There is definitely something about the month of April that makes it stand out as one of the busiest times for record buying, visiting music shops and going out for independent music events in the Klang Valley.
The international Record Store Day (RSD) buzz is an obvious - nearly festive - highlight next month (observed on April 13).
RSD, arguably, seems to bring out the best qualities in music lovers. It gets people excited about music buying again.
From Kuala Lumpur to Subang Jaya, we're talking about Instagram feeds filled by scenes of eager music fans waking up early on a weekend and lining up in front of record stores to grab exclusive RSD releases - official or not.
Local indie bands seeing their out-of-print albums reissued by a small circle of dedicated music 'archivalists' and the sight of young and old vinyl collectors mingling together at pop-up music events are surely rare moments to rejoice.
Don't rub your eyes. Music collecting can be a great unifying force.
And where are all these events happening, you ask?
Five independent record shops - Teenage Head Records, Sifters Asia, Tandang Records Store, Fenomena Music and Sputnik Rekordz - are holding parties, pop-up markets and putting out special releases to coincide with the RSD celebrations.
The Musika vinyl market, now into its fifth edition, doubles up as a pre-RSD warm-up event that has seen a community of music fans,Â
private collectors and indie record shops/traders uniting for a common cause - to keep physical music formats alive.
There will be no shortage of music buying adventures.
Tidiness guru Marie Kondo, if we have to dignify her wayward methods, was wrong about the minimalist life.
Here are the events, get planning:
Where: The Gasket Alley, Lot 15, 13, Jalan 13/6, Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya
Date: April 6,Â 4pm to 10pm
Admission: Free, above 18 event
Collectors tend to enable collectors. It's like an unseen support system keeping music going in these parts. But ever felt like digging for records and CDs from an old music warehouse? Well, Musika, the nation's much-awaited annual gathering of record collector tribes, is set to make your wildest dreams come true.
This year's Musika will see indie label Interglobal Music's warehouse stocks being cleared. As the "anchor seller" that means loads of rare releases, out of print local gems and imported records on a discount.
To date, it's nearly 30 vendors on board with several "everything must go" private collections set to give Musika its unique random attractions. Importantly, music from all genres - jazz and rock to punk and pop - will be filling up the vendor stalls, with indie record shops like Teenage Head Records, Tandang Store and Sputnik Rekordz, pop-up vinyl specialists like LP Freak Store, SK Music and music collector groups (Shiny Happy People) participating.
You want a good digging session? Here's the opportunity to shop thousands of music-related items, including new and used vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, posters, turntable equipment and supplies, memorabilia, collectibles and more.
This year's Musika, supported byÂ Disqovr and Fred Perry, will also see limited edition cassette releases to delight tape collectors, including albums from Pastel Lite, The Impatient Sisters and Stellar Dreams, while the reissues come from Telebury and Ferns.
The event will also feature live music (Pastel Lite, Ferns, Son Of A Policeman) and deejay sets (Disko Santan, Spinnin' Cupid's Bow (a deejay/violin set), Kling Klang, KIDG + Kurt, Daryl + Oth). FB: Musika.
Tandang Records Store
Where:Â 2nd Floor, Zhongshan building, Jalan Rotan, Kampung Attap, KL
Date: Feb 12, time to be confirmed
Tandang Records will be taking the low-key approach this year, with a small celebration on the eve of Record Store Day. The band line-up is being firmed up.
This record shop, which opened at the arts-centred Zhongshan buildingÂ
in 2017, has steadily amassed a solid inventory of punk, extreme music, psych folk, reggae, ska and metal releases on its racks. Add a mountain of DIY-related albums on cassettes.
Alongside a catalogue of Tandang Records in-house releases, music fans will also find a neat selection of Indonesian 70s prog rock and Japanese psych folk albums (of the Kikagaku Moyo variety), a stash of Light In The Attic, Southern Lord and Dischord label releases/reissues and the odd jazz classic from John Coltrane in the mix. FB: Tandang Records Store.
Teenage Head Records
Where: No 20 Jalan SS14/1, Subang Jaya
Date: April 13,Â Â 11am till late
Here's where you will find the early birds queuing up for official Record Store Day releases. Beyond the imported RSD specials, the best RSD parties can always be found at Teenage Head Records (THR), which has been a firm supporter of this global event since 2014.
This year, THR's founderÂ Mohammad Radzi Jasni has also registered five official RSD releases.
"We have got all the formats covered - LP, CD and cassette. It's a good mix with Malaysian and Singapore bands involved. It's a really good feeling to get these local RSD titles out, it shows that record store culture here isn't just about foreign releases," he says.
On the list: a long-awaited archival 12" single/CDÂ
from The Padres, a festive Hari Raya 7" double-header from The Pinholes and Force Vomit, a CD debut album from Sweetass, a cassette reissue from indie outfit Couple and a 7" vinyl release from Prasasti.
Live performances on the day include Couple, Pastel Lite, Sweetass, Leaism and Prasasti. FB: Teenage Head Records.
Fenomena Music And Dream Studio
Where: Dream Studio foyer, Block M, Plaza Damas, Sri Hartamas, KL
Date: April 13, 11am to 7pm
There is always a chance of bumping into a friendly veteran rock star ('otai' in local lingo) at Fenomena Music - be it members of Search or Ramli Sarip. No other store has racks expertly lined up with the history of Malay hard rock and metal. That "hot tub time machine" feel is obvious here.
From a range of Wings, Search, XPDC, Ella, Sweet Charity, Cromok and Lefthanded LPs, this is probably the one-stop for local reissues, anniversary editions and deluxe box sets. Not to forget much-coveted first pressings of local vinyl. Fenomena's RSD stash for this year: Search vinyl exclusives, an XPDC classic on LP, OAG gold edition CDs, The Times' new single and some add-ons to be announced soon.
The store is also hosting an RSD party and a jam session of the retro variety with Search, Shima, Hillary Ang Project, Kopratasa, Dilla Hussein and The Times. Psychedelic rock outfit Pitahati is also making an appearance, obviously to stir up this otherwise classic rock fan demographic. FB: Fenomena Music.
Where: Level 1, Foundry, The Gasket Alley, Petaling Jaya
Date: April 13, 10am onwards
If you need a blockbuster line-up of Record Store Day live action, then Sifters Asia might just have the bands and youthful kicks to rock your socks off.
The RSD live entertainment list: Milo Dinosaur, Kyoto Protocol, Lust, Iqbal M, Sendiket Jongkong Emas, The Fatalis, Fatim Guzel and CT Selekta. It's so nearly a hipster music love-fest.
"We just opened our doors last October and we didn't have the time to plan for RSD releases this year. But what we have is a community of bands that have come together to support an indie record shop. That's the kind of spirit we need to keep music in the front and centre of things," says ArinÂ Sharnaz Rashdi, the founder of Sifters Asia.
For RSD, all the local bands will be selling their releases and more at Sifters Asia. There will also be a 20% discount on vinyl at the store. If you were wondering: it's true that Sifters Asia has a link with the Manchester-based Sifters Records (that famous shop mentioned in Oasis' song Shakermaker). FB: Sifters Asia.
Where: Level 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail Market, Jalan Wan Kadir 1, KL
Date: April 14, noon onwards
Say hello to Sputnik Recordz, a little record shop that could!
It has to be said that a record store run by someone who is a serious record collector, musician and perennially curiousÂ music fan makes for a winning combination. That's Naza Mohamad, the main man behind indie band The Times and owner of Sputnik Recordz, one of the newest independent record shops in the Klang Valley, launched late last year.
The Times will be the big news at the Record Store Day celebrations at Sputnik with the announcement of a new CD single release (Separa Sedar) alongside remastered editions of its first two albums - Soda Pop Rok 'N' RollÂ (2004) and Nada Melankolik MalayaÂ (2007).
Naza reveals that both albums - originally released by Strange Culture/EMI - have long been out of print, and RSD is a good opportunity to get them back in print. Local punk band The ACAB's early releases will also be reissued at Sputnik's RSD event.
"The albums from The Times and The ACAB will be available on CD and cassette for RSD. Vinyl versions of the albums will be released soon," says Naza. Sputnik's RSD celebrations will include live sets from The Times and The ACAB.
More names will be added to the line-up. A pop-up market - featuring indie-loving music sellers â€“ outside the Sputnik store is also an added attraction. FB: Sputnik Recordz.
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