Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Released! The Sex Rays "Midnight Caller"

I've been using the term "roadhouse R n' B" to describe the new Sex Rays single "Midnight Caller". That's not entirely accurate, because only in my imagination, and maybe in a good movie, would a song this incredible be played in an actual out-of-the-way rural highway bar. "Midnight Caller" is a perfectly composed, performed, and produced garage-rock dynamo that would make Peewee Herman dance on top of the bar when it hits the jukebox.

The Sex Rays have been in our circle since their inception, with Trevor, Gloria and myself having shared a practice space with bassist Joe Holland for years. He and guitarist Joe Hastings, upon their departure from the Fuck Knights, started a one-time Link Wray cover band with drummer Ben Crunk for a tribute night at Lee's Liquor Lounge in 2010. They opted to remain a band, gradually filling their repertoire with original songs. Their name is an amalgamation of their two primary influences: the punk ferocity of Sex Pistols and the rumbling blues rock of Link Wray (though I lobbied unsuccessfully for them to just be called Motorcycle). They frequently perform 3 sets a night, like a good old-school bar-band, but their originals are their best and most spirited songs.

"Midnight Caller" and its B-side "Where's the Tambourine?" (not to be confused with a certain other Piñata release) were both recorded in basement analog studios in South Minneapolis. The A-side was tracked at Mike Wisti's Albatross, the B-side at Eliot Gordon's Disgraceland. The songs, which would be perfectly great tracks as minimal productions that simply capture their live spirit, sparkle with subtle flourishes on these takes. Tambourine, organ and tape effects boost them into A-plus territory: rock n' roll students exceeding expectations.

This record comes out today, October 14, 2014 on 7" record, and all the online retailers you can think of. Ask for it at your favorite record shop, or get it from our online store.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Grolar Bears - Midnight Stew 7"

We're really excited about our most recent seven inch release from the symphonic funk collective Grolar Bears: Midnight Stew. Grolar Bears are a unique entity in the garage and soul obsessed Twin Cities music community. Their live band fluctuates between 9 and 19 pieces, including a full horn section, multiple vocalists and four percussionists. Bandleader and bassist Jonathan Kramer creates rough sketches of the songs, sends them to musicians to work out parts, and then brings his portable studio to record their contributions. The different parts of "Midnight Stew" alone were recorded in such diverse locales as bedrooms, a church, practice spaces, an auditorium, and in some cases, an actual studio. 

Musically, Kramer puts a laser focus on getting just the right orchestration of the many instrumental parts that go into each song. Grolar Bears' previous release was a sweeping instrumental soundtrack to a fictitious 70's exploitation film. On Midnight Stew, vocals take center stage, but never get in the way of the piano line,  the congas, or the saxophone riffs. It all works together in a way that pays homage to the great 70's productions of David Axelrod and Quincy Jones. The B-Side features an instrumental mix that allows the listener to really appreciate the musical performances captured.

Midnight Stew is now available directly via our Bandcamp store, at Hymie's Vintage Records, and on September 30 will be available worldwide in stores and on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc. via Darla Records Distribution.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We have worldwide distribution via Darla Records!

A quick, but big one. Our future releases will be distributed worldwide exclusively by Darla Records out of southern California. We're very pleased by this news, and by the potential for increasing the number of ears exposed to the beautiful sounds made by the great bands we have the pleasure to work with.

Narco States' soon-to-be-released debut LP Wicked Sun is our first album with Darla, and it's currently available for wholesale preorders. Narco States are the first non-Southside Desire band Piñata worked with, and it's very fitting that their album is the first to receive larger-scale distribution. Stream their single "Lost in Time" here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Piñata Records Field Day! August 16 at The Nomad in Minneapolis!

We're having a huge year! Along with the releases of Black Diet's Find Your Tambourine and Mystery Date's "You And Your Sister" single, we have five more records coming before the year's end. They are...
PIN-007: Narco States. Wicked Sun. 12" vinyl LP (September 2014) 

PIN-008: Grolar Bears. Midnight Stew. 7" vinyl (August 16, 2014

PIN-009: Sex Rays. Midnight Caller b/w Where's the Tambourine. 7" vinyl (Fall 2014) 

PIN-010: Southside Desire. Southside Desire. 12" vinyl LP (Fall 2014)

PIN-011: Mystery Date. New Noir. 12" vinyl LP (Fall 2014) 

...and the long lost PIN-005 Mr Hide Hide and Seek CD! 

To celebrate and preview these upcoming releases, we will be hosting our second showcase of 2014, with sets from all 5 bands releasing music before the year's end. 

Radio K, Pabst, and Piñata Records present:

Piñata Records Field Day!
Saturday August 16
3 PM- 9 PM
Outdoors at the Nomad World Pub (Minneapolis)

featuring live music from:
The Sex Rays!
Grolar Bears (7" Release Party!)
Southside Desire!
Narco States!
Mystery Date!

In the slightly different and more personal spirit of Piñata Records, this event will slightly different and more personal. Field Day will be held Saturday, August 16th outside of the Nomad World Pub. It will be a free and all ages event. There will be food, both gourmet and not so gourmet, games for kids of all ages, prizes, beers, and more fun stuff to be determined soon.

Field Day will also be the release party for Grolar Bears' "Midnight Stew" seven inch. More on that soon, but here's the video. Dig Kramer's wicked bass-face!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mystery Date Mission Log: Third Missive

Editor's note: entering the Indiana Dunes, Johnny's hidden camera was 
confiscated by men dressed as members of the Department of the Interior. 
I have been forced to use stock photos that roughly approximate the events.

Rain fell as we wove the van through the decaying streets of Detroit;
every third house was abandoned. A burned-out city in the literal
sense, there was evidence of arson everywhere. We made our way to the
rendezvous point, the back room of a small bar in Corktown, where
smoking regulations apparently held no sway. I lit a cigarette and
took a seat across the table from her, examining the chess board which
sat between us. She took a long drag of her cigarette and silently
opened the game with a pawn Her lips naturally rested in a slight
part, revealing a bit of her teeth and giving the impression that she
was just about to speak, just a moment away from revealing something
profound, yet she didn’t utter a single word to me throughout the
course of the game. I countered and we began the game. I am no chess
master but I play passably well and I started the game strong. About
twenty minutes in I asked her; “Where is the code translation?” 

She glanced at me and then back to the board, moving her bishop into my
territory. I was a bit puzzled by her lack of response but continued
the game so as not to arouse suspicion. Still it began to bother me, I
asked again; “we came here for the code, where is it?” 

I slid the envelope with the payment out of my pocket and onto the table. 
She glanced at it, readjusted her rook and looked at me, expectantly. In
my agitation I made a few rash moves and found myself in checkmate. In
a rush to end the game I conceded and pushed my king over. “Alright,
enough games” I whispered harshly “Where is the codebreaker?” 

She smiled and looked at the king. On the bottom side I could see a small
latch to what could only be a hidden compartment. Brilliant. She
grabbed the envelope and left before I knew what had happened.
With the code translation we were able to secure the coordinates to
PJs Lager House, a fine establishment of Detroit’s Corktown. We played
with The Fake Surfers whom I knew to be legitimate through my
encounters with them in Minneapolis, they did not disappoint. Tent and
Nurse also played, it was a good show. The bartender also happened to
be in the Terrible Twos. I’ve got a few of their records and hadn’t
even realized I had missed them when they came through Minneapolis in
January, I must remember to stay vigilant! 

End Transmission

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Introducing the Piñata Study Abroad Program! Croque Macadam!

In the spirit of international cooperation, we recently traded some of our catalog with the really cool French label Croque Macadam for some of theirs! If you've enjoyed our releases, you're bound to like these, too. Their catalog is an exquisite mix of garage/psychedelic/slop/soul. We love it, and I'm happy to introduce the three titles we're receiving in exchange for an assortment of Narco States, Southside Desire, Black Diet and Mystery Date records.

How to buy them:

UPDATE on 6/7/14: Go to this page with Payment buttons: Study Abroad Program
  • Each record is $8 apiece, or $20 for all three, while they last. 
  • Send us an e-mail at pinatarecordsmpls@gmail.com indicating which records you'd like, and if you'd like to have them shipped to you or would like to pick them up locally. We'll respond to let you know if the titles are still in stock, and then you can send a payment via PayPal. If you hate PayPal, I'm sure we can figure something else out.
  • We only have 4 copies of each release, so act fast if you want them!
  • Shipping only to US ($4) and Canada ($12). Further than that, and you're just as well off ordering directly from Croque Macadam's store.
Here's what we got!

Les Spadassins EP (7" vinyl, 4 songs, released August 2012): This sounds like if Animal House was directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It's got that "Double Shot of My Baby's Love" organ and sweats ribaldry, but comes off as something a 60's Parisian gangster would select in a cafe jukebox.

Baston "Alamo" b/w "Falkland" (7" vinyl, 2 songs, released March 2014): Baston reminds me of Mick Jagger sneering over spacious Echo and The Bunnymen music recorded through a thick fog of delay and reverb. Honk if you like Nuggets box-sets and '80s new wave!

French Kissing: "Wild Woman" b/w "Love is For" (7" vinyl, 2 songs, released January 2012): Ticking like Television Personalities and bopping like Bob B. Soxx with the above mentioned hazy production. Sexual anxiety applied to a loud/louder song structure with great cymbal sustain.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mystery Date Mission Log: Second Missive

Tollbooth near Belvidere Oasis

Mystery Date's attempt to spread their message of peace hits a snag. Here's Johnny:

We had been waiting in the corral for what seemed like hours, surely
it must have been at least a few hours. Sweat rolled off my forehead
and the back of my neck in the early June heat as the guards marched
by with their german shepards and assault rifles. We travelled in
disguise, just a few miners from up north coming into the Chicago area
for a few days to gamble at an off track betting parlour, our gear,
the tools of our trade, hidden underneath a tarp system in the back of
the van. The fake beard was itchy and made everything feel twice as
hot, but it helped me resemble the man in the false documents we had
procured for the mission. I took a long sip from the water jug, the
day was hot but the tension and climate of fear made a man feel cold
inside, there is so much we must put aside in order to achieve this
common set of goals we revere. Finally we made it to the checkpoint
gate, the homeland security officer in charge strolled up to the van,
shoulders rolled back into a stance of haughty arrogance.

“Your papers…”

Grady was driving.
“Sure dude, just a minute…”

“Hurry up!”

“Yes, ok, here they are.”

He looked through our documents thoroughly; I noticed him mouthing the
words as he read them with just the subtlest movement of the lips, his
brows furrowed in deep concentration. All of a sudden his countenance
changed, he cocked his head to an angle and slowly pulled back his
lips over his yellowed teeth, contorting his face into a sardonic smile.

“State your business, now.”

“We’ve come to bet on the horses, there’s a great little off track
betting place just down the way…”

“On a Sunday?” He retorted sharply and suddenly.

“We were paid Friday...”

“Yet you did not arrive Friday night nor Saturday morning, did you?”

“Well, we…”

He suddenly banged the side of the van with his baton, his posture
suddenly erect as if he had been struck by lightning. “Don’t shit in my mouth 
and call it a Sunday!! I know you types and there’s something you’re not telling me!!”

He suddenly relaxed and began examining the van, grinning through his
mouth and his dead, dead eyes. “And what have you got in the back… gents…”

He spat the last word out disdainfully, savoring every syllable.
We exchanged subtle and nervous glances when the peace of the day was
broken by a dog’s barking. Several cars back the officers were pulling
a man out of his car, based on the barking I’d wager he was a
smuggler, perhaps. The homeland security officer looked upon us and
then to him, back and forth, back and forth. They were pulling him
from the car, he was pleading, pleading, crying, his face alternating
between rage and desperation. They were pulling his limbs apart,
separating him limb from limb, taking shots with their billyclubs,
shouting and questioning, breaking the tension and unleashing the
flood of fear and hatred which buzzed throughout the atmosphere. It’s
obvious that we were outmanned and underequipped to help him, it’s no
question that there was nothing that we could do yet the first thing I
felt was one million tiny pangs of guilt surrounding my heart and my
cerebral cortex for not being able to come to his aid.
The officer looked at us and to the disturbance once again and
deliberated for a moment. He then waved us on angrily.
“Get the fuck out of here!”

He turned his attention to the smuggler and we passed unmolested. It
was in that moment that I loved the smuggler, someone who unluckily
and unintentionally saved us, he had saved us just the same. The
hands of fate had snatched us back from the brink and he was the one
who was going down this time, a hero with no conception of his valiant
deed, is it our choices that determine our value or the impact we
make? We made haste to leave the area, I leaned out the window and
listened to a lark singing on a nearby telephone pole, it was
beautiful, the world truly is what we make of it despite our
subjective ideas of what makes the best or worst of times.

Then we got to Chicago and had pizza and played cards against humanity
with Joe and Gretchen!! 

We played at the Burlington with The Wet and The 
Jollys. The Jollys are garage with a quick tempo and the fucking rule, I consider them to
be the spiritual brethren of minneapolis’ own france camp though both
bands have their own elements which keep them unique, and, in the case
of The Jollys, I’m a sucker for a twelve string guitar. And then
there’s The Wet; they were even better than the last time I’d seen
them. This sounds odd but the best description I can think of is that
they sound like the Cramps except without a trace of
rocka/psychobilly, I’d also say they fit somewhere near the Gun Club
paradigm as well. 99% of the bands that attempt their style of music
get it wrong. The Wet are a rare and shining example of
American music at its best. You swine should do yourself a favor and
gobble up the beer-soaked pearls they cast before you.
Seriously, The Wet and The Jollys fucking rule. I was excited for this
show and they held up even better than my expectations.

Over and Out,

The Jollys

The Wet