Over the festive break our Instagram feed was filled with a steady stream of envious photos from Jay L, keeping us up-to-date with his digging exploits in the Big Apple. One third of Bristol collective FallingUp and two-time releaser on brstl, Jay L stands out to us as one of the city’s premiere selectors and producers, with vinyl playing a central role in the creative exploits for both.
Taking a holiday in a city with an abundance of record shops (and a favourable exchange rate), it wasn’t surprising to hear of the troubles he’d encountered at the airport, trying to fit all his clothes and new purchases in one bag. But where perseverance prevailed, an opportunity also presented itself and J has kindly put together a digging diary of some prime locations he visited, alongside some favourite records he picked up along the way.
Jay L – Show Me 12″ is out now on brstl. Buy from Juno.
Jay L’s Digging Diary of New York
Everyone knows New York is full of cool record shops and there seem to be a bunch of new spots that have sprung up in recent times. Me and my boy Matt Doggs of Ghettospheric were visiting a friend and doing some digging over the New Year. Neither of us profess to being experts on digging in NYC, but here’s a few joints that stood out and helped make checking luggage on the way back rather awkward.”
A-1 is one of New York’s institutions. A busy shop with a good turnover of stock, just as good for plugging gaps in your soul LP collection as it is for coming across some classic NY house and garage 12″s (and a lot in between). The first time I came here was a few years ago and on asking one of the dudes about some records, was told to come back on the days their (then) house guy, Ron (Morelli), was working. I walked away with a solid stack anyway, but never made it back for fear of pissing my girlfriend off with too much time in record shops. This time around, I had no such worries and A-1 was our first stop 😛
Sweet tunes: a good haul of Pal Joey records including the New Breed LP with ‘Rat Race’ being a fav. Among the rest: Tomorrow’s Edition A Song For Everyone LP, which, aside from an excellent cover and another couple of solid jams, has a title track with an irresistible groove, despite it’s cheesy leanings.
Matt Doggs had the hook up for Ian Clarke aka DJ Wicz, who co-runs DigiKiller records out of Brooklyn. We’d been charged with the task of smuggling over one particularly rare reggae record to swap for five other rare reggae records by a friend back home, lol.
Ian also sells a lot of records online but has plenty of unlisted crates, so it was nice to get off the beaten track and have a dig at his apartment. He’d just got back from holiday (visiting Frank Gossner as it turns out) and was in the process of re-organising his collection and stock while he extends his office into the back yard to make room for it all! Although specialising in reggae, he had a few good crates of crossover soul, rare groove, jazz and Island disco type stuff.
Sweet tunes: Leroy Hutson’s first album and some other tasty bits and bobs. Also found a nice copy of Pleasure’s 1976 Accept No Substitutes. I really like Pleasure – a band who operated in the golden era of the late 70s/early 80s. Head straight for heavy jazz funk cut, ‘Ghettos Of The Mind’.
One of the newer stores in NYC, Tom Noble’s Superior Elevation opened last summer in Bushwick. It’s a cool space with tons of disco 12″s, as you’d expect. There’s also a good selection of new stuff and some of the best dollar bins we found. You could immediately sort yourself out with a nice stash of classic soul albums for cheap. Some pretty good house to be had too. There were some good-looking boxes of 45s as well, but I’d already spent too much to touch them.
Sweet tunes: some cool gospel soul, a nice Trinidadian Calypso disco LP and an OG of Rheji Burrell’s NY House’n Authority ‘APT.’ I’m especially looking forward to bumping ‘2B’ from that on a decent system. Deadly Burrell box jam straight from the source! There’s no rip on youtube of 2B that does it justice, so check out my other fav on the record – 3A [in the playlist above].
By the time we made it to Greenpoint’s legendary The Thing, we were running out of time (and money). Thankfully all the records are two bucks, but you’ve got to work for it. It’s the kind of place you could spend days and weeks in, trawling through with your Handytrax and dust mask – all luxuries we didn’t have! Still, I came away with some nice finds.
Sweet tunes: I’m sure the tunes would’ve been sweeter had we dedicated more time to The Thing. Nonetheless, I got some food for the sampler and a handful of nice bits including Toney Lee ‘Reach Up’ (Dub Mix of course). I actually prefer ‘Love So Deep’, which I already own, but this precursor is still a solid boogie track from ’82.
I’ll keep the rest and best of the finds from the trip to myself – some things gotta stay sacred. We hit a few other shops too but didn’t manage to make it to Good Records or Northern Lights, which was particularly disappointing as both came highly recommended. They’ll have to wait until the next visit…time to start saving!