Electric Cowbell Records is hot on the heels of its critically acclaimed debut compilation 101 Things To Do In Bongolia, which is a sonic brochure of the label's first batch of singles from 2010-2011 with the addition of some bonus tracks and remixes. The compilation has sparked gushing quotes like, Electric Cowbell is Brooklyn's hardest-working new label" from The Village Voice
to this is how Sub Pop started out" by Midwest Record
. Now the label is ready to release its next seven releases (all available on October 11, 2011) from familiar names like Debo Band, Sway Machinery and Kharia Arby, to newcomers Karthala 72, Os Magrelos No! BS Brass Band, Cheick Hamala, and Little Shalimar.
Sway Machinery and Khaira Arby (EC011): Side A: Gawad Teriamou; Side B: Youba (45RPM)
Following their critically acclaimed debut Hidden Melodies Revealed, the Sway Machinery accepted a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to travel to Timbuktu and perform in Mali's world-renowned Festival of the Desert. In Mali they found inspiration in the form of Khaira Arby, a legendary Malian singer, and out of their epic journey the tracks on this record were born. Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Feist, Bon Iver) brings the baritone sax to this big mix making the perfect counterpoint to Khaira's impassioned wailing. You've never heard anything like this and we consider one of the freshest releases of 2011. Too often the pairings of musicians from two distinctly different regions on the globe come off as goofy world music" exploitive efforts but this collaboration simply exudes heartfelt musical joy. We are honored to carry this across the river into your hands. Comes in full-color jacket with picture of Sway Machinery and Khaira in Timbuktu.
Cheick Hamal Diabate (EC013): Side A: Tagamba; Side B: Sigi Diya (45RPM)
Cheick Hamala Diabate is a West African historian, now living in Washington DC, in the Griot tradition, and a world-recognized master of the ngoni, a Malian traditional instrument. He has successfully fused the traditional rhythms and vocals of his ancestors with the more electric, American sounds he has absorbed over the past decade living in the US. Both of these tracks have Griot teaching messages and are sung in Manding (seems to be a mother language of Bambara) from Mali. For example, Sigi Diya" on side B, is a message for people to listen to each other, be understanding of each other, respect each other and trust each other. We're happy to help Cheick promote this message on 45RPM vinyl. The band on these tracks is well-oiled from holding down a weekly residency at the nightclub Bossa in Washington, DC, and the groove is thick and sure to go off on any dance floor with live humans in the house! We love re-issues of West African music by labels like Analog Africa and Soundway but it's refreshing to have new vinyl available from a current and relevant artist such as Cheick Hamala. Comes in medium weight 7" Brown Paper Sleeve with hand-made stamp.
Karthala 72 (EC015): Side A: Dans Le Coeur Du Feu; Side B: Delores (45RPM)
The sound of a 1970's psychedelic freakout only heavier than you ever heard it before! The A-side, Dans Le Coeur Du Feu," brings some seriously dark, driving funk meets Afrobeat. There isn't much on the group out there on the internet. We can't even figure out exactly where they are from but tribal rhythms and hypnotic guitar echo to a time when the raw sound was king. The B-side"Delores"mellows the attack a bit but retains the afro-noir vibe and keeps the pulsing percussion mix up front. Haunting glockenspiel and portentous guitar are balanced by a buoyant sax line that snakes its way into the song at the halfway mark. Taking influence from the traditional music of the Comoros, to Anatolian bazaar jazz to the more familiar beat of percussion led afro funk. This single is destined to become a psych-world burner. Comes in medium weight 7" brown paper sleeve with full-color vintage postage stamp sticker of the group on the sleeve.
No BS! Brass (EC016): Side A: Take on Me; Side B: Dr. Wily (45RPM)
No BS! Brass Band is a powerful brass band that embraces the spirit of New Orleans into its original East Coast modern funk. Their danceable arrangements are outstandingly well thought-out and organized, drawing inspiration from funk, jazz, klezmer, calypso, and Led Zeppelin. On Side-A the boys take on a cover of the classic 80's hit by A-Ha Take on Me" and the results are a rousing a second line without a parading permit. Dr. Wily" on on the flip side is an original penned by lead trombonist Reggie Pace, currently on tour with Bon Iver. With a flight-of-the-bumblebee urgency this tune simply shreds and hits you in the face like a brass knuckle brass band sandwich. Comes with cover art and heavy gauge crystal-clear vinyl sleeve.
Debo Band (EC017): Side A: Gedawo; Side B: Gedawo (Kiddid remix) (45RPM)
Debo Band returns to the Electric Cowbell roster with another hit out of the park! Gedawo" is an Ethio-funk classic by the great singer Ayalew Mesfin who recorded several hits in the 1970s. Recorded live in Ethiopia, this version features the background vocals, clapping, and traditional drumming of the group Fendika, Debo's vibrant collaborators from Addis Ababa. A perfect vehicle for charismatic Debo-frontman Bruck Tesfaye, Gedawo is a rousing dance anthem performed by a contemporary 15-piece funk powerhouse. In stark contrast, Kiddid's B-side Gedubwo Mix" swaps drum kit and sousaphone for drum machine and square-wave, flipping the tune on its head into digi-dub territory. A chugging Tubby-esque take on the raucous original. Comes in medium weight 7" brown paper sleeve with full-color vintage postage stamp sticker of the group on the sleeve.
Little Shalimar (EC018): Side A: Bad Position; Side B: Melting (45RPM)
Little Shalimar is a Lebanese, Jewish, WASP, Kentucky Colonel that grew up writing graffiti in Flatbush, Brooklyn and going to art rock shows in Louisville, KY. He's also a multi-instrumentalist/producer/DJ/performer that's worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, El-P, TV On The Radio, Antibalas, and Steve Arrington. In 2000 he formed the group Chin Chin who released two albums and a number of singles on the legendary Definitive Jux label. With a live band featuring members of TV on the Radio (when they're not touring), Antibalas, Phenomenal Handclap Band, and Chin Chin, a Little Shalimar show is a multicultural, face melting party that showcases some of Brooklyn's most exciting musicians. His initial Electric Cowbell offering contains two songs from his 2011 debut EP, The New Pneumonia Blues (It's The Sound). Bad Position" comes out of the gate with a thick, grooving bass line that's joined by an irresistible backbeat accented by percolating bongos and shakers. The falsetto vocals fall somewhere between Prince and Calvin Harris. Melting" on the flipside continues the vibe with a sexy mid-tempo call to the dance floor.