Muun Bato materialized in the summer of 2018 when Joe Werner (First Communion Afterparty, Driftwood Pyre, Bridge Club) & Andy Iwanin (Basement Apartment, The Pitchafits) were rehearsing for a one-time collaboration show in Minneapolis. Both perfect strangers, they found themselves playing improvised guitar & drums that could well have been finished songs. The chemistry was perfect, sprouting an insatiable appetite to write songs together.
Mike Sopko (Guitarist, Composer, Songwriter) was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1979. As a teen he played in various local bands while studying with local Cleveland Jazz/Fusion guitarist, Steve Gordon. After moving to Oakland, California in 2003, Sopko spearheaded numerous projects, including MCR (w/ G. Calvin Weston), Cascading Liquid Rainbows (w/ Dosh, Chris Lopes), The Golden Measure (w/ Simon Lott), and Glimpse Trio/Duo (w/ Hamir Atwal, Chris Lopes). After meeting Hamir Atwal (Tune-Yards) in 2009, the duo toured extensively, releasing four albums, the first of which was awarded Editor’s Pick by Frank Alkyer of Downbeat Magazine in 2011.
Over the years, Sopko has recorded and performed with artist’s such as Bill Laswell, Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta), Dave King (Bad Plus), Dosh, Tyshawn Sorey, Hideo Yamaki, Dj Logic, Raoul Bjorkenheim, Chris Pitsiokos, Hamir Atwal, Los Lobos and many more. In 2015, Sopko released Sopko/Laswell/Pridgen, a trio collaboration with legendary producer/bassist, Bill Laswell and drummer phenom, Thomas Pridgen. Sopko’s upcoming release’s for 2019 and 2020 include, “On Common Ground,” a trio recording with Bill Laswell & Tyshawn Sorery, “Rituals” Mike Sopko & Thomas Pridgen, and “$pellcheck” with Dave King & Martin Dosh.
Northern 45 features 11 original tracks written at various outposts from along the northern 45th parallel, a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Colorado Girl”, and Grammy award-winning talent throughout.
Recorded at the Bombshelter recording studio in Nashville, TN, often described as an “analog paradise” and home to award-winning records from the Alabama Shakes, Margo Price, and more, Jon Estes, bassist for John Paul White, Abigail Washburn, among many others, produced the record to analog tape and played bass and keys. Guitars include Sadler Vaden of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Jeremy Fetzer of Steelism, and Spencer Cullum Jr. from Miranda Lambert’s band. Dave Racine of Jim Lauderdale’s band plays drums; Molly Parden sings backing vocals.
A singer and songwriter who has enjoyed success in the public eye and behind the scenes, Priscilla Renea went from making videos in her bedroom to becoming one of the most successful songwriters in R&B and pop in just over five years. Born in Florida in 1988, Renea took up writing songs in her teens, and began posting homemade videos of her performing her work online. After developing a sizable following for her videos, Renea landed a record deal and released her first album, a dance-pop effort titled Jukebox, in 2009. The album generated few sales, but Renea’s songs became a hot commodity, and she wrote hits for Rihanna (“California King Bed”), Fifth Harmony (“Worth It”), and Kesha (“Timber”), among others. In 2018, Renea took time off from her songwriting career to release a new album, Coloured, dominated by strong, emotionally mature R&B with hints of country and gospel.
Snake Oil consists of members of Titles and Weigh Down. John from Titles says, “The band started as a recording project Jason Labbe from Weigh Down was working on. He reached out to a bunch of us and after a few months of recording and tweaking we ended up with an album. It has been said that “Snake Oil causes spasmodic rapture, unexpected pregnancy, and existential certainty. Be with it.” The LP will be officially streeting in June…thanks to Jason for letting us press it!
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