Numero Group: By The Numbers

Ken Shipley’s Acceptance Speech From AIM Awards
September 9, 2015, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Cities of Darkscorch, Darkscorch Canticles | Tags:

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The Numero Group is flattered and humbled to announce that our board game/box set Cities Of Darkscorch is the recipient of the Association Of Independent Music’s 2015 Special Catalogue Release honours. We were similarly shocked when Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound received the very same distinction last year, so we had to face the reality that Cities Of Darkscorch could very well do the same. Numero Group cofounder Ken Shipley drafted this acceptance speech to be read in our absence by Secretly Canadian’s Steve Rose in the event that we won. We hope you enjoy.

I can’t think of anyone that I would want to accept on our behalf, except Martin Mills. Can you get Martin Mills?

In the off chance that we win, Steve, please accept on our behalf with the following remarks:

Ken Shipley, Dustin Drase, and the staff of Numero were unfortunately unable to be here tonight. But they’ve asked me to read this message on their behalf, without edits, as time allows. 

As near as we can tell, we’re the only company of our size and geographic location to win this tiny, weird robot, let alone twice in as many years. It is rare when a small American record label wins any award. Generally, you put on a tuxedo and uncomfortable shoes and wait to lose. The comments you’ve scrawled on the back of a few business cards get filed away in your jacket pocket, only to be discovered later when you’re dropping said suit off at the cleaners. So please forgive us for thinking that we would not win tonight and thusly not spending thousands of dollars on airfare and hotels. 

Further to this point, you’ve chosen to anoint a fucking board game with such an honor, which can only mean one of two things: We’re either very good at what we do OR you’re all completely mental. We’re going with the latter—this is London after all. Because, to quote Lindsey Buckingham, “If you’re any good, you know you can do better.” 

Wait until you see what we’ve cooked up for next year. If we three-pete the nomination, we’ll guarantee our presence, our tuxedos, our scrawled notes, and our applause when someone else wins.

Cities Of Darkscorch Tourism Board at Victory Conditions
February 27, 2015, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Cities of Darkscorch, Darkscorch Canticles



Cities of Darkscorch urban planner Dustin Drase was invited to discuss the origin story of our “dope-huffing, hobbit-humping” box set. We still get emails, filled with intricate questions about advanced game-play scenarios, so perhaps this conversation will help shed new light (or cast new spells) on the first-ever Grammy nominated board game.

Follow This Link To Victory Conditions

Grammy Wrap-Up
February 10, 2015, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Cities of Darkscorch, Purple Snow


As you may have gathered from our social media feeds, we have been embroiled in a Grammy race for the past few months, which ended in a whimper more so that a band for our staff losers. As they say, “It is a honor just to be nominated.” But what we lacked in eventual statuettes, we made up for in fantastic functions with friends young and old. Here are the highlights.

Thursday: Funkmosphere

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For fans of synthesized funk, there is no better showroom that Los Angeles’s Funkmosphere. Our own Purple Snowman Jon Kirby joined Peanut Butter Wolf and Seattle’s 100 Proof for short/sweet sets of personal favorites. Honorable mention to Myka 9 (Freestyle Fellowship), Kyle Mooney (SNL), and Wilder Zoby (Chin Chin/Run the Jewels) for their patronage.


Friday: Dublab and P4K Radio

It’s fun to get on the radio and talk about our records and other records and all the records in between. On Dublab’s Analogue Players Club, we discussed Grammy contenders Purple Snow and Cities of Darkscorch, and played an assortment of motivational musics from the collision of the ’70s and ’80s.


Later in the day, we scaled the Ace Hotel to play selections from upcoming releases. Can you listen to these online? Maybe. We’ll update this link when we confirm.


Saturday: Chicago Party Screening at Cinefamily

Cinefamily is great place to watch a movie, and a satisfying place to screen one. We retuned to the scene of the Ski Bum debacle for the world premiere of Ultra-High Frequencies: The Chicago Party. Hearing folks applaud along with 1980s patrons of the CopHerBox II was a nice sensation. Due to luggage restrictions, we were only able to secure passage for 12 copies of the Chicago Party LP. Those evaporated almost instantly, and we spent the rest of the evening apologizing. To all those who we couldn’t accommodate, your records are in the mail!


Sunday: The Grammys 

The Grammys start early for folks in the nether categories of Best Album Notes or Best Packaging. The doors opened at noon and we were cleared of all accolades by 1pm. As we had mostly assumed The Rise And Fall of Paramount Records took the statuette for Packaging. Seconds later, John Coltrane’s Offering: Live At Temple University usurped Purple Snow. Presented without comment is the Philadelphia Weekly campaign for Purple Snow, plus a preemptive apology to “‘Trane Riders” (#LOL—ed). We spotted Lemmy, Weird Al, and John Waters.


At the evening ceremony, we saw Jimmy Jam walking through the crowd. Once we identified ourselves as cleans-up-nicely versions of the shabby executes he’d met years back. He shouted back, “Did we win?!” and could only shrug when we delivered the bad news. Guess we’ll have to make another one! Otherwise, we saw everything you saw on TV, and a little more. Are we “happy” to be back in Chicago? Let’s just say we’re glad we bought these beanies.


Sincerely, The Numero Group 


The Numero Group Takes Los Angeles
February 2, 2015, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Chicago Party, Darkscorch Canticles, Purple Snow


The Numero Group has been nominated for Grammys in the categories of Best Album Notes (Purple Snow) and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package (Cities of Darkscorch). As a result, we will spend the better part of our four-day weekend in criss-crossing Los Angeles, engaging in music bizical activities. We hope to see you somewhere.

Thursday: FUNKMOSPHERE – The Virgil (4519 Santa Monica Blvd) Jon Kirby will add to the madness that is “LA’s longest-running party for 80’s-based funk, boogie, electro and modern soul,” 12 inches at a time. Free before 10:30, $5 after.

Friday: Radio Double Header – The Numero Group will be saying stuff and playing stuff on both Dublab and Pitchfork Radio. From noon until 2pm, we will be the featured guests of Analouge Players Club on Dublab, rotating delightful records and conducting interview vignettes with Aaron Coyes (aka Wyld Stallions). Then at rush hour, we’ll be taking over Pitchfork Radio, broadcasting live from the Ace Hotel (poolside, naturally). 929 South Broadway, Downtown.

Saturday: Cinefamily will host the debut screening of The Best of the Chicago Party, the sensational 80-minute mix-tape that accompanies our forthcoming CD/LP extravaganza. The show starts at 9:15pm; tickets are $12 (free to members) and are available here. We will be playing records before and after. Good times, guaranteed.


The Grammys and The Numero Group
December 8, 2014, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Darkscorch Canticles, Purple Snow

1978624_10152440347177327_4475500804769053244_nThe Numero Group is honored and flattered to have been nominated for not one but two different projects for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. The absurd but sincere board-game-box-set edition of the dope-huffing, Hobbit-humping double LP Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles was nominated in the category of Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. The stranger-than-fiction Minneapolis Sound essay that binds the 4LP/2CD box set Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound was nominated for Best Album Notes. We love what we do, and we hope that our devotees and casual customers love it, too. However, being recognized by an industry monolith like the Grammys is a type of affirmation that little labels of our like rarely experience. So on February 8th, the Numero Group shall return to the Staples Center, as we did in 2011 for Light: On The Southside and in 2012 for Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology, and try and convince a jury of our peers that we deserve these statuettes. But, as they say, it is an honor just to be nominated.



One-Fortieth Of The New York Times Gift Guide
December 5, 2014, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Bedhead, Cities of Darkscorch, Darkscorch Canticles, Scharpling & Wurster

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For a city so concerned with square footage, the New York Times has assembled yet another sprawling gift guide befit for the underbrush of Rockefeller Center’s 85-Foot Norway Spruce. Among the 80 items selected were two Numero Group goodies: Warfaring Strangers :Darkscorch Canticles and Bedhead: 1992-1998. Staff writer and friend of the label Jon Caramanica totally gets it:

Warfaring Strangers: “In the wake of Led Zeppelin, 1970s rock could be a grand, swaggering affair. But on “Warfaring Strangers,” attitude takes a back seat to lyrics, and the lyrics are weird. These dug-up-from-obscurity oddball bands are as obsessed with monster riffs as with Dungeons & Dragons-esque mysticism.”

Bedhead: “This Dallas band perfected a sound that came to be called slowcore: The drums were lazy, the guitars languorous, the vocals unhurried. But this was in no way a lazy band, only a disciplined one with unconventional values.”

Earlier this week, the Gray Lady spoke at length about Tom Scharpling’s resurrected radio show, The Best Show. While a nugget of cordless phone shrapnel does not make a very flashy stocking stuffer, shards of plastic and signed certificates of authenticity will be arriving before the holidays as part of our Scharpling & Wurster: The Best Of The Best Show pre-order nightmare promotion.


Rock Solid: The Indestructible Mailer of Darkscorch
August 28, 2014, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Cities of Darkscorch, Methodology

Records and the postal system share a rocky past, rife with both triumphs and tragedies. Our new board game/box set seemed destined for corner dings and bludgeoning, so we enlisted our cardboard guy Tim Milligan of Capitol Containers to engineer something spectacular to ensure that copies of Cities Of Darkscorch arrived in mint condition. So order with confidence! Below is a step-by-step tutorial on how the fortified walls of our new mailer will prevent postal goblins from inflicting damage upon your new “gas-huffing, hobbit-humping” board game.

Step One: Get Your Cardboard


Step Two: Build Your Walls






Step Three: Drop a Copy of Cities of Darkscortch Into the Chassis


Step Four: Shut the Gates!



Cities Of Darkscorch Ribbon Cutting TONIGHT in Chicago
June 27, 2014, 11:25 am
Filed under: Cities of Darkscorch, Darkscorch Canticles
Greetings from Darkscorch!
The comfort station will serve as our temporary Town Hall as we celebrate the arrival of our first (last?) board game, Cities of Darkscorch. Of course we’ll be playing the Darkscorch National Anthem (aka the entire Warfaring Strangers LP) plus other gas-huffing, hobbit humping selections from the Numero catalog. You can play the game, or just marvel at the many intricate pieces that are destined for the couch cushions of countless Darkscorch citizens.

Artwork by Robert Soden will be on display, and select works are for sale.

We have not now but TWO fresh T-Shirt designs, the constantly requested, uncontested Medusa T-shirt:

PLUS, this Technology & Magic masterpiece, hot off the presses.
We’ll See You There!
Cities of Darkscorch Release Party: The Comfort Station: 2579 N. Milwaukee. 6-10pm. 


Dogs Gambling and Acid Casualties in the Land Of Darkscorch
June 25, 2014, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Darkscorch Canticles

Even if you’re not a board game enthusiast, there is so much to love about Cities of Darkscorch. Numero Group stringer Eliza Childress was summoned to illustrate a whole mess of game cards, resulting in 75 hilarious and hysterical images based on the chutes and ladders scenarios we conceived here in Chicago. Flipping through this collection is a sheer joy, another reason to swing by Friday to our Cities of Darkscorch Release Party.

Friday, June 27th: The Comfort Station in Logan Square: 2579 N. Milwaukee: 6pm-10pm










Eliza Childress Tumblr Page (Psychedelic Voyage)

Facebook Invite for Cities Of Darkscorch

Buy Cities of Darkscorch

Meet Artist Robert Soden at Darkscorch Party Friday
June 23, 2014, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Darkscorch Canticles

RazzPortrait San Jose, 2005: Ken Shipley is rooting through his mother’s spare bedroom closet and discovers a plastic bin full of notebooks, character sketches, maps, and various artifacts pertaining to a fantasy world referred to as Eldara. Conferring with his mom, these turn out to be the remains of a decade spanning Dungeons & Dragons campaign led by Shipley’s stepfather, Robert Soden (known as “Raztus” in game play). The game began in high school and followed the participants through community college and into early adulthood, halting some 20 years later. In 2010, when talks of Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles began in earnest, Numero knew that cover art was already in the can.

This Friday, we’ll be returning to our beloved Comfort Station in Logan Square to roll out (pun intended) our new board game, Cities Of Darkscorch. On display will be historical documents from Robert Soden’s role-playing odyssey, a stoned and stonewashed universe akin to In The Realms Of The Unreal. We’ll have copies of the game on hand if you care to play, purchase, or simply peruse, and we’ll be listening to our hard rocking companion album all the while.



Cities of Darkscorch Release Party

Comfort Station – Logan Square 2579 N. Milwaukee Avenue

6pm – 10pm

Link to Facebook Invite