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Whether you're a long-time collector or an emerging enthusiast, these in-person and digital record stores are sure to have a title that speaks to you

There’s something irresistibly romantic about listening to vinyl. The vintage format transports you back to the age of analogue and transforms music from background ambience to the headlining act. In the era of playlists and shuffles, it invites you to appreciate albums in the way artists envisioned—in their entirety, as a holistic artwork bound by a curated theme, style, and narrative.

When you purchase a second (or third or fourth)-hand record, you forge a unique connection with those who had the pleasure of playing it before you, imprinting your own story onto it. From the moment you lift the dust cover, lay your record on the platter, and (very carefully) lower the needle, the art of playing vinyl attracts your full attention, making each track all the more meaningful.

The nostalgic return of vinyl continues to win the hearts and eardrums of old souls and audiophiles all over the world. Thankfully, record stores have become much more abundant as a result. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to buy records in the metro, so you can dig for the newest addition to your collection or seduce others to pick up the hobby.

See also: Why I Love Vinyl: Cocoy Puyat, Toti Dalmacion, and More on Their Obsession

1. Acetate Music

Part record store and part music education, Acetate Music offers the best titles across different genres from around the world. While they’ve got you covered for classic and mainstream albums like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Acetate Music is rich with lesser-known but incredible titles from talented artists that are sure to leave you in awe.

Our Pick: Tako Tsubo by L’Imperatrice, a French disco album “dubbed retrofuturism for the ages” that proves music is the true lingua franca.

See also: Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia' Wins Best Pop Vocal Album: A Review Of Her Best Tracks

2. Plaka Express

Plaka Express boasts one of the most extensive vinyl catalogues in the metro—if you’re looking for a popular title, they’re likely to have it. Their website lists tons of vinyl (OPM included), as well as CDs, tapes, and audio gear, making Plaka Express a reliable one-stop shop for all your audiophile needs.

Our Pick: Mac Miller’s sixth and final album Circles, released posthumously early in 2020. Designed to accompany the preceding album SwimmingCircles resonates with much of the cynical themes of the former with a familiar melancholy and a tinge of newfound optimism.

See also: Are Vinyl Records Worth The Splurge?

3. Bear's Den Records

On your next stroll along the weekly Legazpi Sunday Market, pop by and dig through the “Rock-Jazz-Pop-Soul-Funk-Blues” records stall, Bear’s Den. Find classic picks like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Toto’s TOTO IV as you shop through the market for a weekend well-spent.

Our Pick: the nine-track compilation celebrating the queen of disco Donna Summer — Walk Away Collector’s Edition: The Best of 1977-1980.

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4. Brightly Records

Brightly Records is an incredible treasure trove of Japanese pop, rock, folk, and jazz such as Mariya Takeuchi’s Variety—the 1984 album featuring the worldwide hit ‘Plastic Love’. Their impressive catalogue also expands across other genres with titles like Peggy Gou’s Once, Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club, and Kanye West’s iconic The College Dropout.

Our Pick: LCD Soundsystem’s first and eponymous album, which starts off strong with the dance-punk track “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” (long live Daft Punk).

See also: Daft Punk’s Former Creative Director Gives Hong Kong's Cassio A New Look

5. This Is Pop

Stop by This is Pop to take home an album that you’re sure to fall in love with, even if you hadn’t heard of it before. This well-established Legazpi-based record store houses incredible albums by underrated and underground talents from around the world, including Canadian indie band Men I Trust, Australian post-disco artist Donny Benet, and our very own UDD (Up Dharma Down).

Our Pick: Nick Luscombe Presents Tokyo Dreaming—an excellent compilation of ‘70s and ‘80s Japanese music spanning synth-pop, funk, and electronic genres, including Shigeo Sekito's ‘The Word II’, sampled in Mac DeMarco's ‘Chamber of Reflection’.

See also: Up Dharma Down: 8 Of The Band's Most Heart-Wrenching Lyrics

6. Asian Gosling Records

Specialising in vinyl records for pre-order, shopping through Asian Gosling Records’ portfolio is a much less stressful alternative to other Instagram brands that have you rushing to comment “mine!” But don’t lose your quick fingers just yet—they also post on-hand records from time to time, offering a great range of both fast-selling and under-the-radar titles.

Our Pick: Man On The Moon: The End Of Day by Kid Cudi, which features hit tracks ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ and ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ on incredible out-of-this-world purple and orange discs.

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7. The Grey Market

The Grey Market is another great store with an expansive collection that’s very likely to have whatever you’re looking for. Between timeless classics such as Frank Sinatra’s Platinum Collection to nostalgic retro records like The Diary of Alicia Keys and more recent chart-toppers like Kids See Ghosts, they’ve got something for every listener.

Our Pick: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which further fuses Kanye West’s rap and hip hop background with the electronic sound he explored in his prior release. Packed with hit after hit, Ye weaves a strikingly honest narrative about his own experiences with fame—not to mention, the album comes wrapped in one of the most gorgeous gatefolds out there.

See also: 'DONDA' Review: Did Kanye's Album Live Up To The Hype?

8. Tidal Vinyl

Stocking top titles in mainstream music, Tidal Vinyl carries albums from big names like Harry Styles, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé, as well as a great collection of soundtracks from film and TV like La La Land, A Star Is Born, and Euphoria.

Our Pick: though some of us may have been too young to register (let alone appreciate) the jazzy bops of this hit Nickelodeon show, the Hey Arnold! soundtrack is a wonderful collection of groovy instrumental tracks that’s sure to rouse a warm nostalgia.

See also: Tatler Takes: What Did Our Friends Think of 'Euphoria?

9. Plaka Planet

Offering an extensive portfolio and some of the most attractive price points on the market (even without their insanely generous promotions), Plaka Planet is a true gem for vinyl collectors. The record store has held some of the best works from some true music legends like The Beatles, Chaka Khan, The Doobie Brothers, and Carole King—just shoot them a message to see what’s available.

Our Pick: Air Supply’s Greatest Hits compilation, so you can practice crying out “All Out of Love” and “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All” until the karaoke scene makes a comeback.

See also: 5 Filipino Traditions: Four-Month Christmas, Competitive Karaoke, Bayanihan, and More

10. Treskul Records & Cafe Bar

Naturally, this stalwart of the local record store scene holds some of the most classic titles in music. With artists like Carole King, Earth Wind and Fire, and Red Hot Chili Peppers gracing its extensive collection, Treskul Records is the perfect place for old souls looking for vintage vinyl. They also have heaps of 7-inch singles to help you put your 45 RPM adapters to good use.

Our Pick: Treskul’s yacht rock starter pack, comprised of the 7-inch singles “Biggest Part of Me” by Ambrosia, “Reminiscing” by Little River Band, and Dr. Hook’s “Sexy Eyes” and “Sharing The Night Together”—all winning tracks.

See also: 6 Traditional Filipino Musical Instruments You Should Know About

11. Rosano Records

Rosano Records may be one of the smaller digital vinyl stores in the metro, but their portfolio is rich with great records that are difficult to find anywhere else, like Santana’s debut album and The Isley Brothers’ 3 + 3. Rosano even offered pre-orders for Music From The Mountain Provinces, an ethnographic collection of “under-recorded cultural groups” across Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Luzon. 

Our Pick: Índia, the 1973 música popular brasileira album by Brazilian samba superstar Gal Costa.

See also: Why Philippine Music Is So Deeply Embedded in The Culture

12. Northwest Estate and Collectibles

Northwest Estate and Collectibles (NEC) has a broad range of records spanning decades, genres, and even designs, carrying lots of limited-edition picture and coloured vinyl on their website. Their on-hand collection is wildly comprehensive with titles from Pink Floyd to the Spice Girls and even Travis Scott—but if you've got something else in mind, you can also check out their pre-order list, filled with records at NEC Washington to be shipped to Manila. Otherwise, fill out their wish list form and let them know what you're looking for so they can give you a hand.

Our Pick: English pop-rock LP Breakfast In America by Supertramp. The legendary album strings together smash hits one after another, especially tracks two to four -  namely. "The Logical Song", "Goodbye Stranger", and the title track.

See also: 7 Jazz Artists To Add To Your Playlist—Casey Abrams, Esperanza Spalding

13. Play Record Stop

Owned by Groove Manila, a local events team that celebrates music for all generations, Play Record Stop is a quaint store nestled next to The Spirits Library in Poblacion with a collection of records covering a broad range of genres. However, the shop is especially a haven for those on the hunt for house records, as they offer an impressive selection of singles from fan favourites, spanning Moodymann to Purple Disco Machine.

Our Pick: Washing Machine / Can You Feel It by Mr. Fingers, also known as Larry Heard—one of the pioneering producers who shaped deep house music in the late ‘80s, with the latter track often regarded as one of the first in the subgenre.

See also: Do You Collect Records? Here are 13 of the Most Sought-After Vinyl Albums to Own

14. Pristine Records

Pristine Records offers a great and diverse set of vinyl, from albums by indie rock artist Phoebe Bridgers to hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest and even comedian-musician Bo Burnham. With records both time-tested and new on the scene, you are sure to find a handful that tickles your fancy.

Our Pick: the self-titled album by British indie rock band Wet Leg, released April 2022. Though this is only their first studio album, Wet Leg has already enamoured listeners around the world, including NPR Music, who invited the group to join their Tiny Desk series, and Harry Styles, who covered their hit single “Wet Dream” at BBC Radio’s Live Lounge.


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