Taiwan’s various record stores are a cornerstone of the local indie scene. Record stores double as record labels and fashion retailers, and bookstore chains sell vinyl from Taiwanese indie acts, making for a robust foundation for Taiwan’s independent music scene. Here are our picks for the top vinyl stores in Taipei.
Taiwan has been home to mandopop superstars like Jay Chou and JJ Lin, but a look behind the bright lights and sold-out stadium shows will show you the livehouses, indie bands, and independent vinyl stores keeping the vibrations of Taiwanese counterculture alive on the island. That said, Taiwan’s independent music scene is all but inchoate. The scene has become a ubiquitous facet of the region’s culture, with local indie acts such as No Party for Cao Dong and Chthonic being featured in music festivals, and on magazines and DPP presidential campaign ads.
White Wabbit Records
In the span of three short years, White Wabbit Records storeowner Yeh Wan-ching, known to musicians and customers as KK, had opened a record store, established a record label, and hosted post-rock powerhouse Explosions in the Sky’s first ever visit to Taiwan. Today, White Wabbit continues to uphold its long-standing status as a mainstay in Taiwan’s indie music scene by meticulously curating its collection of CDs and vinyl from Taiwanese indie artists, as well as imported indie records.
Visit White Wabbit at its current location in Taipei music venue The Wall, a significant improvement from its old location in a converted men’s restroom in the now-defunct Zeitgeist livehouse. Head over to The Wall and grab some music based on the description labels carefully thought-out by White Wabbit’s employees!
Address: No. 1-1, Lane 21, Pucheng Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Owned by a member of the Taiwanese indie rock band 透明雜誌 (Touming Magazine), Waiting Room is yet another record store emblematic of Taiwanese street and youth culture. The record store, just a stone’s throw away from Taipei station, stocks new vinyl, local indie rock, experimental, and jazz, as well as apparel from art books and Hong Kong and Taiwan-based fashion brands carefully selected by Waiting Room’s staff. The store’s eclectic music and fashion offerings gives visitors a look into Taiwan’s independent arts scene: from indie powerhouse Sunset Rollercoaster and Waiting Room’s very own Touming Magazine to ambient Brian Eno tracks, Waiting Room has it all.
Address No. 1, Alley 10, Lane 40, Chang’an West Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
While Waiting Room incorporates fashion into their record store business, and White Wabbit operates as a record store-label hybrid, THT Records brings something different to the table. In the same vein as Hong Kong’s Kubrick, the Xinyi-based THT Records combines a cafe with a record store. Much to customers’ relief, the record store-cafe hybrid compromises on neither facet of their business. The space has entire walls of records spanning multiple genres and locations, from classic soul and jazz to R&B. Don’t forget to sit down with a coffee or a locally brewed IPA when you eventually get tired of digging through the walls of music!
Address: No. 10-2, Xing’an Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, 10491
Eslite (Xinyi Store)
Eslite, one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan, is famous for its massive scale. The bookstore has expanded since its opening to now housing boutiques and food courts in addition to its literary offerings. You would not expect a store with so much on its hands to have a stellar collection of vinyl, but that is exactly what Eslite offers. Their vinyl collection includes Taiwanese, Japanese, and Western pressings of new and used records covering all genres from classical to metal, and includes a substantial amount of music from local indie musicians. The store also stocks a variety of audio accessories like turntables and headphones for audiophiles to pick up.
Address: No. 11, Songgao Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Xiao Sung Records
This established and long-running vinyl store keeps it simple with music and music alone. Xiao Sung Music, located in Wanhua district, stocks shelves upon shelves jam-packed with vinyl records including Japanese and Western pressings of jazz, classical, and Taiwanese indie.
Address: No. 79, Section 2, Xiyuan Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Featured banner image credit: taiwan-panorama.com
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