Numero Group: By The Numbers

Bazooka – Making The Records We Want To Own
November 9, 2012, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Methodology, Shoes | Tags: , ,

Sometimes, to get the records you want, you have to make them. That was one of the many considerations going through our heads as we pondered the first vinyl pressing of the near-mythic Shoes album Bazooka. Although a minuscule sample of the population was ever even aware of it, Bazooka was known to the Greg Shaw/Bomp set even back in the day as a great lost album that few heard.

Bazooka should probably long ago have seen the light of day. And really, it did in the ’90s on a CD collection amongst other oddities, sold primarily through the Shoes’ website… but it’s just not the same. As it was originally presented only as a cassette, with no imagery to accompany it, and shared only with the band members’ friends, the prospect of creating artwork that looked and felt right was awesome, and certainly intimidating. No one wants to pull a record that doesn’t feel right off their shelf.

Meet our knucklehead accomplice, Henry Owings, who rose to the occasion. He devised a way to make something look realistic and of its time without becoming kitsch. First, a key element is the image choice (selected by reissue producer Ken Shipley). This is from the negatives of an early live show shot for posterity, and one of the few in existence that contains the actual line-up of Shoes from this set of recordings. Drummer Barry Shumaker was the drummer on Bazooka and One In Versailles, to be replaced the following summer by Skip Meyer. The handwriting used for the text comes from actual set lists from the band’s shows where these tracks were performed. There were very few elements of the appropriate vintage… however, the resourceful Owings took these four chromalins, broke them apart and reassembled the separated color keys (the C, Y, M, and Ks) into the dynamic combinations seen here.  Although they were laid out recently, every element existed contemporaneously with the actual recordings contained therein. It’s a record, first and foremost, that we’re really proud to own. Get yours, and the other early Shoes LPs, now.

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.

Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

A skinny tie, a vest and a button. Just add chiming guitars, driving drums and a guy named Jeff. Drop some harmonies, mix for maximum jangle, and you’ve got that most twee of genres, the little genre that almost could: Power Pop! And we’ve got more of it coming than ever hit the charts. Any charts.

First up, Numero 004, Buttons: Starter Kit.

Featuring The Tweeds, Randy Winburn, Sponsors, The Trend, Luxury, Treble Boys, Colors, Tommy Rock, The Toms, Bats and The Kids.

Then…. We go regional with Numero 044, Buttons: From Champaign To Chicago.

Illinois’ most hopeful, featuring Tom Orsi, Eyz, Paul, The Kind, Kevin Lee and Heartbeat, The Names, The Jets, Band Jocks, Prettyboys, Lay-Z, Northshore, All Night Newsboys, Shoes, Loose Lips, The Nines, Contra-band, and Vertebrats. Enough Pop to make Honest Abe tell a little white lie just to get into Mary Todd’s panties.

Coming Soon! On LP, CD, and yes, there might be a full set of band buttons available to early adopters.

Bootlegging the Bootleggers

We’ve been bootlegged before, certainly. Madlib (take a few bows), Mayer Hawthorne, BBE, RJD2, that lame-ass “Low Riders” series… but this really takes the cake.

Over the course of seven years and more than 70 releases, one extremely creative fan began to build a mega-mix of his favorite loops, breaks, and vocal snippets, chopping them all up and piecing together an incredible musical narrative—a 40-minute, saw blade-labeled 12″ boot that was pressed and seeded to a handful of DJs and producers. Naturally, word got back.

With our cease and desist letter ready to be dropped in the mail, an interesting thing happened: We kinda got hooked on the flawlessly arranged pastiche. Taking cue from the Bob Dylan Bootleg series, we turned the tables on the pirate. Seizing the plates from the pressing plant, we repurposed this underground release (preserving the contraband “Numbero” label) as the ultimate showcase for our seven years in business.

It took some time and effort, but we were finally able to track down the creator of the boot, and were delighted to discover that it was the apocryphal label and production team Shoes, who have previously re-worked Moodyman, Al Green, Miles Davis, and dozens more.

About the hideous/awful/wonderful cover art:

If you’ll recall, from the mid 80s through the early 90s, the groundbreaking “record label” Street Beat brought the world what would someday become the legendary Ultimate Breaks and Beats 25-volume collection, paving the way for modern DJs and hip-hop artists. Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, we’re issuing Eccentric Breaks & Beats in June as an homage to the breaks and beats collections of yore.

Here’s a sample to hold you over for a few months.