Southern California’s Cola Boyy — a multi-instrumentalist producer and disabled disco innovator who most recently made a splash collaborating with Mick Jones on the new Avalanches album, We Will Always Love You — will be releasing his debut album, Prosthetic Boombox, on June 18, 2021 via Record Makers/MGMT Records. The album features guest turns from The Avalanches, Andrew VanWyngarden from MGMT, John Carroll Kirby, Nicolas Godin of Air, Patrick Wimberly from Chairlift, and Corentin “nit” Kerdraon.
A taste of the album, entitled “Don’t Forget Your Neighborhood,” and featuring The Avalanches, can be heard now. A video for the track, directed by Belgian artist David Numwami, is also available today. Says Cola Boyy about the song, “This is one of my favorite jams on the record. I wanted a mix of the Beach Boys, French disco, house keys and a hint of the Cheers soundtrack for good measure! It’s a message to everyone: don’t get lost in the petty capitalist dream that has us abandon the people & places that shaped us. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the masses of Oxnard, and no flashing lights can outweigh that.
Says Robbie Chater of The Avalanches about the track, “What a tune! One of the coolest and most inspiring tracks we have ever worked on with such a heartfelt message”
Cola Boyy – aka Matthew Urango – is a master of crafting soulful, funktastic, disco gems. His sound sits comfortably in your record collection next to artists like early Cornelius, Gil Scott Heron, Dimitri from Paris, Chic, Jamiroquai, and Les Rythmes Digitales, among others. Prosthetic Boombox, his eagerly awaited debut album, might at first glance seem a joyous confetti-burst of pop eclecticism, engineered to sound like “scanning between stations on a car radio, landing on all these different sounds and styles” as Urango puts it. Prosthetic Boomboxachieves that goal in a thrilling flurry of inventive indie, funk and soul: take Urango’s car radio analogy, place it in a time-travelling DeLorean with Prince in the passenger seat, and you’re halfway there.
Listen here: https://colaboyy.lnk.to/DontForgetYourNeighborhood
Written across six years in the U.S. and Paris between live dates at Coachella, Pitchfork Paris and on tour with Mac DeMarco and MGMT, Prosthetic Boombox has an eclectic sound that reflects an eclectic upbringing. Urango has white, black, Hispanic and Native American heritage, and grew up in a majority-Mexican neighborhood; his grandmother was a lounge singer, and his father a keen music fan. In eighth grade, he started learning guitar right as punk rock, a genre with a proud history in his hometown of Oxnard, CA, began to enter his radar. He found himself in many punk bands before his lifelong love of pop music resurfaced, resulting in the 2018 breakout EP, Black Boogie Neon.
Ultimately, this all led to Prosthetic Boombox’s juicebox-soaked hues and bombastic sparkle. Upon deeper listen, though, Prosthetic Boombox reveals itself to be so much more: Urango has intentionally written an album of resistance, using the dance floor as a space of liberation and community where people can come together and support each other throughout the trials and tribulations of Capitalism. Urango, who was born with spina bifida and scoliosis, has seen the need for this up close and personally in Oxnard — a town in which almost 30,000 are estimated to live in poverty, surrounded by strawberry fields where pesticide-exposed workers toil, exploited and underpaid. “The working class are injured, struggling to pay rent and struggling to put food on the table,” Urango says. “I want my music to reflect that world.”
The album also touches on the experiences and challenges Urango had to overcome as a disabled person of color, as seen on the recently released song “Kid Born in Space,” a cosmic collaboration with MGMT frontman Andrew VanWyngarden which has been streamed over 500,000 times on Spotify since it came out last month. “I see them looking down on my dreams of being,” he sings tenderly. “I hear them making fun of my voice, but I keep on moving forward, I refuse to live in anyone else’s shadow.” Prosthetic Boombox, on this subject, is more than an album title – it’s a statement of intent and optimism. “I wanted to take my disability and put it on blast, in a way” he explains. “I have a prosthetic leg ya know, and at the time I came up with the title, it was about not being embarrassed or shy about it anymore. That allowed me to look at the bigger picture instead of just what I was going through as an individual.”
Indeed, Urango and his music are committed to palpable, tangible change, pushing for people to stand united regardless of what is seemingly against them in matters of race, class, ability, and more. And what unites more than raucous, irresistibly danceable pop? Prosthetic Boombox is a riot of joyous grooves and catchy hooks for good reason, the sound of lifting off towards the stratosphere towards a life that is better for the masses.