Clouds Hill Notes Acquires Catalog, Masters of Artist Omar Rodriguez-López’ Vast Musical Library

Clouds Hill Notes announced today the acquisition of the catalogs and masters of musician Omar Rodriguez-López’ vast musical library. The acquisition includes the catalog of works published under Rodriguez-López Productions, including dozens of solo albums. Clouds Hill Notes, in partnership with Wise Music Group, will also handle the catalog publishing of The Mars Volta.

It’s about the right time to announce the acquisition of the RLP catalog and The Mars Volta publishing now. After being Omar Rodríguez-López’s friend and business partner for such a long time, I am honoured and proud that he decided to also entrust me with this catalogue. Our HQ in Hamburg is now responsible to push this unique catalogue back into everyone’s minds.

Johann Scheerer, Music Producer, CEO/Founder of Clouds Hill Group

The acquisition comes months after Clouds Hill released a trio of albums ORL recorded with the label: The Clouds Hill Tapes I – III.

I hope this means that many of the albums/projects ORL worked on from 2004 – 2013 under various names (The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quintet, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Quartet, El Trio de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, etc.) will see the light of day once again via official streams and reprints of physical media. This man wants a copy of Mantra Hiroshima!!

Other groups that were part of the RLP imprint include De Facto (another project I hope gets republished asap!), the dub group before TMV, and Antemasque, the band that reunited ORL with long-time friend & collaborator Cedric Bixler Zavala following the dissolution of TMV. I also hope Zechs Marquise, the defunct group from El Paso that featured ORL’s siblings, is included in the catalog as well.

Clouds Hill Notes is the publishing arm of the Clouds Hill Group, a company that includes a record label, a recording studio, a film production company, and a boutique pedal company.

The first order of business following this announcement will be the release of TMV’s Tremulant EP on streaming platforms this Friday, Feb. 26th!

Sargent House Labelmates Fang Island, Zechs Marquise and Adebisi Shank Rock The Troubadour

L.A. label/management group Sargent House hosted a huge bash at The Troubadour last Friday with Fang Island, Zechs Marquise and Adebisi Shank.

Headliners Fang Island were on tour in support of their recently-released second album Major and performed a long set that ended with a million guitarists onstage including Nick of Tera Melos, Marcos of Zechs Marquise and Lar of Adebisi Shank. I think I saw the ghost of Jimi Hendrix near the drum kit.

Zechs performed a shorter version of the set they’ve been playing since they released Getting Paid last year but changed a few of the songs to give them more of a “jam session” feel in the middle. Opening act Shank delivered the goods even harder than they did at their U.S. debut at last year’s SXSW and performed a new song.

Below are some photos of the event. The full set can be found on my flickr page.

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Getting Paid: An Interview with Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez of Sci-Fi Funk Group Zechs Marquise

Imagine a soundtrack for a blaxploitation film starring Shaft in outer space and you’ll have an idea of what Zechs Marquise’s second album, Getting Paid, sounds like. The album is a harder, funkier successor to the group’s full-length debut Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare, which favored ambience and mellow dub.

I spoke with bassist Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez over the phone about the album as well as a number of other topics including why the band is playing at a strip club in Hollywood, bass lines in latin cumbias and west coast hip-hop, Japanese anime, the period of time the band was named Mastodon, and a certain famous sibling.

(l - r) Marcos Smith, Matthew Wilkinson, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez

So you have a few shows coming up next week.

We actually start on Saturday. We have one here [in El Paso] and then the next one is in Mesa [AZ]. Then we play L.A., then San Diego, then L.A. again.

I was looking at those shows and I see you guys are playing at Cheetahs. How’d THAT happen?

We have a friend who books bands there and he saw that we were coming out and had a day off. And he’s like “It’s this bikini bar!” and the reason why we took it is because there’s no cover and we get to play all of our stuff. So we thought, cool, we’ll have one free show and one where people have to pay. We’re kind of interested in seeing how that works out.

Yeah, I read that and thought “When did Cheetahs start booking bands?”

[laughs] So is it like a bikini bar or like a strip club? I’ve been told it’s both, kind of.

I was there once for a friend’s birthday. It’s not a full-on strip club but you can get lap dances and all that.

Like a middle ground? [laughs]

Yeah, that’s why when I read about that show, I went “huh?”

That’s weird, yeah. [laughs] We thought the same thing too.

And then you guys are playing at Low End Theory later.

Yeah, we haven’t played Low End in like two years and we used to try to do it at least twice a year. Over the last few years, we never had a chance to schedule a Low End show, especially with how we’ve grown over the past couple of years, but we definitely like playing there. I think they’ve only had a couple of rock bands play there but all the residents there consider us residents so that’s cool considering that we don’t live in L.A.

The first time we did Low End we opened for Daedalus and Busdriver. We were totally stoked on that because we’ve been fans of Busdriver for so long.

And you’re actually playing two shows in El Paso.

Yeah, we have another one in October [at La Parada]. I guess it would be the equivalent of El Paso’s Low End Theory. It’s the first Friday of every month at the San Carlos building, which is a building a huge courtyard. They have lots of stores and stuff and they let these guys rent the whole space once a month with a few dj’s and live art. Sometimes they have a dance troupe play, they’ll have a band play, it’s really cool. We’re booking it as our vinyl release party since we’re playing two shows in El Paso so close together and because it’s mostly a vinyl culture as it is.

Are you going to add more tour dates?

We have a tour coming up in November. As soon as the routing and dates are locked down, we’ll be announcing those. The only reason we’re doing this one so short is because it’s right when the record comes out. We want to get out, play a few shows and give it some time to circulate for a minute before heading back out again.

Let it percolate for a bit?

Yeah, exactly. Let it settle with people. It’ll be nice to do these shows. The way it worked out was great with Low End capping it off and [brother/drummer] Marcel [Rodriguez-Lopez]’s birthday is the following day on the 29th so to come back home after releasing the record, especially after how long and how hard we’ve been working on it, it’ll be nice.

Continue reading “Getting Paid: An Interview with Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez of Sci-Fi Funk Group Zechs Marquise”

How I Came to Love the Lone Star State: SXSW 2011 in Pictures

I made my first trip to Austin, TX last week to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and though I only spent 48 sleepless hours there, I’m already making plans to return next year. Coachella, I love you and we had great times but I’m now in love with another music festival.

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I saw a lot of great bands, made some new friends, bumped into some old friends and drank some great local beers (hello 512 Porter). The only bad memory I have of the trip is of the non-existent taxi service at night. Hooray for (almost) being left stranded in Austin at four in the morning!

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Head over to my Flickr for photos of The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group feat. Cedric Bixler-Zavala (sort of The Mars Volta but not technically The Mars Volta), Adebisi Shank, Polock (interview with Polock coming soon), Fang Island, Little Red Radio and many more.