Thursday, December 22, 2005


Download: Stone Jack Jones -- "Smile"
Download: Stone Jack Jones -- "Bread"

Us Team C.-ers are going to be in and out for the holidays, but I thought I would leave you with this taster of Stone Jack Jones, who is putting out his second album, bluefolk, next year on the awesome Fictitious Records label out of Nashville.

Stone Jack Jones
is an interesting character from Nashville, TN in the mode of a Tom Waits or a Jim White, a purveyor of evocative, atmospheric, gothic Americana. Great stuff…a real discovery. A chance meeting with Patty Griffin and a friendship with uber-producer Roger Moutenot got him making records, but Stone Jack has also worked as a circus performer and carnie, shared a girlfriend (!) with Michael Stipe, and owned a strip club. A world-weariness reflects beautifully in all of his music, particularly in his dusty, creaky voice.

This record came out of nowhere and blew me away, and I guarantee you'll feel the same way about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Download: The Weather Machines -- "Last Stop"
Download: The Weather Machines -- "Modern Text On Love"

As you may or may not know, I am a power-pop fiend. About 10 of the Top 25 songs on my iPod are Teenage Fanclub songs. The handclaps, the harmonies, the hooks: it all kills me. The Big Star star is the only tattoo I've ever seriously considered putting on some part of my hithertofore unenhanced skin. I could go on and on about this stuff, but I'm not feeling particularly philosophical today.

Imagine my surprise when the Weather Machines' new LP, The Sounds of Pseudoscience, rolled into my office. A band from Rapid City, South Dakota? I saw National Lampooon's European Vacation at a theater in downtown Rapid City (they were also showing Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome) whilst on a family vacation to the Black Hills. The South Dakota music scence doesn't get a lot of press, so I had no idea what to expect. The album's cover and title didn't really scream "hooks galore" to me. I guess the word "science" threw me off somewhat. I anticipated some sort of Devo-esque outfit.

What I got was "hooks galore," both melodic and rhythmic. Jason Ward of the Weather Machines has an exceptional grasp on the use of rhythm and space as a way to create a pop hook (think the Breeders' "Cannonball" or the Kinks' "I Need You" for further great examples of this) or, heck, a whole song. There are a lot of influences at play here, but thankfully they're hard to peg...I detect wisps of Elvis Costello and Big Star, but the Weather Machines never descend into mimicry, which is a refreshing change for the genre.

I'll leave you with Six Eyes' 8 out of 10 review of the album (it says it a lot better than I could):

This is power pop crisply executed. There is no messing around, these twelve short tracks are all meaty hooks and shiny barbs. Following the opening nugget, "Modern Text On Love" [whose opening guitar riff recalls XTC], you'd expect a young band to slide into average, maudlin territory, but no... these musicians bear down and deliver lead singer Jason Ward's songs with a consistent energy matching the songs surprising quality. Bringing to mind bands like Ted Leo, XTC, The Strokes, and 'eternally missing in action' The La's -- this is power pop with impeccable pedigree and deep roots. Recommended.

Another harmonic post from the Beach Boys-wannabes at Team Clermont.

Monday, December 12, 2005

(the sounds of) kaleidoscope

Download: (the sounds of) kaleidoscope -- "Because I Am Haunted"
Download: (the sounds of) kaleidoscope -- "Certain Colour Sky"

(the sounds of) kaleidoscope (yes, that is how you have to spell their name!) are a DC band that plays the kind of shoegaze-y noise pop that I eat for breakfast. I just love this kind of stuff. This record reminds of all of the early Creation acts--My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Primal Scream--plus a healthy dose of Spacemen 3 and early Jesus and Mary Chain. In other words, it’s gold. This is the kind of essential music that I’m glad rears its head every couple of years in the form of some hot new band. (the sounds of) kaleidoscope really pull it off, never sounding tired and derivative; this stuff rocks and is truly three-dimensional.

Plus, some of these guys played with the Lilys, and that’s a good thing.

Another batch of The Hot Rock brought to you by Team Clermont.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Exciting news!

The OC featured Fine China's "My Worst Nightmare" during a scene last night. Now I didn't watch the episode, but I heard that they got a fair amount of screen time. That's pretty hot. And seeing as how Reunion got cancelled, can we get Amanda Righetti back?

Also, the Hold Steady is playing an acoustic set with the indefatigable Anti-Social Music tomorrow (Dec. 10) at Chashama in NYC. Apparently there will be plenty of beer to go along with the hot punk orchestra stylings of ASM. It's a show sure to please. I saw those gals and guys during CMJ and it was the best show I saw, hands-down: compelling, frustrating, exciting, beautiful, and dissonant, sometimes all at the same time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

IMing With The Stars: Christina Rentz from Merge Records

In this edition of IMing With The Stars, I've decided to interview someone in the music industry, but I cheated because Christina Rentz and I go way back. I've known her since she was a Music Director at KLSU in Baton Rouge and I was a fledgling college radio promoter. There's a kinship there, an unspoken bond, kismet if you will, as I am a former Deep South Music Director as well. We've sifted through thousands of bad jam rock records and cringed at CDs with fractals on the cover. Wait, those are the same thing.

Anyway, Christina works at one of the best record labels out there: Merge Records. It's pretty much a dream job, and in this interview, we talk about the initial sales expectations for the Arcade Fire, the underacknowledged genius of Portastatic and Chris Lopez, and the risk of putting out 69 Love Songs.


Me: can I interview you for our blog?
Christina: ok
Christina: :-)
Me: It's for a feature called "IMing with the Stars" and you are a star
Me: I want to interview someone in the industry
Me: basically it is an AIM interview and I copy everything, bad grammar included
Me: I would need a picture of you, too
Christina: haha! Ok - sounds fun!
Christina: ok - I have one where I look like a holiday elf
Me: awesome
Me: when would be the best time
Christina: whenever
Me: you are on AIM all of the time, right?
Christina: pretty much
Christina: always when I am at work
Me: it will only last for like ten minutes or so
Christina: okee dokee
Christina: just say when. :-)
Me: how about right now?
Me: heh
Christina: shoot
Christina: !
Me: okay, so how have things been working at Merge in the last year, now that Arcade Fire and Spoon are really taking off?
Me: I mean, you always had great bands, but AF has to have gone beyond your wildest expectations, no?
Christina: We predicted that record would sell 12,000 copies!
Christina: so, yes, we were thrilled!
Me: which is no slouch
Me: 12,000
Me: for an indie label
Christina: it's such a crapshoot!
Christina: for sure!
Christina: It's fun to work with bands just because you love them, and then watch the success - you know?
Me: I know you guys really care about your artists--do you get bummed out when one doesn't perform up to expectations?
Christina: of course, but we just try harder to come up with new ideas.
Me: what I really meant to ask was do you take it personally?
Christina: YES
Me: I know I do sometimes
Christina: but, honestly, I think that the day I stop getting all worked up over bad reviews and poor sales is the day I am too jaded to work this job.
Me: good attitude
Christina: there are so many great people out there who support our bands and love the music, and I just have to focus on that
Me: well, to be fair, you guys have an amazing roster
Christina: indeed!
Me: it's a lot easier to love Merge records than some others!
Me: but I notice that you guys go through lulls like anybody else
Christina: haha - I am a pretty ridiculous fan! If it weren't for Lindsey (my officemate), I probably wouldn't listen to anything else.
Christina: lulls in releasing stuff?
Me: yeah
Me: and stuff that breaks, you know, HUGE
Christina: well, but you never know about that stuff.
Christina: maybe 2006 is the year of Tenement Halls and Annie Hayden!
Me: hopefully!
Me: I remember, though, that after Magnetic Fields left, one friend of mine--a real hipster snob--sniffed and was all "humph...what does Merge have now?"
Me: which is how a lot of people, esp. industry types, will judge a record label, by the big records, not the Shark Quests or East River Pipes, you know?
Christina: yes, but if a label doesn't take risks on releases that deserve to be heard, why do it at all?
Christina: don't you think 69 Love Songs was a valid risk to take?
Me: of course!
Christina: it could have been a disaster, but it wasn't.
Me: it could have been, but it I think you guys probably--rightfully--undersell yourselves on that one
Me: it was a freaking monster of a record; no denying it
Christina: it's definitely a major reason why I wanted to work here!
Christina: but so are The Rock*A*Teens!
Me: God, I love those guys
Christina: oh me too!
Christina: Lopez is a freaking genius!
Me: who do you think your most underacknowledged artists are?
Me: not from a sales perspective necessarily
Christina: hmmmm - definitely Tenement Halls!
Me: yeah, I can see it
Me: I keep waiting for people to "get" Chris's stuff, you know?
Me: Around here in ATL and ATH, people get it
Christina: and Portastatic keeps making incredible records while critics whine about Superchunk.
Christina: for sure!
Me: yeah, no doubt
Christina: it drives us all CRAZY!
Me: but everywhere else, Lopez goes underacknowledged.
Christina: it's true
Me: All Merge records get press, you know?, but it must be frustrating when people write about it, but don't get it.
Me: Hell, you guys just signed the Fanclub, who have been making great records for years, but have gone undersong since their brief press hype period
Me: I like that you stick by those kinds of artists
Me: Of course, you have to stick by Mac!
Me: But, seriously, the last Portastatic record was rock solid
Christina: I know! and the one before that, too!!!
Me: I've never disliked one
Me: Nature of Sap might be my favorite
Christina: Teenage Fanclub actually got some great press on their most recent record - it was reassuring!
Me: oh yeah they did b/c it was different
Christina: Yeah, I really think "Summer of the Shark" is my most favorite - even though "Spying on the Spies" is my favorite song!
Me: but Howdy!, Songs from a Northern Britain, these were all grea, too
Me: great
Christina: Yeah, for sure, TFC crowds on this tour were full of rabid fans!
Me: I like Slow Note for a Sinking Ship the best, maybe
Me: now that I think about it
Me: this is like Merge suck-up hour!
Christina: It really is!
Christina: thank!
Christina: thanks!
Christina: haha
Me: what's the toughest part of your job?
Christina: - there's my bad grammar!
Me: and, btw, what in the heck is your job description?!
Christina: Toughest part of my job is probably keeping up with all of the tours!
Christina: Well, anything associated with a tour short of booking it is my responsibility, along with major non-comm and some commercial radio, and regional press.
Me: tour press is wayyy tough
Me: it can be harder than a national campaign sometimes
Christina: yeah, I love how visceral it is, though! I pick up a Flagpole, and there it is! Not like radio!
Me: agreed
Me: good point
Christina: and bands appreciate it so much! I love working so closely with them.
Christina: Oh - I'm also in charge of interns.
Christina: I blocked that out.
Christina: haha
Me: interns--the backbone of the industry
Me: it's true
Me: the suits and Harvard MBAs are the ones who make the money
Me: everyone else gets nada
Me: people think I should be driving an Escalade when they hear I'm in the music biz
Christina: haha!
Christina: Yeah, Lucas - where's your bling?
Christina: It must be buried under your ramen!
Me: hahaha
Me: one last thing
Me: we are both former college radio MDs (from the real south, I might add--MS for me, LA for you)
Christina: KLSU Foreva!
Me: I can't say the same about my old station, unfortunately
Me: we have different programming ideas, which is cool
Christina: yeah, but it's always home. haha!
Me: yeah, I guess it is
Me: I lived there for four and a half years
Me: loaded question: what do you think about college radio these days?
Christina: Still trucking along! The only thing that has changed, I think, is that kids think they will graduate and get a high powered A&R gig immediately!
Me: I've noticed that
Christina: I waited tables for soo long and started out part-time here, and never thought there was anything wrong with that, but it seems like we were the last group to be willing to endure poverty for love of music.
Me: yeah
Christina: But, I think that despite the drama that goes on, college radio remains the final frontier of radio.
Me: I worked at DialAmerica Telemarketing for 3 years while I worked here part-time
Me: it has become very industry-ized, but when I was MD 96-98 it was boom
Christina: I had to survive Rap-Metal
Christina: haha
Me: ouch!
Me: I survived Nirvana rip-offs and, oh wait, that's still going on!
Me: I guess I just think that it's never as bad as people say and it was never as good as people say it was
Christina: exactly!
Me: it just is college radio
Christina: and it is wonderful!

IMing With The Stars comes to us courtesy of Team Clermont.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Team Clermont throws a Christmas hammjamm!

You are cordially invited to the Team Clermont/Go Bar Christmas Party this Saturday, December 10, 2005 at the Go Bar in Athens, GA (natch)! It is going to be THE hammjamm of the year, I think. Here's the schedule:

  • 8:30 PM: Cocktail Party
  • 10:00 PM: Boulevard will be playing an all-cover set!
  • 11:30 PM: The Return of Klaus Nomi
  • 12:00 PM: The Nutcracker Burlesque followed by Late Night Disco!
We hope that everyone has their party pants ready. I know I do!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Major Lance

Heard a tune by this guy called "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um"...I really dug it. Apparently, he was pals with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler! Anybody know where I can find some music and more information?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

IMing With The Stars: Ian Love, part 1

In this edition of IMing With The Stars!, I talk with Ian Love in his second ever use of IM software (in this case, iChat). Ian was a member of Cardia and Rival Schools, but his new solo material is quite different; it's a personal, introspective affair that reflects recent positive changes in his life: sobriety, marriage, and fatherhood. His forthcoming solo debut is a real stunner. Look for it on Limekiln Records next year. In our first conversation, Ian discusses everything from John Entwistle to his daughter to Arsenio Hall.

Grammar and punctuation have been preserved:

Ian Love: this a good time?
Me: sure
Ian Love: sweet
Me: how's your daughter?
Ian Love: shes watching calm baby. very exciting , we’re up to the itsy bitsy spider part
Me: haha
Me: I watched one of those baby einstein things with a friend's baby one time and it put me to sleep, but he loved it
Ian Love: we have all of them , they’re pretty psychedelic
Me: yeah
Me: what's that Teletubbies sequel thing?
Me: the Bubos?
Ian Love: not into it...
Me: what's it called?
Me: it's really disturbing to me

Ian Love: what?
Me: that other Teletubbies show where they spin around and dance and stuff
Me: really, really psychedelic
Ian Love: i have no idea
Me: not missing much
Ian Love: im sure
Me: so how has your daughter influenced your music?--is that one of the reasons for the more personal, introspective direction to your new stuff?
Ian Love: maybe some but a lot of the record was written before then. but some of the other songs im sure it played a part in
Ian Love: now ill write about spiders and ducks..
Me: I don't think that's such a bad idea
Ian Love: kids records are big now
Me: I mean, a lot of people have written love songs
Me: but how about truly good kids records
Me: ?
Ian Love: i have a good idea i should cover boris the spider
Me: great song
Me: I love John Entwistle
Ian Love: i have a funny story involving him but it’s to long for me to write.
Me: oh, man!
Me: don't tease me like that! you'll have to call me up and tell me about it, I guess
Me: undersung bass player in my opinion
Ian Love: i played with him once. dont ask! you know I’ve had a crazy life..
Me: whoa
Me: as Keanu would say
Ian Love: i also sat down with eddie murphy and arsineo hall once too. RANDOM
Me: oh, wow, that's amazing
Ian Love: you must think im crazy or a compulsive liar
Me: no way
Me: how could you make that up?
Ian Love: my point exactly
Me: I mean, it's not everyday that Arsenio and John Entwistle come up in the same conversation
Me: Did you play on "Party All the Time"?
Me: heh
Ian Love: i have a dennis quid story too
Me: Dennis Quaid?
Ian Love: i am party all the time
Me: haha
Me: I feel like you shouldn't be holding these back from our readers
Ian Love: i spelled quaid wrong
Ian Love: i have add i cant write long emails etc...
Me: sorry...I hope this isn't traumatic
Me: So, are you sad to have settled down?
Ian Love: for you anything lucas
Me: I don't know how people can party all the time
Ian Love: no
Ian Love: it's not easy at all..
Me: Like Hank, Jr. said, "The hangovers hurt worse than they used to"
Ian Love: that is true..
Ian Love: you just reminded me i want to cover lost on the river
Me: that's a good one
Me: I'm always thinking about cover songs, but I never learn them.
Ian Love: i love learning other peoples songs
Me: do you find that it helps you with yours, just seeing how they are constructed? I've got this Elton John songbook for piano, and some of those songs are pretty tightly wound, you know?
Me: really well-constructed.
Me: early stuff like Levon and Rocket Man
Ian Love: i dont think about it too much but as far as chord prog and such it helps i think. also it just helps as a musician?
Me: yeah, no doubt
Me: previous "partying" ways--are you open about it to people or do you prefer not to talk about it? Your own label didn't know about some of the stuff you wrote in your bio
Me: It's quite a story
Ian Love: i dont like to talk about to much , but i made a decision with this record , bio etc.. to be more open. it is a interesting story and there is a good ending for now to it so thats nice..
Me: like, what pushed you to get straight? was there one event or was it just a gradual thing?
Me: I've always been remarkably square, so I don't know much about the process besides what I've heard from other
people and seen in movies, etc.
Ian Love: it had been leading up for a long time but i had spent all my money was stealing , selling all my stuff and wanted to die every day and on top of that i wasnt even getting high anymore so there was nothing good about it. i wanted to get clean but didnt know how to so my girlfriend confronted me and i ended up in rehab the next day. ive been clean since
Me: is that girlfriend now your wife?
Ian Love: thats the short story
Ian Love: yes
Me: that's pretty great
Ian Love: i think so
Me: I've always been bad about confronting my friends' problems
Me: I'm really backhanded, but never very direct
Ian Love: its not easy at all , have you seen that show intervension
Me: no
Ian Love: pretty intense i think its on a and e
Me: yeah?
Me: I assume they do interventions on air
Ian Love: its a reality intervention show
Ian Love: yes
Me: it's not staged or anything?
Ian Love: doesnt look like it at all... im pretty sure its reeal
Me: that's cool
Me: I hate it when they take real stuff and make a contest out of it
Me: I bet they'll have some show soon where heroin addicts compete to get off the junk fastest or something
Ian Love: i thought they would have had "kill the crackhead by now but i guess not"
Me: it's-a-coming
Ian Love: IM is kind of fun
Me: this is your second time, no?
Ian Love: yes both with you. i bought the isight camera for me and my wife so she could see the baby from work when she wants but thats all i use it for
Me: that's cool, though
Me: what does your wife do?
Ian Love: its fun
Ian Love: she works for this music producer rick wake (celine dion , jlo , mariah etc...)
Me: wow
Me: big-time!
Ian Love: im trying to move in on that market haha
Me: after Eddie Murphy, where can you go but down, though!
Ian Love: thats true dude

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back from Thanksgiving...

...and I've got to say that my first turkey was a success despite my complete and total lack of confidence. My wife is a vegetarian, so she didn't eat any. That kinda stinks because its existence in the edible realm is proof that I can actually cook something, contrary to popular opinion in our household.

On to music:

Streaming--Yummy Bingham (ft. Jadakiss)--"Come and Get It"

I think this song is "the jam." I'm not sure that it's cool to say "the jam" anymore, but I know "the jam" when I hear it and this is "the jam." Apparently, Yummy Bingham was in Tha' Rayne. I've never heard of them. Chaka Khan is her godmother. None of this matters, of course, but I thought I'd share. The crazy syncopated snare drum on this song is the kind of thing that makes me--as a drummer--wish I was more creative. Half of the programmed beats out there these days put me to shame. Timbaland is the most innovative "drummer" in the past five years, in my opinion. Where am I going with this? I don't know. But I love this song.

Snippet--The Right Brothers--"Bush Was Right" (video)

Apparently, this ain't a parody, but it sure seems like one. The pause on the lyric "France...wrong" just doesn't work very well.

I don't really like Cindy Sheehan very much either, though I'm a liberal. Her allegiance to the supposedly anti-racist, but borderline anti-semitic ANSWER crowd creeps me out. And her politics often seem remarkably facile.

But "Zell Miller...right!"?!?! C'mon, Right Brothers! Heck, I know thoughtful conservatives that cringe at that guy's out-of-nowhere venomous streak.

Believe it or not, he was once a pretty great governor.

I'm just typing here.

Another political minefield from the thinktank of Team Clermont.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Team Clermont Thanksgiving!

Team Clermont Comes A Cropper! will be shut down for the Thanksgiving holidays, but we will resume production bright and early on Monday morning.

I wanted to thank everybody for the support of our artists, so I have left you this hot picture of Gabe Kaplan as a reminder of our love for you and our other six readers.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

IMing With the Stars! First Edition: Paul Duncan

I am debuting a new column today wherein I will IM with one of our favorite arists, possibly unbeknownst to them, and publish it here to make your head hurt as you try to dissect the three simultaneous threads of conversation that overlap each other! Here, Hometapes recording artist Paul Duncan discusses Pitchfork's review of his record (a 7.8), Loren Mazzacane-Connors, and a song of his my wife skips on our iPod.

Grammar and punctuation have been preserved:

Me: Paul
Me: It's Lucas
Paul Duncan: omg!!!
Paul Duncan: omg
Paul Duncan: you totally just creeped up on me
Me: heh
Me: this for that interview feature for our blog
Me: are you at work?
Paul Duncan: naw
Me: where do you work?
Paul Duncan: i'm sitting at home playin the geetar
Paul Duncan: i work for a studio in manhattan
Me: you are like a real musician or something
Paul Duncan: has the interview started ?
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: um, I don't know
Me: you are the first
Paul Duncan: i'm preeeeeetty real i guess
Me: how do you feel about "The Fork" score today?
Me: I thought the review read better than a 7.8, really, but Joe T. can be a tough critic,
number-wise, but he's really good--one of their best
Paul Duncan: i feel like their system (of a down?) is flawed
Paul Duncan: but a nice review :-)
Me: I joked about System of a Down being the lead review and sure enough it was
Me: they are one of those bands like QOTSA and Mars Volta that somehow gets credibility when they sound so average and stupid to me
Paul Duncan: yeh, weird... 7.8 but sounds like he's recommending it to everyone and like he loved it
Paul Duncan: hmm
Me: well, 7.8 is almost four out of five stars, you know?
Paul Duncan: yeh
Me: if you look at it that way, it's pretty hot
Paul Duncan: it's cool .. i mean they crap on a lot of records i like ... so, a 7.8 for what i do or create or whatever is good
Me: yeah, no doubt
Me: I think that Pitchfork is actually a lot more fair than people give them credit for
Me: it's just that they have this status and this importance, so they take a lot of heat
Me: but no one ever says stuff about the other sites like Tiny Mix Tapes that are almost as big
Paul Duncan: yeh
Paul Duncan: they liked my stuff
Paul Duncan: they gave it a great review
Me: they are tough critics, too
Paul Duncan: no #'s in their system
Paul Duncan: true
Paul Duncan: they are
Me: no it got 4 out of 5 there
Me: they just don't make a big deal out of the numbers
Me: anyway, are you working on a new record? I assume you have access to a studio because you work at one
Paul Duncan: (quoting Tiny Mix Tapes) Paul Duncan. Now here's a guy you could invite to your Christmas party. He's smart, interesting, and talented. He might also bring a good bottle of wine and a few good-lookin' girlies
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: that's awesome
Paul Duncan: yeah ... i'm starting my new record
Paul Duncan: i wanna do a lot of it in a studio
Me: are you gonna go all Sufjan?
Paul Duncan: as in not in my house or workplace
Me: because I think that your brand of--and this sounds contradictory--lush minimalism really works
Paul Duncan: but have demos .. and go track it
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: there's no way i'll go all sufjan
Paul Duncan: i don't like his music really
Me: I feel like I should like him b/c I like orchestral pop so much, but I never really need to hear his stuff
Paul Duncan: but if by all sufjan you mean more string arrangements then, yeh ... there will be a few tracks w/ arrangements that aren't minimal
Paul Duncan: or maybe they will turn out to be minimal
Me: you and I are both fans of Eno and he was great at doing these lush songs with very little, like the Big Ship
Paul Duncan: somewhere between talk talk and bill fay
Me: I assume you mean late period Talk Talk
Me: heh
Paul Duncan: no no .. the early stuff
Paul Duncan: early early
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: It's my life!
Paul Duncan: yay!
Me: I love that record Talk Talk--the new wave one
Me: great stuff
Me: but I like the later period just as much for different reasons
Me: It seems like the only song that people don't really like is Aria/Cave Song...they think it breaks up the momentum of the album
Me: discuss
Me: My wife always skips it on her ipod it seems
Me: it had one play, but everything else had, like, 6 or 7
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: i know why people don't like it
Me: I kind of dig it myself
Me: but I like that kind of expressionistic guitar noodling
Me: I mean noodling in the best possible way
Me: why do you think people don't like it?
Paul Duncan: it took people almost all of loren connor's life for people to understand what he was doing on a larger scale. .. and now he's about to not be able to play guitar anymore ... i'm not trying to compare myself to him at all really other than the obvious ... blues riff minimalism .. people don't like minimalism at it's most abstract normally... a lot of people tell me that's their favorite track, so i guess it's hit or miss ... actually let me amend that, people HATE it apparently when you throw abstract minimalism into a record that they feel should be a pop record
Paul Duncan: of course maybe that one reviewer was right and it's just a misstep
Paul Duncan: wait, no it's not!
Paul Duncan: ha
Me: I never really thought of ol' Mazzacane before, but that makes a lot of sense
Me: I like this swirl of influences you have--that you are not afraid to get a little sentimental (Oil In The Fields) or get witty (You Look Like An Animal) or pretty out there (Aria), but they all seem to be coming from the same person.
Paul Duncan: when i say people hate it when you throw abstract minimalism into what they feel should be a pop record ... i meant it gets personal ... they have a relationship with the record and then you take them out of it to reflect for a few minutes and they can get offended ... completely understandable .. hopefully it'll grow on people ... does your wife like the rest of the record? track 4?
Me: yeah
Paul Duncan: I like this swirl of influences you have--that you are not afraid to get a little sentimental (Oil In The Fields) or get witty (You Look Like An Animal) or pretty out there (Aria), but they all seem to be coming from the same person.
Paul Duncan: you want me to talk about that?
Me: no, I just said it
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: ok
Paul Duncan: thanks
Me: I mean, if you want to
Paul Duncan: nah
Paul Duncan: it's a compliment
Me: the word sentimental carries connotations of schmaltz, but that song is genuinely affecting.
Paul Duncan: yeh, well by definition sentimental has the connotation of memory
Me: it seems like a drunk-and-dial call I would have made to an ex-girlfriend back in the day
Paul Duncan: but the fact that it has made a bad name for itself means people usually don't want to remember most of the time
Paul Duncan: i guess???
Paul Duncan: they blame you when you make them remember
Me: one of our interns uses the record for studying purposes because she doesn't find it obtrusive, but Jon here likes all of the aggressive stuff, so it's a malleable listen for sure
Me: yeah, true about sentimentality
Paul Duncan: it is kind of a drunk and dial ... because those moments, when remembered are really vulnerable
Me: glad I was on it!
Paul Duncan: i mean i'm sure that memory for you is as strong or could be as some weird childhood memory
Paul Duncan: what does your intern study?
Me: um, comparative literature, I think
Me: yeah, that's it
Me: Jon's getting his Masters in International Affairs
Me: or some such thing
Paul Duncan: i could see my record playing in a library quietly
Paul Duncan: ha
Paul Duncan: that'd be nice

IMing With The Stars is brought to you by Team Clermont. Photo by Marianne Meyer.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ian Love

Download: Ian Love -- "The Only Night"
Download: Ian Love -- "Butterfly"

I dread getting records with guys' names on them. Bill Callahan and Will Oldham were smart to go with Smog and Palace Whatevers, respectively, because it tricks people like me into thinking it's a real band. Hell, one could make the argument that the Cure is just a long-running Robert Smith solo project with regular appearances by Simon Gallup, but I still buy them as a band. There's just something about this" guy's name thing" that conjurs images of Joe Satriana-knockoffs, mat-cat-sat level folk artists, and cover artists at the American Pie in the Montgomery, AL Ramada Inn. Or worse...Dave Matthews!

I'm a jerk, I guess.

Thankfully, we need look no further than Paul Duncan, Sufjan Stevens (an interesting nameso I give it a pass), and now Ian Love to really poke holes in the, um, balloons of my prejudice (I'm too worn out for good metaphors right now).

Ian was a member of some pretty popular bands, among them Rival Schools and Cardia, but this new solo stuff marks a departure for him into the world of interesting singer-songwriters. He pretty much played everything on the record (due to be released next year) and it reflects the positive changes he's gone through recently--sobriety, a solid marriage, the birth of his daughter--in a mature, non-schmaltzy way. The production is lush and percussive and really showcase Ian's vocal range. I've heard him compared to Jeff Buckley, Adem, and even Paul Simon, but I find it fairly distinctive.

Heck, Ian's five song demo EP (available only to me and his label) is one of my favorite records of this year.

Another omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent post from Team Clermont.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Worst band ever?

I think it has to be the Insane Clown Posse. Sure, there are probably worse bands out there (maybe?), but ICP has to be the worst band ever that people actually like. Disgusting. Any thoughts, Comes A Cropper Readers? What's your vote for the worst band that people actually like?

Okay, my floobs, I gotta go make some chedda!

Another thought-provoking post from the insanely messy desks of Team Clermont.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Some of our pals have been getting some great press recently.

Peep this Ham1 review by Ed Masley in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Self-released by Athens, Ga., schoolteacher Jim Willingham with drums by Olivia Tremor Controller Eric Harris, "Ham 1" kicks off with the quirky indie-pop of "Pop Song for a Funeral" before winding its way through several tracks of offbeat incidental music, a handful of rockers that bristle with raucous post-Guided By Voices abandon, tender indie ballads, one track that's practically psychobilly and a country-flavored waltz called "Floorida." It doesn't sound like something that should hold together as an album, but it does, if in part because Willingham's vocals and lyrics are as offbeat as the music.

Not bad, no? You can go to Ham1's website and check out his whole record. Drop Jim a line and buy a record from him while you're at it.

In other news, Ninja High School was a Band Of The Day! You know what to do: go here and vote for them (giving them a well-deserved A+, no doubt). Also, check out one of their best songs, "Shake It Off".

The Weather Machines
(who you will hear more about soon) were featured on Six Eyes the other day and given a very strong review (8 out of 10!). Check out this hot track: "Modern Text On Love"

This South Dakota band is gonna tear it up. I swear. I love good power-pop.

Monday, November 14, 2005

the password for Hamburger

I received this interesting passage in an email about Cialis:

blowgun and an expendable missile arrow, stone, quarrel, dart. You are not screen. In so doing, they discovered usd 70000, the password for Hamburger

received at work in the course of the day, and would be on a Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before

I love these emails and the strange poetry that arises from what, one assumes, is a bunch of monkeys typing on computer keyboards. I mean, who else would send out this spam? Is it a big money-making enterprise? Who's behind this madness?

I say...keep 'em coming. For more of these kinds of emails, go to The Leopard Does Not Change Its Spots, run by the indefatigable (but lazy) Herman J. Winterize.

Dance Class Revolution

Download: Listing Ship -- "Ichabod Crane"

Download: Listing Ship -- "Chinese Song"

Listing Ship is a bit of an odd band, but I mean that in the best possible way. Heather Lockie and Lyman Chaffee, the principals behind the band, are willing to try just about anything on LS's new album, Time To Dream. The record primarily consists of bucolic, slightly psychedelic folk-pop, but, as it goes on, the genre-hopping/-bending gets more pronounced and there are a couple of awesome freak-outs. Expert string player Lockie (she plays with Arthur Lee and eels among others) does a lion's share of the singing, but Chaffee shows up for a few hot tracks, as well. The two tracks available for download here are two of the album's more "normal" songs and also two of the album's best.

What's really funny is that I hear all of these disparate influences like the Softies, Richard and Linda Thompson (and Fairport Convention), and others, but whenever I ask the band members about them, they have no idea what I'm talking about. Sometimes good bands just happen, you know? There isn't some musicological line that can be traced.

Right here is where I should insert some sort of nautical pun.

Another psych-out of a post brought to you by the guys and gals of Team Clermont.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

There's oil in them thar fields

One of my favorite discoveries of the year, Paul Duncan, has the honor of being's Band of the Day today, though Paul is not a band but one person. I've already written quite a bit about his new masterwork, Be Careful What You Call Home, but I just wanted to send everybody over to his Band of the Day page, so they can vote on him (hopefully giving him the grade he deserves: A+). Apparently, if he gets a high enough grade he will win something. That'd be nice.

You should also go to the Hometapes page (that's his label) where you can find downloads for Paul and all kinds of other great bands.

Another quality post from the fine folks at Team Clermont.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

God Bless the Capes

Streaming: Hello by the Capes

Man, I've seen these cats lately more than I've seen my own parents, and the Capes are from the UK?! It seems as though some of them have taken a shine to Athens and are determined to visit here often on their seemingly interminable US tour. Why, Richie and Kris were here just yesterday. Nice fellas.

And they can write some mighty catchy songs, too, somewhere between the new wave of British pop (the Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand, etc.)--but more sincere--and American indie rock of the 90s, the good stuff. The first song on their new record Hello, "Mexican Broads," is a straight-up Pavement homage that actually gets what made Pavement so great, the indolent, swaggering rhythms of both the lyrics and the music. It's a monster.

Heck, the whole record is a monster. It's a collection of singles besides the pastoral last track. They've cranked out a real winner. It's almost enough to bring me back to full-on Anglophile status. I'd been down in the dumps for quite some time.

Another sterling blog post brought to you by Team Clermont.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

OK, if this isn't the most fun video you've seen this year

So we really wanted to just share something fun with you, so why not a couple of students from China with some Nick Carter and company for you. Yes, we know, Team Clermont is bringing us some sugary sweet Backstreet Boys instead of indie rock purity?! Oh, just watch....THIS HERE , and you'll see just why we wanted to bring the sugar. From now on, nothing but indie rock from Team Clermont I promise.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Anti-Social Music

Download (well, stream actually) a number of songs and videos here

Man, Lucas is really falling down on the job here. But hey, we'll cut him some slack as he's at the doctor getting all sorts of unpleasant things done to him. With Lucas sporting the latest trends in backless clothing at the moment, I will provide something of an update for The Cropper. Today, we're featuring the New York City based collective, Anti-Social Music.

Unfortunately, I am not the most articulate person and I probably won't do the project justice, but Anti-Social is essentially a group of musicians creating contemporary chamber music, but who are influenced by the approach and work ethic of punk and other DIY formats. This influence is not surprising considering the group has drawn from a wide variety of musicians that are active in more 'rockin' genres. Past and present Anti-Social Performers are involved with such other acts as: the Hold Steady, Ida, dalek, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gang Gang Dance, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Jenny Toomey & Jon Langford, Elliot Sharp, Gutbucket, Balkan Box Beat, and Alarm Will Sound.

Anti-Social Music is devoted to exposing the world to new music that is being composed today outside of the somewhat stuffy confines that people normally associate with the 'classical music world'. Anti-Social member Franz Nicolay concisely states the collective's purpose in the following quote:

Contemporary chamber music is the new frontier in socially unacceptable music for the youth of today...I mean, I like the punk rock, I play the punk rock, but the punk rock has lost its cachet as something to offend your parents and annoy your friends. I encourage the punk rockers of the world to explore the new anti-social music.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Man, this made me laugh.

I love how the use of the now-ubiquitous "Solsbury Hill" makes anything--even The Shining--into a romantic comedy or playful bildungsroman. Funny stuff.

Thanks to Melting Dolls for this.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Odds and sods

Thousand Oaks, CA orchestral rock band, Amestory, has a tour blog up right here. Lots of nifty pictures and stuff, including hints of gastrointestinal problems brought on by White Castle. Ewww!

Looks like the boys are having a good time.

Pitchfork gave Ninja High School's Young Adults Against Suicide a 7.0 today! That's 3 and a half stars in the Rolling Stone system to put it into perspective. Personally, I'd give the record yellow stars, blue diamonds, and pink moons.

Speaking of Pitchfork, the Day Jobs has this handy-dandy Pitchfork Review Generator for your enjoyment. My first review generated was for a band called The Blonde Breakers. Their album was called Goodnight, Self-Titled Albums.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Some pop bands I like


Download: Ghosty--"Big Surrender"
Download: Okay--"Compass"
Download: The Spinto Band--"Brown Boxes"

At Team Clermont, we really like the pop music. Give us some solid hooks and a catchy chorus, and you'll put a smile on our face. It's just that easy. I love experimental music as much as the next guy (and I think Jon listens to nothing but noise bands, weird African records, indie pop, and classic rock), but I use it as an apertif as much as anything else. Put on a Merzbow record and then listen to "And Your Bird Can Sing" or Teenage Fanclub's "Start Again" and tell me that they don't sound perfect. Pop music just sounds like clarity to me, whether it comes from Kelly Clarkson or Bram Tchaikovsky. It sounds like what perfection sounds like in my head, the Platonic ideal of the perfect circle that can only be envisioned. Or something like that.

John Jeremiah Sullivan, in The Oxford American, once ran a great description about being in a pop band in an article on dearly departed Chris Bell (of personal faves Big Star):

Chilton said to Robert Gordon, "Most of the Big Star stuff was searching for how to get through two verses without saying anything really stupid.." Add "playing" to "saying," and you have as apt a description of the task involved in writing good pop songs as has ever been articulated. Great songwriters learn as much from listening to bad music as they do from listening to what they love. They memorize pitfalls, dead-ends; the how, as opposed to the what, of poor taste and clichĂ©. It's a strange, hair-splitting science, since, let's face it, when you're thinking in Shostakovich terms, the distance between a Brian Wilson objet d'art and a breakfast-cereal jingle is about three atoms wide. For a pop songwriter, each new composition presents countless temptations and traps, moments when the song wants to become "stupid," wants to go to the obvious chord or rhyme, wants to sound too close, as opposed to just close enough, to what we've heard before. The game is to thread your way through these traps without sounding as if you're trying to be unpredictable—melodically, lyrically, in whatever way. And success comes when you've taken all the crap the genre gives you to work with—limited instrumentation, limited melodic possibilities, limited time—and made beauty of it, then disguised the beauty as more of the good ol' crap we like to hear when we turn on the radio. Isn't that precisely what makes those classics, like "Baby, It's You," so moving, so overwhelming, what makes you have to pull your car to the side of the road when they come on? The beauty in them is subversive. It doesn't belong. It's been smuggled in under the radar of suburban teenage taste and purchasing power. That's why pop music is the art for our time: It's an art of crap. And not in a self-conscious sense, not like a sculpture made of garbage and shown at the Whitney, which is only a way of saying that "low" materials can be made to serve the demands of "high" art. No, pop music really is crap. It's about transcending through crap. It's about standing there with your stupid guitar, and your stupid words, and your stupid band, and not being stupid.
I love that description: pop music is about doing something stupid, but not being stupid.

Anyway, here are some great new-ish pop bands that I adore:

Ghosty, from Lawrence, KS, plays with your built-in anticipation of chord progressions and structure while never once going for a cheap discordant move (a la a million Pixies rip-off bands out there). "Big Surrender" is one of their best. They're a killer live act, too. As with most power pop-ish units, we haven't heard enough about them. That's always the way it is, no?

Okay (the nom de plume of Marty Anderson) has released maybe the two best records of the year, Low Road and High Road, and no one seems to talking about that fact, except Music For Robots. Sure, the story behind Okay (that Marty is basically housebound because of a horrible illness) is compelling, but the music is what really kills me. It's a lesson in the power of simplicity (most of the songs rarely get past two chords) and a unique voice. "Compass" is as beautiful a song as I'll hear this year.

The Spinto Band hails from Delaware, home of credit card companies and um...drawing a blank here. The band's slightly goofy and youthful pop could cut steel. It's just insanely well-written. An office favorite. Apparently there is a bidding war over these guys, and it makes sense, but how many indie pop/power pop/pop rock bands besides Weezer or Matthew Sweet ever got really big? The road to success is littered with the bodies of Superdrag, Tommy Keene, and, well, Big Star (not that they didn't keep doing good music, mind you...I mean this from a strictly commercial perspective). Stay gold, Spinto Band. Stay gold.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wisdom From The Qur'an


Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because
Allah has given them more (strength) than the other, and
because they support them from their means. Therefore the
righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in the
husband's absence their unseen parts. As to those women on
whose part you fear disloyalty, rebellion and ill-conduct,
admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds,
(And last) make love to them; and if they return to
obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For
Allah is Most High, great (above you all). [a Sufi

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

iTunes purchases, part two

As if this list couldn't get more embarrassing, here's what I've bought recently on iTunes:

  1. Will To Power--"Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird"
  2. Bedroom Walls--"Do The Buildings and Cops Make You Smile?"
  3. Kelly Clarkson--"Since U Been Gone"
  4. George Michael--"Freedom 90"
  5. Lionel Richie--"All Night Long (All Night)"
  6. Bright Eyes--"When The President Talks To God"
  7. R. Kelly--"Trapped In The Closet, pt. 1)
  8. R. Kelly--"In The Kitchen (remix)"
  9. R. Kelly--"In The Kitchen"
  10. Lina--"Come To Mama"
  11. Yummy Bingham--"Come and Get It (Main)"
  12. Brian Eno--"The Big Ship"
  13. Brian Eno--"An Ending (Ascent)"
  14. Mike Post--"Theme from the Rockford Files"
  15. Mike Post--"Theme from Hill Street Blues"
  16. Mike Post--"Theme from Magnum P.I."
  17. Mike Post--"Theme from the Greatest American Hero"
  18. Billy Ocean--"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going"
  19. Cyndi Lauper--"Goonies 'R' Good Enough"
  20. Snow--"Informer"
  21. The Black Crowes--"Wiser Time"
Actually, that ain't that bad. I need to explain a few of these. The Mike Post is inexcusable, for sure, as is the Billy Ocean, but I actually like a lot of the others. Even Snow. I already owned those Eno songs, but I had to hear them right then. Oh, and that Bright Eyes song was free...and terrible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great weekend.

Some of us Team C.-ers saw a reconstituted REM (featuring Bill Berry) play a short, slightly-sloppy-but-fun set of older songs--the newest was "The One I Love" if that tells you anything--at Kingpins here in Athens for DeWitt and Jackie's wedding reception. Wow. It was just one of those moments where you couldn't believe it was happening. And this coming a night after a transcendent Gang of Four show (also featuring Michael Stipe and Vanessa from Pylon)! Great weekend. Just thought I'd share. Or gloat. Or both.

Also, Georgia killed Tennessee. I wanna kiss Thomas Brown.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Amestory: Band of the Day!

Our good friends at SPIN Magazine have deemed Amestory worthy of Band Of The Day status, of which the band is most deserving. It's pretty fancy stuff, with downloads, tour dates, and all kinds of newfangledness. And check that hot photo! Here are those tour dates for those of you scared of links:

10/5, Bellingham, WA (The Coat Exchange)
10/7, Provo, UT (Starry Nights)
10/8, Omaha, NE (Caffeine Dreams)
10/11, Pittsburgh, PA (Point Park University)
10/12, Bronxville, NY (Sarah Lawrence College)
10/13, Washington DC (Café Mawonaj)
10/15, Gloucester, MA (Gloucester Artspace)
10/16, Washington, DC (The Warehouse Next Door)
10/19, Springfield, MO (The Burgandy Room)
10/23, San Antonio, TX (The Sanctuary)
10/25, Santa Fe, NM (The Halfrack)

We does Dallas

The Tah-Dahs

Download: "Cute Band" by the Tah-Dahs
Download: "The Vice and Virtue Ministry" by the Happy Bullets

Dallas, TX is not exactly the town you think of when it comes to the hot indie pop, but they've got something crazy going on over there these days. Austin might get all of the press and we all know about Denton (Centro-matic, Midlake, etc.), but Dallas is really coming along nicely, scene-wise.

For the record, I think that Houston might be the worst music city in America per capita, though I can't think of a single artist of any kind EVER coming from Indianapolis. Prove me wrong, guys!

Anyway, Dallas recently gave birth to the 25-headed feel-good-psych-pop monster that is the Polyphonic Spree. One of the early choir members of that band was one Roy Ivey, who now runs his own outfit, the garage-pop wonders the Tah-Dahs, who just may have the most subtly disturbing album cover of the year. This is great, witty guitar-bass-drums power pop in the vein of the Modern Lovers, early Apples in Stereo, and the Violent Femmes (the good Violent Femmes). Ivey has a keen, slightly cynical observational eye that he uses on the things and people that interact with him. "Cute Band" is a great example of this: a complete demystification of hipster culture and boys-in-bands worship. Oh, and the musicianship on this record is killer. That drummer is a baller!

The Tah-Dahs' labelmates (on upstart Dallas label Undeniable Records) are the Happy Bullets, a psychedelic ensemble that falls in just the right spot on the continuum between serious and whimsical. "The Vice and Virtue Ministry" is a perfect example of what the Bullets at their peak: quality hooks, not entirely rock and roll, and quite varied. On second thought, it's a great song, but not necessarily the best example of the band's ouevre because the album tackles so many styles with aplomb.

The Tah-Dahs' Le Fun and the Happy Bullets' Vice and Virtue Ministry are two of the best pop records of the year and not to be missed. The bands are starting to hit the road more, so look for them in the Midwest and the Southeast soon.

Also, check out Day of the Double Agent, featuring Regina Chellew, formerly of Captain Audio and Chao. Two of Captain Audio's members went on to form the Secret Machines, who were real jerks to me when my band opened for them a year ago. No matter. They are still a great band. Captain Audio put out one of my favorite records of the 00's so far, Luxury or Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared. That thing was a damned monster and as good as any of the post-Soft Bulletin big drums art-rock records out there. It should have been huge. I have high hopes for this new project of hers.

Pilotdrift, from Dallas as well, ain't too shabby either.

Now is where I make a pun about striking oil or shooting JR or something.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Let's increase site traffic!

More people need to check out our blog and the great artists we've been highlighting, so in a desperate attempt to increase our online presence we are going to have to bring out the big guns and sit back and let the hits roll in:

Lynne Cheney nude pics! Get your Lynne Cheney nude pictures! Lynne Cheney naked over here!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hello Sir @ CMJ

Download: 'Rats' by Tiger Bear Wolf

Download: 'This Graceless Planet' by We Vs. The Shark

So...Athens-based Hello Sir Records really brought their A game to CMJ's Music Marathon last week. Their showcase at the 169 Bar was well-attended and thoroughly rocked. Despite the ultra competitive Friday night 8-11 spot, Hello Sir's showcase was packed all night long. Cinemechanica came first, followed by Asheville's Ahleuchatistas, then came the boys from Tiger Bear Wolf, with We Versus the Shark bringing down the house last. All Athens denizens can rest assured that these guys are out there perpetuating your city's good name. We here tell that lablemate Maserati's show went really well also, and we want to be sure to wish them the best of luck on their upcoming European tour. Keep them eyes here for news on the upcoming and much anticipated debut full-length from Cinemechanica.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's a nice day.

Download: Ham1--"Alice's Call"

You'll hear more about Ham1 around these parts as the weeks roll on, but I will say that Ham1 is one of my favorite Athenian bands, the brainchild of Jim Willingham, a local teacher and one of the best guys you'll ever meet. Flagpole Magazine's Gordon Lamb had this to say about Ham1 this week:
The only safe thing to assume is that Willingham's teen-age years saw him devouring a wide array of independent American records and had him keep a particular focus on those incorporating weird uses of musical space, country music, four-chord pop and homespun ensembles. It's this rough roadmap that works best when attempting to chart Ham-1.
I think of Ham1 was some sort of slightly scratchy radio broadcast from a fantastical America. And for a Southern artists, the music is remarkably dusty and Western. I picked this song because it befits the day itself: gorgeous, breezy, but a tad wistful.

The wistfulness probably comes from my being trapped behind this computer when I should be outside--I don't know--throwing a frisbee around or something. That's what people do on gorgeous days, right?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Paul Duncan on Hometapes

Download: "In A Way" by Paul Duncan
Download: "Oil In The Fields" by Paul Duncan

One of the better shows we saw this year at CMJ 2005 (which was an old-fashioned hammjamm, by the way) was one by Mr. Paul Duncan, who--I will boldly declare!--is about to release one of the best records of the year, Be Careful What You Call Home. Surely no record has worn out my iPod as much as his has. Besides being on one of the sexiest labels out there, Miami's Hometapes (home to great bands like The Caribbean as well), Paul spent some time in Atlanta and Savannah, so he's good people as far as us Georgians are concerned!

He's really knocked it out of the park with this new record and these two tracks available for download barely scratch the surface (though "Oil In The Fields" is a real monster). At times a superior songwriter in the vein of Nick Drake or Smog, at other times a superb ambient/experimental craftsman like Eno, Paul somehow manages to balance these two spheres of his existence with a surefootedness that's remarkable. I mean, I really could go on and on here, but it'll just get more and more pretentious, something that Paul is most definitely not. You ever have one of those records that you love so much but have a hard time explaining? This is one of those instances.

The Hometapes website also features unreleased tracks and something from his first album. Absorb it like a sponge.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Man, why aren't we working this guy?

Download: Scott J. Wolfson--"Fema For Kidz Rap"

With the power of a Chuck D. or Rakim in his prime, hot new MC Scott J. Wolfson has jumped onto the scene with this delightfully old-school jam (check the minimalist Terminator X-esque outro) about the Federal Emergency Management Agency! Think they acted too slowly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? Think that Michael Brown is a moron? Think that FEMA doesn't care about minorities? You crazy! How can a governmental agency with a jam like this on their site not be street? For real. Check these "dope" lyrics (which use a variant of the word "mitigate," by the way):

Disaster . . . it can happen anywhere,
But we've got a few tips, so you can be prepared
For floods, tornadoes, or even a 'quake,
You've got to be ready - so your heart don't break.

Disaster prep is your responsibility
And mitigation is important to our agency.

People helping people is what we do
And FEMA is there to help see you through
When disaster strikes, we are at our best
But we're ready all the time, 'cause disasters don't rest.

Damn! He fronted on you, disaster!

Ninja High School

Download: Ninja High School -- "By Purpose Not By Plan (Sex Nerds Mix)"

What's that you say? There's not enough 'positive hardcore dance rap bands' out there these days? Well fear not, friend, Ninja High School is here to fill that former void in your innermost being. These characters are from that musical hotbed to the North known to most as Toronto. NHS's debut full-length Young Adults Against Suicide, will be released in early November on the venerable German label, Tomlab Records (The Books, Patrick Wolf, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone). While Ninja High School is white and does rap, any comparisons to the Beastie Boys are at best a lazy starting point. Further reflection on the group's sound reveals a multitude of musical influences and touchstones that are not as immediately apparent such as Beat Happening, Public Enemy, and Minor Threat. Well known in their hometown for raucous live shows, perhaps if we all bug Ninja High School and Tomlab we can get this crew down into the U.S. for some dates.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Josh Martinez and Sleep are the Chicharones

Download: "Pork Rind Discotheque" by the Chicharones

A dirty secret of mine is that I like all manner of greasy, fattening pork products, including pork rinds with hot sauce on them AKA chicharrones, which inspires much distress in my vegetarian wife.

For my health, I should probably stick to Vancouver's Chicharones, a spicy rap duo made up of Josh Martinez (one of URB's Next 100) and Sleep (one of the founders of Oldominion), two fantastic performers who possess a clever wit and incredibly diverse influences, which show up in their hot backing tracks. Both Martinez and Sleep have absorbed myriad genres and artists into their lexicon--salsa, rock, blues (Sleep's dad played bass for Gatemouth Brown!), and more--and swing these influences around wildly with an emphasis on songwriting that's pretty refreshing considering what passes for "songs" in much of today's hip-hop. I particularly like the classical riffs that permeate some of the tracks on their new record, When Pigs Fly. Oh, and the record gets better as it goes along (and it starts out really strong)!

Download this track. And catch the Chichis on tour:


8th- Courtenay BC- Seven
9th-Victoria BC- Lucky Bar
10th- Tofino BC- The Legion
11th- Vancouuver BC- Sonar w/Prefuse 73
15th- Whistler BC- GLC w/Sweatshop Union (*private show)
*16h Kelowna BC - The Well w/Sweatshop Union(TBC)
*17th- Calgary AB- TBA w/Aceyalone
*18th- Nelson BC- Fluid (TBC)
*19th- Calgary AB- TBC
20th- Red Deer AB-
21st-Edmonton AB - TBC w/Aceyalone
25th- London ON- The Embassy
*26th-Ottawa ON- Babylon w/Aceyalone (TBC)
28th-1st: POP Montreal Conference/Showcase TBD

6th-Bozeman MT- Zebra Lounge Hatch Festival (Josh Martinez Solo)
14th- San Antonio Texas @ Kingston Tycoon Flats
*20th Vancouver BC- Richards on Richards TBC
*part of the Western Canadian Music Awards

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Daikaiju roars! Pitchfork cowers in fear!

Streaming: an MP3 jukebox of Daikaiju songs

Huntsville, AL (home to Redstone Arsenal and our intern, Jeff) has whipped up something good, and it ain't no rocket! Daikaiju, a monstrous chimera of furious instrumental rock, has charmed the pants off Pitchfork Media, scoring a 7.8 from them! Joe Tangari from The Fork had this to say:
Daikaiju is an impressive full-length debut for a band that's clearly got more up its sleeve than a few Trashmen 45s and tablature print-outs for "Rabble Rouser". The thing with the masks and stage names like Secret Asian Man and Brain Conflict is frankly little more than a distracting sideshow to the main event, which is of course the band's massive wave of prime surf. Grab your board.
More than just a so-called "theme band," Daikaiju has some serious chops and songwriting smarts. Word on the street has it that Daikaiju is heading in a more "prog" direction. Good. Someone needs to show those Mars Volta punks how it's done.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Moonlight Towers

Download: Moonlight Towers--"I Sleep Alone"

Here is a nifty slab of rock classicism from Moonlight Towers, one of Austin's more exciting new(-ish) prospects. What I like about it is that the guys in Moonlight Towers wear their influences on their sleeves, but don't resort to rote regurgitation of old styles. I detect a bit of Memphis rock in there (Big Star et al.) which always pleases me to no end. And they like Badfinger, which is always a plus. Ham and, those two never got any credit. Which is probably why they hung themselves.

Anyway, "I Sleep Alone" is a great rocker and worthy of some megabytes on your hard drive.

And a few of the Towers are from the "Golden Triangle" area of Mississippi, where I went to college. In West Point, MS, they have this truck stop there called the Tin Lizzie where I once ate a country-fried steak that was too big for my 12" plate! It hung over the sides! Oof...I'm still paying for that one.

If you're ever in West Point, MS, got Anthony's and get the stuffed primed rib. Maybe the best steak I've ever had.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Troy's Mix Tape of Love

Thanks to Henry for turning us on to this gem.

Team Clermont Publicity's iTunes--the first 20

Here are the first 20 I've bought on iTunes here at the office (in the order of purchase):

  1. U2-"Vertigo"
  2. Beyonce-"Crazy in Love"
  3. Tweet & Missy Elliott-"Oops (Oh My)"
  4. The Temptations-"Let Your Hair Down"
  5. Edwin Starr-"25 Miles"
  6. James Brown-"Funky Drummer, Pts. 1 & 2"
  7. Sly & The Family Stone-"You Can Make It If You Try"
  8. The Commodores-"Machine Gun"
  9. Wham!-"Last Christmas"
  10. Air Supply-"Making Love Out of Nothing At All"
  11. Neil Diamond-"Shilo"
  12. The Cyrkle-"Red Rubber Ball"
  13. Gregory Abbott-"Shake You Down"
  14. Atlantic Starr-"Always"
  15. Queen & David Bowie-"Under Pressure"
  16. Edwin Starr-"Stop the War Now"
  17. Fleetwood Mac-"What Makes You Think You're the One"
  18. Fleetwood Mac-"Silver Springs"
  19. Arcade Fire-"No Cars Go"
  20. Rick Astley-"Never Gonna Give You Up"
Okay. Let's go through them together, shall we? I like U2, so I wanted to hear that single...still have never bought the record. I figured I had to break down and get "Crazy in Love" and "Oops (Oh My)" sometime in lieu of buying the actual albums, so iTunes came through in a big way. "Let Your Hair Down" is the @#$%-ing jam, as is "25 Miles," but thus begins a disturbing trend in this list: me buying songs I already own at home! I have every Sly album and I have "Machine Gun" on, like, six comps. I have every Wham! album, too (don't laugh)! I actually didn't think I owned "Making Love Out of Nothing at All," but I did. "Shilo" I needed b/c my band was covering it.

"Always" was THE slow jam in Junior High and, I don't know, I just wanted to hear "Under Pressure." I love The Cyrkle and torture the interns with "Shake You Down" (Ah well a-well). I already own those Fleetwood Mac songs, so why did I buy them? Of course that same question should really be asked of my Rick Astley purchase. Sigh.

More to come...

A little something-something to turn some heads

As this is a blog in its infancy, we need to post something that will generate some heat, so we bring you this beauty, taken after a poorly-attended, poorly-played, and sweltering hot Big Gray show at the Caledonia. That would be me, the third from the left with the glasses, the chest hair (oh, wait..that's pretty much everybody), and intermediate stage male pattern baldness., Jon is just to my right, in the front, holding a beer and looking considerably more in shape than me. Wipe up the drool, ladies!

Fine China!

Download: Fine China--"Don't Frown"

I love this band. I love the opening guitar riff; it has a real Bernard Sumner/PCL-thing going on, and, well, I'm a New Order junkie (I cringe at that part in Shaun of the Dead where Ed throws the "Blue Monday" 12" at the zombies). One of the reasons that I think Fine China is so successful at this brand of 80s-influenced pop is that they're taking the right elements--strong, melodic bass lines, for one--from early new wave and the Britpop of the era, leaving the chintzy stuff and the posturing to other bands (*cough* the Bravery *cough*). thinks so, too:

While the recycling of 80's British post-punk has been fashionable for some time now, there are very few present-day bands that have been able to inject anything new into the genre that gave us everything from Gang Of Four to Joy Division to The Smiths (just to name some of the most imitated). That a band from Arizona would be able to channel these considerable influences from over two decades ago and then deliver an album that is good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside them may sound preposterous, but that's exactly what has happened with Fine China's new album The Jaws Of Life.

Make sure that you check out Fine China's new album, The Jaws of Life, out now on Common Wall Media. This "band from Arizona" has reawakened the slumbering Anglophile in me, I tell you! And this time around, I won't buy any Menswe@r records!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Let there be lye!

The excellent, and often contentious, Athens, GA culture blog, The Day Jobs, hipped me to this picture. I'm going to go pour lye into my eyes now.

I feel like I'm being punished for sins I have not yet committed. Like in Minority Report, but without cars that drive themselves and jet packs.

The Kallikak Family

Download: "Second Phase" by The Kallikak Family

Anxious to hear that record by The Kallikak Family that Pitchfork and Dusted have been talking about? Well, go ahead and check out "Second Phase" above, and then go buy your own copy and dig the awesomeness that is May 23, 2007. Unfortunately, this is not really the type of album that reveals itself in one track, but this will give you an idea what some of the more ambient aspects of the record are all about. We here at Team C really can't say enough good things about this gem, and are pleased as can be that it's been so well received up to this point. In addition, why not check out Kallikak's label, San Fran based Tell-All Records; they're living the dream.

Bottom of the Hudson and the Holiday Machine

Download: Bottom of the Hudson--"Holiday Machine"

Is August the only month of the year without a major holiday? I can't think of any big ones...

Okay. Here's where I insert my witty segue about holidays and somehow tie it to the Bottom of the Hudson Holiday Machine EP on Absolutely Kosher.'s early and I'm out of segues. Well, it's a mighty fine EP; Entertainment Weekly called the title track (see above) a "sprawling triumph." Pitchfork Media gave the EP a 7.2, which, in the Rolling Stone scale, translates to three and a half stars and some change. Not too shabby!

Bottom of the Hudson is Eli Simon and a regular cast of characters. BOTH has been on something of a hot streak lately, purveying one-man indie rock the way it used to be. I think the guy is a pop genius (yes, genius) in the making. See for yourself!

Also, peep the review of John "Cage Match" Vanderslice's new one, Pixel Revolt, on Pitchfork today while you're at it. An 8.3! That's 4 stars plus in RS terms!

For the record, Peter Travers called me a "rollercoaster thrill ride!"

Thursday, August 25, 2005

EW on Amestory: Seth Cohen, are you listening?

Download: "Constants" by Amestory

From Thousand Oaks, CA comes Amestory, purveyors of supremely well-orchestrated emotional (not emo!) indie rock. When we were discussing this record in the office, someone (I think it was Melodie) said that this album should be on the indefatigable Fox hit The O.C. It was meant in the best possible way (i.e. the Death Cab way, not the Rooney way). Apparently, Entertainment Weekly agrees:

"Constants" by Amestory has everything you could want in an indie rock song: piano, violin, ethereal synths, a plucky acoustic guitar, and, most important, raspy melancholic vocals. Yeah, he sounds a little like Jeremy Enigk, but nowadays, who doesn't? Expect to hear it when/if Ryan and Marissa break up on The O.C.
Am I the only one that thinks that Ryan is a lot more fun when Marissa's not around? I wish she and her ex-girlfriend from the bar would just go get wasted somewhere and forget how to find their way back to the show, sparing us more of her wooden Canadian Valley Girl antics.

No matter. Amestory is amazing, and you can download a free MP3 of "Constants" by following this link or visiting the EW story (be sure to leave a comment or two!).