Tag Archives: Vinyl

Who Is Bobby Velvet and How Did He End Up Doing “The Martian”?

Bobby Velvet "The Martian" Ernest Kohl "Sooner or Later" 12" vinyl singles found at Sonido del Valle in Los Angeles
Pic taken at Sonido del Valle where I found Bobby Velvet “The Martian” and Ernest Kohl “Sooner or Later” (which I’ll post about later) last November. (Pic: Liz O.)

Sometimes, I buy a record because it contains a mystery that may or may not ever be solved. Like, who is Bobby Velvet and how did he end up doing “The Martian” in a North Hollywood recording studio for a 12” single released on a label based out of a Pasadena building that’s now a law office? 

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The Extended Mix of Toto Coelo “Milk from the Coconut” Is New Wave Heat

Toto Coelo "Milk from the Coconut" extended dance mix 12" single on vinyl (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Toto Coelo 12″ single with the extended dance mix of “Milk from the Coconut.” (Pic: Liz O.)

On a Sunday afternoon, I flipped through a bin of new wave records at Sonido del Valle in Boyle Heights. At this point in the dig, I had already found a 12” of Bananarama’s cover of “He Was Really Saying Something” for 99 cents that was dusty, but definitely playable. I was starting to feel lucky. Not lottery ticket lucky, but lucky enough to take a chance on a Toto Coelo 12” single called “Milk from the Coconut.” 

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Here’s What I Played at Razorcake Hearts… on March 9, 2024

Gucci Crew II vinyl 12" for "Sally That Girl"

Something that happens when I play all-vinyl sets is that I decide on a personal theme that should, theoretically, make it easier for me to narrow down what I pull from my stacks. Take, for example, Saturday night’s Razorcake party at Footsies. My theme for the night was dubby ‘80s, a mishmash of the dub mixes found on 12” singles during that decade and post-punk tunes that are clearly influenced by dub.

But, now matter how often I say to myself, “Liz, stick to theme,” I just can’t do it. In this case, I started out pulling essentials like The Flying Lizards, Tom Tom Club, The League Unlimited Orchestra, Bauhaus and The Clash. Then I came across a copy of Outkast’s album Speakerboxx/The Love Below and was like, ‘when was the last time I listened to this?’ And then I find my copy of “Sally That Girl” and start thinking about how there will totally be people in the bar who haven’t heard that song since a middle school dance in 1990. But, if I’m going to play that, then I really need to bring Cybotron because that might be the only way I can mix out of Gucci Crew, and then I should probably bring Patrick Cowley too, just because I forgot to bring it to Disco Matinee last week. 

Long story short, that’s how you end up with set lists like the ones listed below. If this is your jam, you should probably pick up tickets for Disco Matinee: Punk ’n’ Funk Edition on April 7 because it will also be all-vinyl and I know a few of these tracks will end up in my crate for that party as well. 

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“Me and My Music”: The Candi Staton Song That Reminds Me Why I DJ

Cover of Chance, 1979 album by Candi Staton featuring "Me and My Music" (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
The cover of Chance

I think I’ve encountered nearly every album Candi Staton released on vinyl while sifting through L.A. record store bins these past few years. Sometimes, I’ll find multiple copies of the same album in one dig. There’s one, though, that has eluded me. It’s called Chance and it was high up on my wish list since the pandemic. I wanted this album for one reason, a song called “Me and My Music,” which became a welcome earworm back when Los Angeles’ nightclubs were closed. 

Candi Staton is best known in the U.S. for the 1976 disco jam “Young Hearts  Run Free.” People in the U.K., and househeads here, are probably also quite familiar with “You Got the Love,” an early ‘90s dance hit that was famously covered by Florence and the Machine in the late ‘00s. But, Staton has been singing since the 1950s and is still active (she played Glastonbury last year), so there’s a significant amount of her music out in the world. Some releases are harder to track down than others, which is the case with Chance. Not only did it take me far-too-long to find the actual vinyl, but, from what I’ve seen, it’s not available to download and streaming options are limited to Deezer and a few YouTube clips.

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New Year, New Vinyl

Records from Musical Youth, Detroit Grand Pubahs, Body of Light inside Going Underground Records in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles from "New Year, New Vinyl" by Liz Ohanesian
Records from Musical Youth, Detroit Grand Pubahs and Body of Light inside Going Underground Records (Pic: Liz O.)

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? 

In the end, I chose neither. 

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It’s Time for a Christmas Disco Classic From Charo

Charo "(Mamacita) ¿Donde Esta Santa Claus?" 12" single with Tom Moulton mix released on Salsoul in 1978. Seen here at Pasadena City College Flea Market. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian, February 2022)
That time in 2022 that I found the 12″ single for Charo “(Mamacita) ¿Donde Esta Santa Claus?” at PCC Flea Market. (Photo: Liz O.)

The 12” appeared in the midst of a deep dig through crates set up inside a Pasadena City College parking garage during the monthly PCC flea market. I had already excavated records by Harry Nilsson, Tangerine Dream and Patrice Rushen when a friend, whose visit to Los Angeles was the catalyst for this adventure, called me over to a booth filled with soundtrack albums and soul records. I flipped through As the Record Turns ‘ vinyl selection and paused when I noticed “(Mamacita) ¿Donde Esta Santa Claus?” the 1978 disco Christmas single from Charo, “A Tom Moulton Mix” released as an extended 12” single on Salsoul with a stamped note on the backside of the cover that read:

 “In all my life, the most happy time of the year is Christmas and I want to share it with you. When you play this record I’ll be with you. Merry Christmas. Love and cuchi cuchi, Charo.”

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Here’s What I Played at Vidéothèque on October 21, 2023

Stack of records with ?tella Up and Away visible in front and DVD box set of Groovie Goolies with Videotheque sticker. (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)
Here are some of the records I played at Vidéothèque’s opening party (I actually bought that ?tella record at Vidéothèque last year) and the Groovie Goolies box set I rented.

On Saturday morning, I finally finished watching the entire original Dark Shadows series. After IDK how many months of binging through storylines about vampires, witches (RIP Lara Parker, who played the best daytime villain ever), werewolves, portals into parallel universes, a creepy kid who keeps getting possessed by ghosts, a doctor who prescribes sleeping pills and seances, etc., I’m not really sure what to do with myself. Or, at least I wasn’t until last night’s gig at Vidéothèque, when I spotted a Groovie Goolies box set in the Halloween section. Now I have a week to power through this early 1970s cartoon series in between work and Halloween DJ gigs. 

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Digging for Vinyl at In Sheep’s Clothing x Japonesia x Homage Record Fair

Crates of vinyl at In Sheep's Clothing x Japonesia x Homage record fair (Photo: Liz Ohanesian)

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. 

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Lost in Time at King Richard’s Antique Center

1960s vintage home goods at King Richard's Antique Center in Whitter. Photo by Liz Ohanesian
This is basically my dream home. Spotted at King Richard’s Antique Center in Whittier. (Pic: Liz O.)

The best way to experience King Richard’s Antique Center is when you have a lot of time on hand and, probably, a good amount of money to spend. However, on my most recent trip to the 57,000 square foot vintage and antique market in Whittier, I had neither and it was still a very good time. 

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The Record Fair I Almost Missed Because Social Media Sucks

Michael Quatro and Melba Moore albums found at an In Sheep's Clothing record fair at Homage Brewing in Chinatown, Los Angeles
Michael Quatro at Melba Moore records found at the In Sheep’s Clothing x Japonesia Night Market at Homage Brewing in Chinatown (Photo: Liz O.)

In July, I wrote a story for LAist about how there are loads of cheap or free concerts happening in L.A., but finding out about them has become increasingly difficult because social media sucks and local music coverage is virtually nonexistent. It was a popular story. I ended up talking about it on LAist radio twice, including a spot that ran on Morning Edition. Loads of people told me they were having the same issue finding out about shows. Someone even came up to me while I was DJing at Underground and mentioned reading it. 

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