Corto Maltese
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Corto Maltese

Band Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Shades With Mouths And Instruments"

There is so much to love about the young Austin band Corto Maltese. It just begs you to do one of those "let me count the ways," blabberings, where thoughts topple, clamber and spill onto each other, making a slobbery, sticky mess of amore. If you're into the kind of rock and roll that feels big without even trying, that sounds as if it should be stuffed into a rocket casing and shot into the sky as part of a colorful fireworks display on a Fourth of July evening, for all to oooo and awwww for, this is a legitimate place to start. One could get foolishly caught up in praising a band that's not yet done any major touring, has no label and doesn't even have a full album polished off, but then that would leave the band and the touters needing to live up to so much. It's a burden, but Corto Maltese gives you every reason to want to talk them up, to tell other people that they need to hear this now, right now (shakily and with crazed exclamation points strangling the words of urgency), if they knew what was good for them. Lead singer Ben Maddox, is a singer, not just a guy who says he does the deed in a rock and roll setting. There's a feeling in his crooning and soaring voice that should put him in a league with many of who could be argued are the current "heavyweights" or men to aspire to be more like in the male vocal arena if you are trying to do a similar such thing: people like Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear, Cass McCombs, Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, Thom Yorke. Within the tones of these bigger names are hints, the little slices of lemons at the rims of glasses, of sounds that belong solely to Maddox - his interpretations on how he might envision dark Ray-Ban shades singing out at a challengingly bright day on the job if those sunglasses had mouths and urges to communicate or interpretations on ways that good feelings can be seen or felt. It's a striking brilliance to both the whimsy of space-racing musical sustains and in classic-sounding pop vocals that are not afraid to be pretty or get a little magical. The music feels brainy and it feels as if there's a reason that this debut record is just four songs into the recording process and the demo discs that have been just locally circulated there in Austin have been so slow to get to the point where they then can be circulated amongst the dirty masses. It feels as if this reason has something to do with careful movements, slow decisions and laborious grief taken in building and massaging arrangements so that they are shining examples before they're scrutinized by the Toms, the Dicks and the Harrys. It's not an altogether horrible way to go at all, if you think about it - work as tirelessly as possible to get your craft right before most people know you exist, an idea that's so foreign to the insta-fame and insta-forget-ability way technology has driven the music industry to become. Corto Maltese gives us great hope that there can be prosperity in taking to heart and mind the phrase, "All in due time." This is a band that we'll watch as it ropes us all in, but not before they've determined that they're entirely ready for such a step. - Daytrotter

"RCRD LBL EXCLUSIVE NEW DOWNLOAD: Corto Maltese - Fear + Heat Death"

Corto Maltese gets compared to Arcade Fire a lot. But we hear more humility in this Austin quintet. A little more tremble in the falsetto, a little more sunshine in the riffs. On their cover of "Fear Is a Man's Best Friend," we can imagine the wood-paneled studio littered with cereal boxes in which the song must have been recorded. How else could they have captured so much Friday afternoon glee? It gets harmonizing and bang-bang drummy on "The Heat Death of The Universe" and it's the epitome of charming. Support these infectious fellows and buy their latest and greatest EP, Answer, Answer . - RCRD LBL

"On the Cusp"

“Don’t know them? Chances are you will soon. It’s safe to describe a band as being on the
upswing when its tracks have been selected for not one, but two films . . .Their emphasis on all things local seems to have paid off; aside from the film scores and a SXSW showcase, the group recently appeared on KVRX’s Local Live, 101X’s Homegrown Live, and 101X’s Next Big Thing. Most impressive is that they achieved all that without cutting an album . . . Corto Maltese’s second EP is still in production. Its eventual release may very well push yet another local favorite into national
prominence.” - Austin Monthly

"Austinist Review"

“That demo, by the way, has been a gold piece for the band for over a year, and has worked
harder for them (with more success) than any three song, digital-only purchase in recent history (well, at least in Austin). . . "Providence," the nimbly-administered epic that has earned the band more than their fair share of Arcade Fire comparisons, is the likely linchpin, its soaring vocals,
Steve Howe inspired guitar and incremental payoffs leave listeners wanting more. Thanks to these three wonderful tunes, and undoubtedly bolstered by a great live set, the band has gathered a healthy dose of press and a regular crowd at their shows. Recently featured on Andy Langer's "Next Big Thing", Austin Soundcheck and Austin Monthly, Corto Maltese find themselves on the cusp of outright success. . . Corto Maltese's effortless combination of both '70s mod rock and '00s
indie pop are a perfect ideological fit. . . Word of mouth, downtown's undeniable variety and support of local acts and the band's own dedication to this old-school version of self-promotion
and hard work have all played a part in their success so far.” - Austinist

"Soundcheck Magazine Review"

“Corto Maltese have a mutually beneficial relationship with Austin. They love to play locally, and
in turn, the locals love them. Over the past two years, the Texas quintet built a reputation in their music-obsessed city based on the strength of one deceptively scrawny demo. This fall, an EP of new songs recorded and mixed by local indie heavyweights might do for the nation what the demo
did for Austin . . .“Providence” is shimmering, harmonious pop, garnering several critical comparisons to Arcade Fire. “Man Alive” pairs fast-paced guitars with helium-silly chorus. The
last song, “Never a Waver”, was also the last recorded for the demo, and it rocks like a Pixies bside.
Each song sounds stylistically different, yet carries some of the same themes as the other
two: howling vocals, muted dual guitars, and water-tight composition. Close but not the same, connected but completely separate.”
- Soundcheck Magazine

"Austin360 Review"

“From scoring a coveted spot on 101X DJ Andy Langer's "Next Big Thing" play-list in early 2007 to
receiving local and national acclaim from publications such as the Onion to Losing Today
magazine, local five-piece the Corto Maltese has emerged with a distinctly singular sound in a
town where individuality is worth its weight in gold. - Austin 360


Providence EP (2007)
Answer, Answer EP (2009)

Full length due late 09 early 10.



Corto Maltese formed in film school when three members began meeting to play jokey covers of their heroes in their friend's bedroom, their favorites being David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult, and Van Halen.

Eventually they got serious and made a three song EP called "Providence".

Meanwhile, "Providence" went into heavy rotation on local radio shows like 101X's "Next Big Thing" and NPR's "Song of the Day."

Their latest EP titled "Answer, Answer" was released in March 2009. It received rave reviews from local publications The Chronicle and Austinist, as well as heavy rotation on KBGA in Missoula and Austin's 101X and KUT 90.5, where it was featured in their "Texas Music Matters" segment.

They were also recently featured on's "Future Sounds" and the Daytrotter blog, and are currently part of RCRD LBL's artist roster.