An endless passion for music, for voices,
for discovery, for people, for life.
Avila St. Records is an eclectic, independent music label that produces and markets genre-bending, accessible recordings that explore world music, ambient, folk, contemporary classical and intelligent pop music. Through consistency of quality, distinctive visual presentation and creative and aggressive marketing, we strive to create releases that stand out from the pack and offer a real alternative to consumers who are looking to discover new sounds from around the world.
Avila St. records is a brand new independent label built on years of experience working with and recently acquiring the library of In The Pocket Records, a Northern California studio and label operating since 1999. Tony Mindel, Avila St Records President, was a “hands on” producer for nearly every recording in this library and is intimately knowledgeable about every album in their collection. In The Pocket Records started with the signing of Marin County favorites Vinyl.
Vinyl came out of a Mill Valley garage in 1995 with a rootsy sound inspired by the records band members grew up listening to from the classic rock emporium Village Music in their hometown. The infectious music of the band Vinyl blends old-school funk, Latin percussion, reggae and R&B into signature instrumental California grooves. Shows are high energy and dance oriented with a universal appeal. They play to packed houses throughout the Bay Area, such as the Great American Music Hall, Slim’s, Sweetwater and have headlined and sold-out San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium. Both the label and chief collaborator, Tony Mindel, have grown with the band after having produced Six albums including; Vinyl, Live at Sweetwater, Flea market, All the Way Live, Fog Shack Volume One, Fog Shack Volume Two. The two studio albums, the self titled Vinyl and Flea Market offer tight and clean instrumental grooves, while the live records demonstrate how Vinyl can heat up a room and collaborate with some of the world’s finest musicians. Vinyl’s fifth album of remixes by The Rondo Brother, Fog Shack Volume One was shepherded by Tony Mindel and has been gathering excellent critical reviews, as well as, forging a path to the future for Avila St Records.
The next band in the fold is Hamsa Lila. They was discovered at Burning Man and recently were described by Relix Magazine as “a hypnotic and original musical ensemble with a kaleidoscopic world-beat perspective. The band has been creating lots of interest in the Bay Area with what it describes as “world trance grooves.”… While the band uses authentic indigenous instruments they offer a bizarre juxtaposition of the traditional and modern rhythmic elements. There’s a strong dance groove that permeates these lush textures with some neat jazz undertones.” After four years of building anticipation, Hamsa Lila is back with Live in Santa Cruz – a double CD recorded at one of their most engaging performances yet. Capturing the band at their height of energy, cohesion and musical direction, this is the collective’s first release since their critically acclaimed debut studio album, Gathering One in 2003.
In The Pocket was quick to sign Samantha Stollenwerck and produce her debut album Square One. In the Pocket/Avila St Records recently made a deal for Samantha’s contract to be taken over by Red Light Management, who were one of the founders the legendary Bonaroo Music Festival and run ATO Records. Jambase.com described Samantha’s emergence with this statement: “San Francisco emerging artist Samantha Stollenwerck has come out of the gates kicking in 2005, introducing herself and her sound, with a new album, triple A and XM radio play, a debut at South by Southwest Music Festival, tons of new press and constant touring! Samantha Stollenwerck, a California native, has coined the phrase “Cali Soul,” defining her sound as a unique blend of soulful pop rock. Samantha picked up the guitar on the beaches of San Diego in high school, influenced by the surf punk scene that dominated the North County. Having spent summers on the East Coast and being exposed to rock bands like the Black Crowes, Samantha’s musical mentoring hasn’t been the same since…”
Stiff Dead Cat was discovered in the back woods of Pocket Canyon in Forestville and they are the real deal. They like to hone their hunting skills through skeet shooting. Their 1977 Jeep Cherokee doubles as tour vehicle and hunting wagon, alternately hauling banjos and buckets of pig guts. Onboard: Wylie Woods on vocals, banjo, mandolin and Browning shotgun; Dave Lux on Rezo guitar and ammo box; Jesse Rudolph, drummer and party host, at the wheel; Paul Szczepanek, back-up bass and sittin bitch. Stiff Dead Cat’s music takes bluegrass, blues, jug-stomp and funk, and tosses them into the grinder to produce a ragged and gamy blend all their own. Their world is populated by deadly viruses, flapjack kings, a freaky Chihuahua named Tatuituitcan and a blue-lipped, snakebit wife–all of them brought forth in twangy, bluesy, old-timey music rising out of the backwoods, through the swamp and up from the grave to rock, shake and haunt you. “It’s like we’re playing 1930s rave music, only the X wasn’t as good then,” Dave jokes. “We’re connected wormhole-wise to the Prohibition era. That’s why we’re always thirsty.” If they’d only outlaw booze again.
Ex Centric Sound System collects African music, fronted with heavy bass and drums, while the rest of the instruments are African, and are performed by native West African band members. This music represents sounds and music hundreds and thousands of years old. These songs blend authentic tribal chants from all over the continent, with a dub & funky bass line and production that creates and atmospheric and exciting result. This music appeals to all demographics and crosses formats. Members include Yossi Fine bass & sampler Nana Dadzie vocals, African xylophones, congas, djembe, flutes,& horns Adevo Savour vocals, djembe, flutes, bells Benjamin Kouleho djembe, bull horn, vocals Michael Avgil drums Avila St Record’s is especially excited about what the future holds for releasing new music with bass player and musician extraodinaire, Yossi Fine.
Yossi Fine…producer and bass player of Ex-centric Sound System has recorded and toured extensively with Kenny Kirkland, Gil Evans, Ruben Blades, John Scofield, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Me’shelle N’degeoccello, Naughty By Nature , Stanley Jordan, and more.Yossi stands as a single figure stands on stage holding a ‘rhythm’ or ‘backing’ instrument – no guitarist, no pianist, no lead singer, just a bass guitar and some pedals – not much to look at but then the music begins. “Bass players usually don’t play with the frequencies, they’re only playing notes.” Yossi explains “But what I’m doing is more like a one-man jam, a bassist, a live DJ, everything – I can sound like the whole band of Funkadelic!” “I am to bass what hip-hop is to funk.” Funk needed a big band and hip-hop needed a scaled down approach using turntables, sampler, mic, etc). Hip-hop took the best parts of funk and extrapolated its key elements and concentrated on those while creating a new approach. Its new incarnation is still funky, yet hip-hop is just part of the evolution.I feel that bass playing is stuck in an old paradigm. Since during the last fifteen years, most of the bass lines that rock the clubs around the world are being created by non-bassists, the whole approach has progressed into what is called ‘bass music’ today. It’s time for a bass player to step in and play some bass music! Whether as a bassist, producer, or arranger, Yossi Fine’s unique musical abilities have made him one of the most in demand names throughout the music industry. Bringing together all of his musical experiences within his unyielding dedication and talent for the bass, Yossi has created a new solo direction for both himself and his instrument on Live from Jerusalem. Whether as a producer, arranger or bassist, Yossi Fine’s unique and undeniable talents have made him one of the most in demand names throughout a number of different genres. Throughout his years of playing and recording, he has worked with everyone from David Bowie and Lou Reed to Stanley Jordan and Gil Evans and even as far outreaching as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Naughty by Nature and KORN.
Perhaps the most compelling project for Avila Street Records and Mindel is Ernest Ranglin and Avila. 82-year-old guitarist, Ernest Ranglin, is one of the pioneers of ska, he is one the greatest living guitar players in the world today. He is a walking, guitar-picking musical history book. On these latest two albums, Avila and Bless Up you can feel the way the other three players — young, but also seasoned. Their music blends Ranglin’s beautiful ska reggae energy with an expansive new sound from this international supergroup of musicians. They respond to his masterful facility with Caribbean, American and African idioms. This is music built to last by a sage old cat who still happens to be one of the most interesting, and classiest, guitarists around. He takes you on a whirlwind of music brimming with boiling rhythms and sounds from Jamaica, Africa, and beyond. With a percussive style of picking, Ranglin’s rhythmic licks are a natural fit for reggae, jazz and Afrobeat, and any fusion of those genres – all of which are represented well on these latest albums. Ranglin turns 81 this year and his fretwork is still marked by a playful sensibility that conceals his jaw- dropping virtuosity, qualities that are evident on every track by Avila. Ranglin’s guitar work is currently featured on the #1 hit “Sing,” written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Weber to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.