Numero Group: By The Numbers


Alfonso Lovo “Bomba De Neutron” Live from Toulouse
June 20, 2014, 11:09 am
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

Alfonso Lovo is currently toting his scorched songbook of psychedelic masterpieces around Europe, having been flown to France for the Rio Loco Festival in Toulouse last weekend. Keeping time on timbales is Latin rock luminary Jose “Chepito” Areas, who helped Lovo concoct the La Gigantona in the back of a Nicaraguan TV station almost 40 years ago. It’s a great record, if you’ve never heard it.

Below is “Bomba De Neutron,” as it was performed Saturday June 14th in France. We will post more videos as they become available.

 



Alfonso Lovo This Weekend in Toulouse
June 13, 2014, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

Alfonso

Any chance you’ll be in Toulouse this weekend?

The Rio Loco Festival is underway in the south of France and Alfonso Lovo and Jose Chepito Areas are gearing up for their first performance together in decades. When this pair of Nicaraguan eccentrics paired up in 1976, La Gigantona happened. So what’s going to happen this weekend? If it bears any resemblance to recent performances at random Miami seafood restaurants, then magnifique! 

The Rio Loco Festival ends Sunday. A PDF entitled Rio_Loco_Stars will give you an idea of who else is on the bill. If you see Alfonso, tell him we said bonjour!



Alfonso Lovo Customized Guitar Hits eBay
January 8, 2014, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

$_58

More psychedelic treats from Alfonso Lovo. Those of you wise enough to pick up the Nicaraguan composer’s psych-jazz odyssey La Gigantona know of the raw creativity embedded in this luminescent individual. Of all the google alerts we get, those related to “Alfonso Lovo La Gigantona” are often the most interesting. Today we learned that Alfonso Lovo was selling a customized Stratocaster with decoupage and back story. An excerpt from the product description:

“I had it refurbished by an expert guitar artisan in Masaya , Nicaragua, and had it hand painted by a great Monimbo Indian Tribe paintor. It features a pink La Gigantona that won the dancing contest in Leon, Nicaragua, and the Enano Cabezon. painted in oil. I received it back for Christmas 2013, signed it and I hand wrote serial 001, since it is my first customized Lovo Guitar Shop, in Nicaragua. It it a real collectors item.”

Should you be the winning bidder, hopefully you will be able to harness the beauty of La Gigantona and the craftiness of Anano Cabezon in recreate the blazing guitar solos captured on La Gigantona. Is this thing available for pick up? Perhaps the winner bidder can negotiate a parking-lot guitar tutorial if the numbers add up. How sick would that be? Crazier things have happened. Just ask Alfonso.  

Happy Bidding Lil’ Gigantonas!

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Alfonso Lovo: Live from the Fish House
October 7, 2013, 10:52 am
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

Lovo at Fish House

You want to know what’s an amazing album? La Gigantona by Alfonso Lovo. And unlike many artists on the Numero roster, who might be two or three decades removed from the music industry they once engaged, Lovo has never stopped playing, his imaginative and virtuosic guitar phrasings still very recognizable today. While our rollout of this long-lost Latin-jazz masterpiece garnered much praise from across the pond and here on American soil, Lovo charted his own course, securing scattered press in the Spanish-speaking world. The following segment aired on Centroamerica TV, which is available on the DISH Network. Filmed at Miami’s Fish House, Lovo and company deliver faithful renditions of La Gigantona favorites almost 40 years since they were tracked in Lovo’s native Nicaragua. Gone are the sheets of tape delay and layers of analog synths, revealing the sturdy compositions upon which Lovo’s psychedlic odyssey was initially built upon. To hear the madness in its original manifestation, click on over to the Numero Group website, where we will happily ship you La Gigantona (on CD or LP) to enjoy with the seafood pairing of your choice.

 



London Calling: Alfonso Lovo Love From Mojo
January 4, 2013, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

If Alfonso Lovo’s astounding La Gigantona gets one more favorable review in the UK, we’re pretty certain he’ll be knighted. That’s how it works, right? Just recently, Mojo went in on (Sir) Lovo’s Echo En Nicaragua masterpiece, which had already been dubbed jolly good! by folks like Gilles Peterson and  The WireRead the 4-Star review below and determine if perhaps La Gigantona is right for you, regardless of which side of the pond you call home (click on image below).

LovoMojo



Numero: The Year In Review

While the rest of the world polls minor celebrities and hipster-douchebag record label owners, we quietly sent out an email last week to our staff asking them to rank their top ten Numero releases for 2012. The surprising results are as follows:

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10. Circuit Rider: S/T

Close your eyes and Imagine The Doors backing The Prophet Omega. Now open them upon a picture of Thorn Oehrig, the mind and voice behind Circuit Rider. The first thing that may pop to mind is “student council president.” He’s white, well-groomed and lacks the requisite thousand yard stare of a paranoid outlaw on the lam. And yet the music contained here is so defiled that you can imagine that if he did hold the power seat in high school, it brought forth his inner cult leader, biker gang honcho, and 19th Century sharecropper. Power driven by powerlessness; John Brown. Oerig’s vision is like civil war re-enactment applied to the sixties underground, sounding more like a field recording from the remnants of an Appalachian slave clan moved to the cheap side of Laurel Canyon than a perilously corralled Paul Rothchild production of drunken film students holed up in Morrison Hotel. Thoughout it all, it’s obvious that the guy isn’t kidding. He has been transformed. Beware. It’s contagious.—Tom Lunt

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09. Shirley Ann Lee: Songs Of Light

Back in the spring of 2006, Ken Shipley, Rob Sevier and I holed up in a downtown Chicago studio and transferred a myriad of tapes from Ecorse, Michigan’s Revival Records label. At the time it was the biggest excavation that Numero had ever encountered. After listening to over 150 tapes and thousands of songs that year, we produced a remarkable compilation and created a new series with Local Customs: Downriver Revival.  By far the star of this release was Shirley Ann Lee, the gospel singer from Toledo, Ohio.  There were more tapes in the Revival cache of Shirley Ann Lee than any other artist that Felton Williams recorded at his home studio…and for good reason. Her voice is like none other that I have ever heard before. At times she sounds like a constant contradiction: raw and poetic, bitter and sweet, sinful and sacred.  After years of listening to hundreds of tracks by her, we were proud to present Shirley Ann Lee: Songs of Light in 2012 (the 3rd album in our Numerophon series).  It is comprised of 16 exceptional tracks that are both experimental, evocative, and forthright in their own special ways.—Michael Slaboch

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08. Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago

Part A: On Facebook, re: Julian Leal’s “Get Away,” my brother Neal wrote: “Our mission is to make everybody like this song, if it’s the last thing we do.”

Part B: “Get Away” isn’t even my go-to track on this. It’s still Tom Orsi’s “Where Are You Now,” as power pop as that may not be.

Part C: Pro Packaging Personalization: Take your 2LP gatefold and put it in a plastic LP sleeve. Then select your favorite of the Buttons 7×7 artist promo slicks and put it in the front within the smaller plastic sleeve they all came in (I’m currently using The Names, for example). Next, position your slicks sleeve at bottom left, inside your Buttons LP sleeve, so that it decorates a corner of the Buttons front cover, partially obscuring Ken’s shirt-and-vest getup (but not the yellow Illinois lapel button) and allowing you, the obsessed owner, to tell the world which Buttons track is currently owning every synapse of your power pop neural network. —Judson Picco

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07. Codeine: When I See The Sun

When the idea of taking a run at the ’90s first came up, the Numero office found itself at something of an ideological crossroads. Discussions about “catalog purity” gave way to arguments about our label’s scope, mission, and vision. Terms like “post-songwriting” were thrown out and thoughts of yet another label were pondered. Eventually we realized Numero was more like software, something that could be applied to anything with positive results. We’ve made DVDs, covered salsa, and soon will make our first foray into hard rock. If we couldn’t handle a sleepy early-’90s group from Manhattan, how could we expect to ever really chase our personal muses?

I’ll be the first to admit that Codeine was a passion project for me. I’d loved the band since high school, sneaking out to see them in Petaluma, California, on their last tour. Their three record arc remains a shining example of what happens when a band quits while they’re ahead. The idea of reissuing their smallish catalog came to me upon discovering that our one-time sales maven JR Robinson had made a record with former Codeine drummer Chris Brokaw. A few months later, Chris was sitting in my office. A few weeks later I was on the phone with Jon and Stephen. Then Sub Pop. A personal journey was completed in a matter of weeks, as I went from fan to piece of a complex puzzle. I was no longer just a proud owner of a Loser t-shirt, I was in the process of turning the Sub Pop logo on its head.

The unique packaging concept began with a question from Rob Sevier: Why can’t bonus CDs slide out of a little pocket in the same fashion an LP does? Henry Owings took that question, and, with the help of Jeff Kleinsmith’s original art, reinvented Codeine’s classic trilogy of records for a new generation. Judson Picco and myself spent weeks drafting and redrafting the liner notes, pulling on every thread until we were satisfied we’d told all the story there was to tell. Jeff Lipton grabbed victory from the jaws of DAT failure, rescuing a great many crunchy tracks over the process of remastering the 6LP/3CD set. The result feels like a Numero record, but has a distinct out of house flavor. Not quite a “Group” effort, but a Herculean one nonetheless.—Ken Shipley

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06. Love Apple: S/T

Love Apple may be this year’s best kept secret. A single LP in Kraft paper jacket this dinghy is easily lost behind the armada of flagship releases this year.  Don’t let its modesty fool you, the Ragland produced, Boddie recorded sketches of three Cleveland sisters over a lone guitar and drums has seen heavy play in our headquarters this year.  With unique melodies that sway from elegant to eerie and sparse instrumentation this is the record MPC junkies dream of. Seriously, how has this not been sampled yet?—Nate Meiners

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05. Eccentric Soul: A Red Black Green Production

In 2011, the world caught just a glimpse of D.C.’s  Robert “Jose” Williams and his studio wizardry when we released Father’s Children: Who’s Gonna Save The World. That album represented but a few tapes amongst a treasure trove of D.C. soul, including released and unreleased works by the Summits,  Skip Mahoaney & The Casuals, Promise, Dyson’s Faces, and the Exceptions. Dithering down the 30-odd tapes was no easy task, as originally this was slated to be a a four, possibly five, CD set with full albums by Dyson’s Faces, the Exceptions, Skip Mahoaney, and Father’s Children, with another disc of extras (including this femme falsetto gem). This unprecedented access to the source material gives RBG (as it’s lovingly referred to around the office) a polish and sheen not found on many other Eccentric Soul compilations. If you’re a sucker for low rider ballads, we encourage you to put your rub-off tear drop tattoo on, roll down the windows, and cruise.—Zach Myers

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04. Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone

As Numero’s web specialist, I see lots of things float by our digital domain. I’m privileged (and sometimes horrified) to hear snippets of works-in-progress where I’m completely unaware of what the work actually is. That’s how I originally came across Lou Ragland. I was listening to a random swath of songs when I noticed several stand-out tracks which seemed to be related, but I wasn’t sure. These songs were tied together semi-stylistically, but what grabbed me was the warmth and depth that pervaded each and every track. When Lou Ragland: I Travel Alone landed on my desk at Numero’s New Jersey office, all was clear. I clearly need to get the fuck out of New Jersey.—Jonathan Land

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03. Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona

Had La Gigantona surfaced during my college years, it would be fossilized into the bedrock of my musical identity today. Between gravity bong hits of Lee Perry and keg stands of Herbie Hancock, Alfonso Lovo would have provided the perfect crossfade between my intensifying interests in jazz and Caribbean psychedelia.Then I would be able to reminisce with random classmates over the holidays—modern lawyers, bankers, sales reps—and they’d say, “Dude, remember how we used to listen to Alfonso Lovo ALL THE TIME?! We were obsessed with that record! I play it for my wife now and she hates it!”—Jon Kirby

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02. WTNG 89.9: Solid Bronze

For those select fans still holding to the misguided notion that Numero Group is a “soul music” reissue label, 2012 must have been quite sobering.  Sure, there have been multitudes of non-soul or gospel titles on the label over the past ten years…Pisces, Lonestar Lowlands, and our two volumes of power pop via the Buttons series, but nothing could have prepared anyone for what we came up with for Record Store Day. Inspired by radio station compilations released throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the idea was to compile a sampler for our own (quasi fictitious) WTNG station; a literal “who’s that?” of a silky smooth style we lovingly refer to as “easy glide.”  After hundreds of hours of listening to potential inclusions, the eleven tracks that finally made the cut still found themselves on repeat play around the Numero office. This is the sort of record I never knew that I NEEDED in my life until it existed. I need more.—Dustin Drase

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01. Eccentric Soul Omnibus

One box to rule them all. We thought many things about last year’s #1 set, the Boddie Recording Company. We thought we’d never spend longer on a project (wrong, some of this research started even before there was a Numero to release it). We thought we’d never see such a shipping nightmare in person (extraordinarily wrong, note the multiple injuries in the shipping department). And furthermore, we thought that any such project that would top last year’s #1 would surely blow its release date (on that point we were correct.) We present the 045 Eccentric Soul: Omnibus… 45 singles, 90 songs, 45,000 words of liner notes, 96,000 tears, 3 bottles of Adderall,  one nervous breakdown, all packaged lavishly in a handy classic 45 case. Now we’re really wondering how to top ourselves.—Rob Sevier



La Gigantona Real
December 11, 2012, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

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As we detailed in the liner notes for Alfonso Lovo’s Numero debut, La Gigantona (“the giant lady”) is named for a Nicaraguan tradition that takes place each December through out the Central American country.

“In an annual street festival, a nine-foot wooden doll lady, representing the power and elegance of Spanish conquistadors, stands in for historical Nicaragua’s perverse affection for their exotic colonizers. The Nicaraguan commoners’ symbolic manipulation of the Gigantona effigy instills a gratifying and fulfilling sense of control awarded to a liberated populace, a tradition that, in spirit, ushered through the 20th century the people’s intellectual superiority over opportunistic subjugators who brought language, culture, tyranny, and bloodshed to Central and South America.”

Alfonso’s brother Claudio was on location in Leon, Nicaragua for this “beauty contest” between a fleet of oversized lady puppets. Each neighborhood produces a Gigantona, which are brought to the stadium to be judged on a basis of attractiveness, and the skill with which the puppeteer manipulates his or her model. Each effigy is then carried back to its neighborhood of origin, where festivities carry on into the night.

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Alfonso Lovo’s La Gigantona, which is being celebrated by listeners world wide (Gilles Peterson among the most adamant), is available on our website or wherever fine records are sold.



Alfonso Lovo In The Wire
November 20, 2012, 2:35 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo, Press Archives

It should go without saying that we at the Numero Group are unapologetic Alfonso Lovo fans. Still, it’s nice to find folks with who your tastes jibe. The Wirepublished in the UK but read/respected globally—thought enough of our latest LP to spill ink on Lovo’s lysergic opus. Drawing spiritual comparisons to fellow cosmonauts Shuggie Otis and Sixto Rodriguez, writer Richard Henderson hits the nail on the head with his succinct review of Lovo’s eight-song neutron bomb. Regarding Roman Cerpas’ adventurous mixing, Henderson says what we’re all thinking: “The engineer controlling that recirculating tape echo in Lovo’s studio obviously was having a great time.”

Good to the last tab, Alfonso Lovo’s La Gigantona is available at our online store and throughout the mainland. Our UK fans have no doubt found that Honest John’s (among others) is holding, and will be until all adventurous listeners are satisfied. We think you’ll agree: the harsh tokes are actually the best tokes.



Gilles Peterson Digs Numero
November 14, 2012, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo, Press Archives

“Oh yeah. Yeah. This is what I want to hear right now.”

Alfonso Lovo’s BBC Radio debut on Saturday, October 13th was a memorable one, and Gilles Peterson had no shortage of kind words regarding our latest LP. After playing the bulk of Lovo’s “Sinfonia del Espacio en Do Menor,” an enthused Peterson returned to mic to deliver this heartfelt testimonial.

“I think it’s the 50th release from Numero Group [actually 46th -ed.], which is the leading global reissue label. Based out of Chicago, they just spend all their time searching for music—unreleased music—and they keep coming up with gems. Alfonso Lovo, originally from Nicaragua, made this record in 1976. There’s 8 tracks on this record—this is so good! I got it last week, this album. And you know sometimes you get these reissues and they’re alright, they’re good, they’ve got good moments; this whole album is ridiculous, from beginning to end. It’s got everything… I wish I could play you the whole thing.”

Alfonso Lovo, never one to ignore a Google alert, wrote Gilles thanking him for his support. The legendary radio host was so touched that during his November 3rd show, he then read Lovo’s email on-air, referring to him at one point as “the man from Nicaragua who made one of the best Latin psychedelic records of all time.”

We don’t take this critique lightly, and are very grateful to Gilles for continuing to dig our releases, and in particular, for his generous praise of La Gigantona. We feel Alfonso’s unreleased masterpiece deserves every bit of it.

La Gigantona vinyl has arrived, as is available on our online store. Gilles: Can we send you one?

For more musical cues and remarkable tunes, tune into Gilles Peterson’s weekly broadcast/podcast, Saturdays on the BBC.



Numero and MTV: What does it all mean?
November 1, 2012, 8:53 am
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo, Buttons, Codeine | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday morning, MTV’s Hive sub-brand did a nice featurette on our little label. Rest assured it was totally out of the blue. While we don’t expect to be moving into Dial MTV‘s top 20 countdown, we have a few suggestions from the video-era if they ever get really daring.

New York’s Colors go bananas in someone’s yard and in some kind of artist loft. That painting in the background? Just an original Basquiat.

A legit MTV play, this was the third of Shoes’ four (!) videos from Present Tense.

For some reason this Speedies track was overlooked for Numero 004, but we did sell it digitally on our site for a while.

While Loose Lips’ “Kyle” is the “hit” off their lone EP, Hung Up On Pop, the track is missing from this 1981 cable access concert from Triton College. The actual Kyle isn’t missing. She’s the girl in the black and white dress dancing on stage.

From Alfonso Lovo’s follow up to La Gigantona. Whatever you do, don’t fax this guy.

Despite being made at the height of 120 Minutes, there’s no fucking way they were playing this arty shit.

We are open to hosting a classic videos night on M2 or wherever they’re broadcasting images set to music these days, just have your make up artist call our make up artist.

While you’re still reading, pick up this great book about the early days of MTV co-authored by longtime Numero supporter Rob Tannenbaum.




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