Next year, Stones Throw promises to offer its most exciting slate of artists since 2006. Like that groundbreaking season, which brought classic recordings from Oh No, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Aloe Blacc and the late J Dilla, 2009 will find the L.A. label mixing forward-thinking hip-hop with ecletic, genre-bending sounds. So far, Stones Throw’s upcoming projects include albums from Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Savath y Savalas, Mayer Hawthorne & The County and Dam-Funk.
First up will be Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s Old Money. A few years ago, the lead guitarist for the Mars Volta might have issued this album on his now-defunct label, Gold Standard Laboratories (GSL). Instead, Old Money is coming out on Stones Throw. The label issued a digital version on November 10; the CD and vinyl version will reach stores on January 27.
Here’s a description from the press release:
The album fits comfortably between the guitarist’s monumental work with The Mars Volta, and his prior rock-based solo releases such as 2007’s The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange. Loosely based on the concept of exploitative industrialists and, well, their old money, the album presents a 10-track collection of concise rock compositions, which range from progressive to psychedelic to downright funky. Many of these sounds could easily be at home on a Volta record proper had they meshed with Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s vocals; Rodriguez Lopez has hinted that this record was a potential follow up to the 2006 Volta release Amputechture until he changed his musical direction.
If Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s appearance on Stones Throw came as a surprise, Scott Herren’s upcoming project for the label makes perfect sense. Since turning Savath y Savalas from a moniker for self-produced wintry folktronica into a full-fledged band of musicians that mixes Spanish Catalan songs with electronics, Herren has struggled to find the right home for the project. He criticized Warp Records for inserting English lyrics into the CD booklet for Apropa’t, the group’s 2004 debut. A follow-up for Anti- Records, Golden Pollen, came out in 2007.
Herren made the announcement on his Prefuse 73 MySpace page. “Now ‘SAVATH y SAVALAS’ have a new home at: STONE’S THROW records,” he writes. “There will be more ‘official’ announcements via www.stonesthrow.com but I thought that I’d just state the fact that it’s the first time this particular project has ended up in the right hands, with the right intentions – I don’t think we could be more happy, positive and relieved!!!!!!”
Detroit-to-LA producer DJ Haircut has signed with Stones Throw for a new project under the guise Mayer Hawthorne & The County. Before then, Haircut was best known as a member of Athletic Mic League. He broke the news on his MySpace page in October.
For those that don’t already know, I’ve recently inked a deal with Stones Throw Records for a solo Doo-Wop / Soul project called Mayer Hawthorne and The County. What started out as sort of a joke for close friends and family, has suddenly and unexpectedly become something very real. I’m honored to be working with such a well respected label with such an amazing history of releases from heroes like J Dilla, Madlib, MF Doom, Guilty Simpson, Aloe Blacc and others. It is both exciting and daunting.
I’m roughly half-way through recording the first album and I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. I’m playing a lot of the instruments and singing all the vocals myself so it takes a while!
In November, Stones Throw issued a limited-edition (1000 copies) 7-inch single, “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” b/w “When I Said Goodbye.” The A-side quickly drew praise from U.S. and overseas tastemakers, including Mark Ronson and Gilles Peterson.
Last but not least, Los Angeles DJ/producer Dam-Funk should finally release his debut album, Toeachizown, sometime next year. Dam-Funk’s productions replicate the black music lexicon of the early to mid-80s; they’re synth-heavy and atmospheric, and owe a debt to producers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (circa S.O.S. Band), Slave, Cybotron and James Mtume.
Fans have expected Toeachizown since Dam-Funk’s “Sidewayz” appeared on the first Chrome Children compilation in 2006. He has since produced a few 12-inches for the label; a contribution to Stones Throw’s ongoing Rhythm Trax series is due later this month. Here’s how he explains it:
The concept is based on the early 80’s Jive/Zomba label ‘Rhythm Trax’ releases, which were recorded with DJ’s, break dancers, poppers, synthesizer, & drum machine affectionatos in mind. The ‘originals’ are highly collectable nowadays in the wax digging community. These LP’s consisted of nothing but BPM groves. No titles. This time around, we’re flippin’ it and going with minimal titles. The D-F edition is based on colors, resulting in each song being named simply after…U got it…a color.