Hong Kong’s 10 best record shops: it’s a vinyl countdown
With vinyl making a comeback and International Record Store Day coming, we list the shops that would satisfy the most eclectic of analogue fans
Anyone who’s been into a HMV store in Hong Kong lately will have noticed that vinyl records are quite a big deal once again.
Huge swathes of the music chain’s local outlets are now devoted to the 12-inch analogue wonders, and flicking through the selections you’ll find vinyl versions of the latest pop and indie releases, reissues of rock and jazz classics and (perhaps unexpectedly) a huge range of second-hand records mainly imported from Japan.
During the past decade vinyl has witnessed an astounding renaissance, and in the US alone, sales of records last year grew a massive 30 per cent to just under 12 million discs. This figure may only represent 5 per cent of all album sales, but it’s still an impressive achievement for a format most people believed had been killed off by the digital revolution.
Since 2007, this resurgence has been celebrated by International Record Store Day, a time to show appreciation for the many record dealers who toil in relative obscurity and, more often than not, poverty, to keep vinyl obsessives happy.
This year International Record Store Day falls on April 16 – and what better way to celebrate it than with visits to 10 record stores around Hong Kong, where with a bit of digging you will probably unearth some gems not found on the shelves at HMV.
As much an experience as a record shop, Vinyl Hero offers records for all tastes and budgets. But owner Paul Au’s heart belongs to American music of the 1960s and ‘70s. Ask to hear his record postcards from the ‘20s, but leave the day free: organisation is non-existent and Au loves a chat.
5/F Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, tel: 9841 7136
As the name suggests, this is not the place to go for the latest Justin Bieber release. For a more cultured crowd looking for classical, jazz and Chinese records, Classic stocks hard-to-find recordings, little-known gems and beloved classics. It caters mainly to the audiophile market.
Rm 201, Won Hing Building, 74-78 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2541 7733
Next time you catch a film at Broadway Cinematheque, also check out Kubrick next door for its eclectic range of vinyl. Although its well-curated collection leans towards indie music, Kubrick also stocks a wide selection of releases by Taiwanese and mainland bands. Don’t miss its great array of T-shirts and posters as well.
3 Public Square Street, Prosperous Garden, Yau Ma Tei, tel: 2384 8929
More than a record shop, Collectables offers a variety of used books, records and assorted curiosities. As it says on its card, it is a “marketplace for exchanging and recycling cultural collections”. Patient shoppers are sure to find something to please even the most bizarre taste.
2/F, 11 Queen Victoria Street, Central, tel: 2559 9562
White Noise Records
A record label, distributor and event promoter founded by three friends and music fans in 2004. White Noise stocks a variety of titles including up-and-coming local acts and names both big and obscure from Asia and the West, with an emphasis on experimental music and post-rock.
1/F 720 Shanghai Street, Prince Edward, tel: 2591 0499
Hong Kong Records
Since HMV started specialising in headphones and other hardware, Hong Kong Records has raised its game by expanding its selection of music on CD – and even vinyl. Alongside releases by all the big Canto-pop names you’d expect to find in this Hong Kong institution is a huge range of albums by the leadings lights of the independent and alternative music worlds. Its impressive selection of vinyl records also caters for audiophiles.
Shop 146, Pacific Place, Queensway, tel: 2845 7088
This brainchild of music industry veteran Clarence Chang specialises in all things jazz with a collection of more than 2,000 records, mostly from Europe.
Rm 604, Wah Ying Cheong Central Building, 158-164 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2523 8292
Located in a Mong Kok shopping centre is Zoo Records, a little store with a big reputation. Zoo specialises in indie music from Europe, but alongside its more obscure offerings you’ll find releases – both CD and vinyl – by more popular modern outfits such as Radiohead and Sigur Rós, and even classic acts like Joy Division.
Shop 325, 3/F President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, tel: 2309 2911
This members-based record dealer caters to the most exacting of audiophiles. Through its mailing list, it reaches music buffs all over the world and is a good place to start for the serious listener seeking a rare pressing or hard-to-find recording. Stocks mainly jazz and classical titles.
8/F Hollywood Plaza, 610 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, tel: 2796 6373
Shun Cheong Record Co
The city’s largest distributor of indie labels, Shun Cheong specialises in small-batch releases from the United States, Europe and Japan. It takes sound seriously and will be able to please the discerning audiophile. There are two stores, and it also stocks high-end CDs.
Showroom: rm 801, Wing Lung Bank Centre, 636 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok, tel: 2332 6397
Shop: Prelude The Music Store, Shop 38, 9 Chiu Lung Street, Central, tel: 2375 8668