Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

On December 17, Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio spun tracks by some of the people on Earth not actively contributing to the horribleness that was this past year.

From massive box sets by Nigerian greats to Vietnamese and Thai guitar shredding to the first D'Angelo album in a decade and a half, we covered everything that rocked our world -- or at least what we were able to cram into our three-hour time slot.

Listen to the show now in the archives

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rock Simera! (Rock Now!) | 1971

Listen to "They All Mean Bad"

Listen to "Imaginary Doctor"

Grab the whole collection here

Found today at the Greek Music Superstore on 31st Street here in Astoria. Hopefully this mostly awesome Greek psych-era collection makes up somewhat for my relative neglect of this blog this year. 

I promise a Best of 2014 before the end of the year. And I know that most of the links here are dead. I'll get on it. All. Soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Listen to the show in the archives now!

On Wednesday, December 10, Bodega Pop Live on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio brought you three hours of mind-blowing, guitar-driven, sex, drugs & revolution-soaked psychedelic and garage rock from Belgium, Chile and Korea, to the former Yugoslavia and Zambia.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hoàng Oanh | Saigon Siren 1960-1975

Listen to "Le Bong"

Listen to "Mua Gat Moi"

Listen to "Tinh Yeu Tra Lai Trang Sao"

Just reupped this Bodega Pop exclusive album here.

I've long wanted to put together a collection of the Bodega's favorite Hoàng Oanh songs, especially since the three or four full albums I've previously posted of hers were taken down early last year. But perpetual busyness coupled with chronic exhaustion has kept me from the task -- until today. Not that I suddenly find myself free and clear, alas. No, it's just that I'm facing an inevitable, looming deadline so severe, so intractable, so humiliating if I miss it, that I just can't help but procrastinate. Lucky you!

Born Huỳnh Kim Chi in 1950 in Mỹ Tho, about 45 miles southwest of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), Hoàng Oanh is considered by many contemporary Vietnamese singers to be a primary influence. No doubt in part because she was at the helm of her own career decades after most would have given up, compiling, editing and distributing her classic recordings from an address in Fountain Valley, Calif. 

A couple of things about the title of this particular BP-exclusive album. First, it might be a stretch to call her a "Saigon Siren"; for, other than her proximity to the cultural capital, Oanh was always considered more country simple than urban sophisticated -- at least, according to a fellow writer of mine from Vietnam. 

Another stretch: I'm not sure about those dates: 1960-1975. I have songs on a couple of CDs that are attributed as far back as 1964, when the singer presumably was 14, but no one song from 1960 when she was 10 or 11 ... all I have to go on for that, is this:

That's from one of her self-compiled-and-distributed albums, so I'm guessing she would know the dates. (And, no, Nhạc Yêu Cầu does not mean "Songs Other People Sang First"; it means something more like "Song Requests" -- at least, to the extent we can believe Google Translate. Unless of course it does mean "Songs Other People Sang First," in which case, mystery solved.)

Did she really begin her career as a pre-teen? She wouldn't be the first female vocalist to have done so, of course; I simply find it remarkable, given how mature her voice sounds throughout all of the recordings I have. Does it matter? I suppose not. What matters -- to me, at least -- is that, of all of the musicologists, ethno- and otherwise, we have taking up space at colleges and universities across the country on any given day, not a single one of them has seen fit to trek out to southern California and interview this living legend. (To say nothing of the dozen or so other exiled Vietnamese singers living near and around Oanh's home and offices.) There's a book just waiting to happen. Maybe not a bestseller. But, presumably, a potentially awesome read.

Bodega Hop: Latin Hip-Hop, Rap + Reggaeton | Bodega Pop 15

Listen to the first track

Listen to the next track

Listen to track 8

Just reupped the 24-song mix here.

Before I moved into my new apartment last month and discovered the little Mexican bodega off Broadway near Steinway from whence the CDs on which I found many of these tracks were plucked, this mix wouldn't have been possible. Was that sentence grammatically correct? It's late; I can't tell. More importantly, I don't care.

I do care about my regular visitors and I'm well aware just how much I've neglected the Bodega shelves since the big move. So this insanely great ear-curling collection goes out to all of you, with the promise of much more to come.

You Forgot Poland | Bodega Pop 14

Just reupped the 33-track Bodega Pop exclusive album here. You'll never forget Poland again.

Listen to "Tatuuj Mnie"

Listen to "Welcome to Poland Asshole"

Listen to "Artbroken"

Listen to "Nie Ma Nic"

Listen to "Rosol"

A collection of ear-blistering alt Polish pop, rock and new wave found over the last couple of years at Music Planet in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I compressed the album in a ZIP file rather than a RAR because at least one person I know who will love this album has complained in the past that she can't open RARs. (Yes, I know; hush.)

Yao Su Rong | Non-Stop 24 Hits | BP 13

Listen to "Steal the Person of the Heart"

Listen to "Lachrymal Clothes"

Listen to "Suburb Way"

Back by popular demand, pared down to 24 hot trax in 320KBPS, here.

I got the double CD from whence the 24 songs that made the final cut originally appeared at the Flushing Mall in, duh, Flushing. It was actually part of a four CD set; I posted the other two CDs--songs by legendary 30s singer Zhou Xuan--here. (I originally posted a 30-song selection back in May 2012, without a cover and in random order. I've gone back and spruced things up, including giving you the often oddly-translated English titles instead of the Chinese, as I had last time. Plus, c'mon, look at that cover.)

I had no idea how hard Yao Su Rong was going to rawk; in fact, Zhou Xuan held my attention for months before I really gave Yao Su Rong a proper listen. Part of the problem is that about a quarter of the songs in her collection, which is mostly made up of 60s and 70s classics, are absolutely godawful unlistenable atrocities from the 80s and 90s, even to a pop gourmand like me. (I took the liberty of removing those songs from the present mix; trust me, I did everyone a favor by doing so.)

Here's her bio from Last.FM:

Yao Su Yong (sometimes Yao Su Rong) was born in 1946. Her breakthrough came in 1969, with the title track to the movie “今天不回家” (Today I Won’t Come Home). That one song swept her into fame, the song being sung by young and old alike, securing her a much-coveted Hong Kong record deal with 海山 (Haishan Records), selling 600,000 copies.

Before that, she’d been singing songs for a while, a minor hit being a Mandarin-language rewrite of a Japanese popular song, “負心的人” (Cruel-Hearted Lover). No longer would she have to worry about success — instantly, she was selling out shows and getting invited to concerts all across the Mandarin-speaking world.

Certainly, her catalog is extensive, with over 200 recorded songs.

On August 18th, 1969, Yao Su Yong sang at a packed crowd in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. The audience was crazy about her, cheering madly every time she appeared on stage, and pleaded and begged her to sing some of her banned songs. Initially, she declined as politely as she could, saying that she was not permitted to perform those songs, and that she hoped the audience would forgive her. However, the requests wouldn’t stop, and eventually, she sang “負心的人”, hoping the popular appeal of her song would override any official censorship.

Unfortunately, the police guards stationed at the theater didn’t agree. They called her offstage and questioned her, asking her to record her playlist and make an official confession. Failing to produce a playlist, her singer’s license was revoked, “leaving no door or window” open. Since she was no longer allowed to perform in Taiwan, she turned to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia to continue her career.

Now, she lives a quiet life in Singapore. Though Taiwan officially invited her to perform at the 1998 Golden Horse Film Festival (the biggest movie event of the island, government sanctioned), she politely declined, saying that now that her life was peaceful and stable, she preferred to remain out of the limelight. However, her legacy lives on. “Jin Tian Bu Hui Jia”, the movie, was remade in 1996, but still used her original song. Her records continue to be very popular, and her status in the annals of Chinese oldies divas is well-secured.

Revolution Rap: Arabic Hip-Hop | Bodega Pop 12

Listen to "Ramallah Underground" 

Listen to "Beit" 

Listen to "I'm Not Your Prisoner"

Listen to "As Salam 3alikum"

Listen to "Talakat" 

Just reupped the 24-track album here.

Hyperbolic as it may sound, Arabic rap and hip-hop has had a significant place in the series of uprisings that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East since December 2010. Considering that what we in the west sometimes like to call the "Arab Spring" is predominantly a youth movement, it makes sense. 

Despite the not-coincidentally alliterative title of this mix, not every track I've chosen to include has a relationship to the "revolution," as it were. (Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek's "3al 2anoune 3al2anine," for instance, was recorded a decade ago.) But all of the tracks are, in some way, shape or form "revolutionary" -- for their content, their sound, their innovation. Nearly half of the tracks feature a female artist. 

Here's the moment where I'm tempted to make reference to my country's seemingly inexorable movement toward war in Syria, relating that to this music (and, by association, the people who made it) ... but there really is no real relationship and, frankly, I don't know, exactly, what to say. We tend -- as a culture, a country, a political player on the world's stage -- to speak too often for others. We need to learn how to listen.

Vietrap: Vietnamese Rap & Hip Hop | Bodega Pop 11

Just reupped the 21-track Bodega Pop exclusive album here.

Listen to "Chi Pheo"

Listen to "Hello Moto"

Listen to "Hai Vi Sao"

Listen to "Ca Va Luoi Bieng"

Listen to "Oi Nguoi Dep"

In the middle of a pleasant if innocuous conversation with the woman behind the counter of the cavernous Vietnamese media store on Argyle Street right off the Red Line in Chicago, I suddenly remembered to ask, "Oh, um, do you have any Vietnamese rap music?"

Her brow furrowed. "Have you heard any Vietnamese rap music?" she asked. I couldn't quite get the hidden meaning here, which I assumed was either: (a) because it doesn't exist, you poor delusionally optimistic white liberal type person; or (b) because I think it's going to induce projectile vomiting in you.

It turned out she meant (b) and just assumed that I would hate what the Vietnamese--Vietnamese-Americans, I believe--are doing with the genre.


* * *


Chi Pheo | Mr.Dee & The Bells
Hello Moto | Tien Dat   
Hai Vi Sao | May Trang  
Ca Va Luoi Bieng | F5                     
Du Lich Cung Toi | Mr.Dee & The Bells                                     
Tinh Khong Phai | F 5                                     
Love Music | Mr.Dee & The Bells                                             
Huynh De Tuong Tan | Tien Dat                  
Cha Vang Nang | Tan Quoc                                         
Con Gai | Tien Dat                          
Giao Thong | Mr.Dee & The Bells                                             
Hoc Tro | Unknown                                       
Oi Nguoi Dep | Mr.Dee & The Bells                                         
Tet Viet Nam | Cao Dang Hieu                                   
Ghe Khung | Phong Le                 
Trong Com | 5 Dong Ke                                
Vui Len Ban Oi | Tien Dat                                             
Mai Mai Ben Em | Phong Bot                                     
Mot Ngay Khong Co Em | Vpop
Mr. Viet Rapper | Phong Le
Trong Com 2 | Mr.Dee & The Bells

Leila Mourad | Voice of the Egyptian Revolution

Just reupped this game-changing 25-song Bodega Pop exclusive album here.

There was a time when it looked like Leila Mourad was on her way to become the most famous Egyptian singer of all time. She was, in fact, selected as the official singer of the Egyptian revolution in the early 50s--but rumors about her having visited Israel effectively put an end to her career. Born Jewish (Iraqi-Jewish father, Polish-Jewish mother), she converted to Islam and, though she was well-loved in Egypt, she simply slipped out of the limelight, never to sing publicly again, retiring at the age of 38.

She began her career when she was 15 years old, recording "The Day of Departure" for the film al-Dahaya (The Victims) in 1932, which was otherwise silent. 

I honestly don't recall where I found the three CDs that make up this album, although I assume it was most likely in Bay Ridge. I may be in the minority, but I love her voice--which is among the most expressive I've ever heard--even more than that of the far more famous Oum Kalsoum.

Here she is in all her glory: