Category Archives: Music

Dust & Grooves Book

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

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

She Sold Me Magic mix

Sampsa! Vesa! I finally scored a copy of “I Changed My Mind Jack!” I vividly recall my brilliant-record-radar going haywire the night I first heard this record deep down in a Helsinki basement. After a minor freakout over the song being SO FRIGGIN’ AMAZING, I was informed by DJs Vesa Yli-Pelkonen and Sampsa Vilhunen that this Jo Ann Campbell single was exceedingly rare (Swedish-only jukebox 45). Devastating news. Since that evening, I’ve made every attempt to track it down and after keeping a close eye on eBay for three loooooong years, I can finally rest easy knowing that this 45 is now part of my collection. Exhale….! So, “I Changed My Mind Jack” opens this month’s mix of female freakbeat, soul, R&B, pop, folk-rock, and a little bit of swing. All female-fronted, of course.  You’ll notice the addition of a MixCloud link at the bottom, which allows me to play DJ in my own home. Also, for those who can’t work my music-player on your phones, iPads, etc., you can listen anywhere, anytime via MixCloud. I highly recommend checking out Sampsa + Vesa’s DJ mixes on MixCloud as well. They are two of the finest … Read more

Ava Gardner + New Orleans Rap

I blame for my lack of updates over the past couple of weeks. It gives those outside Japan access to Yahoo Auctions, a goldmine for rare Japanese vinyl. When I left Tokyo in 2004, I mourned the end of my love affair with Yahoo Auctions, beloved provider of my most cherished ’60s Japanese girl-pop 45s. It’s been two weeks since discovering and the thrill is not even close to wearing off. I’ve been given the keys back to the kingdom, and I am thankful every single friggin’ day. One of my recent scores will be appearing on the second volume of Nippon Girls, which Ace Records are clearing right this minute! Speaking of Ace, I’ve reviewed a couple of their latest compilations—Dusty Heard Them Here First, featuring the original versions of Dusty’s covers, and the 8th volume of the Where the Girls Are series—which you can read by clicking on the links. January got off to a hot n’ sunny start in Palm Springs, CA, where I hung by the poolside at the Del Marcos Hotel devouring Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner. I … Read more

Happy Holiday Mix

I was driving ’round Brooklyn buying xmas presents on Saturday, listening to the WFMU DJs play their favorite holiday songs. That’s where I first heard Lord Nelson’s “Party for Santa Claus,” which (after “Santa Baby”) is one of the most brilliant, festive holiday songs I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. You’ll find that along with some holiday classics, a very ’60s Japanese pop take on traditional xmas tunes, the Lollipops’ most adorable xmas re-vamp of the Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman,” and one song that has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays, but which I think always sounds best during this time of the year (The Cardigans’ “Celia Inside”).  Have a wonderful holiday everyone!  With love,xo-Sheila 1. Detroit Junior: Christmas Day2. The Lollipops: Mr. Santa3. The Orchids: Christmas Is The Time To Be With Your Baby4. Kayoko Moriyama: Tonde Kita Santa Claus5. Eartha Kitt & Henri RenĂ©: Santa Baby6. Amos Milburn: Christmas Comes But Once a Year7. Françoise Hardy: Song Of Winter8. The Cardigans: Celia Inside9. Nino Tempo & April Stevens: The Coldest Night Of The Year10. Lord Nelson: Party For Santa Claus11. Jean & The Statesides: Cold Cold Winter12. Bill Pursell: Our Winter Love13. Robin Ward: Winter’s Here14. Julie London: Warm … Read more

DJing BUST Holiday Party in Brooklyn

This Friday December 20th, I’ll be DJing from 6pm – midnight at BUST magazine’s Holiday Party at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar. There will be performances by SISU, Lizzo, and U.S. Girls. I love DJing BUST‘s parties cos I can go from Ann-Margret to Janelle Monae,  Bobbie Gentry to Salt-n-Pepa, Barbara Lynn to Kim Wilde without anyone giving me strange looks. No rules or restrictions!  Brooklyn Night Bazaar165 Banker Street (between Wythe & Meserole Avenues) Brooklyn, NY 11222 Free entry! 

Bebe ’67 Mix

I was recently invited to contribute to the monthly mixtape site, The Mixtape Club. I started with a mix I called “Girls Who Wear Black” and dug out all my darkest, moodiest girl group records (The Whyte Boots’ “Nightmare,” Jamie Carter’s “The Boy With the Way,” Betty Barnes “Requiem (For a Girl Born of the Wrong Times)”) but couldn’t really connect with such heavy gloom. So instead I picked out the records I felt like listening to at that moment—the Ann Cole 45 I just scored on eBay, Claudine Longet’s wintery “Run Wild, Run Free” (David Whitaker’s original instrumental is worth seeking out as well), and Little Joe & the Thrillers’ “Peanut,” first introduced to me by my friend Bob Stanley. This song is featured on his latest compilation for Cherry Red—Songs For a Central Park Picnic. It has become one of my favorite compilations, and when I first played it for my mom, she demanded I order her five extra copies pronto! I’m hard at work on a holiday mix as well, so will post that next week! In the meantime, you can have a listen to my “Bebe … Read more

Exploring the ARC

The first thing you notice upon entering the ARChive of Contemporary Music (ARC) is the smell—that familiar, sweet, musty smell of aging LP sleeves. An aphrodisiac for collectors like me, and a scent that suggests somewhere in this ridiculously large collection lives every single record on my want list. You wonder what kind of support structure is needed to keep the building from sinking (you’d be surprised how many homes of record collectors have that very problem). Music ephemera of all sorts—an Alan Freed bag, snappy LP sleeves, sheet music, an original copy of Alan Betrock’s Girl Groups discography (!!!!)—are thumb-tacked to the walls, and every inch of free space is occupied by vinyl LPs, 45s, DVDs, CDs, music books, and boxes of new arrivals. You could spend hours just staring.  It’s a lofty goal—tracking down every single piece of popular music released since 1950, but the ARChive’s co-founder Bob George began with his own personal collection of 47,000 recordings and has since grown the ARChive into the largest collection of recorded music in the world. Considering the countless libraries worldwide dedicated to the preservation of the written word, it’s surprising that recorded … Read more

YĂ©-YĂ© Yeah Yeah

I must admit total bias when reviewing Bob Stanley’s Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop (Faber & Faber), as we’ve been friends for many years (20 years to be exact—jesus!) and it’s thanks to Bob that I dedicate such a huge part of my life to collecting records. I remember being completely riveted by his collection of France Gall EPs, and thus began seeking out girl-pop 45s with a vengeance. The extent of Bob’s musical knowledge is astounding, and his brain appears to house numerous volumes of pop encyclopedias, which he’s channelled into 742 pages of pop-music history—beginning in Britain in 1952 and ending in the mid-’90s. If that sounds dry, let me assure you that there are few music writers more dynamic and entertaining than Bob Stanley. I have read a ton of music writing, and I can say with utmost experience that Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop is one of the few music books that is as captivating as the records it covers. Pop facts and chart positions are delivered with zest and passion, and his obvious adoration of pop of all shapes and sizes is infectious. Even … Read more

All Cried Out Mix

Minor chords and melodrama. Stories of heartache and loss. Sad songs require few ingredients to reach full effect, and often less is more (although sweeping string arrangements are always appreciated). I  like my sad songs devastating– the ones that REALLY floor you. Here are 25 of my most heart-wrenching favorites. Unsurprisingly the list leans heavily on the females, although a few men have been thrown in for good measure (couldn’t leave out the Cryin’ Shames “Please Stay,” possibly the saddest song on record). I’ve included Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” for its flawless, tear-inducing verse, but I’m always disappointed that it loses its sorrowful way soon after. I always keep a devastating mix handy, incase the mood turns blue and I really want to immerse myself in sadness. I often did this as a teenager. When I found myself alone at home, I’d grab all my saddest records (Kix “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” Skid Row “Quicksand Jesus,” Ozzy Osbourne “You’re No Different,” metal bands were masters of melodrama!), sit by the window sill and listen in the dark. A few weeks ago a bunch of friends rented a house near Woodstock, and … Read more