The debate between analog and digital music will never end. Even if today’s technology makes enjoying music effortless, many believe it will never replicate the concert-like experience of vinyl.
It’s no wonder we’re seeing a resurgence in analog music appreciation in Bangkok. From old-school record shops to swanky vinyl bars, here are places to help build a collection, upgrade your gear and join the vinyl revolution.
First, here they all are on one handy map.
Tonchabab Record Shop
Teeming with old and new records covering genres from Thailand and all over the world, Tonchabab is the kind of classic family-run vinyl shop that your father might’ve frequented when he was young. It has two branches. Both are goldmines for seasoned and beginner crate-diggers alike. Think rare world music finds, from luk thung to ’60s and ’70s stalwarts like Diana Ross and The Carpenters. Call ahead for opening hours.
Good for: ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s hits, plus old-school luk thung
Prices: From a very affordable THB200
10 Bunsiri Road, 081-695-2785; Pattanakarn Road, 081-486-7528. Appointments recommended for both branches
Tang Siang Thai
Tang Siang Thai has been a sanctuary for music lovers for over seven decades. Vinyl records from all eras deck the walls and fill the shelves of this homey, old-school shop. Classic LPs from the ’60s and ’70s along with Thai and Chinese relics wait here to grace your turntable. If you don’t have a turntable yet, second-hand models are available here starting from B8,000. You can also get cassette tapes and CDs.
Good for: ’60s and ’70s Thai and Chinese hits
Prices: From THB300
253-255 Charoenkrung Soi 11, 02-221-8732. Open daily 10am-5pm. MRT Sam Yot.
A mainstay for Thammasat University students and die-hard music lovers for over 40 years, Nong Taprachan initially sold cassette tapes during its heyday. Now, they sell vinyl as well as CDs and cassettes. Expect household names like Earth Wind & Fire, Rita James, and Frank Sinatra, as well as rare mint-condition Thai records. Think ’70s icons like Caravan, The Olarn Project, or ’90s Thai alternative hero Audy.
Good for: Brand-new contemporary and classic Thai albums, as well as the odd Judas Priest or Black Sabbath release
Prices: From THB800
14 Tha Prachan Pier, 02-221-4421. Open daily 11am-7pm.
Owned by the prolific DJ Maft Sai, Zudrangma Records has been credited as the epicenter of Thailand’s molam resurgence for over the past decade. Aside from its reissues of hidden molam and luk thung gems, it also offer world music discoveries, spanning Ethiopian pop to Southeast Asian funk, as well as special compilations from their own label.
Good for: Old-school Thai molam, luk thung, ’70s Thai funk, and worldly sounds from Africa
Prices: From under THB1,000
7/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51, 083-063-1335. Open Wed-Sun 12-8pm. BTS Thong Lo
More Rice Records
The physical shop linked to the electronic record label of the same name specializes in underground dance music from around the world, with a focus on Asian artists. The brainchild of DJs Jay Sriyuksiri (Sarayu), Pakarapol “Top” Anantakritayathorn (Dott), and Elaheh “Ellie” Khodayar (Elaheh), this shop in the Phrom Phong back sois stocks thousands of records, plus DJ equipment and merch.
Good for: House, techno, and all their sub-genres
Prices: From THB590
235, 4 Soi Sukhumvit 31, 064-145-6596. Open Tue-Thu, Sun 1-9pn, Fri-Sat 1-10pm. BTS Phrom Phong/Asok.
Set in Soi Thonglor 6, Bungkumhouse is frequented by local indie musicians as well as Dickies and Converse-clad music nerds. The shop’s selection ranges from ’90s Britpop and alternative rock to soul, funk, and electronica. The tiny balcony occasionally hosts gig-goers and up-and-coming indie rockers, too.
Good for: Psychedelic rock sounds, from Hendrix to Spiritualized
Prices: 7-inches start at THB600; TB800 and up for LP records
Soi Thonglor Soi 6, Soi Sukhumvit 55, 086-606-2230. Open Wed-Sun 1-9pm. BTS Thong Lo.
Sex Record Shop
Nestled on the second floor of Thonglor’s Seenspace community mall, this uber-hip record store offers an impressive range of new and used LPs. Think household names like Bob Dylan and David Bowie and ’90s and noughties gems such as Radiohead’s OK Computer and The Strokes’ Is This It. There’s also an exclusive corner just for movie soundtracks, like West Side Story and Saturday Night Fever.
Good for: ’70s and ’80s heavyweights, as well as ’90s and early noughties alternative rock
Prices: Second-hand records start from THB550, while new albums cost up to THB,500
2/F, Seenspace, Thonglor Soi 13, 02-185-2728. Open daily 11am-8pm. BTS Thong Lo.
Garage Records center their efforts on restocking rare finds, with a particular penchant for ’80s and ’90s alternative rock – think The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands, or New Order’s Blue Monday 12-inch single. Dipping your toes into Japanese City Pop? This is the place to get started with albums like Anri’s Timely!!
Good for: Mostly ’80s and ’90s rock, jazz, and soul records, but fans of contemporary indie acts like Prep and Peach Pit will not leave disappointed, either
Prices: THB300 to over THB4,000
Lad Phrao Soi 8 (Yaek 9), 083-839-2016. Open daily 4pm-midnight.
Hall of Fame Records
This shop with the appropriate name has it all. Located at Fortune Town, Hall of Fame stocks new and secondhand albums covering a vast range of genres, from classic rock (think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) to country and synthy European ambient.
Good for: Prog-rock, Krautrock, and European ambient music
Prices: From THB600
3/F, Room 3058, Fortune Town, Ratchadaphisek Road, 081-844-9709. Open 1-8pm. MRT Phetchaburi
Owner Veera Vejvechaneyom shares his love for rock and heavy metal records in the form of Vinyllica (yep, he’s a Metallica fan). The shelves stock a mix of new and used records, along with a small collection of reissues. The catalog ranges from Metallica’s “Kill ’Em All” and Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction to Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. New Swiss-made Thorens turntables are available for purchase, too, starting from THB10,000.
Good for: Hard rock and heavy metal records
Prices: From THB89, but most cost THB300-800
2/F, Room 59/1, 59/2, 60. Fortune Town, Ratchadaphisek Road, 02-058-0434. Open daily 12–8pm. MRT Phetchaburi
Named after one of Maft Sai’s radio podcasts, the venue focuses, unsurprisingly, on adventurous DJ sets and live music. With nights dedicated to everything from Ethio-jazz to modern boogie, you won’t find a more esoteric soundtrack in town. Live sounds might come courtesy of the globe-trotting Paradise Bangkok, whose contemporary spin on Thai funk music has generated interest worldwide. Don’t miss the ya dong cocktails, either.
3/1 Sukhumvit Soi 51. 02-261-6661. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-2am. BTS Thong Lo.
Enter Lennon’s and you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into a mid-century recording studio. Lennon’s entrance hall is decked out with 6,000 records you can browse, play, and even buy. Their soundsystem is an audiophile’s dream, too, with a British-made Nottingham turntable, high-end McIntosh amplifier, and speakers from Harbet. Expect classic rock, blues, jazz, and a bit of luk krung any given night.
30/F Rosewood Bangkok, 1041, 38 Phloen Chit Road 02-080-0030. Open daily 6-11pm. BTS Phloen Chit.
Dumbo Jazz & Vinyl Bar
This American-style rooftop jazz and vinyl bar in Saphan Kwai has become an institution. Run by the owner of Trackaddict Records, it spins everything from ’50s to ’70s jazz to more recent rock tracks. Live jazz bands play every Thursday to Sunday, underneath fairy lights and a large neon red “Dumbo” sign as the BTS rolls by.
6/F, 490/5, INN Office Building. 094-560-7222. Open daily 5pm-midnight. BTS Saphan Kwai.
Sugar Ray You’ve Just Been Poisoned
Tucked within the Octo Seafood Bar enclave, Sugar Ray is a collaboration between the masterminds behind Q&A and Thaipioka. Besides excellent cocktails, expect jazz, funk, soul, and disco tunes spun late into the night. Sister bar Sugar Ray Apartment in The Commons Thonglor adheres to the same script, although on a smaller scale.
88/2, 88/9 Sukhumvit Soi 24. 094-417-9898. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-2am. BTS Phrom Phong.
Thonglor’s Bar Marco is all about mid-century California vibes. Venture inside, and you’ll be met by a two-story display shelf filled with an extensive collection of vinyl albums – the Beach Boys, the Velvet Underground, Phoenix, Thelonius Monk, Ray Charles, LCD Soundsystem, and more, a genre-spanning soundtrack that promises to keep you on your toes.
946/9 Thonglor Soi 20. 065-464-6925. Open daily 6pm-1am. BTS Thong Lo.
This swanky, seductive speakeasy is all about upbeat and smooth jazz. Think Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Barry White, and The Three Sounds, or the unexpected Kon Hin Lamer by Thai ’90s pop icon Soul After Six. There are live DJs each Mon-Wed and live jazz performances from up-and-coming crooners and bands every Thu-Sat.
2/F, 359/2-3 Sukhumvit Soi 63. 080-278-7808. Open daily 6pm-midnight. BTS Ekkamai.
Siwilai Sound Club
Picture a marriage between a New York City jazz club and a Tokyo-style vinyl bar, but with a Thai twist. Soothing jazz classics and contemporary rhythm and blues come from the likes of pianist Roykhien and multi-instrumentalist band Sirawet’s Trio at the “Live Room,” while even more vibrant grooves can be found at the “Audiophile Bar” courtesy of DJs like DJ Nanziee and DJ Toru. While you wait for the DJ sets, ask the bartender to dip into the impressive vinyl collection and play your favorite Bill Withers or Chet Baker tracks.
18 Charoen Krung Road 02-267-0415. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-1am.
Biscuit Bar and Restaurant
Tucked inside hip Soi Nana, Biscuit is all about house music with a side of soul and funk. The owners include Ronny, a DJ that brings over 25 years of experience from the French house scene, and Jorge, who’s responsible for the Mediterranean-leaning menu. The whole package might remind you of Thai bars in the ’90s.
110 Pantachit Alley. 096-829-9316. Open Wed-Fri 6pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 1pm-midnight. MRT Wat Mangkon.
Run by DJ Tob, DJ Aopsher, and Thai hip-hop star Twopee, this Thonglor bar with a very disturbing name puts music front and center. The trio has transformed the original Sugar Ray into this chilled-out hangout spot that spins hip hop, soul, funk, R&B, and more. Here, you’ll feel like you’re hanging out at your friend’s place – if your friend has a serious vinyl collection.
77, Thonglor Soi 20, 094-556-5041. Open Tue-Sat 8pm-2am. BTS Thong Lo.
This story originally appeared in BK.