Category Archives: Music

WFMU’s Sophisticated Boom Boom #16: I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair

On this week’s episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom with Sheila B.” on WFMU, I played records by Goldie & the Gingerbreads, HALCALI, Las Mosquitas, Martha & the Vandellas’ storming “Easily Persuaded,” Dusty Springfield’s version of the oft-covered “Easy Evil,” a dark and moody new track by Scottish group the School, Ride’s “Drive Blind,” a brilliant but very rough and unfinished demo by Brenda Holloway (how did Motown NOT release this?!!!), Hedy Sontag’s “He Never Came Back” (for Gaylord Fields), and the #1 bubblegum song of the 21st century according to me! Listen here: WFMU’s Kurt Gottschalk will be filling in for my show this week, as I’ll be in New Orleans for the Ponderosa Stomp, watching Irma Thomas, Brenda Holloway, Betty Harris, Barbara Lynn, PF Sloan, Miriam, and more. Hurray! “Sophisticated Boom Boom” will be back on October 9, 2015. xo-Sheila

WFMU’s Sophisticated Boom Boom #15: Cha Cha Charming

On this week’s episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom with Sheila B.” on WFMU, I played records by Tammi Terrell, Patti’s Groove, Gloria Becker, Helen Kane, the Bird & the Bee (“Doctor” is a glorious piece of Hall & Oates-inspired pop), Ellie Greenwich’s first record as Ellie Gaye (“Cha Cha Charming!”), Dorothy’s “Softness,” Ognir & the Nite People (thanks Sampsa!), Holly Golightly, Yo La Tengo’s delicate cover of Darlene McCrea’s “My Heart’s Not In It,” and soooooo much more. Listen here: xo-Sheila

A birthday Sh-Boom!

The new WFMU schedule has just been announced and “Sophisticated Boom Boom” has been given a verrrrrry sweet spot on Fridays from 3pm – 6pm EST on the radio at 91.1 FM and on the web at I know I’ve been really slack at keeping Cha Cha Charming updated, but that’s because I’m having far too good a time playing records and chatting it up on the radio. I’m finding that the solo stay-at-home life of a freelance writer just isn’t as satisfying anymore, and thus radio landing on my lap has quadrupled my joy of life. It’s also busting my ass to keep up with new music + old records, as I play around 50+ records per show. So if any of you have any new or up-and-coming female artists or bands, please send them my way! Also, Dust & Grooves: Adventures In Record Collecting has was re-released by Ten Speed Press on September 15, 2015, and Eilon + I just gave talks at the Strand Bookstore and the Apple store here in NYC, and will be heading to LA next week for more book launches + parties. We’ve … Read more

Sophisticated Boom Boom on WFMU

Remember in a recent post I mentioned being invited to audition for a spot on the radio? And how I was waiting to hear back? Well, I got the gig! HURRAY! I now have my very own weekly show on, called “Sophisticated Boom Boom with Sheila B.” (thanks for helping me find the perfect name, Marcos Prado!). It is an attempt to cover the vastness of the girl-pop spectrum with a lil’ bit of leg-room for the occasional man. Every Tuesday morning I rise at 4am and haul 3 hours worth of records to the WFMU Studios, where from 6am – 9am I play whatever my heart desires! Last week I played the Bermudas, Sharon Tandy, Shonen Knife, my recent Margie Mills discovery (“Goodbye Boys, Goodbye”), and two UNBELIEVABLY GORGEOUS records written by the late Eiichi Ohtaki in the ’80s—“Ame No Wednesday” and Yakushimaru Hiroko’s “Tantei Monogatari.”  I had never even considered the prospect of radio, which now seems most odd considering how friggin’ thrilling it is to play my records for the world and then to talk about how much and why I love them so. I’m … Read more

Moon Boots LA Party

After a blissful week of soaking in hot sulphur springs and digging deep at Esalen in Big Sur, the next chapter of my California adventure takes place in LA, where I’ll be joining forces with Sam Swig ( and Victoria Rawlins (—two of the West Coast’s most exquisite DJs—for MOON BOOTS our Record Store Day afterparty. Really it’s just an excuse to play records with my two vinyl-soulmates. But I extend the party invitation to you all! And hope you’ll join us and dance to our mix of what Victoria so beautifully calls “rare global grooves, cosmic disco dubs, psychedelic soul stompers and exotic bubblegum flavors on sweet sweet vinyl.” MOON BOOTS takes place Saturday April 18th in the basement lounge of Hotel Figueroa at 10pm! See you Saturday my LA friends! xo-Sheila

Crayons To Perfume: An Interview with Glynis Ward

Girl group enthusiast, record collector, writer, and DJ Glynis Ward has been championing her favorite ‘60s (and modern) garage, girl group, + psych records for years via various fanzines, books, events, and—most recently—Crayons To Perfume, a weekly internet radio show on WFMU Ichiban dedicated to ’50s + ’60s girl-pop. I had actually interviewed her for Cha Cha Charming back in 1998 (when Cha Cha was a print fanzine), but somehow I never got around to publishing it. I reconnected with Glynis recently and got the scoop on Crayons To Perfume, her favorite records to DJ, and the most prized 45 in her collection. Where do you think your love of the ’60s comes from? I grew up at the very tail end of the ’60s, so I was exposed to the fashion, and much of the music. When we visited Swingin’ London in 1968, my mom made the three of us matching mod plaid pant suits! Being Canadian, our radio had (and still has) a Canadian content requirement so I got to hear a lot of local ’60s garage bands on the radio too. If you look back at all the wonderful things you’ve … Read more

Sh-Boom with Sampsa Vilhunen!

Sampsa Vilhunen—Sh-Boom’s special guest DJ from Helsinki, Finland has touched down on US soil, and will be joining me at this Friday’s Sh-Boom at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sampsa + his DJ partner Vesa Yli-Pelnonen run a titty-shaking club night in Helsinki called Big Shake, where they spin R&B, doowop, surf, popcorn, mambo, rock n’ roll, Northern Soul + jump blues. They invited me over to DJ Big Shake in June 2011, and I remember thinking at the time that no other DJ gig will ever top this one. And I was right! It’s where I first heard Jo Ann Campbell’s “I Changed My Mind Jack” and so many new + exciting sounds spun by Sampsa + Vesa. The crowd was enormous and ultra-enthusiastic, and the club put my name up in lights! The post-Big Shake crowd spilling onto the streets in the bright 4am sunshine only added to the surreal thrill of it all. This is Sampsa’s first time to the states, so I’m super-psyched that he’ll be joining me at this month’s Sh-Boom! You can find all the event details here: Sampsa + Vesa recently contributed a … Read more

Mama Spank Mix

Mama Spank is the result of some serious eBay action, digging time, and flipping over records that have been in my collection for ages. Case in point—Irma Thomas’ “Hittin’ On Nothing” (flip of “Ruler of My Heart”) and Dorothy Berry’s “Ain’t That Love” (I’d only ever played “You Better Watch Out”). Of course now I feel the urge to go through every single record to make sure I haven’t neglected more dazzling flips. I remember having this chat with fellow collectors Matt Weingarden and Rebecca Birmingham. They’d asked if I ever checked out the flip of Little Eva’s “The Locomotion.” Nope. They suggested I do, pronto. And so thanks to them I discovered what might be Little Eva’s coolest record—”He Is the Boy,” writtten by Big Dee Irwin and Gerry Goffin. “The Locomotion” may have been one of the first girl-pop 45s I ever purchased, and I never bothered to flip it over. Folks, let this be a stern warning! ; ) I DJ’d recently with Phast Phreddie (New York City’s bossest DJ!) and whilst tag-teaming we got chatting about sharing our favorite vinyl finds and the silliness of covering … Read more

Sukiyaki + Cocktail Mix

As New York prepared itself for the historic winter storm that never was, I drank cups of tea at the Crosby Street Hotel with a few folks from Sony Music Japan who were in town with a man named Rikimaru Nakamura. His father, Hachidai Nakamura was a hugely prolific and well-respected songwriter (and jazz pianist) who wrote Kyu Sakamoto’s 1963 worldwide smash, “Sukiyaki” (originally titled “Ue Wo Muite Arukou”). To this day, “Sukiyaki” remains the only Japanese language song ever to top the Billboard charts. It has sold over 13 million copies. Rikimaru gave me a box-set of his father’s work called Hachidai Song Collection, released by EMI in 1999, which features cuts by some of my favorite girl-pop stars like Mieko Hirota, the Peanuts, and Sachiko Nishida. He explained that he’s currently working on a play about his father’s career and “Sukiyaki” and how it became to be such a legendary record. He said he had so many stories about that one song that it was difficult to know which ones to focus on for the play. Unfortunately my very poor Japanese (I dedicated my life to learning the … Read more


Friends + music lovers! After many months of wishin’ and hopin’ (and thankfully, very little hustling) I’ve been given my very own party at Baby’s All Right, a gorgeous, beautifully lit venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’ve christened the party, SH-BOOM and the first date is this Friday January 2nd. Joining me behind the booth will be Josh Styles—drummer of Daddy Long Legs, co-founder of NYC’s greatly missed ’60s party, Smashed! Blocked!, husband of English goddess Sophie Thunder, and man of exemplary taste in rock n’ roll, soul + garage. We’ll be spinning in the front room, whilst the Detroit Cobras and Jonathan Toubin entertain in the back. Party starts at 10pm and it’s FREE! You can expect Japanese pop, French Yé-Yé, American R&B, British freakbeat, soul, easy listening, popcorn, soundtracks, doo wop, and mooooooore. Here’s the Facebook event page: I’m so excited…! xo-Sheila