Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UK's Rhythmagic Orchestra finally resurfaces

Since five years have now passed since Ben Lamdin (Nostalgia 77) and Hugo Mendez (Sofrito DJ Collective) first put together the Rhythmagic Orchestra with fellow UK-based members of the Heliocentrics, Plumstead Radical Club, the Alex Wilson Band, Jazz Jamaica, Ska Cubano and the Nostalgia 77 Octet to pay tribute to Afro-Latin jazz greats which inspired them so it's about time they issued a follow-up to their smokin' three-track 12" vinyl debut.
After spinning through some of Hugo's dusty tropical treasures over a bottle of rum, they decided on an appropriately diverse selection of mambo madness, deadly descargas and cha cha craziness which N77 arranger Jonny Spall has charted for the latest Rhythmagical expedition into dance jazz dementia. Those who missed their out-of-print first EP on Impossible Ark will be relieved to know that they've included their dancefloor destroying cover of Nina Simone's African Mailman along with a hard swingin' version of the Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo standard Manteca which you can check below.

To celebrate the long overdue release of the self-titled Rhythmagic Orchestra album (you can get the limited vinyl version via mailorder here), Hugo Mendez has assembled a smashing 40 minute mix of old-school Afro-Latin heat from Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Congo, Guadeloupe, Senegal, Dominican Republic and the USA which you can enjoy until you get your hands on that dope new Rhythmagic Orchestra platter.  
Here's the track list for Hugo's fantastic Rhythmagic Partout! mix.

Vincent Casino – Mambo de Paris
Joey Lewis Orchestra – Tema del Papelon
Arthur Sterling & Pucho – Darin’s Mambo
Elmo Garcia Orchestra – Brooklyn Mambo
Guapacha – El Retoson
Luis Grinan y su Orquesta – Cosas Bonita
Orchestre Esperanza – Pas Bel
Cachao y su Orquesta – Descarga Mexicana
Orchestre O.K. Jazz – Cha Cha del Zombo
Chiquita Serrano – Marijuana
Los Caraibes – Cuando Llegare
Amara TourĂ© – Lamento Cubano
Duo Los Ahijados – El Hombre Misterioso

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cotton Mather fans help makeover Kontiki

There's some good news for fans of the late great Austin anomaly Cotton Mather from founding member Robert Harrison who has announced plans to assemble an expanded double-disc edition of the group's 1997 power-pop classic Kontiki (Copper Records). 
The group was still unknown to even hipster Austin indie record store clerks when Oasis mainman Noel Gallagher heard Cotton Mather's fantastic second album Kontiki and realized that singer/songwriter Harrison was every bit his match in swiping Beatles moves with the added advantage of being blessed with a perfectly suited surname for the job. Gallagher took it upon himself to champion the band and Kontiki – re-released by Rainbow Quartz in late 1998 – to every journalist within shouting distance and then invited Cotton Mather to open Oasis shows on their upcoming tour of the UK and France. 
Despite the hype, Cotton Mather never really caught fire and after a number of line-up changes they disbanded in 2003. Since then Harrison formed Future Clouds and Radar and released two critically acclaimed albums, 2007's self-titled debut and 2008's Peoria on the Star Apple Kingdom label yet the magical sound of that 4-track Kontiki recording has never been equalled. It's still among my favourite albums of the 90s and evidently I'm not alone in holding Kontiki in high regard. John Borack, the author of Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide had Kontiki listed at number 26 in his Top 200 Power Pop Albums of all time and considering the many mediocre records among his first 25, it definitely deserved a higher placing.
In any case, Kontiki has been unavailable for far too long so word of a deluxe-style reissue with a second disc of previously unheard extras is definitely cause for celebration. Before busting out the bubbly however, Harrison is going to need some financial help – $12,500 US to be exact – to complete the project and has started a funding drive on Kickstarter to reach out to Cotton Mather fans around the world. To date, 64 backers have pledged a total of $3,728 with 58 days left to reach his target amount. If you'd care to support the cause, just follow this link for more information about what size of donation will have Harrison flying to your hometown to perform an acoustic set in your living room for family and friends.  

Here's Harrison's pitch:

In 1997 my band Cotton Mather recorded our second record, Kontiki,  on 4 track cassette and ADAT in an old house about 30 minutes outside of Austin. It was released in the US without much fanfare on a little label called Copper.  But when the record made its way to the UK a year later on the Rainbow Quartz label Kontiki was quite the hit with the press and music fans.

Now Kontiki, the "lost classic" has been out of print for years.  I (Robert Harrison) have been busy readying a re-release of Kontiki which will include an entire second disc of bonus tracks. Not just a few out-takes but an entire discs worth of extras because when I dug back into the archives I found some real treasure.

I need YOUR help to finance the release of Kontiki Deluxe!  If this record is important to you - you could really make a difference with even the slightest contribution. Its not too late for you to help Cotton Mather. We never had a big record deal and never reached the masses -which some people say is a crime. And although I never really think of it in those terms and I stay pretty busy these days with my band Future Clouds and Radar- I do think there is something undeniably magical about Kontiki. It was a special moment in time we landed on back there. All of us from Cotton Mather would love more people to hear it. So lets get Kontiki in the hands of the people and help Cotton Mather at long last shed the mantle of rock cult obscurity.

The money we raise will pay for mixing an 11 track bonus CD (the first one will remain as it was), mastering, new artwork with extensive liner notes about the making of Kontiki and the history of Cotton Mather, manufacturing, publicity and  and if we go past the target a good ways- a vinyl pressing. Then of course if somebody goes for the grand prize..... look out!

Thank you

Robert Harrison


Friday, March 25, 2011

Never mind the Junos... here's the Targets!

Inspired by their two prior visits to Toronto, rising UK mod threat The Targets – the greatest thing to come out of Winsford since salt – have penned a few different sounding tunes (piano?) which they're independently releasing as an EP cleverly named The Toronto Tapes. But you won't have to wait until the April 18 release date to hear The Targets' new stuff, the ambitious young woolybacks are playing two more shows as part of a three-night stand at Mitzi's Sister (1554 Queen West) which continues tonight (Friday, March 25) with the Marvelous Beauhunks and The 905s in support and Saturday (March 26) with The Legendary Dirtbikers and SHBTI opening.

The Toronto Tapes, Part 1

The Toronto Tapes, Part 2


Monday, March 21, 2011

Jessica Stuart releases innovative Kid Dream video

After months in development, Jessica Stuart's epic animated video clip for the title track from her fantastic Kid Dream (Do Right!) album has finally appeared and it's a winner thanks to the contributions of some 80 animators of all ages and director Evan DeRushie.
Have a look at the resulting 2,700 frames:

Kid Dream by The Jessica Stuart Few

The Making of Kid Dream

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Charlie Sheen coming to Massey Hall (BYOTB)

Astutely taking advantage of his post-Two and a Half Men notoriety, Charlie Sheen has added more dates to his My Violent Torpedo Of Truth / Defeat Is Not An Option Tour which will bring him to Toronto for a Massey Hall appearance on April 14. It's anybody's guess what exactly the show will entail but we do know that the "warlock" who was once the highest paid sitcom star on television doesn't come cheap so tickets to the spectacle (which go on sale Saturday, March 19) will set you back between $79.50 and $109.50... tiger's blood not included. Sheen will be donating $1 from each ticket sold to the Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

One For The Weekend: Jimmie Dale Gilmore

The Banks Of The Colorado by Jimmie Dale Gilmore