Digging Numero Group's Solid Bronze

Posted by Kells, May 2, 2012 11:16pm | Post a Comment
This year, as with every year since 2008, Record Store Day was a huge success. My mind still boggles at the shear scope and breadth of this years' list of limited Record Store Day releases and I think it's safe to say there really was a something-for-everyone vibe to the offerings made available this go 'round. Yet there be a fair amount of slept-on nuggets still glistening in the stream and perhaps none of them more deserving of a mining undiscovered ore metaphor than the mellow moods latent in yet another stellar comp from the smithies of smooth at Numero Group, the same folks who hit it outta the park last year with a double LP sister compilation to their Boddie Recording Company box set. What makes this Record Store Day remainder so friggin' essential is, well, as one Amoebite put it, "think AM Gold meets modern soul meets yacht rock...with a glass of boxed wine and a joint full of shitty weed."

Think WTNG 89.9FM: Solid Bronze!
Honestly, I can't think of any better description of this light 'n easy mix than that offered by the Numero Group folks themselves, who had me at "Fans of the Dans -- Folgelberg, Steely, Seals and Hill -- this is your Numero record." An essential slice of delightfully less filling (tastes great!) soft rock chipped from Record Store Day treasure fissure, snatch yours up before they become a fabled piece of RSD history.

Take the plunge with this self-explanatory yet somewhat puzzling video for Archie James Cavanaugh's blue-eyed soul meets disco Beach Music jam "Take It Easy" -- a standout number among a comp comprised of freshly exhumed singular sensations.

Here's the story behind the magic from the Numero Group website:

There was a time when your hometown station really was your hometown station. Before media conglomerates demanded your coastal burg’s FM band be auto-shuffled via hard drive from a bunker in Alberta, regional frequencies battled tooth-and-nail for listener loyalty. Your allegiance was hard fought for by nicknamed jocks like Mad Dog Mike, The Big Bumper, and Captain Whammo, guerilla marketers high on major label cash and coke who’d stoop to any gimmick to keep the listener tuned in. They’d hand out keys to shiny new convertibles at remote broadcasts from Dairy Queen whilst skywriters spewed call letters over their broadcast domain. Free t-shirts were promised to eleventh callers who could recite station jingles. Repurposed weather copters spotted bumper stickers during drive time, offering the registered owner tix to REO Speedwagon’s gig at the county fair. At Chicago’s Comiskey Park, WLUP’s Disco Demolition Night rigged 100,000 unwanted LPs with explosives, detonating the pile on-field between games at a White Sox doubleheader and sparking a riot of fans united only by radio-promoted anger at a pop genre. At their best, though, radio stations offered coin of unique value back to their listeners. Though local acts got less than 5% of any given playlist, even such airwave leftovers kept small-time hopes alive. “Battles of the Bands” were staged, judged by on-air personalities and regional A&R reps, and winners got their shot at the big time. A handful of these epic contests were committed to wax for posterity, ad dollars, or tax shelter; only in hindsight is their full brilliance apparent.

When done correctly and courageously, radio station comps were referenda on the local pop talent, generating minor mountains of magnetic tape piled upon Program Directors’ desks, and culminating in alternately grueling and inspiring late-night listening sessions. Most groups hoped to emulate contemporary hitmakers, tailoring their sounds to the fickle tastes of major label brass. Unlike run-of-the-mill custom-recorded and privately issued amateur LPs, these best possible efforts of a listening area’s crop got the sheen of professionalism that obscures their “local” status: Ordained into service by radio overlords, these tracks were gonna make it. How could their humble creators ever doubt it?

In the spirit of the Great Radio Comp, we present WTNG 89.9 FM: Solid Bronze, in tribute to 11 would-be chart-climbers that scaled only their given city’s broadcast tower and fell. Here are working artists who deserve acknowledgement for their working-class commitment. None of them “made it,” but they believed—and so will you—in their one great song, that single shining moment in which everything came together and even those who owned the airwaves had to stop…and listen. These shouts into the void inspired momentary dreams of the big show, sold out in hours by a 15,000-seater’s box office, and a single pair of tickets left, awarded only to the 89th caller.

Phone lines remain open.

WTNG 89.9FM: Solid Bronze will be available on CD and LP, with both formats limited to 1000 copies, on April 21st 2012.

Track list:

Timothy – Your Love Rolled Over Me
Leder Brothers – I’d Like To Touch A Star
Cream & Sugar – Between Us
J. Michael Henderson – Nite People
Archie James Cavanaugh – Take It Easy
Caroline Peyton – Try To Be True
Roach Band – Aladdin
Greenflow – I Got’Cha
Dwain Vigil – Heaven’s Child
Donna Kime – Golden Pony
Lorren Cornelius – Fantasy Woman

Relevant Tags

Wtng (2), Compilation (6), Yacht Rock (8), Numero Group (14), Record Store Day (168), Solid Bronze (1)