When Philly went into a citywide COVID lockdown in March 2020, my DJ calendar was wiped out immediately. In the three years since, I’ve only played a handful of gigs as the lockdown and the threat of getting sick by being out in public made me seriously assess my relationship to DJing as a job and a craft. Recently, the itch has come back and I’ve been hit with a strong desire to get back out there and play again. This month I’ve played a few private gigs and have been gearing up to make my return to playing publicly. Naturally, a part of this process has been listening with the intention of seeing what will and won’t work for gigs. When I’m actively working as a DJ, I listen and dig differently. Recently, I’ve been grabbing lots of 60s soul and garage rock records in preparation for a few upcoming summer gigs. Here are five things that have caught my attention and gotten me excited this month.

Georgie Woods – “Knock on Wood”

Coming back to DJing after a long hiatus, I’ve been revisiting a lot of my old music as well as digging for new things to play. One 12-inch single that I recently came across is “K.N.O.C.K. Knock On Wood” by Philly radio legend and entrepreneur Georgie Woods. Released in 1983, “Knock On Wood” finds Woods kicking inspiring rhymes urging listeners to take action to make a positive change in their lives and communities. Backed by a sleek, mid-tempo R&B groove, Georgie Woods, “the man with the goods” reminds us that it’s up to us to get things going if we want to make the world a better place.


Paul Youngquist – Sun Ra: A Pure Solar World

Recently, I’ve been revisiting the writer Paul Youngquist’s fantastic book, A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra And The Birth of Afrofuturism. An impeccably researched biography, Youngquist highlights the various personal, musical and religious influences that Sun Ra pulled from to create his own singular aesthetic and philosophy. The chapter entitled “Marienville” is particularly harrowing and detailed as Youngquist recounts Sun Ra’s arrest and trial for refusing to fight in World War II. After spending over a month in prison, Sun Ra was sent off to a work camp in Marienville, Pennsylvania. There are several great Sun Ra biographies on the market, but A Pure Solar World is well worth the time if you’re looking for a unique perspective on Sun Ra’s life and work.

The Out-Sect – The Out-Sect EP

The Out-Sect is a Philly rock n’ roll quartet and their self-titled EP is fun and hard as nails. The EP opens with “Out-Sect Theme,” a gnarly, uptempo race to the finish line that I had to replay a few times before moving on to the EP’s other songs. The record is only eight minutes long, but it’s packed with loud, furiously played tunes and singer/guitarist Lisa’s distorted lead vocals. If you like unhinged and perfectly imperfect garage rock, The Out-Sect is for you.

Vinyl Tap 215: Ladies Edition Vol. 2.

Founded by DJ DuiJi 13, Vinyl Tap 215 has been described as “group therapy camouflaged as an all-vinyl DJ event.” With multiple regular events at venues throughout the city, Vinyl Tap 215 has been cultivating new DJ talent and supporting veterans. On Saturday, May 20th, Vinyl Tap 215 will be hosting their second Ladies Edition, highlighting the talents of Women DJs from the Vinyl Tap community. The party will have vendors, live art and DJ sets from Lola Kinks, DJ Aura, DJ Shala, and DJ Jay.$5 cover 12pm-4:30pm at The Rotunda.

cinéSPEAK Under The Stars in Clark Park: Max Roach – The Drum Also Waltzes

Directed by Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro and executive Produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes is a fantastic new film exploring the career of one of the most innovative drummers in jazz. On Friday, May 26th, cinéSPEAK, Philly’s finest local cinema organization will be hosting a screening of the film as part of their cinéSPEAK Under The Stars series of outdoor screenings at Clark Park in West Philly. The screenings are free to the public and will be hosted every Friday from May 26th to June 17th.

Max Roach