After confusing our poor customers for the last three years, we settled on a home for all World Music clearance CDs. No more moving the World Music clearance sections from one spot of the section to next, or for that matter, from the top bins to the under the bins. World Music clearance is now located smack dab in the middle of the section, between where the Latin section ends and where the Brazil/African section begins. An entire row of World Music clearance CDs priced to move -- nothing over 2.99 and as low a buck! For those who do not know the drill, if you buy four red tag clearance CDs you get the cheapest one free. That means on average you can take home four CDs for around ten bucks or less.
From Aterciopelados to Zulu Spear, the section is always full. We have a big selection of known and unknown gems on such World Music labels as Real World, Putumayo, Six Degrees, Nacional, Island/Palm, Ahi-Na-Ma, Rough Guide and World Circuit. It’s a great place to find out of print CDs without having to pay the ridiculous collectors' prices listed on E-Bay and Amazon. It is also a great place to find a promo CD of a fairly new release or some obscure group that is huge in Argentina but unknown in Los Angeles. Yes, there is plenty of gold in that sea of clearance CDs, and no one knows more than L.A. DJ and promoter DJ Tonearm.
Tony Lopez aka DJ Tonearm has several residencies across Los Angeles playing World Music, House and Soul. Before I knew he was a deejay, I knew him as the guy digging through the clearance sections at Amoeba Hollywood. He often picked my brain to see if I had heard of a certain artists that he had found in the clearance section, and that’s how we got to know each other. I turned the tables on him and picked his brain at one of his residencies called Left of Center, which happens every fourth Saturday at The Verdugo.
What got you digging through the Amoeba clearance section?
It was completely by accident. I was buying some music and I ran across the clearance section and found a CD that I had paid full price at one point and said, “What?” So I started digging in the clearance section ever since.
When I suggest to people to dig through the clearance section for CDs they are looking for, they see it as a burden to go through the section. Do you feel that way?
Not at all. I like digging. That is where you find your gems. I know people like downloading but I find the Internet limiting. At Amoeba, I can find someone, whether it’s an employee or a customer, that has heard a CD I’m interested in. I like the human connection. I can pick someone’s brain to see if something is worth buying or not and from there I can get turned on to something else. Sure, I will use the Internet to listen to some tracks, but I will go to Amoeba to find them.
How often to you shop the clearance section?
Three times a week if I’m in the money and once a week if I’m short.
At this point, how much of your collection comes from the clearance section?
What are your five best finds in the World Music clearance section?
I found Bibi Tanga’s Yellow Gauze. Bibi is an African living in France and part of their Afro-Futurism movement. Even though I didn’t know his music I bought it because I liked the artwork and because he had a song on the album called “Talking Nigga Brothaz” and I wondered what that was all about. The album turned out to be gold and I got it for a buck! I found Sidestepper's Logozo E.P. and that is long out of print. I found a CD from a group called La Troba Kung –Fu called Clavell Morenet. They are from Catalonia and I play them a lot in my sets. I found Mc Solaar’s classic Prose Combat for 2.99 and the Outcaste label sampler Five Years for a buck. That has an early version of Thievery Corporation’s “Lebanese Blonde,” among other great tracks.
You can hear Tonearm spin at Global Gumbo along with live bands every Thursday at:
The Five Star Bar
267 S. Main Street, Downtown LA