Category Archives: Sophisticated Boom Boom

WFMU Marathon! Go Go! Mini Mini! Ye Ye!

Friends! Feast your eyes on this delectable Japanese illustration of a thigh-high booted mini-skirt-swishing go-go gal—the obvious cover girl for Go Go! Mini Mini! Ye Ye!: Groovy Japanese Girl-Pop 1958-1971, a compilation I put together exclusively for my beloved radio station, WFMU’s fundraising marathon, happening right this minute! The Marathon is how WFMU manages to stay commercial-free, corporate-free, college-free and gloriously independent! We completely rely on listener donations for our survival, so we are at your mercy, my dear readers/ listeners. If you enjoy my show, Sophisticated Boom Boom or many of the other freeform radio programs on WFMU, I ask you to please open your wallets this fundraising season. If you pledge $75 or more to Sophisticated Boom Boom directly (which I’ll tell you how to do in a minute), you will automatically receive a copy of Go Go! Mini Mini! Ye Ye!, featuring 24 Japanese girl-pop tracks never before released in the West. For those of you that are familiar with my Nippon Girls compilations for Ace Records, I wanna point out that none of the songs on Go Go! Mini Mini! Ye Ye! have been issued on Nippon Girls.  I’ll be … Read more


On last week’s episode of Sophisticated Boom Boom, I played numerous records from the collection of LP Cover Lover—Lebanese Yé-Yé, trippy French psych-pop, Chinese erotic soul, and the HIGHLIGHT, Jewish Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt Sing’s Cantorial Favorites. The previous owner of this LP very generously wrote a review of each song directly on the cover of the record, and described the songs as “This Hot Bag Is a Bitch!” “Fabulously Hip Rocker!” and “Rough & Stomping Baby!” Click on the link below to hear these treasures! AND the WFMU fundraising marathon is happening now, so please do give generously to keep this fabulously hip, hot bag bitch of a radio station on the air!!! I shall be doing a proper post about the WFMU Marathon tomorrow and how you can get a copy of my latest Japanese girl-pop CD, Go Go! Mini Mini! Ye Ye! compiled exclusively for the WFMU marathon. Have a listen to “Rough & Stomping Baby!” here!: xo-Sheila p.s. Here are some tasty sleeves from LP Cover Lover.

WFMU’s Sophisticated Boom Boom #35 + Upcoming Gigs!

How dreamy is this Honey Ltd. photo? They’re the cover girls for the latest Where the Girls Are: Volume 9, compiled by girl-pop king, Mick Patrick and released by Ace Records. Have a peak at the tracklist here: For Sophisticated Boom Boom’s “Fancy Meeting You Here” episode, I opened with God-worshipping Czech girls from the Valerie & Her Week of Wonders soundtrack, eerie Icelandic songstress Soley, and dark n’ haunting gems by Vangelis (with Stina Nordenstam), Cranes, Bisan Toron, and Gong. Plus new ones by the Duke Spirit, all-female Hasidic rock band, Bulletproof Stockings (check out this Village Voice piece on Bulletproof Stockings), Starwalker, and Bentcousin. You can listen to “Fancy Meeting You Here” here!: This weekend I’ll be gearing up for a double-dose of soul DJing! On Friday March 4th I’ll be spinning at Save Your Soul, Baltimore’s massive soul soiree that everyone has been raving to me about. Enormous thanks to Rob Macy + Brian Gilbert for inviting me on board! And the next night, Saturday March 5th I’ll be joining Phast Phreddie Patterson, Gene Merideth, and Lady Dawn Carrington for the The Subway Soul Club Spring Fling! at … Read more


On this past episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom” on WFMU I aired an interview that I did with Lesley Gore from October 2013 and played many of the records she highlighted during the interview. Lesley was just coming out of a very dark time, having lost her apartment of many years due to a fire. There were still lots of unpacked boxes scattered around her new apartment when I visited so it seemed like life was only just getting back to normal. As this interview wasn’t conducted with radio in mind, you’ll notice the sound of her and I moving around in her squeaky leather chairs, her iPhone going off, and me talking over her quite a bit (I couldn’t help it! I was over-excited!). You can listen to the interview here: And here’s a tribute to Lesley Gore, which I wrote for the Guardian shortly after she passed away. xo-Sheila  

Lesley Gore interview on Sophisticated Boom Boom 2/19

Hey gang: It was quite strange to watch last night’s Grammys and get my head around the alarmingly long list of artists we lost in 2015. Lesley Gore was one of those artists and today marks the one year anniversary of her passing. This Friday February 19th, I’ll be paying tribute to Lesley on Sophisticated Boom Boom by airing an interview we did in October 2013 as well as journeying through her extensive 60s + 70s pop catalogue. This interview was never intended for broadcast—it was for a writing assignment. But I thought it wouldn’t be right to keep this interview to myself.  I remember having a really hard time personally at the time of the interview, and almost dreading having to sit before a woman I so much loved and admired when really, I just wanted to crawl into a hole. But the interview ended up being a real gift. Lesley, too had been going through a hellish period (her apartment had recently burnt down, she was being sued by her landlord), yet listening to her enthuse about “You Don’t Own Me,” working with Bob Crewe and Ellie Greenwich, women’s rights, the … Read more


Hello friends! I know I’ve fallen terribly behind in keeping my Sophisticated Boom Boom playlists up-to-date, so I’ve compiled episodes #23 – #33 below. Daddy Roll ‘Em: November 20, 2015: Baroque Hoedown: November 27, 2015: Xxxo: December 5, 2015: L’amour A Plusieurs: December 11, 2015: I Want A Boy For Xmas: December 18, 2015: Year of the Cat: January 1, 2016: Go Go Mini Mini Shimmy Shimmy Yé-Yé!: January 8, 2016: Drown My Heart: January 15, 2016: You Can Be Wrong About Boys: January 22, 2016: I Feel Like Layin’ In Another Woman’s Husband’s Arms: January 29, 2016: Cheerful Little Earful: February 5, 2016:  In other radio news, the WFMU marathon— my station’s annual fundraiser is coming up fast. From March 6th – March 20th WFMU will attempt to raise enough money to keep the station alive and kicking, whilst maintaining their wonderfully liberating status as America’s longest running independent, non-commercial, non-corporate, freeform radio station. So if any of you have been enjoying “Sophisticated Boom Boom” or the many other glorious shows on WFMU, I and the station would be most grateful for your support! I shall post more … Read more


The only upside to being bed-ridden for the past four days is getting to spend hours updating my want list, catching up on movies (We Are the Best!, Omar, Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night) and buying records off + Thanks to this very dangerous site that allows those outside Japan to access Japan’s Yahoo Auctions (the ultimate auction site for Japanese vinyl), I am now the proud owner of a 6-CD box set of Japanese erotic girl-pop from the 60s + 70s (with the added bonus of naughty traditional prints on the sleeves), compiled by the Nippon Columbia label in 2000 . This episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom” is a bit of an odd one because the Paris attacks happened during my show : ( One of my listeners posted the news on the message board just as I was about to go on mic, so I found it very difficult to keep my emotions in check and operate as if it was business as usual. I’m completely incapable of acting in any other way than how I’m feeling, so this episode is a bit more tongue-tied, … Read more


Hello friends! I’ve gotten a little behind on updating Cha Cha Charming with my WFMU “Sophisticated Boom Boom” playlists, so I shall be playing catch-up this week. On “Kitty Up Go” from November 6th, 2015, I opened with what I’ll call the ultimate rejection record. This baffling 45 from 1962 features a man named Monte phoning up girls only to be repeatedly hung up on. It is an absolute delight, and part of my attempt to pioneer the term “rejection record” in hopes of one day creating a genre as widely-known as Northern Soul or freakbeat. I’m always on the lookout for rejection records, so please do send any tips my way! I also played Santigold’s latest single “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” (which sounds like she’s been listening to a whole lotta William Onyeabor), Irma Thomas’ “Live Again” from 1965 (written by Bacharach + David, and un-released at the time), “Betty” by new LA band the Pom Poms, Ricky Nelson’s brilliant and unexpected “Gypsy Woman” (one of the many records I inherited on my DJ trip to Dallas), the American Breed’s “To Put Up With You,” and the perfect getting-ready-for-a-Friday-night-out track by … Read more


Thank you to my fellow WFMU DJs Fabio + Monica for bringing the late, great New York night-life DJ, Anita Sarko to my attention. I’m gutted to have only learned about Anita upon the news of her death (she committed suicide at the age of 68), but I spent an entire morning watching her dish out words of wisdom and wisecracks on various YouTube clips and reading remembrance pieces by her loved ones. This one by Michael Musto is especially touching. And this piece in the New York Times ends with a devastating quote by her friend, Chuck Nanney: “Anybody in a club situation where they were at the top of the heap — if they showed any weakness or vulnerability, people would be really fickle and abandon you,” Mr. Nanney said. “That seems intrinsic to a certain part of New York — always having to keep on your game face, never show any signs of weakness. And that breaks my heart.” Another friend compared her to Teri Garr in Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, whose character I have such an affinity for (After Hours being one of my favorite films of all-time). … Read more

WFMU’s SOPHISTICATED BOOM BOOM #19: Swedish Blonde and Japanese Mystery

Last week was Singles Going Steady week on WFMU, where I “adhered slavishly” (as one listener commented) to playing only 45s on the Singles Going Steady episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom.” The 3 hours and 52 45s included my newly purchased copy of Sandra Barry & the Boys’ “Really Gonna Shake.” If you haven’t seen the Scopitone for this, may I suggest you watch it PRONTO. Here’s the link: Also, the Jets’ perfect prom-ballad “You Got It All,” Myrna March’s speedy “I Keep Forgettin’” (miles better than the Chuck Jackson original, me thinks), Quincy Jones’ “Ai No Corrida” (for my mom), Sparkley Betty Barkley’s ultra-cute “My Resistance Is Low,” The Orchids’ “Oo-Chang-A-Lang” (we were very fortunate to have the Orchids’ Georgina Johnstone chime in on the comments board during the show!), a very eery record called “Long Long Gone” by Zena Ayo, and more!   Listen to the “Singles Going Steady: Swedish Blonde + Japanese Mystery” episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom” here: xo-Sheila