Hard Graft Records is grey walls, no fuss: a few chairs, a water dispenser and a formidable, well-curated stock of new and old LPs, which touches on metal, hip hop and rock. Stay for a bit and speak to owner Nick Mun about the vinyl experience; among other things, he’ll tell you that ‘an LP is a cultural artefact’.
Come for the music, stay for the antiques, art and vintage knick-knacks. Cross our hearts: There’s something for everyone here at this long-running, legendary treasure trove, from blues and jazz, to dance and disco, to Malay dangdut and Hindi tunes.
Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Radzi Jasni and Linda Hat, the cosy, small storefront leans towards more alternative, contemporary stuff: Lots of grunge, punk and rock’n’roll the likes of Haim, Suede and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in addition to ambient and electronic, R&B as well as local and regional releases. Bonus: They throw the occasional in-store gig, last year hosting Pastelpower during Casette Store Day.
Crossroads is a goldmine of old records. Most of these are a mix from the owners’ own collections and some imported ones from the UK. Besides LPs, Crossroads also sells used CDs and cassettes, so when you’re here, get ready to do a little digging. One of our surprise finds on our visit was the soundtrack to the The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1987 staging of the ‘Wizard of Oz’. Other gems include their selection of old Malay titles including Sheila Majid’s ‘Warna’ record going for a hefty three-figure price tag.
If you’re rocking an obvious 1977 original punk rock look, Tandang Store is perfect for you. Located at the loft above Rumah Api, there’s more than just vinyl, cassettes and CDs here. You’ll find zines, books and other punk-related merchandise. Be a good sport and support the venue by attending the gigs held regularly downstairs.