Nippon Girls 2
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When news of a possible second volume of Nippon Girls reached my inbox, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything as good as the first compilation. I couldn’t bear the thought of using half-decent songs just to fill space or having to go on a mad hunt for more top-of-the-line material. With ’60s Japanese girl-pop, you’re dealing with quite a lot of mind-numbing and generic beat ballads, and I had no desire to include songs that were anything less than awesome. I can spot a bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping compilation from miles away, and I wasn’t about to succumb to it myself. No siree, Bob! So… I decided to return to the very first “dream list” I put together when I first came up with the idea for Nippon Girls. It’s the list you compile when you have all the freedom in the world—before record labels and master rights owners and publishers and address-unknown e-mails get in the mix and crush your hopes. It’s a list of 50+ titles that are the cream of the crop. And as the music business wheels begin to spin, that list slowly, painfully gets whittled down. … Read more

Miriam Linna: Nobody’s Baby
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The back cover photo of Miriam Linna’s Nobody’s Baby LP says it all. She’s squeezed in between a wall full of carboard boxes of alphabetized 45s, a portable record player, paperbacks with titles like Girl Gangs and The Lolita Lovers, and what looks like hundreds of boxed-up CDs from Norton Records, the label she founded with her husband Billy Miller. Her musical partner Sam Elwitt has just enough space for himself and an acoustic guitar, but this is clearly a place that’s barely able to contain Miriam’s boundless love for “stacks of wax” and pulp novels. She is an enthusiast of the nth degree. She co-runs Norton, plays drums in the A-Bones, heads up her own publishing company Kicks Books, DJs, and rarely goes a day without publicizing her affections for Bobby Fuller and the Ramones, Sun Ra and the Shangri Las. She pairs every venture with a palpable passion you can’t help but get swept up in. On the occasions that I’ve gotten to see her DJ, she’s always dancing behind the decks, shaking her signature fringe and mouthing every lyric to every song, as if they’re all her favorite records of all … Read more

I’m Gonna Destroy That Boy
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It’s hard to imagine anyone bettering the What Four’s storming “I’m Gonna Destroy That Boy” on Columbia from ’66. It is a girl-garage cult classic. But big-time soul collector Matt Weingarden (aka Mr. Fine Wine) has dug up a less-frenzied yet far cooler version (dig that organ!) on an acetate given to him by his uncle Morris Last. We know nothing about the artist singing this spectacular rendition; not a single name is listed on the acetate. All we have to go on is “a typewritten song title and the name of the company in New York’s Brill Building where it was cut,” writes Mr. Fine Wine in the accompanying sleeve notes. B-side “Watch Out” is an even greater mystery, apparently sung by the stunning gal featured on the cover. But this acetate offers even less information on the label. Mr. Fine Wine could’ve easily just given us these two fantastic rarities from his vast collection and left the stories well alone, but instead we’re taken on a detective’s trail, stumbling upon clues that lead us not to the names behind the songs, but to a more personal place—the story of Matt’s … Read more

Opening Up
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When Eilon from Dust & Grooves contacted me last winter about editing his book, I was at an all-time low. I was in the midst of a process that has been written about extensively throughout history—when your external world crumbles and everything you grab onto just turns to dust, leaving you with nowhere to turn but inside. Life’s circumstances had broken me open, and I had to look closely at all that was coming out and face it. The process was grueling, the worst I had ever endured, but there was just an ever-so-slight hint of a blessing in disguise, that in turning myself inside out and peeling away the layers I’d somehow get to the core of me, a place I’ve always strived to reach. I read a quote about Dante’s Inferno that I think nails the process: “Dante’s journey took him as low as a human being could sink, through his worst fears and most bitter truths, down to the very center of the earth. And then by continuing straight downward through the center and beyond, he suddenly headed up.” By the eighth month of this journey, I started … Read more

European DJ Vacation
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I’m packing my bags for a vinyl-centric work-a-holiday, where I’ll be joining photographer Eilon Paz to host a series of book launch parties for the worldwide release of Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Vinyl Collecting. I’ll be DJing the launch parties in Amsterdam, Paris, and London along with tons of other collectors + DJs featured in the book. It’s been years since I’ve been record shopping in Amsterdam + Paris, so any tips on where to find ’60s 45s are VERY much needed! My liner notes for Nippon Girls Volume II are due next month (with an official release date in September!), so I’ll be spending my days researching ’60s Japanese beat girls in Parisian cafes. Can’t complain! All the events are free + open to the public, so please do come by if you’re in Paris or London or Amsterdam. You’ll find all the details below. I’ll be back with a report from my first stop…. Amsterdam! xo-Sheila Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting was just released in the US as the official 2014 Record Store Day book, and we’re gearing up for its international release on May 20. To … Read more

DJing Bubble & Squeak Party
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I’ve just been invited to DJ a new ’60s mod party called “Bubble & Squeak” this Sunday May 4th, 2014 at Hotel Chantelle. I shall be packing my record box with Erma Franklin’s “I Don’t Want No Mama’s Boy,” Tracy Rogers’ “Baby,” Bernadette’s “L’Oiel,” Linda Gayle’s “I Got My Mojo Working” (this is SUCH a ridiculously frenzied version!), and lots more heavy girl-soul + freakbeat. Here are the full party deets: BUBBLE & SQUEAK Sunday May 4th, 2014, 10pm Hotel Chantelle, 92 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side, NYC 10002 OPEN VODKA BAR: 10pm – 11pmHALF PRICE DRINKS: 11pm – midnight Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/277303645772872/ xo-Sheila ———————————————- BUBBLE AND SQUEAK is a new weekly mod dance party at the HOTEL CHANTELLE hosted by SOPHIE THUNDER and PIXIE 007. Resident DJ JEREMY BASTARD and guest DJ SHEILA B (CHA CHA CHARMING) will be spinning the finest in Moderniste Music. Starts at 10pm directly after the Improper English Roast (come early if you would like to partake in the feast http://hotelchantelle.com/ai1ec_event/the-improper-english-roast/?instance_id=57690)

Big Bush Sound Mix
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British session gals Sue & Sunny give us the wonderfully titled “Big Bush Sound,” which is sadly not an ode to pubic hair but a rather grand jingle for the Bush brand—maker of stereo equipment. There are quite a few Brit Girls on this mix—Kim D., Jacki Bond, and Janice Nichols, whose “I’ll Give It Five” boasts some truly ridiculous lyrics (“I love Elvis and his pelvis”). I thought I’d pretty much completed my Brit girl 45 collection, but Sandra Bryant’s storming “Out To Get You” proved me very wrong. I picked up Erma Franklin’s “I Don’t Want No Mama’s Boy” at the Allentown Record Fair, which I hear is pretty tough to track down so I thank my trusty dealer Barry Soltz for the very reasonable price tag. I had to resist including some of my new Japanese ’60s favorites, as they will be making up the second volume of Nippon Girls, out on Ace Records in September. But I think you’ll agree that Chie Sawa’s early ’70s “Janisu No You Ni” and Kiyoko Ito’s cover of “O Ganso” are pretty fab. I had planned on dishing out a … Read more

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My Favorite Record #10
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Chako & Applies: Anata Ga Ichiban (Minoruphone, 1969) [Please note that the song can take a few seconds to load] For the month of March I instituted a self-imposed ban on buying non-essential items. Although I fell off the wagon just once (DJ Shakey’s 45s record fair… I couldn’t resist!), I did find that depriving myself of regular vinyl purchases meant spending more time with the records I already own. There’s a tendency as a record collector to feel that you never have enough—if I could only locate the Crystals’ “I Got A Man” 45 and any of Margaret Mandolph’s Planetary singles (seriously, I REALLY need these records!) then I promise I’ll be satisfied! But I’ve said that about pretty much every record I own, and having the 45 in my possession did nothing to relieve the hunger. So a record-shopping ban was perhaps the only way to force myself to appreciate what I have. It also prompted a new project—to go through each and every A-side and B-side in my collection, in hopes that I may have missed a winner or three. I’ve started with my ’60s Japanese girl-pop 45s, … Read more

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Dust & Grooves Book
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Back in 2005 I decided I was going to write a book. I called a friend who worked in publishing and invited her to lunch to pitch my idea. I’m going to write a book about record collectors, I explained. My plan is to travel the world interviewing + photographing death metal collectors from Norway, Northern Soul collectors in the North of England, rockabilly vinyl-heads in the US, you name it. I made an enormous list of potential collectors, bought every single book in existence on record collecting, and began writing up a proper pitch. Then I dropped the idea. Not consciously, but I turned my attention towards other projects and found that the “My Book!” folder on my desktop remained untouched. Years later I stumbled upon Dust & Grooves—”a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors” by Israeli photographer Eilon Paz. Of course I wanted it to be terrible so I could avoid all uncomfortable feelings of regret and envy, but no such luck. Dust & Grooves was phenomenal, a visual masterpiece. I’ve seen a lot of photos of record collectors, but none as emotive and beautiful as those … Read more

Lesley Gore’s Girl Talk
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When I visited Lesley Gore in her new pad on the Upper East Side, she was still reeling from a fire that burned down the apartment she had lived in for many years. “I’m only just beginning to feel like I’m coming out of a dark, seriously ugly time,” she said, explaining that what remained of her belongings was still in storage and that she was still hard at work getting her new apartment in order. Despite enduring what she considers the toughest year of her life, she credits the fire with giving her a “good kick in the butt” and focusing her on a number projects she had put on the back burner—including writing her memoirs. “There’s no question that it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you deal with it,” she said.  I was on assignment from Ace Records, who was reissuing her Girl Talk album from 1964, along with 13 bonus tracks. I brought my Girl Talk LP with me, and handed it to Lesley hoping she could take me back to that time. She went through each track, highlighting Van McCoy’s “You’ve Come Back” as … Read more