1. Little Soul Cafe, Tokyo, Japan
Despite its small size – there’s barely room for 10 – Little Soul Cafe, in the Shimokitazawa area known for its youthful population and trendy cafes, boasts 15,000 tightly packed records. This is the incredible collection of owner Miachan, who alternates between mixing whisky highballs and spinning rare soul and disco treasures that will thrill your ears. None of the records are for sale, although you can ask Miachan if there’s anything he’s looking to shift.
2. Mojo Record Bar, Sydney, Australia
Ask for a Guns ‘n’ Roses in this chameleonic basement venue in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, and you’ll get a vodka, elderflower, lime and rose-syrup cocktail. By day, it is a homely record store with red rugs and framed tour posters; by night, it transforms into a bar, with craft beers and wine served in its candlelit back room. On Thursday and Saturday nights, live bands and DJs – some making use of the diverse in-house inventory – entertain.
3. Flipside DXB, Dubai, UAE
The sole independent record store in the UAE, open since May, occupies a former warehouse in Alserkal Avenue. It doubles as a music hub – hosting DJ sessions, documentary screenings and band rehearsals. Most of its merchandise is vintage, with blues, jazz, and left-field Arabic and African finds you can enjoy at the numerous listening stations.
4. Jackpot Records, Portland, USA
Portland is a music store Mecca and Jackpot Records, open for 20 years in the hipster area of Hawthorne, is one of its mainstays. A broad space cluttered with racks to rummage, the shop has spawned an eponymous record label for reissues of old LPs. Its vinyl selection majors in metal, punk, hip-hop and reggae, with a balance of the esoteric – think Turkish funk – and remastered, limited-edition classics by the likes of Black Sabbath and Willie Nelson.
5. Mega Record & CD Fair, Utrecht, Netherlands
More than 500 vinyl dealers are present at this twice-yearly (April and November) weekend gathering, rendering it the largest record and CD fair in the world. Spread across 12,500 sq m of floor space at the Jaarbeurs convention centre, it is organised by genre and known for rare finds. Signings, auctions, memorabilia exhibitions and live performances supplement the vast jungle of crates and cases.
6. Santiago en Vinilo, Santiago, Chile
Over in South America, Santiago en Vinilo consciously offers an evolution of the record-fair format by factoring in juice bars, pizza trucks, live music – everything from country to psychedelic cumbia – and craft beer to create a fun atmosphere. All play out alongside the usual pairing of buyers and exhibitors, who hawk roughly 5,000 records. Started in February 2017, the all-day fair takes place in Plaza Victoria five or six times a year.
– TEXT BY RICHARD MELLOR
PHOTOS: JOHN CRANFORD, MOJO RECORDS
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.