currently sold out but we're expecting a restock soon. 

In your opinion, why are record stores an important part of Singapore’s music scene?

We are in an interesting time where people seem to be gravitating towards physical media again. There are many advantages to having dedicated, physical spaces for people to enjoy and explore music; one of our favourite things about it is the conversations that open up from sharing listening sessions with people.

It goes both ways; we learn new things from the person on the other side of the counter, and hopefully vice versa. Our scene is in a pretty healthy place considering the amount of record stores we have here. It can be extremely valuable for young music lovers to explore the different worlds of music available in each shop outside of the highly-personalised algorithmic experience available online. Likewise, shops have to learn how music continues to evolve and progress with each era too.

How differently will Record Store Day be celebrated at your store this year given that we’ll still be in Phase 2 Heightened Alert?

Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, we won't be stocking any official 2021 RSD titles this year. However, we'll be having our own Record Store Week right here at the vault! This means a really special drop, new merch and snazzy giveaways to be won from 12th to 20th June.

We're really excited about this drop; there will be lots of rare gems, pre-loved & new digs, classic sounds and new heat to be found in our crates.This shipment is coming from Australia where our curator Sharon is currently based, so you can expect to find things you won't find in Singapore on the regular. Typically, we'd have a DJ providing the soundtrack for the day, but it looks like our customers will be in charge this year! So come by for a dig and stay to listen :)


Hear Records

Photo Credit: Hear Records Facebook

Where: 175 Bencoolen Street, #01-18 Burlington Square

Website

Hear Records is one of Singapore's most iconic music lifestyle stores offering a wide range of new and pre-loved vinyl records. They're also the local distributor of American turntables, and products from electronics manufacturer Music Hall. 

For RSD 2021, Hear Records is organising a huge sale event which also coincides with the annual Great Singapore Sale. From 9 June to 23 June, all new vinyl are going at 10% off while used ones are selling at a 20% discount. They are also offering discounted prices for turntables from Audio-Technica (which come with free Hear Records vouchers) and Music Hall.

As a sign of solidarity with families struggling in this pandemic situation, all proceeds from turntable sales will be donated to charities. 


Vinylicious Records

Photo Credit: Vinylicious Records Facebook

Where: 1 Coleman Street, The Adelphi #B1-41 

Website

Established in December 2012, Vinylicious Records are a dedicated independent store that sells only vinyl records and cassette tapes. It carries vinyl titles from the '60s to the 2000s and also features records by many of today's most popular indie artists. Vinylicious Records is manned by a husband-and-wife duo and has served happy customers from all around the region. 

Ahead of RSD, many new releases have been announced by the store. This includes Paramore's 'Riot!' record, Paul Gilbert's 'Werewolves of Portland' and even a coveted pressing of Taylor Swift's 'evermore' on vinyl. 


RetroCrates

Photo Credit: RetroCrates Facebook

Where: 448A Joo Chiat Road

Website

RetroCrates are an independent record store selling new and pre-loved records from music genres including pop, rock and jazz. Started as an online store in 2015, it now has a physical storefront at Joo Chiat along with an extension known as the Jazz Loft, which is a special section that's been set aside for jazz music only. 

Some of its new releases ahead of RSD 2021 include The Black Keys' 'Delta Kream', Moby's 'Reprise' and a special 35th anniversary pink 2LP vinyl edition of Belinda Carlisle's eponymous album. 


Red Point Record Warehouse 

Photo Credit: Red Point Record Warehouse Facebook

Where: 80 Playfair Road, #06-11 Kapo Factory Building Block B

Website

Red Point Record Warehouse hosts an impressive collection of more than 70,000 CDs and vinyl dating from the '60s to the '90s, covering music from different languages and genres to suit the most diverse of tastebuds among cratediggers. What's more, new stocks come in every week and retailers can give the records a spin at the warehouse's testing stations before deciding whether they want to make a purchase.
 

The warehouse also boasts many second-hand records that hark back to a bygone era older customers might find sweetly nostalgic. If you're looking for CDs of Mandopop classics by local singers like Chin Whai, or records from Singapore's pioneering Malay rock outfit Black Dog Bone, or even releases from Western goldies like Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday, swing by and pay Red Point Record a visit. 


Choice Cuts Goods

Photo Credit: Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee Facebook

Where: 446 Joo Chiat Road

Website

Choice Cuts Good are an eclectic combination of vinyl, coffee, and retail shop all rolled into one. It carries a quality selection of hip-hop, funk, soul, boogie, electronic, reggae, afro-beat, Brazilian and Latin vinyl. Aside from records, visitors to the store can also browse through their selection of lifestyle accessories and streetwear brands, all while having a cup of their specialty coffee made from 'Braziliana' house beans. Whoever mans the aux cord here is usually slinging a fantastic array of beats to fit the mood, too.

 
 
 
 
 
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New arrivals at the store ahead of RSD 2021 include Massive Attack's iconic 'Blue Lines' LP, Mary J Blige's 1994 masterpiece 'My Life' and one of Leon Ware's most renowned Motown releases of the '70s, 'Musical Message'. 

 
 
 
 
 
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