My fellow Underground DJ, Diana M., is in a band called Sweater Girls. Today, their new album, Were Here, hits the streets. You can order a copy of the album on vinyl through HHBTM Record. Vinyl is limited to 500 copies, so act fast.
Back in 2009, I did a small post for LA Weekly on this dude called SFV Acid. I think I found him on MySpace or something. I loved his music, as well as the fact that he, like yours truly, was from the Valley.
SFV Acid, aka Zane Reynolds, has a new EP on the way and is getting a lot more ink than he was back in 2009. This is incredibly exciting. I can’t help but feel a sense of 818 pride while listening to his new mix for Fader and reading the accompanying interview. This bit hits close to home:
I mean, I wasn’t aware of like, the utter hatred of this place until I started doing club nights and stuff. But people from LA, the hipsters or whatever you want to call them—the young people in LA do not want to come out here for any reason. I guess that’s how it’s influenced me—it’s like you live in the Valley, or you live Pasadena or maybe Pomona even, and you end up knowing all of LA county because you live outside of it.
Yesterday, I got a postcard in the mail, a gentle reminder from my pal Maki that KXLU’s annual Fundrazor starts this Friday and goes through October 5. This is important.
KXLU airs on 88.9 FM in Los Angeles and online for everyone else. It’s a college station, affiliated with Loyola Marymount University. It’s a station managed by students, staffed primarily by students and alumni and it broadcasts across the second largest radio market in the U.S. KXLU is a rare, beautiful thing. They only do one Fundrazor a year and the money they raise does go to keeping the station afloat. So if you have a little extra money to spend and you too believe in the power of radio, pledge to KXLU. Continue reading →
I love Cold Cave (you’ll me spin “Icons of Summer” at Underground often) and was excited to hear that the “A Little Death to Laugh” 7″ is getting a second pressing. From Cold Cave’s Facebook page:
Due to demand and website server issues, a 2nd pressing of the 7″ limited to 500 copies is now available in grey and purple vinyl. First 50 orders will receive a signed copy by Wesley Eisold. Pre-order the vinyl now — ship date MID to LATE October. Out via Heartworm Press. Pre-order at ColdCave.net
The signed copies are sold out, or so I was informed when I tried to order one this afternoon. I was able to snag a non-signed copy, but who can say how long those will last. Cold Cave is heading out on tour in October and November and will be playing Los Angeles on October 20 (at the Getty) and November 4 (at the Fonda). Check the website for more details.
12″ singles for Siouxsie and the Banshees’ cover of “Dear Prudence” and Clint Ruin and Lydia Lunch’s cover of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” (Photo: Liz O.)
I grew up buying music on cassette tape and then compact discs. My parents never replaced their turntable after it broke, so I always thought of records as a thing of a past that ended right around the time I started kindergarten. Then, sometime at the tail end of high school, I came across a Disney Alice in Wonderland album in the garage. I remembered listening to it when I was a tot and the scratches on the vinyl indicated that I listened to it a lot. On that same spring cleaning mission, my mom found a box of her old records, stuff like Donovan, Elton John and the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. She let my sister and I hang on to the albums, even though we had no means to actually listen to them. Not long after that, I got an inexpensive turntable/radio/tape player from JC Penney and started collecting records.
In the beginning, I bought a lot of indie rock 7″ singles that were new at the time as well as ’80s new wave, goth and industrial albums and 12″ singles. Then I started DJing at Coven 13 and one of the promoters would take me out record shopping with him, sometimes several times a week. He taught me a lot about crate digging, like when certain record stores would unload their latest stacks of used vinyl onto the storeroom floor. That is valuable information, dear reader.
I don’t know how big my vinyl collection is now. Ten years ago, I tried to do a count, but stopped at 2000, even though I was nowhere near finished. I’ve since acquired many more records. It’s a good sized collection– there are certainly many who have a much larger library– but I think it’s solid. There’s not a lot of filler in it. That’s because I have a pretty stringent set of rules that I follow for collecting. Since a couple friends of mine want to start buying vinyl, I’m offering those rules here as a beginner’s guide.
In this game, a well-stocked Rolodex means getting first dibs on records instead of rifling through crates once they’ve been picked over. Osamu Ueno, an independent record buyer, says he moonlights for a Japanese buyer as its eyes and ears in San Francisco—for a 10% finder’s fee. Mr. Ueno wouldn’t give details, fearing prices of mentioned CDs would rise, but he offered this: “When you find these CD titles, they’re usually in the clearance sections for 99 cents.”
Much of what the Japanese want goes for higher prices. Collectible artists in Japan include female pop singers like Patti Page, whose “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” was a 1950s hit, and 1980s teen idol Debbie Gibson. A “Doggie” record-single goes for $5 in the U.S. and $30 in Japan, while Ms. Gibson’s LPs can fetch $200 on eBay. The Japanese “like sugary sweet pop,” collector Alec Palao says.
But some things, like privately pressed novelty records, are “rare for a reason,” says Mr. Vague, the Long Beach dealer. “No one wanted them in the first place.”
$200 for a Debbie Gibson album? I wonder how much someone could get for the cassettes? And by someone, I mean me, if, in fact, I can find my copies of Out of the Blue and Electric Youth on cassette.
I was starting to think that which exists on the Internet, only exists on the Internet. For months, everywhere I click, I see Grimes. My friends share her videos like crazy. Music blogs are all aglow with her hipness. Also for months, I’ve been playing Grimes at Underground, except that, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get more than five people to dance to her. I keep playing “Oblivion” regardless because– dammit– I will get people dancing to stuff that didn’t exist the first time I was a DJ.
Last night, something weird happened. My friend Del, from Tune in Tokyo, stopped by the party. He asked me if I had Grimes. I said yeah, and I looked out onto the dance floor. I was playing either Passion Pit or Daft Punk at the time, so there was already a crowd on the floor, a particularly large one considering that it was maybe 10:30. “But you have to do me a favor,” I said. I told him to go out and dance because I can’t have Grimes clear the floor again. A few songs later, I played “Oblivion.” I looked up from the turntables and mumbled “Wow.” The crowd doubled. Either the Internet and IRL collided for one night, or Del’s my lucky charm and needs to be on the dance floor at all my gigs. (Del, if you’re reading this, I swear I’ll totally return the favor.) I should have taken a photo, but, you know, I was working and stuff.
The crowd kept going after Grimes. New Hot Chip? Hell yes! Crystal Castles? Someone actually screamed. Then a few songs later, I figured I would drop in some Clash because, well, it’s the Clash. The crowd on the floor fled towards the bar. Last night at Underground was not simply our Blur/Gorillaz party. Indeed, it will forever be known as the night Grimes packed the floor and The Clash cleared it.
That’s me, going through my records. Photo: Carlos R.
Last night, Hasbro and Junk Food Clothing put together the Toy Box Game Night at Meltdown Comics and I was fortunate enough to be the DJ.
I didn’t know what to expect for the gig. I’ve been to enough store events to know that they aren’t really dance parties, but I still wanted to play stuff that would make people move. Given that this was Hasbro– which means My Little Pony, GI Joe and Transformers– I thought an ’80s set would be the best bet. (I should say, mostly ’80s, the tracks that opened and closed the set actually came out in the late 1970s.) I also decided to go with more of an ’80s alternative radio sound, mostly stuff I remember hearing on KROQ as a kid, because that seemed closest to what I hear on the Meltdown iPod whenever I stop by the store. Then I threw in some Madonna and Technotronic just for fun.
It was a really cool gig. When I arrived, I was told that I could either wear a Transformers mask or a hat. As much as I would have loved DJing in the mask, I wouldn’t have been able to use my headphones, so I went with the cap. There were a lot of people running around with Nerf guns, which looked like a ton of fun. I’m happy I could provide the soundtrack for the Nerf Battle. Special thanks to Meltdown, Junk Food and Hasbro for this opportunity.
Miki, Yumi and Kei from The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass (Photo: Liz O.)
We weren’t quite sure we would actually find The Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass, playing live in some hidden corner of Pasadena and we are pros at finding bands in spots that are not the Troubadour or whatever. We’ve spent a lot of time searching for music. We’ve driven blindly in the pre-GPS days, waiting for the bass to shake our car. We’ve wandered through neighborhoods where they only sign of life was the sad shell of a gentlemen’s club. We’ve stumbled into backyards and even made our way through a maze of storage units. Anything to find the music. This time, though, our inner party compass, and all external means of mapping locations, were failing.
On this particular night, the quest to find the band led us to what my perennial partner-in-crime, Carlos, and I would consider uncharted territory. We were in Old Town Pasadena. This isn’t the sort of neighborhood we would ever associate with music we like. The streets are clean and lined with mall stores. There are crowds of people pouring in and out of restaurants with large shopping bags hanging from one arm and small children clinging tightly to the other. It’s family friendly, two words we will never associate with music and good times. Continue reading →