Thus the following. If you still get a bit of a thrill at buying a CD, checking out the packaging, and listening to the tracks on a proper stereo instead of a laptop, the following list should have some use for you.
0. At the gig! A no-brainer. If you see a cool underground or indie band play live in Bangkok ask them if they have CDs for sale and buy one! Better yet are the album-release parties where you get a CD with the entry price, and best of all are the gigs like last week’s Monomania show, where Panda Records had many of their old CD stock available to purchase, including the legendary Panda Scream compilation.
1. DJ Siam When this was in its old corner location in Siam Square it was hands-down the coolest place to get an amazing range of underground CDs. It’s a bit smaller in its new shack near the Hard Rock Café but it still carries plenty of excellent indie band CDs and the staff are totally knowledgeable about what they’re selling. This is my default must-visit location every time I come to Bangkok. Recommended!
2. happening This nifty shop in the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre has a wide range of underground and alternative CDs in the rack of shelves on the right as you enter. I’ve picked up some real gems here that I’ve never seen anywhere else, like a Stone Free concert DVD on my visit last week. Go here after DJ Siam because it’s only a 10 minute walk via the MBK skybridge!
3. Nong Taprachan Here’s a confession: I’ve never made it to Nong Taprachan despite all their CDs, vinyl and loads of cool live shows. This is obviously something I’ve got to rectify as soon as I get back to the city, but if you’re already in Bangkok you can go there right now!
4. 8 Musique I’ve been buying stuff like Radiohead and Boards of Canada CDs from this shop in the basement of the Thonglor 8 building. On my last trip they had some really good Thai indie electronica CDs like Aerolips and Cyndi Seui as well as an awesome Comet Comic compilation, and they’re only too happy to DJ-play them all for you. Plus Basement Tape played there last week!
5. 1979 Vinyl & Unknown Pleasures The most secret location on Thonglor! This shop sells vinyl LPs and turntables to play them. They also have band shows from time to time – the Basement Tape vinyl LP release party I went to a few months back was great fun!
6. Do Re Me This shop, deep within the back-sois of Siam Square, is absolutely packed with CDs, and especially excellent indie and alternative music. It’s a little pricey, but you can buy CDs here you could never buy at Tower Records when they were open (and that’s how long Do Re Me has been around). The sister shop in Pantip Plaza closed down long ago so this place is well-worth supporting. The owner is exceptionally knowledgeable and can order CDs in, but Do Re Me does open in the afternoon, around 2pm or later, so don’t bother showing up in the morning. A Bangkok institution!