Monday, June 20, 2011

101 Things To Do In Bongolia

A Nice Little Trip: 101 Things To Do In Bongolia (review)

There is something super satisfying for the collector in me when a label like Electric Cowbell, which is known for its awesome 7” 45 RPM releases, puts out a CD collection of all its 45s plus bonus cuts and remixes and whatnot. So when Jimmy Thompson asked me to write a little something about it, I was very happy to do so. In this day and age when CDs seem to by dying out, I still like having them as backup for my vinyl and digital versions. Maybe that’s an anathema to pure vinyl freaks or people who can only deal with digital downloads, so call me old fashioned.

While its one thing to have a stack of 45s from Electric Cowbell, its really quite another thing to have them all housed in this handy little storage device with some nice artwork to boot. Having attended a label showcase for these guys a few months ago in NYC, I can say I am pretty familiar with the bands in a live context – indeed I consider myself friends with several of the acts, and an acquaintance of some of the others. And yet though I was familiar with these bands and their music, having it all here at my fingertips is a real bonus. It helps me understand what the label is all about – stretching boundaries, taking the listener on a trip to “Bongolia” as it were. What’s great about this little album is if you put it on and hear it in one sitting, there is a flow and a kind of cohesion on the CD that you might not get if you just had a couple of 45s on the turn tables. A compilation is a curatorial collection, so you are hearing someone’s sequencing and selective process at work, and at least for me, that aspect of 101 Things To Do In Bongolia is an added value for sure. While not all of the tracks may not be to my personal taste, what I do find tasty is the variety of sounds and textures, proving what I knew all along: that Electric Cowbell is more like “Eclectic” Cowbell! While you can just go to the Electric Cowbell web site and check out band bios and song samples, I am going to run it down track by track as I see it, just for shits & giggles:

Human Happiness - Superhuman Happiness
Great funk track with some Easter European brass, which leads nicely into…

Adderech Arada - Debo Band

…sinuous Ethiopian funk with some authentic vocals and instrumentation; a great band to watch in the coming year…

Let My People Bugalú (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite Remix) - Spanglish Fly
…and my frinds in Spanglish Fly sure know how to rock another sort of funk, from 60s Spanish Harlem this time! A lot of fun, a great party jam (watch the sudden ending though)…

Dina’s Mambo - Bio Ritmo
…now the more 70s salsa/funk fusion kind of like post-Castro Cuban, named for a band member's cat - sly and sexy, purring feline moves…

GMYL - Superhuman Happiness
…some electro-New Wave style weirdness with God references…

I Gettupa - Amazing Ghost
…odd electro funk pop – sort of if Prince took some downers and covered Ween…

Silbando (GRC For NYC Trust) - Los Ribereños

…amazing version of the old Colombian cumbia classic, remixed tastefully; good for outdoor summer BBQ beach parties, ever if it’s only a tar beach you are rockin’…

Hounds - Superhuman Happiness
…interesting funk with some brass and samples – existential party music…

Majadero (That Little Chimps Remix) - Bio Ritmo

…a total departure into electro dub funk for Bio Ritmo & I love it – remixed by a couple of Japanese Surrealists…

Tiny Raindropz - Amazing Ghost
…OK I am trying to like this but I am not really feeling the vocals and ridiculous lyrics – perhaps people who like funky synth-pop will go for it….

Cosmic Attidude - Talibam!
…I laughed when I heard this zonked-out white-boy freak funk…

Adderech Arada (Kiddid Remix) - Debo Band + Kiddid
…sinister remix of track 2 – not feelin’ it too much but some beat hedz might go for it…

La Muralla - Bio Ritmo
…beautiful progressive salsa that sounds real and has meaningful lyrics…

String Theory (GRC Vocal Remix) - Superhuman Happiness Vs. Sahr Ngaujah
…enjoyable mashup of up-tempo tribal funk and house, groovy brass stabs, dub effects, New Wave guitar, and soulful vocals…

A Troll’s Soiree (Brooklyn Chimp Remix) - CSC Funk Band
…I absolutely LOVE this instrumental track – very beautiful, trippy tribal tech – thumb piano loop, afrobeat percussion, deep house bass, jazz brass, and electro dub flourishes (makes me think of the great band Nomo) – I got first dibs on this baby for my movie soundtrack, y’all…

Freddie’s Tea (Diff Juz DUB) - Greg Ginn and The Taylor Texas Corrugators vs ENE
…and then we swerve left into psych/prog rock territory with another (but completely differently flavored) dope instrumental, courtesy of Black Flag genius Gregg Ginn; really out there but thoroughly enjoyable and brings this collection into indie rock territory, which is kind of a fun 4/4 detour after all the Afro and Latin inspired grooves......

Gravity - Superhuman Happiness Vs. Sahr Ngaujah
…and we finish up our trip to Bongolia with a really cool trippy disco dub jam from Superhuman Happiness and Sahr Ngaujah, which goes from future to ancient and back again. I found myself enjoying this one in spite of myself and that’s just what I find so satisfying about the whole Electric Cowbell experience – it’s all in the labels’ name in fact – it’s got the modern machine element (electric) and the ancient human tribal aspect (cowbell). It’s a mind-stretching course in one label’s quest for self-sufficiency and expression.

So, at the end of my little trip, all I can say is bravo to all the bands, artists, crew, etc. involved with Electric Cowbell - definitely a label to watch in the future!

Sahr vs Superhuman Happiness

Debo Band

Bio Ritmo

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sweet Exorcist presents Rumba Psicodélica
with DJs Andujar, Studebaker Hawk & Bongohead
visual stimuals by Bell & Howl

Saturday June 25th, People's Pint
10pm, no cover charge.

Spinning Latin, African, tropical and funk...all on vinyl
cumbia, flamenco funk, gypsy rock, African funk & boogie, amazonian bump, afrobeat, Caribbean, bugalú, reggae, and more.

Monday, June 13, 2011



DJ ANDUJAR was last seen in Greenfield, MA, he may
be accompanied by one STUDEBAKER HAWK, occupation,
“DJ” and “sound system man”, also a very dangerous
man armed with needle, mixer, and sub-woofer; may
also be assisted in crime by BONGOHEAD, very dangerous
with obscure Latin records of Mass Destruction.


These men are wanted by the dancing public for throwing
insane parties. They are responsible for nights such as
perpetrators of such radio programs as CLANDESTINO,
FEEL FLOWS, & MACHO CITY. These shows have been
known to subvert the youth and cause the old to shake
their nyash.


been known to knock people out with little provocation
and on very short notice, using only a sound system and
vinyl records.

ADVISORY: These men are highly dangerous in a crowd and
are capable of inciting riot and mayhem. So do not attend
their gigs at places like THE PEOPLE’S PINT because you are
sure to wear a hole in your last pair of shoes. You will be
made to search incessently for their music (but you won’t find it any where else!).

If anyone knows the whereabouts of the SWEET EXORCIST
GANG, do not notify us. Go directly to where they are playing
and enjoy yourself.

— J. Edgar González
Director F.B.I.
Freaks Bureau of Investigation, Bronx, NY

Sweet Exorcist presents Rumba Psicodélica
with DJs Andujar, Studebaker Hawk & Bongohead
visual stimuals by Bell & Howl

Saturday June 25th, People's Pint
10pm, no cover charge.

Spinning Latin, African, tropical and funk...all on vinyl
cumbia, flamenco funk, gypsy rock, African funk & boogie, amazonian bump, afrobeat, Caribbean, bugalú, reggae, and more.