The Discogs staff have traveled far and wide, from well-known vinyl hubs in the heart of downtown Tokyo and Detroit to local hotspots in Alaska and New Zealand. What all of these locales have in common is a shared sense of community. They act as gathering places where music fanatics from around the world can meet up and find something exciting. I know to say that is a bit of a cliche, but even the most stone-hearted record collectors feel a jolt of excitement whenever they enter a damn good record store.
That being said, what’s the farthest you’ve traveled to dig? Whether you’re a seasoned international crate digger or a daydreamer with a list of destinations that rivals your Discogs wantlist, hopefully, these stories inspire you to get out there and start digging. Happy travels!
Lost & Found Records in Fairbanks, AK
Lost & Found / Fairbanks, AK
This record store claims to be the “Northernmost record shop,” but they might want to check VinylHub and qualify that statement to “Northernmost record shop in the US.” It’s worth a visit if you happen to be roaming through Alaska, but probably not worth the 2,318 mile road trip from Portland, Oregon if it’s your only destination.
Ray’s Music Room in Seychelles
It was not the main purpose for my trip, so technically not the farthest I have traveled to dig, but I usually try to visit record shops at my holiday destinations, just to see what they have and look like.
While on holiday on the beautiful Seychelles in 2016, I found out about Ray’s Music Room, which was supposed to be a record shop and label. We walked around in capital Victoria for a bit, thinking “It should be around here somewhere”. Then I saw the sign. It was still up but the shop, unfortunately, was no longer a music shop. However, somehow they still had one record on a shelf “Seychelles Eritaz.” It’s a record with local music and a description of the different styles of music in the sleeve, the best souvenir I could have found!
HMV Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan
HMV Tokyo / Tokyo, Japan
I wasn’t looking for any specific, but I was in Japan, you HAVE TO go to record stores and just check every single crate!
I went to Japan to attend our very first Crate Diggers Japan last summer! And I just couldn’t be any more ecstatic about it. The experience in Japan was as expected: very hot, very fun, and very crazy! Just as I like it. Crate Diggers Japan was very busy, so I didn’t have that much time to check all the sellers there. But luckily enough, we spent the previous days visiting different record stores and getting to know the amazing Japanese sellers running those. I could highlight any of the shops, really, but I guess HMV was sooooooo huge and stacked with amazing records that it made an impression.
Plan 59 in Athens, Greece
Plan 59 / Athens, Greece
I heard that Greece is a must-go-to country for record lovers. With more than 24 stores in Athens alone, I knew I would find some gems. My favorite find was an original copy of “Voyage (A Journey Into Discoid Funk)” by Brian Bennett. This record is a spacey new age trip – perfect listening when traveling the astral plane. If you are ever in the Exarchia neighborhood in Athens be sure to stop by the store where I picked it up: Plan 59. The owner and his loyal followers are amazing, welcoming and simply fun to talk records with. Tell them Tasha from Discogs sent you!
City Country City in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
City Country City / Tokyo, Japan
My Wantlist runs deep. I typically do a once-over when I haven’t been in a store for a while to remind myself of some albums I’ve recently been interested in. I had become obsessed with the story behind Tropicália and had added a bunch of records associated with the movement just a few weeks prior. City Country City had a wonderful Brazilian section and I was able to find my holy grail, Tropicália Ou Panis Et Circensis.
I went to Japan on somewhat of a whim, blessed by a cheap flight deal with little more than an affinity for Miyazaki as my guide. I had heard that there were record stores, but falsely assumed it would be like America, where an entire city might have just a few. Needless to say, when I arrived in the Shimokitazwa neighborhood of Tokyo after a long train ride from Kyoto, I was swept off my feet by the dozens of record stores within a short walk of the station. With time to kill before checking in to my room, I wandered up a few flights of stairs on a narrow street to City Country City. Part cafe and part record store, there was something about sipping a beer while browsing their records that sang to me. I spent the next few days hopping from shop to shop and visiting vinyl bars at night, basking in the delightful atmosphere of bustling Tokyo’s record culture.
Hello Records in Detroit, MI
Hello Records / Detroit, MI
I was looking for something I could not find in the West Coast where I lived at the time. Then, I found a great Soul 45 for a buck at Hello Records, Detroit!!!
For my summer vacation, my friend and I took a road trip for digging from New York to Michigan in 2012. We stopped by cities like New York, Jersey City, Philly, Pittsburgh, Columbus, then Detroit! I met some cool people and found a lot of cool vinyl in every city I went mostly, but Detroit and Pittsburgh were unbeatable and had tons of great 45s! I found a 45 of Pure Pleasure / By My Side at Hello Records. Even though the copy was in poor condition, it was still playable, and I copped it for a buck! (The owner of the store told me that the 45 had a condition, D instead of G or P. D for Detroit beaten up records which Kenny Dope called!)
Rocking Horse Records in Brisbane, Australia
Rocking Horse Records / Brisbane, AU
I don’t think I ended up buying records, but I did buy Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth, which really kickstarted my love affair with them.
I guess digging in Australia and New Zealand is the only time I’ve gone record shopping in the southern hemisphere. In 2007, I met an Aussie who later moved to Vancouver (my hometown) for a year. We became best buds, and a few years later I went and lived in Australia for a year myself. On one of my first days in Brisbane, I was wandering the streets, and as it always seems to happen, stumbled upon a record store. I can’t remember if I bought any records at Rocking Horse, but I definitely remember buying Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth. I was only a casual listener before then, but after reading this book, I became an avid fan. Sonic Youth’s entire discography became the soundtrack to my year down under.
Reckless Records in Chicago, Illinois
Reckless Records / Chicago, IL
Growing up in Hawaii, any trip out-of-state was a grand endeavor. The summer after high school, my good pal Ian and I flew out to Chicago for Lollapalooza and, while that was the main reason for our trip, we, of course, wanted to hit up a handful of record stores. Reckless Records was an obvious choice, but we read that they always have the good stuff.
I ended up buying a handful of albums I knew and loved that my teenage self had never seen in person before: “Meat is Murder” by The Smiths, “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine and “Actor” by St. Vincent. However, I think my friend Ian scored the real prize of the trip: a beautifully loud copy of “Fun House” by The Stooges. I was more of a Raw Power kid back then (Bowie mix, of course), but it was hard to deny “Fun House” after hearing Pop’s throat-shredding yelps that open up “Down on the Street” on vinyl. Nothing rare here, just some lovely albums.
Slowboat Records in Wellington, New Zealand
Slowboat Records / Wellington, NZ
Don’t know if this counts since my roots are at the bottom of the planet anyway, but my record collection only really got started after I moved to Europe and visiting home is always a great opportunity to find some Kiwi gems. I really want to complete my collection of Flying Nun records, but with limited funds and luggage allowance, it’s no easy feat. I only got a few on this trip – Look Blue Go Purple, Sneaky Feelings, and The Pin Group. Next time I’ll take an extra suitcase. And a bank loan.
Have you taken your Crate Digging to the next level? Any amazing finds during your travels? We’d love to hear about it in the comments! Planning your next trip? Be sure to double check VinylHub‘s in-depth database of record stores around the world!