Sonic Geography BONUS (Blur Megamix)


A mix so good that the algorithm flagged me at least twice while I was broadcasting the records on Instagram Live! My favorite band of all time (depending on the day you ask me), and certainly the band I traveled the farthest (and spent the most money, but that’s beside the point) to see.

This mix includes a few of my favorite deep cuts, a handful of hits (and variations on hits), and interesting b-sides (for being the best British guitar pop band since the Kinks, Blur had a relatively weak b-side catalog). I’d like to think it shows off a solid handful of the band’s eclectic catalog of strengths. Either way, it’s a fun way to spend an hour. I’m kind of amazed I forgot to play “End of a Century,” though.

  1. “I Know” (B-Side to the “She’s So High” 12″)
  2. “Hanging Over” (B-Side to the ‘For Tomorrow’ 12″)
  3. “Moroccan People’s Revolutionary Bowls Club” (from Think Tank)
  4. “On Your Own” (7″ clear single)
  5. “Girls and Boys” (Pet Shop Boys Remix) (12″ Single)
  6. “Music is my Radar” (12″ Single)
  7. “There’s No Other Way (Rock Mix)” (12″ RBK dance single)
  8. “Stereotypes” (7″ pink single)
  9. “Trailerpark” (from 13)
  10. “You’re So Great” (stealth Graham single from Blur)
  11. “Freakin’ Out” (actual Graham single, off the eponymous 7″)
  12. “Trouble in the Message Centre” (from Parklife)
  13. “Under the Westway” (from ‘The Puritan’ 7″)
  14. “Chemical World” (from Modern Life is Rubbish)
  15. “Look Inside America” (b-side from the ‘M.O.R.’ jukebox single)
  16. “On the Way to the Club” (from Think Tank)
  17. “Ong Ong” (from The Magic Whip)
  18. “Yuko and Hiro” (from The Great Escape)



Sonic Geography Ep. 5 (Disques Français de France)


Paris, December 2019

Happy Wednesday, everyone, or as they say to the Brits and Americans who consistently flood Paris, Happy Wednesday! This week, we’ll be grabbing our cans of spray paint, hopping on nos vélos, and setting off on a journey of découverte.

This week’s mix is a curious bunch of vinyl I’ve acquired on a few trips overseas, with a few key exceptions of rare finds in the US. I tried to include a multitude of songs sung in French, though it was a challenge since so many punk and hardcore songs are recorded in English. French is a language best suited for hip-hop flow and chansons, where English tends to fit with punchier, more aggressive music. As a linguistics nerd, I enjoy this weird binary.

One of the threads that ran through a bunch of my interviews with French collaborators for Capitals of Punk was how France has always felt “late to the party” within pop music (especially rock and punk) among Western countries. This dynamic is what makes French pop music so interesting to me, especially that which is produced with no consideration of the all-powerful English-language tunes, or even that which is produced in direct resistance to the Anglo-American cultural dominance.

I hope you enjoy the variety of material you’re about to hear! I’m also excited to make an announcement on Your Sonic Sunday this coming weekend that is intimately related to this week’s Sonic Geography Mix. Sorry I missed this last Sunday. Sixteen straight Sundays to kick off 2020 wasn’t a bad run.

  1. Funeral Service (Riems) – “Pills”
  2. Schlitz (Paris) – “Destroy Babylon” (from Wondawful World 7″)
  3. Too Much (I have no clue) – “Silex Pistols” (from the Born Bad French Punxploitation LP)
  4. Kromozom 4 (Paris) – “La Tuture” (from 7″ split with Heimat-Los, which I found in Knoxville, of all places)
  5. Baton Rouge (Lyon) – “D’Année en Année”
  6. Sport (Lyon) – “Eric Tabarly” (LP bought at FEST 14)
  7. Maladroit (Paris) – “She Spent Valentine’s Day on her iPhone” (from 7″ split with Teenage Bubblegums)
  8. Kimmo (Paris) – “Clac Son”
  9. Frustration (Paris) – “Artists Suck!”
  10. Buried Option (Orléans) – “Mandrake Falls”
  11. Sunsick (Marseille) – “Holidays”
  12. Telephone (Paris) – “Regarde Moi”
  13. Berurier Noir (Paris) – “Hèlene et le Sang” (from Concerto Pour Détraques reissue LP)
  14. Computerstaat (Paris) – “Crypt” (some cold wave for your souls)
  15. Starshooter (Lyon) – “Betsy Party”
  16. Thrashington D.C. (Brest) – “Banned in B.M.O.”
  17. Metal Urbain (Paris) – “Panik” (Punk française starts here)
  18. Sherwood (Paris) – “Le Bourgeois”
  19. Watermane (Montpellier) – “Greetings from the Basements”
  20. Ferry “Rock” Berendse (Weird story/Indonesian born) – “Rock and Roll Mops” (off the Born Bad Record early French R&R comp)
  21. Amanda Woodward (Caen) – “Pleine de Grâce”
  22. Edith Piaf (Omnipresent) – “Mon Manège À Moi (Tu Me Fais Tourner La Tête)”

Dispatches from Research Land (Movement One)

"Do you remember asking Run-DMC for permission to... oh, no one ever has? Okay."

Cultural capital that you can buy in T-Shirt form. You have to admit that the “RESPECT” one is really cool, though.


The 2-Day swap meet took place right in the core of LA’s historic Chinatown district, which made for an interesting juxtaposition of landscapes.

This weekend, I kicked off the first of what will probably be innumerable rounds of research on place-as-motivator for vinyl collecting at the 5th Annual Beat Swap Meet up in Los Angeles. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the organizers and the participation of a prodigious amount of vendors, collectors, rappers, deejays, artists, producers, and a bevy of the type of characters that only LA can generate, it was an unbelievable (and almost overwhelming) celebration of vinyl culture that took over the core block of Chinatown over the course of the weekend. I met a generous assortment of cool people, and I also dug up a few new gems for my own collection, including the single weirdest unauthorized issue LP I’ve ever seen. More on that later.

On Saturday, I visited the Swap Meet as a consumer and observer, going from post to post around the Grand Star Jazz Club, speaking with vendors and crate diggers about their love of vinyl. Two particular conversations stood out. The first of which was with a journalist who confided that he wasn’t a huge vinyl collector, but he had just bought the Grandmaster Flash “White Lines” 12″ “because that was his high school’s unofficial anthem,” and he didn’t have the money to blow (no pun intended) on records back in 1984. I asked him where he went to high (no pun intended) school; he is from the Bronx. A coked-up (no pun necessary) Jerry Bruckheimer couldn’t have produced a more formulaic script.

Another person I met, a young woman who grew up in Bakersfield with a musician and collector for a father, admitted to me that she loved crate digging because it reminds her of spending time at thrift shops with her dad back in the day. We spoke initially when she saw me holding an ESG record, exasperated that I had beaten her to it. She raved about ESG (who were another Bronx institution…not as formulaic of a conversational turn as if they had been from Bako, but I digress). I ran into her later and we had a long conversation about how certain songs, especially “Moody” remind her of very specific moments of her youth in The Central Valley. If only Dwight Yoakam or Korn (stupid lack of backwards letters on WordPress!) were this funky.

On Sunday, I attended as a vendor. As far as my research was concerned, being tethered to a table certainly put me at a disadvantage. I wound up taking fewer notes than I did just wandering around on Day One, and my conversations were not as involved, since most of the people who came up and looked through my records were loathe to get too deep into conversation. There were plenty of exceptions, of course, but as one of the owners of a Highland Park record shop told me, that time the vinyl junkie spends flipping through a crate of records is “sacred, and you don’t want to interrupt that.” In retrospect, I wish I had tabled on Saturday, because Sunday was the immeasurably bigger day for the swap meet. Also, more dealers specializing in punk and hardcore were around, so perhaps I would have done better than simply break even on the day. Thanks to my friend who watched my table, though, I was able to drift for a little while, do some observation, and take a few photos.

"My collection of 'T.R.O.Y.' remixes is almost complete!"

The Beat Swap Meet is setting an example for vinyl fairs in attracting higher numbers of female record lovers.

The Beat Swap Meet is remarkable for a number of reasons. Where most record conventions and vinyl-centric events attract a stereotypically male, white, older demographic, most of the music and vinyl-lovers in attendance this weekend were markedly more diverse in terms of gender, race, and age. Considering the BSM’s attention to underrepresented demographics in vinyl collecting culture, they also did an excellent job ensuring that kids were welcome and (very importantly) occupied. Signs posted around implored people to keep the Beat Swap Meet safe and friendly for children. All over the grounds, kids of all ages and races danced, played, and in my single favorite photo I took all weekend (see below), did arts and crafts.

Who wouldn't want their kid to be dressed this well?

Three girls decorate 7″ records, re-purposing one of the festival’s most sacred items. The two sisters who ran and organized the craft tent rescued these old 7″s (right before somebody threw them all in a dumpster) and found a great use for them.

Needless to say, I’m still recovering from the two days. On my way out the other day, I wound up getting into an argument with an older collector about my thesis topic. (More accurately, he started the argument with me when he saw my research flyers, but let’s not split hairs). He told me I’m “on shaky ground” with my argument and that one would need about 10,000 LPs in his/her collection to be taken seriously, at least from where he stands. I told him I would love for him to take my survey and he said he did not own a computer. Attracting passionate criticism from this individual (who once told me I’d “grow into” Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks; I’m almost 30 and still don’t get it) can only mean one thing: I’m probably doing something right. If the Beat Swap Meet proves anything, it’s that the subcultures that preserved vinyl through its near-death in the late 80’s and early 90’s (dance and hip-hop) have grown back up and aren’t afraid to spread the ownership.

So, Upwards and on-wards. If any of you were at the BSM this weekend, I’d love to hear what you got your hands on and what you thought of the event. sonicgeography [at] gmail.

– Ty

Bonus Tracks

  • Few things will make you happier (if you’re an aging punk fan) than to see a group of teenagers ask you for Ramones records, and then being able to recommend Masked Intruder to them. 
  • I really wish I’d written down the names of more of the emcees and deejays I saw perform this weekend, but most of them are listed on the BSM site. I met too many outstanding personalities to really go into detail about here, but my personal favorite quote came from one dealer on Saturday who specialized in punk records from the 90’s: “I’ve avoided moving for 12 years because I didn’t want to [go through the trouble of] moving my records. You can just sell and replace furniture, but not a record collection.”
  • I’m not going to bore you all (or entertain you, depending on where you stand on vinyl) with a full list of what I dug up while in the course of my research, but I have no choice but to share this Johnny Cash bootleg with you all. If you don’t notice what’s wrong with this in under two seconds (and realize why its hilarious in under five), then you lose the internet. "These bootleggers didn't see anything clearly, now."