Long Beach legend Scotty Coats links the West Coast eclecticism of Stones Throw to the NYC cool of DFA and Rong to the Balearic gods of DJ Harvey et al. He personally introduced Be With to Ned Doheny 10 years ago and he was immortalised on Smith & Mudd's last LP. And he's the main man behind the mysteriously titled duo Todd Russell & The Dangerous Coats, alongside Erick "Todd" Coomes (Lettuce founder/bassist).
In very real danger of being lost forever, we unearthed two of their private recordings and present them as a double A-Side 12", adorned with S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G artwork, courtesy of Arizona artist Frank Gonzales.
"Playa Larga" is a melodic, mellow masterpiece and is quintessentially Balearic. It's stretched out, low slung, guitar-soaked drum-machine soul music. It's multi-layered and contains multitudes: it builds and builds and builds and mesmerises as it does so. On the flip, "1900 Ocean Avenue" is a super slo-mo, sunbaked drug-chug which is already blowing minds thanks to early leaks of this cosmic, psychedelic detonation.
On first listen back, Erick said to Scotty: “So wait, nothing really happens, I mean nothing bad happens but nothing really happens”. Apparently these tracks were a a bit foreign for Erick, musically, because of the lack of structure in the songs.
One morning, years later, Erick called Scotty and excitedly declared: “dude, I get it now!”. He was listening to random music with a lady friend while watching the sunrise in his 1900 Ocean Ave apartment and "Playa Larga" came on randomly. He'd forgotten all about it and said he had to get up and see what song it was because "it was the perfect soundtrack for a psychedelic sunrise over the ocean."
And that's exactly how we came across it, circa 2018, randomly popping up on a playlist while we were busy doing other things. It stopped us in our tracks but, when trying to find any info on iTunes, we were out of luck. It was only years later that we worked out Scotty had sent it to us. Ever since, we've been working on getting this out to you all. It's finally time.
We've only 500 pressed for the world, with many of them spoken for by those lucky enough to be already ITK, so these are gonna fly: be warned!
Scotty is a world class raconteur so we'll hand over to him to explain how these songs came about and why they mean so much to him in the context of his wider raison d'être:
"These were made 13 years ago when I was a new dad and left my job at Ubiquity Records to provide security for my newborn son, Nolan Liam Chai Coats. I became miserable working a job outside of music for the first time in my life and I was laid off 4 months into it. I was left wondering how the fuck am I going to provide for my family?
I lived in Long Beach and Erick lived a few blocks away. I would walk to his house when Jen finally got Nolan to sleep so I could escape my panic, drink some beers (is it beerlearic?) and make some music. He lived overlooking the ocean with the Queen Mary on the horizon, so I guess mellow Long Beach nights unintentionally inspired the music. These songs were the first two songs we ever made and they embody the desperation and hope I really needed at that time. 12 years later, when Rob at Be With expressed an interest in releasing it, we had Erick's brother Tyler Tycoon Coomes play drums on it at Jazzcats Studio in LBC, with Jonny Bell.
Shortly after I was laid off, I discovered The Stepkids. I was blown away by "Shadows On Behalf" and sent it on to Gilles Peterson. He played it on Worldwide the next day. The Stepkids pulled me back into music and made me realize I wasn't prepared to do anything but be involved with music. After I heard their unreleased album, I knew there was something there so I sent it to my good friend Jamie Strong who was at Stones Throw at the time. Jamie passed it along to Peanut Butter Wolf and the band asked me to be their manager. I didn't think I was the right guy for the job but wanted to see them do well so I told them I would help shop their album. Jamie suggested I take his place at Stones Throw, just as he did when he left Ubiquity Records. I always joke that Jamie can call me Scotty Coat Tails because I had been riding his for years.
Wolf told him that "Scotty is a nice guy but has horrible taste in music", which was ironic because he was literally trying to sign the band that I brought him. The Stepkids signed with Stones Throw and found a real manager. 6 or so months later Jamie sent me a note saying "Stones Throw is hiring and you should apply lol". I told him I was going to send my resume and the subject of the email was to read I HAVE GREAT FUCKING TASTE IN MUSIC. I did just that and got a call the next day from their new GM asking me to come in for an interview. When I walked in I was in Wolf's office where I had been 6 months before, signing The Stepkids deal. Wolf and Jason McGuire were asking me some questions and wanted to introduce me to Jeff Jank. Jank walked in and said "Isn't this the guy that Jamie wanted to bring on 6 months ago?" They confirmed and he threw his hands up and walked out saying "I've seen enough". I got the job. I worked there for 2 or 3 years until I left to join forces with Jamie Strong at his label and stayed there for almost 7 years."
Scotty wanted to use a painting by his good friend, Frank Gonzales, for the front cover image. Frank was incredibly generous in letting us use this one, and Scotty was completely honoured. We think you'll agree, it's pretty striking. Simon Francis carefully mastered the original audio for both tracks and Cicely Balston's precise cut for Alchemy at AIR Studios ensures this double A-side 12" sounds appropriately outstanding. The immaculate Record Industry pressing will ensure these previously unheard, recently discovered recordings finally get a chance to shine.