Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Search For Soul & RnB records in New York

When you only have 3 days to spend in New York, it's impossible to visit every record shop. And between radio shows, a DJ gig and visiting friends, that makes it a challenge. When you can combine hanging with mates and record digging, you're coming close to my definition of nirvana.

So with a tight schedule, I didn't even enter a shop in Manhattan and concentrated my digging efforts in Jersey City and Brooklyn. I arrived on Friday, in Jersey City, just early enough to visit two shops before heading over to the WFMU studios for my appearance on Sheila B's show Sophisticated Boom Boom. You can read all about my experience here.

The first stop was Stan's Square Records, 737 Bergen Ave. The place was empty and according to the only employee, I was the first one to come through the doors that day.

The owner Stan has recently died and apparently the shop is on the verge of closing. You can tell that the stock hasn't been renewed in a while but with enough time and patience, a few gems can be unearthed.

I managed to buy a few Mod Jazz singles but the condition is far from pristine. A copy of the Northern Soul classic Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson for  $1? Sure, I'll take that. My favorite find has to be the Ramsey Lewis Trio doing an instrumental rendition of the In Crowd on Argo.

When I asked if I could go through the row of 45s sitting on a dusty shelf behind the counter, I was told that the family wanted to keep those. I don't get that. What is the point of having records in a store if you're not going to sell them.

Anyway, on to the next one. Iris Record (114 Brunswick St) is, on the other hand, a lot less gloomy. For one, it resides in a century old pharmacy. How cool is that? Drugs and Rock and Roll under the same roof? Sort of makes sense to me.

There are plenty of 45s to go through and for you, LP collectors out there, you won't make the trip for nothing. Just like at Stan's, I didn't find anything mind blowing but the prices are more than reasonable. All the records are sleeveless, a bit worst for wear and in need of a good cleaning but there's potential to find a few good tracks.

The guy behind the counter was really nice and when I was ready to pay, I saw a copy of The Horse by Cliff Nobles just lying there. When I said that I really liked that track, he just added it to the pile as a gift. There's no way that in my own town I would ever come across a Cliff Nobles 45, as common as it may be in New York, on a regular basis.

The next day, I met up with my man Kurtis Powers, from The Face Radio, at his brownstone in Brooklyn for a second round of record hunting.

Just a couple of blocks from Kurtis' place is a memorial to an old Mafia boss.
Now to go hunt for records on a Vespa Sprint was certainly an added bonus. I had packed my helmet for the occasion and I was sure glad I did. How else should a couple of Mods in New York spend the last days of summer anyway?

Can't start a packed day of intense record diggin' without a hearty breakfast.
My guide made sure to take plenty of detours to cover as many Brooklyn neighborhoods as we could. What a pleasant surprise it was when Kurtis decided to take the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. The memory of following him on his stunning white Vespa VBB on this historic bridge on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon will be forever etched in my mind.
For those of you that think that New York has the best bagels in the world, you obviously have never tried a Montreal bagel. Don't believe me? Google it!

Our first stop was Co-Op 87. According to my friend, this is one of the best kept secrets in Brooklyn. He was hesitant reveling it to me knowing that it would make the pages of this blog. I reminded him that a quick Google search of record shops would reveal its identity.

I did understand why this is a favorite digging spot of his. Everything is so neat and organized. Some of the 45s are even classified by label. You're missing a certain Motown single? Boom! Pull out the Motown box.

The most surprising part is when it comes time to pay. The owner simply scans the tiny bar code on the sleeve and gives you the total. Now that's impressive! I didn't leave with a ton of records but I was happy to leave with this very funky song. Actually, I think the title says it all.

Our second and final stop of the day was Superior Elevation Records, 100 White St, #B. The shop is situated in the industrial neighborhood of Bushwick and just exploring the surrounding streets near the record shop was fascinating to me.

The selection at this place is impressive. The lack of time held me from digging deep. I only got to scratch the surface. This doesn't mean I left empty handed. Au contraire my friends!

The service is top notch! And I'm not just saying that because they offered us free beer.

Just before heading back to Montreal on Sunday morning I had time for one last halt. After a hearthy brunch with my budy Scott, aka DJ Bjornlate, in the beautiful neighborhood of Park Slope, I was headed to Northern Lights Records.

Breakfast of champions with my mate Scott.
And what would be a day of driving in Brooklyn without witnessing an accident? I was a minute away from the record shop sitting at a red light when a car behind me, too impatient to wait in traffic, decided to speed up in the upcoming lane only to slip in behind a truck at the edge of the intersection. The only thing he hadn't foreseen, in his infinite wisdom, was the bicycle behind the truck. All I heard was a large thump. Fortunaly, the cyclist wasn't injured. I saw him emerged walking beside his bike with no apparent damage. The only one who seemed to have sustained any damage was the expensive car's paint and the driver's ego.

Northern Lights has a large collection of inexpensive 45s. If you have time on your hands, you'll manage to sniff out a few records to add to your collection. The condition of the 45s aren't the best but they have a VPI machine that will take out most of the dirt.

Their Jamaican and Caribbean section is enviable but like any Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae collector will tell you, the condition is always rough.
The staff was friendly and helpful. This place should definitely be part of your itinerary.

What awaited me after a rather intense 3 days was a 9 hour drive home (with all the stops). I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mod On The Road: The New York Adventure

I hadn't been to New York in years. To give you an idea, the last time I set foot in the Big Apple, the Twin Towers were up and I visited the Moon Records Ska label. I was long overdue for a visit.

I don't know if any of you have a bucket list but I have a vague one set in my head. One thing is clear though, in the #2 spot, was to one day DJ in New York. So when the ever vibrant and charming Sheila B asked me to join her on her WFMU show Sophisticated Boom Boom and later share the decks with her at her Sh-Boom night in Brooklyn, it was like the clouds had parted in the sky and a beam of light had speared through. To say that I was elated is an understatement. Of all the DJs in this great land, to be asked by her was truly a dream come true.

Truth be told, I did bribe her. When we were both asked to DJ the East Coast Classic Rally together, I had brought a couple of records as gifts. And in my machiavelic plan to woo her, I had tailor made my DJ set to her specific taste. Sheila has a worldwide reputation for being a Girl Group expert. That's why I had brought the best French and Quebec Girl Group 45s I had in my arsenal. The mission  "charm Sheila B" seemed to be working. I did spill the beans and confessed my crime. My ulterior motive didn't seem to deter her from inviting me. A couple of months later, here I am under the brights lights of the big city.

I have no hesitations in declaring that Sheila and I are kindred spirits. Not only do we share very similar taste in music (aside maybe for her love of Heavy Metal) but I believe that we have that same palpable zest for life. For those familiar with her radio show, she's every bit as fun and passionate in real life as she is on air. Her positive demeanor is highly contagious.

The hour we spent on air together went by in a flash. I had the pleasure to program the second hour of her show and decided to put 60s Quebec rarities on the map.

Holding a copy of Don Norman & The Other Four
Sheila had only provided a single question in advance to prepare for the interview part. Here it is: "What are your top 5 favorite songs of all-time? Songs that really mean something to you, move you, that you can't live without. And they don't have to fall into the 60s mod / soul category. They can be from any time, any place."

Now you all know that for a DJ / record collector that is an impossible task. Our musical taste constantly evolves and changes. I could think of way more than 5 songs that I can't live without. But this is radio. One thing was for sure, I wanted to surprise her. And I certainly managed to throw her a couple of curve balls. This is what I came up with.

1) The Reflections - (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet
2) Madness - It Must Be Love
3) The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night
4) Timon & Pumba - Hakuna Matata
5) Adam Sander - I Want To Grow Old With You (from the movie The Wedding Singer)

The first 3 were easy to pick. The Reflections song I lipsynched while walking down the aisle at my wedding while my 3 best men did the back vocals. The Madness track played when it was my future wife's turn to walk down the aisle and The Kinks played after we had exchanged vows and left hand in hand. Songs #4 and #5 were the curve balls.

The other answer that unmistakably perplexed the host was to the question: "Name a person, dead or alive, that you would love to meet." It's a shame you all missed her reaction when I answered: Oprah. What can I say? I admire the woman and I think we would have a very interesting conversation. You can listen to the whole show here.

After the radio show, it was a race from Jersey City to Brooklyn through Manhattan to get ready for the night’s festivities. I don’t know how many of you have taken the Holland tunnel on a Friday, during rush hour, but that is an event in itself.

As soon as I stepped in my hotel, I knew right away that I should reconsider booking rooms through Hotwire. At first I thought that being booked at the BPM Hotel was a good sign for a DJ. Wrong! Trying too hard to be a boutique hotel with an all white lobby, purple neon and blaring techno music, it was nothing to put you at ease. It’s when I was greeted by the attendant in a dirty white t-shirt that has been washed so many times that it has become see-through that I knew I was about to live an experience worth writing about. Her « colleague » standing next to her had a baby on her hip, playing on her iPhone trying to find some Hip-Hop to drown out the custom techno soundtrack she had probably heard a million times. I had to move the baby formula from the front desk to lean on it. Are you all starting to get the picture?

Standing in front of the hotel employee, hidden behind her computer screen, it was impossible to make eye contact with her. 

- Long day? , I asked.
 - Yes…
- Don’t worry. I’m here to make your life easy. Take a deep breath. I have a reservation, I said trying to lift her spirits
- I don’t think you’re going to like me…

At that point she still hadn’t made eye contact with me. She was shuffling papers, clicking on her mouse and trying to look busy. She did this for no less than 4-5 minutes, mumbling to herself. Long story short, the hotel was overbooked, I had to find a new hotel in Brooklyn on a Friday night, take a shower, suit up and get to the venue where I was DJing, that was 30 minutes away, all in an hour and fifteen minutes.

I spent almost an hour on the front desk phone with Hotwire trying to find me a room for 2 nights. We managed to find 2 different rooms in 2 different hotels. The only good thing that came out of this is that I got rooms that were twice what I had paid for and Hotwire paid the difference.

Thank Mod for Sheila! She was already at Our Wicked Lady getting the party started and covering for me. It’s a good thing she had my back because I hit some major traffic on the way to the venue. I couldn’t believe that at 10:30 pm I was hardly moving on the expressway. When I saw the car in the right lane that looked like a pretzel, I understood. If the driver survived, it's a miracle.

Our Wicked Lady is a cool little venue in an industrial part of Brooklyn. To give you an idea, I parked in front of a ramen noodle factory. Can't get more Brooklyn then that!

Sh-Boom is Sheila’s monthly party and I had the distinct pleasure of DJing on her birthday.

Anna Copa Cabana, the resident Go-Go dancer got a nice little dance floor going and cupcakes were passed around the bar once I started playing Happy « Soul » Birthday.

It was every bit as exciting as I had hoped being a DJ in New York would be. Thanks to Sheila, I could finally tick item #2 off my bucket list.

Once I finally got back to my new hotel room, I just realized that I had been up for 24 hours straight. In New York, you go big or you go home.

The next day, after a solid 4 hours of sleep, I met up with my mate Kurtis Powers, host of The Face Radio. He was going to show me around Brooklyn, while making stops at his favorite record shops. We would also set an hour aside in the afternoon so we could record an hour of his radio show together.

Visiting New York on a tour bus is one thing, using the subway is something else, but you don’t get to see much being underground. Doing it on a Vespa Sprint, now that’s the way to go! When I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan following Kurtis on his white Vespa VBB on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I kept pointing to my arm showing Kurtis I had chills. I was in awe for hours!

I’ll keep our record digging for a future post but we did manage to find a few gems. We rode back to his beautiful brownstone apartment late afternoon just in time to record the next day’s radio show. This hour of musical programming was all about Soul and RnB. It was fun, unrehearsed, real and very natural. After we were done, Kurtis gave me the best compliment. « Man! That was just so easy! I’ve interviewed a few people and it was never this smooth. » « What do you expect? We were just 2 friends chatting. Plus, we practiced all day!"

So this is what happens when two mates get together, shoot the breeze, listen to some great Soul music and say a bunch of nonsense. Listen to all the banter, the tunes and the shenanigans on iTunes here (episode 91), on Google Play here, on Podomatic here or on TuneIn Radio here.

New York is intense. Just the way it should be.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Profiles Of The Best 60s / Mod DJs in North America: Special Edition - MODtreal 2016

The 2016 edition of MODtreal has one impressive line-up of DJs. Aside from our official resident DJ, Mod Marty from the On Target radio show and yours truly, DJ Parka Pat, we are proud to welcome some of the best wax spinners on the continent. Every genres of the Mod spectrum will be well represented and it bids well for the non-stop party that will be held over Labor Day Weekend. What makes it a more unusual line-up is that we have two couples featured here. I guess it goes to show that similar taste in music and record collecting makes for long lasting relationships.

For all the details and the bands that will perform at this year's weekender, head over to the MODtreal Facebook page HERE.

Your name / DJ
Stacy Thornton
Boston, MA
How would you describe your musical style? 
I favor raw and slinky female RnB and yet I love a slickly orchestrated, gorgeous pop production just as much. I absolutely love the early 60s but I also spin Garage, Pop, Rock 'n Roll, Soul, Popcorn, you-name-it. Soft Walkin' by Freddie Houston is a favorite at the moment. 
What is your "go to" track? The one that you will never get tired of spinning?
Something by Bert Berns. I'll Take You Where The Music's Playing by The Drifters perfectly captures the excitement of a night out dancing. New York was legendary in the 60s for all the parties and the cross-pollination of musical styles. Kids from Spanish Harlem, Queens, Yonkers, Washington Heights and the Bronx all sweating together. Last year I picked up The Witches - She's Got You Now on Bang and that will be getting played for a long time.
Name the record that is missing from your collection.
I'd really love to get Foolish Dreamer by Stormie Wynters. I'd like to have As Long As I Have You by Garnet Mimms on a single.
Where can we see you spin on a regular basis?
Aside from popping up for the occasional guest slot, it would have to be in my dining room. We have two turntables and a mixer set up where typically a buffet would be. And in our china cabinet? You guessed it: 45s.
Is vinyl the only acceptable format? 
It is for me. It's what I know. 45s were designed to jump out of a jukebox. The wide grooves demand attention and pack a punch. 78s sound great, too, but they're heavy and hard to find in good condition. What is your favorite place to buy records? 
On the edge of my hometown in Philadelphia, there's Val and RnB Records. I waited years before I felt ready to go there for the first time. It was a humbling experience.
Your name / DJ
Jason Thornton / Jazzy Jas
Boston, MA
How would you describe your musical style? 
Northern Soul meets Popcorn at the corner of Girlstown and Teensville.
What is your “go to” track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning? I have three that I constantly go to.
1. Gotta Keep On Walking - Little Herman - Arlen
2. I'll Burn Your Letters - Jackie & the Starlets - Mascot
3. Would She Do That For You - Mary Saenz - Big Ben
Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection. 
We Can Make It - Mello Souls - Mello
Where can we see you spin on a regular basis?
At our house on the home DJ system with my wife Stacy but I'll happily play records wherever I'm wanted and needed.
Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote. 
Soulellujah at Zuzu in Cambridge. Whether you're hearing Soul music for the first time or if you think you've heard it all, this is the place to go every Saturday. Great variety of music, an energetic crowd and a nice rotating crew of DJs and guests to keep it interesting. 
Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music? 
If I'm playing vintage music, I insist on playing 100% original 45s and LPs whenever possible. I'm seriously into collecting so I love having the genuine article if I can get my hands on it. For other styles of music that are more contemporary and for gigs outside the Rare Soul and Popcorn scene, I have Serato onboard.
What is your favorite place to buy records? 
In a small town, in a barn, from an old man.
Your name / DJ
Jonathan Newton / DJ Mojo Go-Go (I Dig Your Mind)
Washington, DC environs
How would you describe your musical style? 
Eclectic, sixties-centric vintage 45 records, both classics and obscurities. I play Garage, Psych, Fuzz, Freakbeat, Mod, Popsike, Yeh Yeh, Groovy, Bubblegum, British Invasion, Go-Go, Slop, with a smattering of Sock-It-To-Me Soul and some Raw RnB. 
What is your “go to” track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning?
One record which I almost always play is Get It by John Hill on Amy. It sounds like a raucous party captured on wax and always gets a good response no matter what style I'm spinning.
Another record I love but don't play quite as often (which is kind of ironic since I named my regular DJ night after it!) is I Dig Your Mind by The Nervous Breakdowns. It is more representative of the stuff I love to spin: Garage Punk attitude, Bubblegum catchiness, Psychedelic production and lyrics saturated with period slang.
Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection. 
Far too many to mention. Unfortunately my want list is brimming with holy grails and white whales that are exceedingly difficult to find and too expensive if found. Luckily there is an inexhaustible supply of cool, interesting, obscure records that I can squander my money on instead. 
Where can we see you spin on a regular basis? Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote.
I did a regular monthly night at a terrific bar in DC, Showtime Lounge. The owner, Soul Call Paul, is a fellow DJ and enthusiast of "really old, bizarre music" (according to a Yelp review) so it was great but this is on indefinate hiatus right now. Lately I've been doing a series of one-offs and guest spots like Primitive! at Black Cat with DJ Mad Squirrel, Chocolate City Soul Club at DC9 with DJ Mark Zimin, Dodge City with DJ Jennder and Baltimore Scooter Rally with DJs Parka Pat and Sally-Go-Round. And of course I'm really excited to be invited to be a part of MODtreal this year, my first international gig!
Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music?
That's a pretty sweeping statement. As a DJ and record collector, it is my personal preference; it is definitely more fun for me to do it that way compared to CDs or laptop. The vast majority of what I spin was only on singles at the time, so it makes sense for me to focus on that format. On the other hand, if the people listening and dancing are enjoying themselves, who cares about format?
What is your favorite place to buy records? 
As much as I enjoy patronizing the many excellent shops in my local area, nothing really compares to the brain-melting record overload of attending a big event like the Allentown 45 & 78 Record Show in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the WFMU record fair in NY and especially the Mega Platenbeurs at Jaarbeurs in Utrecht.
Your Name / DJ
Sally Go Round
DC Metro Area
How would you describe your musical style?
Girls, girls girls! I literally want women's voices to be heard.
What is your "go to" track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning?
I'll never get tired of spinning, hearing, or dancing to Send Me a Postcard by Shocking Blue.
Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection.
My collection is fairly small so there are lots still missing from my collection.
Where can we see you spin on a regular basis? Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote.
Guest DJing with friends here and there.
Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music?
For me it is because I think it's more fun to search through piles of records to find some hidden treasure (I don't do a lot of online record shopping) and I like the physical act of putting a record on the turntable to play it.
What is your favorite place to buy records?
Record fairs, flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores and local record stores of whatever city I happen to be in.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Profiles Of The Best 60s / Mod DJs in North America: Special Edition - East Coast Classic Rally

From June 3rd to the 5th, the East Coast Classic Scooter Rally will be held in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I was lucky enough to be asked to DJ the event and when I saw who I was sharing the decks with, that's when I started to really get excited. 

But that's not all! The bands are worth the trip all to themselves. 

So in the Parka Avenue tradition, I asked my estime fellow DJs to answer a few questions for posterity.

Your name / DJ

Sheila Burgel / Sheila B. (Cha Cha Charming, WFMU)


New York, NY

How would you describe your musical style? 

I’ve inadvertently created a lil’ niche for myself as a DJ, collector and champion of 60s girl-centric Pop, Soul, R&B, Freakbeat, Rock n’ Roll and Garage. So the majority of my collection consists of female-fronted 45s from 1960s Japan, France, England and the US. But I’ve got a whole lotta love for music from all decades, genres and locations. Some of my all-time favorite artists are the Ronettes, Megadeth, Alan Parsons Project, Blake Babies, Shangri Las and Saint Etienne. My musical style is pretty much all over the place.

What is your “go to” track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning?

I’ve got a couple of signature 45s that never leave my DJ box: Jun Mayuzumi - Black Room, Barbara Lynn - I Don’t Want A Playboy,  Bonny St. Claire - I Surrender and my latest addition, Jasper Woods - Hully Gully Papa.

Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection.

My friend Jason Thornton in Boston hipped me to the mind-blowing Irma Routen - I Will Sacrifice on MGM. Please dear spirit above let me find that record PRONTO!

Where can we see you spin on a regular basis? Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote. 

I host a sexy 60s Rock n’ Roll party called Sh-Boom at Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn every third Friday of the month. We’ve got 60s erotic cult-film projections, New York’s sassiest go-go girl, Anna Copa Cabanna and local and international DJs spinning all-vinyl sets of 60s Japanese pop, French Yé-Yé, girl groups, Garage, British Freakbeat, Northern Soul, Glam, soundtracks, R&B and Exotica. And can I mention a few of the excellent Soul parties I’ve spun at over the years—Big Shake! in Helsinki, Finland, Soulelujah in Boston, and Save Your Soul in Baltimore? And I’m looking forward to spinning with Parka Pat at the East Coast Classic weekender on June 3rd-5th!

Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music?

Tough question! There is a lot of work, money, time and research that I put into collecting original records, so it would bum me out to see a DJ playing the songs on their laptop that I spent years tracking down. Laptop DJing is a different animal. With all the tools available, I think anyone who knows how to use a computer can basically DJ with a laptop. But a lot more is required of a vinyl DJ and I like that not everyone can do it. I’ve used a laptop on a few occasions to play tracks that only exist as MP3s but I find it really boring to DJ from a computer. It doesn’t require the same kind of physicality and engagement, which is what I really love about playing vinyl. A record spinning on a turntable looks and sounds great and I don’t think anyone can argue with that. 

What is your favorite place to buy records?

The Allentown 45 & 78 Record Show in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Josey Records in Dallas, TX from my favorite dealers (like Barry Soltz) and from friends and fellow DJs from around the world. 


Make sure to check out Sheila's blog, Cha Cha Charming, about 60s girl-pop groups.

While reading the blog, tune in to Sophisticated Boom Boom, her successful radio show on WFMU.

Your name / DJ

Kurtis Powers


Brooklyn / NYC

How would you describe your musical style?

Quite broad and diverse. We do a BritPop / Mod /Indie night called Loaded, but I also do The Face Radio which is Soul, Funk, Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Crossover, etc. I believe I’m certainly a Modernist. Always looking for the new with the old. Always looking to expand those boundaries, if not for others, at least for myself. For my sins, I’ve been known to enjoy some early Disco, Soulful House and Boogie. I’ve always been a fan of Soul in all its forms. That’s not to say there isn’t more bad than good in some of those areas. I’ve tried to get a few of our own Soul / Mod nights in NYC that never really took off. People like Mikey Post and Phast Freddie do great nights here, and its a hard town to get things really happening, even when you have some of the best records like these guys. So for all its worth, I’d rather go enjoy theirs!

What is your “go to” track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning?

Larry Williams & Johnny Watson - Too Late. Always love this tune. 2nd would be Dean Parrish - Skate. I always play this. Such a TUNE! Almost anything from Bobby Patterson…

 Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection.

Little Tommy - I’m Hurt / Baby Can’t You See on Sound of Soul from Richmond Virginia. I love that record. Though I’m not one of those people to buy a rare record for rare sake, unless it was silly not to. I’ve never been a fan of the competition / pissing contest of rare records. I love to get stuff and I likely buy records everyday of my life, but at the end of the day, someone having more money to spend on a record, doesn’t make them any cooler in my eyes. Also, I believe in playing what is great. I don’t necessarily want to play all the same tracks as everyone else, but a good song is a good song. I’m happy to play a song that gets everyone dancing even if it's common. Why roll your eyes at that. I like good music and as long as it's good, enjoy it!

Where can we see you spin on a regular basis? Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote.

I do Loaded every first Thursday at The Vig Bar in Manhattan and The Face Radio weekly, on a number of stations. I do Northern Soul, Classic Soul, Funk, Jazz-Funk and more. You can find The Face Radio on Twitter here.

Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music?

As I play a lot of different styles, I wouldn’t say that, though it is my preferred format. I have digital music at home. I’ve done a wedding or a party that required lots of different things and I’ve gone Serato. On my show, if I play new music of emerging artists, they’ll send me digital promos and I’ll play them on the show, as it's digital radio, it doesn’t matter either way.

That said, anything from Soul, Funk, Mod, 60s, even the BritPop night I do, is all exclusively vinyl. In person it sounds better. Even in non-scene nights, when you spin vinyl, people just become so mesmerized by it.

What is your favorite place to buy records?

My two favourite shops are both in Manchester England. Sadly Beatin’ Rhythm Records has shut. They used to have this amazing shop and then moved into a smaller shop. They’ve recently shut, which is sad, as you could find so much and they were also an education. They weren’t pretentious. You could tell them sounds or even tempos and styles you would be looking for. You could see their love for the music as they would just go through lists, asking if you’ve heard this or that. Was always a great experience.

My other favorite is in Chorlton, an area in Manchester and it's called King Bee. Great selection, very diverse. I like buying 60s, Mod, Funk, Soul, Crossover, Jazz-Funk and more. You can always walk away with a good handful of records.

Your name / DJ 

Ryan W. Thomas / Lord Thomas


Portsmouth, Virginia

How would you describe your musical style?

SOFTMOD with a downtown feel!

What is your “go to” track? The one you will likely never get tired of spinning?

Funky Virginia - Sir Guy - D.P.G. Records

Regardless of price, name THE record that is missing from your collection.

Sugar Pie De Santo - Go Go Power - Checker

Where can we see you spin on a regular basis? Tell us about the night or an event you would like to promote.

Once a month, HotButtered - Soul- Reggae - Boogaloo @ Toast in Norfolk Virginia.

PressureDrop - Big Boss Reggae @ Continental Divide in Richmond Virginia.

Is vinyl the only acceptable format for playing your style of music?

100% YES!!!!!!

What is your favorite place to buy records?

Steady Sounds in Richmond Virginia. Very well curated record store! Very fair prices!

What type of Scooter do you own?

A juiced up 1977 Vespa P200E

You want a little tease of the night to come mixed by yours truly? Something to put you in a party mood? Head over to the Parka Avenue Podcast here now!