The weekly podcast about vinyl records and the people who collect them.

In the Soul Kitchen Dance Party

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Bay Area people, pay attention:

This Friday marks the debut of the "In the Soul Kitchen Dance Party". My very good friends Harry Duncan and DJ Slopoke have come prepared to bring you something old and something new, something soul and something blue. The two vinyl-slingers will be holding it down at a spot called Doc's Lab, a new club that replaced famed comedy-room, The Purple Onion. I do hope to see your face in that place! 

Here's the info you need:

WHAT: In The Soul Kitchen Dance Party featuring Harry Duncan with special guest DJ Slopoke spinning rare and classic deep soul and funk 45s

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 28th Doors open at 8 pm. Music begins at 9 pm.


WHERE: Doc's Lab, 124 Columbus Ave. near Jackson in North Beach, SF

Doc's Lab, is a new nightclub and restaurant located where The Purple Onion used to be.



Mixtape Wednesday 05 - Playin' Jazz

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Mixtape Wednesday features hand-picked vinyl mixes and the record-collectors who created them.  Find out what inspired this mix in the section below. 


Your Name + Location:

Jimmy Mac + Perth, Australia

What inspired this mix? Tell us a little about it:

The first Playing Jazz mix came from me realizing that I could not remember the last time Id taken out a bag of Jazz records to play out at one of my gigs. So I did just that and recorded it. I got such a great response that I just kept it going.

What was your process for putting the mix together?

Im always tinkering and constantly sifting through music. The Jazz series is generally fusion music. Sambossa, Jazz hip hop, Latin Jazz and the like. I like percussive earthy Jazz. When I'm DJing, I generally play 4 & 5 hr sets and record them. I’ll then sometimes pick out my fav parts and put them out on Soundcloud or Mixcloud.

Favorite song on the mix?

Really hard one this question but at the moment Id have to go with Primo and the Groupe, A child runs free that features on part 4. I choose this one for no other reason than its utter brilliance. I also have to throw in Kenny Dorham, Afrodisia. Its just perfection.

What’s next on your plate these days?

Hopefully going to record Playin’ Jazz part 5 very soon. I've come across some amazing records the past few weeks that I'm itching to put together. I also have a mix series called Heavy Funk on mixcloud that’s doing ok. I'm looking to put out some more on that. I keep busy coordinating DJs for the beat maker collective – The Jazz Jousters. We put out Podcasts on mixcloud. If you have not checked these guys out then the time is now.


The Soul Purpose Radio Show (my boyz). The Jazz Jouster (Millennium Jazz Music) DJ Lob 


Want to get your vinyl mix featured on TVE’s Mixtape Wednesday? Share your mix with us on soundcloud, via twitter, or email us at TheVinylExam[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject heading  “Submission: Mixtape Wednesday". 

*November 25. 2014 - Jimmy Mac moved his Jazz mixes to Mixcloud. 

Soul Traveling San Diego Bonus beats – The Highlight

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

As you know, I was in San Diego in late July 2014. Part one covers a San Diego record show and some places to drink and eat; Part two covers off-site alternatives to Comic Con and Part Three covers my time inside the Con on convention Sunday.

A few years ago an urban vinyl toy company called DKE sponsored a ridiculously cool event called ‘The Vader Project’; they bought 50 (check) Darth Vader helmets and commissioned artists of all types (but mainly ones known in designer toy circles) to paint the helmets however they wanted.  I found out about it at Comic Con 2012; DKE was selling leftover copies of the Gallery Art book featuring every helmet.  To say this is a cool idea is an understatement; it was awesome! Apparently I wasn’t only person who thought it was awesome – Warner Brothers games must have taken notice because they commissioned ‘The Cape and Cowl’ project, buying (x) Batman Cape and Cowls to celebrate both Batman’s 75th anniversary and the upcoming release of a Batman videogame and commissioning them as well.  I found out about it the day before I was inside Comic Con and caught the first four pieces at the DC booth.  The rest of the collection?  Off-site in the nearby Hard Rock hotel.  For someone genuinely disappointed I hadn’t known about the Vader Project I was just as happy to go to this – I took photos of almost every Batman suit from multiple angles, leaving out only the ones I thought were not good. This was my highlight of the convention – maybe there will be an art book about it or something like that, but I got to look at and appreciate all the artists’ work in one place.

Soul Traveling San Diego Part 3 – The Long Shot

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

As you know, I was in San Diego in late July 2014; if you don’t know that, check out the articles {here} and {here}. Part one covers a San Diego record show and some places to drink and eat; part two covers off-site alternatives to Comic Con.

As much as I enjoyed myself Friday and Saturday, I got to thinking things like “Am I really missing Comic Con that much?”, which is a tough question to answer really.  As much as you like to think it’s an objective question, it’s hard to even take the question itself seriously when YOU’RE NOT THERE, meaning you could just be rationalizing / fronting.  Still it was a question that I thought of a lot; and no matter what happened there was always this secret hope that one of my hail-mary attempts to get on the convention floor came through.

Well, one of them did.

You’re DAMN RIGHT one of them did! Sunday, I went to Comic Con!

Did I enjoy myself? I did. But, by not being able to get in (and being pretty convinced it wouldn’t happen) it gave me fresh eyes with which to view the convention. And much like the allegory of the cave, once you feel some sort of enlightenment it’s hard to feel the same.  Let’s break down a few reasons:

HALL H ON AVERAGE MAY NOT BE THE BEST WAY TO SPEND YOUR TIME. Had I held tickets to Hall H Saturday, I would have woken up at 4:00 am to sit in line for six hours, then sit through panels for another four to see five minutes of content that led to the announcement that King Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan will be in upcoming Godzilla films.  Then again, immediately after making that announcement Legendary Pictures tweeted that information – no wait, no lines, and I got the information. Did I miss five minutes of footage? Yes. But the footage just set up the announcement anyway and that’s 10-12 hours of my life I got back. I did it once (2013), but once is enough for me.

EXCLUSIVES MAY NOT BE THE BEST WAY TO SPEND YOUR MONEY.  I run a podcast called ‘Nerdometrics’ whenever I think of a cool idea for content.  Let’s just say I have an idea or two behind this idea, but my hunch is, even if you want to flip stuff you buy on ebay for a couple bucks you can choose better stuff than the exclusives to do it with.

THE EXPERIENCE GETS LESS INTERESTING YEAR OVER YEAR. Definitely diminishing returns at play here.  The first year at SDCC? It’s unbelieveably awesome! There’s so much to do! Is that Spongebob Squarepants? And all the panels! Second year? It’s still pretty cool and a lot of things seem fresh.  By the fourth year, you know where almost all the vendors are, realizing that most items are the same year over year. The panels vary little year over year. There’s Spongebob.

In fairness, I table as a vendor at 8+ conventions every year so maybe there’s even less for me as I see a lot of the vendors and companies elsewhere anyway. But I did go through the doors and can say from personal experience the coolest things about Comic Con weren’t inside the convention itself. I mentioned the Godzilla exhibit and Star Trek live in a previous post, but I didn’t mention my personal highlight of the convention.

Soul Traveling San Diego Part 2 – Artwork tied into Comic Con

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

As you know, I was in San Diego in late July 2014; Part one covers a San Diego record show and some places to drink and eat.

On ‘Comic Con Saturday’ I had a full agenda of Comic Con-type things that did not take place inside the convention center (being that I had no tickets). Let’s go through them:

NERD HQ: I almost didn’t want to mention Nerd HQ because it’s so cool and, despite it being super-awesome it’s not a jam-packed zoo yet. And I like things that aren’t jam-packed zoos! But, against my better judgment I’m going to tell you about it – it’s a super-cool place to chill, recharge your phone and possibly even attend a panel where one of the Nerd HQ founders (Zachary Levi, aka ‘Chuck’) has cool discussions with a myriad of celebrities.  I attended a panel with Sesame Street and it was dope! There are also free videogames to play, activities and live discussions on the ‘Maker Stage’ and even some giveaways from companies eager to tell you about their stuff (one such thing was a cool Guardians of the Galaxy poster this year). So yeah, don’t go. It sucks.

GODZILLA EXHIBIT: This year, there were free-to-the-public Lawn Exhibits for the upcoming TV show ‘Gotham’, ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Godzilla’, to promote the upcoming DVD release. I went to the… hey wait did I just say Godzilla? I freaking love Godzilla! There was a 25-foot high sculpture (in the style of a poster done last year by mondo to promote the film) and an outdoor gallery of fan and commissioned art.  Not only that, there were a couple photo booths as well.

STAR TREK IN THE PARK: The San Diego Symphony has a summer stage behind the Convention center on (Barrier?) Island, and for Comic Con they pulled out a special treat – live-scoring the first Abrams Star Trek movie.  While the movie played on monitors the orchestra seamlessly ripped through the score, in some parts drowning out the dialogue! It was completely, unequivocally awesome; anyone interested in getting better at their craft (in my case, writing stories and writing music) analyzes everything.  What was great about that comic panel? Do I like this song? Why or why not? You can’t help yourself.  But every now and then something comes along that’s so awesome, you actually sit back and enjoy it. It’s perfect and beyond nitpicking, and you know those things almost immediately. This live-scoring of Star Trek was one such thing – the first two minutes made it obvious it was going to be incredible – and it allowed me to shut my brain off, think about nothing and just enjoy something incredible.

Soul Traveling San Diego Part 1 – Near (but not in) Comic Con

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

This year was to mark my fourth in a row attending San Diego Comic Con, the behemoth of a pop-culture convention that marks the culmination of the nerd calendar. Considering I’ve lived in LA for five years and missed the first SDCC by choice (I went to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas instead), that feels like a pretty good track record… that is, if I had a ticket to get in the convention.

See, I was shut out of SDCC this year for tickets – not only did my ‘prior attendee pre-sale’ lottery ticket not come up, I also failed in the general lottery.  And not only THAT, I had no idea until it was too late that I can register as a professional since I write and self-publish a giant monster comic called Kodoja.  So really, triple-fail for me.

However, the failure notice came early enough for my fiancé to apply and get in as a volunteer for an off-site Comic Con thing, and SDCC has enough non-convention activities to make a weekend there worth your time – so I went anyway! Here are the highlights:


As I’ll cover in an upcoming podcast episode, San Diego hosts a quarterly record show that happened to be going on that weekend. Hell with Comic Con, it’s San Diego RECORD Con! Not overly big but still stocked full of good records, the show takes up the hall of an LGBT community center in North Park (I think).  Whether or not you’ve been to a record show I think you get the gist: a bunch of dealers with records! I bring my portable turntable and set aside a couple hours to listen to prospective purchases – always a good time!


San Diego and its nearby areas (like Carlsbad) boast an abundance of microbreweries, the North Park neighborhood a particularly shining example of microbrew goodness.

SODA AND SWINE: next to the cocktail bar ‘Polite Provisions’, this spot offers up seriously good mac and cheese and beyond seriously good Meatballs and Meatball sliders (in multiple varieties). Also check for the pizza knots, mozzarella-filled doughballs of goodness.

MIKE HESS BREWERY: tasting room on site, you walk right by the giant vats over a suspended walkway to get to the tasting room.  The Soul Traveling favorite is the Vienna Cream Ale,with almost every other beer delicious and commendable (the pilsners and wheats are sick!) I give the Soul Traveling gas face to the Rye IPA – I’m not an IPA guy and the Rye seems to make it even more hoppy, dry and bitter if that’s possibly.  You really make the gas face when you try it, Bam!

BELCHING BEAVER: the actual brewery is in Carlsbad but there’s a tasting room in North Park, and on the whole I found their beers thoroughly delicious.  The Milk Stout gets a good rep (I thought it was okay and had a strong coffee flavor), but the real sure shots are the Peanut Butter Stout (I don’t even like Stouts and I thought this was SICK), and the ‘Me So Honey’ Honey Blonde, which is one of the best five beers I’ve ever tasted.

'Too Cool to Be True' b/w 'Rigor Mortis' by Big Pimp Jones

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

This comes up in an upcoming 'Vinyl Exam' podcast – in a discussion with the group Columbia Nights (labelmates on RecordBreakin music), we briefly touch on the time gap between finishing a piece of music for a record label and its actual release. While things vary significantly based on the record label in question, it’s not unusual to send the master to the label then wait 6-9 months for its release. Production times, artwork coordination, marketing efforts, etc all start the moment your master shows up on someone’s desk at the label.

But sometimes things take a little longer, which just happened to us for the ‘Too Cool to Be True’ / ‘Rigor Mortis’ 45 on RBMB (plug: it's out and you can get it here!) We finished up work on the tracks in May 2013; I remember this because part of the horn section on the record is/are my twin stepdaughters, 12 years old at the time (trumpet and sax). They turned their instruments in for the summer right after their session – easy thing to remember right? Anyway, Junior at RBMB got the master shortly after and the plans began, with a loose ETA of January 2014.

Then the delays came. Updated ETA was February, which wasn’t the best news but given the wild increase in Vinyl demand (a good thing) almost every Record Pressing Plant faces, it was understandable. Some more delays made it March, but then the records appeared at RecordBreakin headquarters, ready to go… oh wait, they weren’t ready to go! Apparently the company forgot to print the text on the labels – meaning there were now a bunch of 45s with blank green labels!

The Pressing Plant acknowledged their error (all this is second hand information, since Junior at Recordbreakin was the one who told it to me), but that meant getting in the queue again and getting the finished records in July, ready for orders.

We’re happy the records are ready to go now in all their glory, and we hope everyone out there digs them. Some people have already dug them, as in ‘dug for them’ – those blank green-label records have turned up in a few places with a note on them saying “YES, you just found a limited edition record for FREE!” So yep, there are a few very limited-edition gems out there and the gems are emerald. Happy digging!

45Friday with DJ Forty Fivan - Purple Snow: Down by the River

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Hi, it’s Sama:

I just interviewed Ivan Dwyer, aka DJ Forty Fivan, who is known for his collection of rare grooves, soul 45s and Brazilian albums. At his house, he played this tune that nearly floored me. I decided right away I need to share this as a #45Friday piece. Take a listen to Purple Snow - Down by the River. 

Keep an ear out for a full podcast episode featuring Forty Fivan coming out in a few weeks. 

If you have a record you want featured on The Vinyl Exam’s #45Friday then let us know on Facebook or Twitter 

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Soul Traveling Chicago Part 2: Bonus Beats

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

As you know, I was in Chicago in mid-July 2014; if you don’t know that, check out part one on this site. Part one covers G-fest, an annual convention catering to the heartiest Godzilla (and other giant monster movie) die-hards.


What kind of self-respecting record junkie finds themselves in Chicago and DOESN’T set up time to hit a spot or two, right? In fact, I’d planned my trip to allow a few hours Thursday evenings to explore the town outside of the G-Festivities.  It was 6:00 by the time my flight came in and I dropped my bags off at the hotel; just enough time to catch the Blue Line from the airport and hit *one* record store. For me that choice is easy; Dusty Groove is a spot I’ve bought records from for the last 15 years (mainly online) and a visit there is a must every time I’m in Chicago – Chicago might be the best record store city in the US but I’ve never had the time to hit the other spots, and Dusty Groove is right in my genre. 

The thing about Dusty Groove is most of the records in the store are new releases – it’s not like they have rows and rows of used vinyl treasures for the taking.  Sure, you can find good used records there but the strength of the store is (most likely) their buyers – from Jazz CDs from Japan to a deep stocking of European cinema music to a wealth of harder-to-find compilations, they have better new releases than almost anyone. Not only that, but plenty of it is just… well, to put it plainly shit I’ve never even HEARD of.  (ASIDE: I’d love to say I’m some sort of genius but that’s not the case – and really, the only way people get to know about other records is reading about them anyway, right?)  So for me, digging in Dusty Groove takes on a kind of meta nature – as I find things I don’t know about I look them up on my phone ON the Dusty Groove website to get some kind of description to see if I’d like it (my key word is ‘Breaks’).

To sum it up I found some nice European Library music compilations that were VERY high on my want list as well as ‘Chinoseries Volume 1’ – a hip-hop sample record similar to Dilla’s ‘Donuts’, only if it used Chinese folk music as its sample sources (!).  As for the other stuff:

Good eats 1: Gino’s East, one of the local favorites for Chicago-style pizza. I previously ate here based on a local’s recommendation and man is it good!  I ordered the sausage pizza, relevant only because one sausage patty covers the entire area of the pizza! Sausage is actually its own layer on this pizza!

Good eats 2: La Pasadita, pretty much the best burrito you can get in Chicago (and recent first-round winner in’s burrito bracket).  Double-bonus, it’s 100 feet from Dusty Groove!

Fun additional thing: Headquarters Beercade, a spot with 100+ videogames and pinball machines on free play.  You heard that right; all you have to do is show your ID and play games – though now is a good time to mention they have tons of beers available.  Insider tip: the Metallica, Family Guy and Transformers pinball games are serious amounts of fun – Metallica is faster, Transformers has the illest multiball ever and Family Guy is straight up batcrap insanity.

Soul Traveling Chicago Part 1: G-Fest 2014

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

As you are aware, I (Keith) am in the band Big Pimp Jones and write a giant monster comic called Kodoja in addition to my work on Vinyl Exam; I went on a recent trip to Chicago for G-Fest (a giant monster-themed convention) but also managed to squeeze a little time in for records.  

As for the G-Fest portion, a few thoughts:

  • The thing that tipped my decision was music-related: the successful funding of a Kickstarter to play Ifukube music live in concert – ‘100 Years of Ifukube’. The program was nothing but suites from Godzilla films scored by Ifukube. The music went chronologically, with a natural intermission between the Showa (1954-75) and Heisei (1985-1995) eras of Godzilla films. The suites were masterfully arranged, condensing musical highlights from an entire film into a few short minutes. The bonus? The Godzilla theme itself showed up time and time again, allowing appreciation for the subtle variations in theme from movie to movie (all but obvious when playing them side-by-side).
  • The program felt like (and likely is) a once-in-a-lifetime thing; when you look at all that went into it (time, people, rehearsals, and more importantly a lot of Kickstarter funding!), the timing with Godzilla’s 60th birthday and Ifukube’s 100th AND the release of ‘Godzilla’ earlier this year, a lot of things went right to make this happen.
  • There were many special moments during the concert, but one specific moment I hope I’ll remember forever: when the first song started (Godzilla theme from Godzilla 1954), I closed my eyes, listened and just soaked it in, appreciating the moment. As the MC mentioned during the evening, concerts of Ifukube music happen in Japan, but not in the US. Sometimes you need to slow down and really appreciate what’s happening in front of you.
  • Not worth more than a quick mention – it was great making new friends and talking about Kodoja with giant monster fans from everywhere. We sold out of almost every comic we had!
  • When I say giant monster fans from everywhere, I mean it. G-Fest may be the last truly ‘national’ convention there is; more and more comic conventions spring up every year – and for a reason – comic cons themselves gain more and more fans every year! It’s great because it allows everyone an opportunity to get the comic convention experience, and we at Kodoja table at as many comic conventions as we can. However, the prevalence of comic conventions locally means you can get a ‘comic con experience’ close to home; with Godzilla there’s only one place to go. And boy do people from everywhere go! Chicagoans (host city) are a tiny portion of attendees; I met people from Canada, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, Great Britain and Japan. Pretty amazing.
  • Holy crap, the Dealers’ Room. For those not familiar, the merchandise room (aka The Dealers Room) generates such interest that people line up for hours in advance before it opens, hoping to get first crack at vendor after vendor offering the finest imports, models and toys America can offer. It’s amazing! I didn’t walk away with any big-time goodies (while I definitely enjoy me some G-toys they aren’t entirely my thing by G-fan standards) but I did grab a few DVDs, shirts, music and comics.
  • I also moderated a panel on Godzilla comics with Chris Mowry, Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow, currently the creative team behind Godzilla: Rulers of Earth from IDW. So first off, buy the damn comic and read it. Second, buy mine (Kodoja. I know you know that). The panel went well and I’ll get the audio posted at some point soon for people interested – for me it was apleasure to be able to talk about something as obscure (in the grand scale) as giant monster comics – G-fest is the ONLY place a panel like this can happen! If I propose a Giant Monster Comics panel at any other convention the response will be (to quote Matt) “there are giant monster comics?” So yeah, it was great to geek out on comics with fellow panelists and the audience for an hour.
  • The most underrated thing about G-Fest? The G-Fest Channel! Yes that’s right, the host hotel opens up a TV channel, putting 4 days of solid Giant Monster (and related) programming for your viewing. Movies, trailers, video shorts, you name it. I didn’t know such a thing existed – I found out about while having a discussion in my room with it on, interrupting myself to ask “what the hell is this”? I was expecting my roommate to respond with the name of the DVD he was playing through the TV only to find out about THE CHANNEL. That channel stayed on the whole time – conversations, day, night, whatever. It was the perfect backdrop to the weekend – I saw the entire movies for ‘Spook Warfare’, ‘Sakuya Yokaiden’, ‘Daimajin 2’ and partials for many more, from Gamera to Godzilla to Ultraman. Completely fantastic. That cinches my attendance at every G-Fest I can get to in the future.


We are featured on Hot Peas and Butta

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Many thanks to Skeme Richards for featuring The Vinyl Exam on the Hot Peas and Butta website! Here's what Skeme had to say about us: 

There’s a new podcast in town and this might very well be one of the most informative, bang for your (buck) valuable and precious listening time that you’ll ever need.

Hot Peas and Butta is actually how Keith and Sama first connected in Philly. Keith was in collaboration with HPnB for his giant monster comic Kodoja, and Sama had worked with Skeme for an annual bboy competition called Rhythmic Damage. A few years later, and The Vinyl Exam is created out of a fateful connection.

Take a listen to our Launch Episode to hear about how The Vinyl Exam got started.

We are New and Noteworthy on iTunes

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Thirteen days after our launch and we are now ranked in the "New and Noteworthy" music section of iTunes! Thanks to everyone who subscribed to us on iTunes, and many more thanks to all who took time out to write us a positive review. Keep it coming!

We have plenty lined up on the roster and can't wait to share it!. Tune in tomorrow for a Godzilla-inspired episode from Keith. 

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Photos from The Payback Two Year Anniversary

Added on by The Vinyl Exam.

Hi, it's Sama:

Ah man! I can't believe The Payback has been going strong at Monarch for two years now! Last night was such a blast. Thanks so much to everyone who came through to celebrate with us and major thanks to DJ Enki and Harry Duncan for playing some outrageous music that made a few people collapse from dance-exhaustion! And my gratitude goes to Manny (DJ M3) for letting me grow The Payback at his club, and to everyone else at Monarch who has treated me so well these last two years. Let's cheers to another strong year for The Payback, the indefatigable all-vinyl dance party!

My dear friends, I hope you dig these photos. I'm so glad many of you were able to come through last night for the celebration.

The next Payback is on August 8. The party goes down every Second Friday of the Month with me and a special guest DJ. See you when I see you! And subscribe to The Vinyl Exam to stay in the loop. I was able to record the live sets last night and I hope to upload those soon!