Hard-to-find record shops around the world

Have you been searching for a vinyl record for years? Maybe try one of these little-known shops.
Look at all that lovely vinyl. Rows and rows of it.
Glorious vinyl records © Michael Hurcomb/Corbis via Getty Images
By Chris Parkin

There are all kinds of record shops. Bewilderingly massive ones, like Ameoba and Forever Young in the US; shops serving niche audiences such as London's metal-only Crypt Of The Wizard; friendly shops and deeply unwelcoming ones.

There are also quite a few that are almost impossible to visit, which probably puts them at the top of most vinyl hunters' must-visit lists. Here are a few of them. Let us know on Facebook what we've missed.

Dund Gol Records, Ulan Bator, Mongolia

If you're frustrated by a lack of record shops anywhere near you, spare a thought for Mongolia's vinyl junkies. Until recently, crate diggers there had to travel across the Gobi desert to Beijing to get their hands on records. That's 1,000km. A long way to go for an old record by The Fall.

Batbold Bayuu is their saviour. He set up Dund Gol in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, filled with a collection he started years ago by rescuing records from bins at music college in London. Expect everything from Yemeni-Jewish music and hip-hop to Mongolian psych and Soviet-era music.

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The Record Deck, various locations in the UK

This aptly named shop does business from an old canal barge that pootles up and down the UK's waterways. It's not difficult to find, exactly, but barges travel so slowly that once it's called somewhere near you, it won't be back again for another 12 months or so.

Luke Guilford decided to avoid rising rents by making like a duck, and he's not the only shop on the UK's canals. The Record Deck is mostly found along canals in East London, but Guilford takes his carefully selected stock everywhere. Find out when he's near you here.

Bikini Waxx Records, Berlin, Germany

There are big hitters all over Berlin, like Hard Wax and Space Hall, but then there are the city's lesser-known gems. One of which you'll need to ring a buzzer to get into – if you can even find the place. Bikini Waxx, based on Manteuffelstraße 48, is a paradise of adventurous house and techno music, with enough lesser-heard sub-genres filling the crates (and the odd shopping trolley) to confirm that it means business. It's cosy, too, with comfy listening stations and a loft room selling cheap house and techno.

The Record Album, Brighton, UK

Run by a knowledgable elderly gent called George Ginn, this shop – which sometimes offers private views only – opened back in 1948 and is stocked with what must be the most comprehensive collection of film soundtracks anywhere in the world. It's actually close to Brighton's train station, but most people walk away from it and into town. That's a big mistake because nearly everything in there is in mint condition and hard to find.

Triassic Tusk, somewhere in Scotland

It's a bit of a mystery, this one. Stephen Marshall and Ziggy Marshall run Edinburgh's "world dance party" Moon Hop, a club night playing cosmic African synth-pop and Thai psych, and also run the Triassic Tusk label behind the brilliant compilation below. It's fuelled by obscurities and rareties, which they find on regular record-shopping trips. "One of the records was a swap for a bottle of whisky in a St Petersburg shady joint. Another was found on a beach in Ghana," they've said.

Once a month – that's 12 days a year – they open up an actual shop selling the label's new releases and their new finds. You'll need to sign up to their newsletter for all the particulars, though.

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Rolling Records, various locations around Australia

Mobile record stores are nothing new. Check out Charlie Ace's long-running Swing-A-Ling Record Shack in Jamaica. But that doesn't make them a bad idea. In 2016, two record collectors set up The Ghost out of the back of a truck and sell an amazing selection to Berliners. And a few years ago, Sydney's Greg Pizer decided he'd had enough paying rent and hit the open road with his Rolling Records store, complete with solar panels powering a DJ booth and listening stations. Follow Pizer's journey here.

Vintage Voudou, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam's Vintage Voudou has been specialising in "tropical and funky" music since 2010 – but it can only accomodate a few people interested in that sort of description at any one time. Located down an alleyway in the city's red light district, in an old brothel, this tiny, narrow shop was originally designed for just two people. Of course. But it packs every inch of space with Brazilian, African, Bollywood, dub, reggae and "weird music". They also run the ace Bombay Connection label.

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Lost And Found Records, Fairbanks, Alaska

This is one of the northernmost record shops in the world. (Puskas Musikk in Atla, Norway, is even closer to the North Pole.) It was set up by Megan and Max Frost when they moved to Fairbanks from Florida a few years ago.

They planned to get "real jobs," but nah. Instead they filled the record shop void in the centre of Golden Heart City with a narrow shop packed with crates of records and old audio equipment. Lost And Found's owners also harbour ambitions of starting an Alaskan music archive, collecting records by Alaskan musicians.

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Marrs Plectrum, Peterborough, UK

Another record shop owner who decided to get around the problem of high shop rents is Matthew Hawton. He opened Marrs Plectrum in an outbuilding in his own garden. It means a painless commute in the morning, but it also means that big events, like Record Store Day, bring hundreds of people past his house and through his garden gate. But Hawton seems to like it that way.

However, without the giveaway Record Store Day queues you might find it impossible to find – it's the UK's second smallest record shop. (VOD Music in Mold, Wales is even smaller.)

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