I paused with the door of the convenience store fridge open when I heard the song. It sounded like Ultravox during the Midge Ure years, but it was in Spanish. Who was this? Shazam likely would have turned up the answer, but I asked the cashier instead. Miguel Bosé, she answered immediately.
Maybe I should have known that? I think the cashier was surprised that I didn’t recognize the singer. We talked about music often when I popped into the store. She played a lot of ‘80s Spanish pop jams. Once I remarked, “ooh, I love this song!” while Flans’ version of “No Controles” played and that got us started. But, I also didn’t grow up with the music. I had some knowledge of the alternative bands that were in the 1990s ether, stuff like Cafe Tacuba and Kinky, but I didn’t start listening to Spanish ‘80s until the ‘00s and what I knew came via my friends who are DJs.
I walked towards the front of Fingerprints feeling fairly accomplished. A dig through the holiday record bin may have turned up no copies of “El Burrito de Belén” (or “El Burrito Sabanero”), but, I did find a vinyl copy of Let It Be Blue, the !!! album that was one of my favorites of 2022, on sale for a very 2002 price. I was happy to leave the store with that and nothing else, but Carlos called me over to a bargain bin. “Look,” he said with excitement on his face. He held up the Chaz Jankel record where the musician’s first name was spelled Chas. It’s the album with the original version of “Ai No Corrida.”
My first quandary of 2024 occurred late in the afternoon on January 1 inside Going Underground Records as I quickly flipped through a crate of indie releases alphabetized by the letter F. There, I found Kate Fagan I Don’t Want to Be Too Cool and Future Islands As Long As You Are on vinyl, both of which I could use in my collection. But, when it comes to new vinyl, I need to exhibit some restraint. Which should I choose?
“This is incredible,” Martin Gore said from the steps of Los Angeles City Hall before thanking Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez for declaring December 13 Depeche Mode Day and the crowd for showing up on the occasion. Over the roar of cheers, he spoke of Depeche Mode’s connection to L.A., how the band played their first stadium show here and about “the Wherehouse fiasco.”
“Sorry we didn’t sign the records, but thank you,” he added. “It helped our career a lot because we made nationwide news.”
The moment I saw the khaki skirt, I knew that my Halloween costume issue was going to work itself out. I actually found two khaki skirts wedged in a rack at the Glassell Park Goodwill. One was a mini that could work in a pinch. The other was slightly longer and fuller. It had a wraparound belt and some buttons down the front, but still looked a little more like a school uniform. I shoved it into the cart and headed over towards the men’s department to find a blazer.
Halloween parties are this weekend and I still didn’t have a costume. So, of course, I showed up at Goodwill with no plan.
The marimba from Señor Coconut’s cover of “Trans Europe Express” reverberates down Elmyra Street, about half a block away from Homage Brewing. I recognize the song instantly because there’s a copy of the 12” single that’s been in my collection for more than 20 years. It was something that I loved on a conceptual level— German producer moves to Chile and releases Kraftwerk covers in various Latin American music styles— but also turned out to be a useful record to own if you like people asking “What is this?” when playing all-vinyl bar DJ gigs.
I have yet to drink my way through the cocktail menu at Golden Dragon in Chinatown. I’ve made enough of a dent in it, though, to tell you that the piña colada, with a kick of coconut in its frothy top, is my favorite. But, the mai tai, Singapore sling and scorpion bowls are all worthy dinner companions as well. Even better, all of the drinks mentioned here, and most of the cocktails on Golden Dragon’s menu, are $8.50*, which is a downright deal for a mixed drink in Los Angeles right now. In fact, it’s lower than what I’ve seen during happy hour at multiple places downtown.
Vidéothèque is back! After moving from South Pasadena to Highland Park, the 20-year-old video store is open again for rentals from its catalog of 45,000+ releases.
I stopped by on Saturday night to check out the new shop, which is located on Figueroa, near where Cypress Park and Highland Park meet, and was immediately impressed by how spacious it is. There’s a front room dedicated to movie posters and store merchandise. In the main room, you’ll find Xenon set up towards the front window and there’s now plenty of room for you and your crew to hang out and play a few rounds of pinball. Behind the maze of DVDs and Blu-Rays, you’ll find an alcove with a jukebox as well as the store’s record selection.
If you already rent from Vidéothèque, you’ll enjoy the new space. If your reaction to this post is, “wait, video stores are still a thing?”, then you should make plans to visit and see what you miss when you stick with streamers.
I grew up in a family full of staunch Angelenos who love to dispense advice on crucial subjects like rush hour short cuts and where to get a good meal. When it comes to the latter, one of the best pieces of advice I heard from multiple family members was, “Get breakfast at Philippe’s.”
For one baffling moment, the thought of walking the 1.2 mile stretch of Sunset Blvd. between Spacedust and Bar Henry for Echo Park Rising on Saturday afternoon sounded doable. I quickly came to my senses and vetoed that option, though, on account of it being somewhere around 90 degrees, per the weather app on my phone. Plus, the list of things I wanted to do that day was out of control. So, instead, I stuck around Bar Henry long enough to see Nolune, Micah Preite and Datamaps play fantastic sets on the sidewalk as traffic whizzed past us.