Wednesday, December 13, 2006

45s I used to own: Huey Lewis and the News

Probably the first copied cassettes I ever got were in Mrs. Herbert's advanced fourth grade class (Social Studies?), the one in the trailer at Wrights Mill Road Elementary. It was a pretty cool class (the highlight was making a working Native American village and operating it for a day--it always made the papers), and it offered a brief respite from the tyranny of Mrs. Phillips, an "old school" (as in pre-integration), teacher who made us pray in class (even in 1984 in Alabama this seemed problematic and poor Chhavi Vig, who was Hindu, I think, was always put in an awkward position) and separated the black students by a barricade of cubicles.

But, anyway, in Mrs. Herbert's class she let us listen to music occasionally, and Allen Ensminger, always up on stuff like this, brought in Don Henley and Huey Lewis cassettes that he made himself. The dubs were terrible, of course, but I don't even think my family had a proper cassette player beyond one of those one-speaker-record-things-for-your-grandparents kinds, so this was all pretty amazing to me. I had some friends with boomboxes that copied tapes, but he even made his own covers and stuff...a very "profesh" effort.

I can't really remember the Don Henley album, but I think it was Building the Perfect Beast, the one with "Boys of Summer" on it. All I really wanted to listen to was Huey Lewis and his magical News. After weeks of bugging people about playing it, someone just gave me the damned thing. I still have that tape somewhere.

But those crappy cassette player/recorders can only put out so much fidelity, so, of course, I had to gather up my allowance money and buy some 45s:

"If This Is It"



Why I gravitated towards the more ballad-y pop songs of Mr. Lewis is a mystery to me because I remember liking the super-poppy songs the most, particularly "Heart and Soul." But, yeah, I was into this video when I was allowed to watch MTV, and I don't think I had a problem with owning it on cassette and 45. The single was just such a perfect format for a rambunctious, ADDled young man such as myself: jitter around the room for four minutes, return the needle to the starting position, and jitter some more. What is up with this video, by the way? Huey Lewis was waaaay into the long-form storytelling it seems, predating the Sopranos by some 15 years.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Where have we been?

To be honest, I have no idea. Thanksgiving and such. Turkey. Yams. Etc.

There will be action on the Cropper again soon.

But for now I leave you with the most wrong-sounding headline of the day:

"Clinton launches child HIV drug deal."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Long Goodbye

One of my favorite filmmakers is dead. To be fair, Robert Altman was inconsistent to a fault. The man made wonderful films like Nashville, McCabe & Mrs. Miller (great Leonard Cohen soundtrack), M*A*S*H, etc., but he also put out some stinkers like Dr. T and His Women (just awful) and 3 Women (I'm sorry, but I think it stinks). And then there are the myriad Popeyes and OC & Stiggs of the world, those questionable projects that still retained that bizarre Altman vision--the tripod-anchored, voyeuristic camera peering in on the action, the gazillion characters (the wonderful Secret Honor excepted, of course), the labyrinthine non-plotting, and the vigor with which actors gave it their all in his movies. Even minor trifles like Cookie's Fortune are replete with A-level performances...he must have been a delight to work with. I'm not good at these eulogy-type things, and I'm surely not a film studies-type person, so I will leave you with the trailer to one of Altman's most puzzling and brilliant movies, the lackadaisical film noir (Elliot Gould IS Phillip Marlowe!) The Long Goodbye, a film--much like most of Altman's best work--more fun in the outlying details and wispy idiosyncrasies than in its advancement of traditional plot points or causal agents or rote character development. Nothing screams "noir!" like Phillip Marlowe shopping for cat food. Fantastic:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Outrageous Cherry!



Download: Outrageous Cherry--"Memphis Stereo"


These guys and gals have been in the power-pop mix for quite some time and they continue to impress. Power pop is a funny thing, as I've mentioned before. There are so many great power pop bands out there, and only a few have ever tasted stardom and even then it's usually a fleeting thing. Power pop bands are like an outfit that's never totally in style, but never totally out either. You've got your Supergrass, Superdrag, Teenage Fanclub, Mayflies USA, dBs, Replacements...this list could go on forever. All of these bands were extraordinarily gifted purveyors of hooks, melodies, and airtight song structures. And all of them have gotten this close to some kind of stardom. I think the New Pornographers are probably the biggest power pop band of recent note.

I think I've already written a post similar to this one, but, man, I do love some power pop. And Outrageous Cherry completely delivers with this track. The problem with bands like this is that they make the whole thing sound so effortless when it's really not very easy. If songs this catchy were easy to write, everybody would do it, right? Some bands are just born with these skills and Detroit's Outrageous Cherry is one of them. Let's buck the power-pop trend and make these guys huge, okay? Their new record is Stay Happy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

45s I used to own #1

Before they were 7"s, they were 45s to me. They were always seven inches, of course, but before I made the Hipster Switch (circa 1994 or 1995), I called them 45s. My parents called them that. Everyone called them that. This 7" business bothers me.

I'm getting off target here.

I used to buy 45s obsessively, and I had some good ones. My dad passed on some great stuff to me in a drab metal box that had sharp corners capable of gouging you pretty good. It was filled with tons of great stuff. It was the early 80s and the Oldies Boom headed our way at full speed. Just the access to this treasured collection of my father's was probably one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. It had "Tequila" and "Wipe Out" in there. Also: the Ventures, "Telstar", Elvis, "Love Me Do", tons of polka (he was from Minnesota after all). My sister and I swung imaginary beersteins along to the polkas, all named The Lichtensteiner Polka or the Essenhaus Polka or some such thing, and hopped around on one leg in a vain attempt to replicate the polka-ing we'd seen at a wedding one time. We lived in Alabama, so there was not a lot of polka to be found.

How did I get onto polka again?

Okay. Back to the 45s. I rarely had money for music because I had a raging Lego/Transformers/GI Joe habit. I didn't have many full-length LPs beyond Thriller and a Culture Club album. 45s just made more sense. They were usually a couple of bucks and you always got some crazy remix on the B-side just beat-heavy enough to allow for practicing of my jittery breakdancing moves. My sister, my neighbor, her sister, and I had a dance troupe of sorts that, thankfully, never practiced in front of my male friends. It was my darkest secret. It was also a lot of fun. I primarily subscribed to the "stomping cockroaches" school of footwork though at the time I would have told you that I was emulating Kevin Bacon.

I bought a lot of 45s to add to my dad's oldies (I have no idea where that box is), so I'm gonna go through some of the ones that I cherished via the magic of YouTube. Keep in mind that every song here was my favorite song ever because I had absolutely no filter. Also, I usually bought stuff that was on sale (hence the Nu-Shooz).

Speaking of Nu-Shooz:

Nu-Shooz--"I Can't Wait"


What in the name of Roxette is going on here? This is an 80s video through and through: a series of random images, colors, and esoterica for the sake of appearing arty or something. At least people in the 80s tried, you know? It's such an easy genre to make fun of, but let's not forget that the vast majority of our videos today are turgid, banal pieces of performance garbage that amount to nothing more than a game of look-at-me-I'm-cool oneupmanship. It's horrible. So let's hear it for Nu-Shooz and their song (and video) "I Can't Wait". I really loved this one and wore the 45 out. I can't remember what the b-side was...probably the dub version of this song. That was big back then. Dub versions. I thought that "dub" meant weird because the versions always had crazy vocals.

Murray Head--"One Night In Bangkok"
This next nugget is just ridiculous and should make you seriously question my taste. I will say that it was written by Bennie and Bjorn of ABBA (huge heroes of mine) on an off-day. I think Tim Rice had something to do with this as well. I bring you Murray Head:



Who was Murray Head? Why did I love this song? This one really mystifies me. I think I like anything with sort of "old-timey" megaphone vocals (you'll see in the next entry). This was from some musical called Chess. I'd link to Wikipedia or something, but I don't have a lot of time right now. Murray Head doesn't really do much in this video or this song, does he? I think "One Night In Bangkok" had a remix or an instrumental version as a b-side, too. I can't remember that one, either. Could it have been worse?

Taco--"Puttin' On The Ritz"

Oh, yes. How about a band called Taco? This thing--basically a novelty hit--was HUGE in second or third grade. We BEGGED our music teacher to let us sing it in class. I even had a cane at home and did a top hat-type dance to...should I be telling this story? Years later, I rented High Noon and became a Gary Cooper fan. It all comes full circle.

Actually, that song is kind of growing on me again. Maybe it's the lightsaber-like cane hypnotizing me.

In the next edition of 45s I Used To Own? Huey Lewis. And the News!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It Cuts To The Quick!

In addition to finding time to read two whole paragraphs of Spinoza's, Political Treatise, and sending out an invitation to a talk on Ethnic Conflict and Diversionary War, a lot of my day was spent reading this series of posts/articles. As is frequntly the case with things that come about through link-hopping, I read these backwards starting with, Sylvester, which burns, moving on to, Ott, which really resonates with me, and finishing with the Sternbergh piece. I'm particurly interested to hear anyone's thoughts on Ott's post.

Friday, November 10, 2006

YES!!!

aRCHIVE recordings

Any of you 'Cropper readers know anything about this label? They look pretty badassed to me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The reign of terror is over!

Wait...do you think I meant the Republicans? Yeah, yeah, they suck, too. But in a few months we won't have to endure this anymore:



Thank you, Britney, for teaching us how to love...again.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hello Sir at CMJ


Download: Cinemechanica -- "Bruckheimer"
Download: Tiger Bear Wolf -- "Input, Output"

Hello Sir Records will be having another CMJ showcase this year. You should attend. It will be awesome. The Specs:

Thursday, November 2nd
@ The Tank - 279 Church Street
8:00 - We Versus The Shark
8:45 - Tiger Bear Wolf
9:30 - Cinemechanica
10:15 - Ho-Ag
11:00 - Megaband

Thursday, October 26, 2006

IMing With The Stars: Brian Raftery, editor of Idolator--part II


Blogger was acting funny yesterday, so I'm gonna try this again. HERE is part I of my interview with Idolator E-I-C Brian Raftery. I hope you enjoy Part II as much as Part I.

Me: so, I think some bloggers are a little turned off by your entrance onto the scene
Brian: right.
Me: old-school freelancers (not THAT old, but you get me, right?) showing up with their own blog and Gawker $$$ and big numbers
Me: and then the feud with Gerard!
Me: haha
Brian: was that a feud? i love gerard. i just want to make sure he's not nick sylvester in disguise [Editors’ Note—probably not!]
Me: ooh...do you think he is?
Me: I never thought about it
Brian: well, that's just it: we don't know who he is.
Me: I interviewed the guy and he gave his phone # as my coworker Bill's cell #
Me: that's weird
Me: and he gave his address as the White Columns here in Athens which is very strange
Brian: maybe it's some CIA shit
Me: I think it's Henry Owings
Me: Chunklet
Brian: makes sense. but why would he need to do it?
Me: don't know...'cause he's a raconteur
Brian: he never seems afraid to talk shit as henry owings
Me: yeah, true dat
Brian: i think it's someone in the music biz
Me: did I just say "true dat?" Ugh.
Brian: with a journalism degree and a frustration with the music blogs vs music mag balance of power
Me: yeah
Me: are you frustrated with it?
Brian: no, not really.
Me: I think that some of the self-importance and hubris from the blogs is deflating
Me: things are evening out
Brian: i think in five years, everyone working in the mag biz is going to need to have one foot in the blog world
Brian: i did this because it seemed like fun
Me: but do you think you are filling a void out there?
Brian: i hope so.
Brian: I think so
Brian: i feel like i'm writing a blog i would like to read every day
so that's the only gauge i have
Me: The only blog I think is similar that is big is Stereogum and yet you guys seem at odds
Brian: at odds? really?
Me: do you feel that there is an element of "I wrote for a magazine, so let me show you how it's done?"
Me: maybe a tension?
Me: maybe not
Brian: oh, lord no!
Me: hmmm...I thought I picked up on something
Me: but I can't find it
Me: so I will retract!
Brian: i meant "lord no" about the "show you how it's done" bit.
Me: Just trying to get you to sound arrogant, so I can slam you
Brian: haha
Brian: i've always liked what scott does and i think his approach is very smart and very unique
Me: I took a journalism class once
Me: kidding
Brian: ha!
Me: I mean, I did take that class
Me: made a C
Brian: ha! i know people think we're being high and mighty when we slam conflict-of-interest stuff
Brian: but honestly, if you accept advertising, you should be able to accept criticism.
Me: I think so
Brian: and there's a lot of vaguely payola-ish stuff going on
Brian: and i want the blogs to be good, not corrupt
Me: I think the blogging world has long needed-and I use this word too often but here it is-ombudsmanship
Me: and by long needed I mean, like, six months
Me: heh
Brian: sure, as long as it's fun ombudsmanship, not some NYTimes Public Editor shit
Me: sure
Brian: hey, can i take a 10-minute break? i need to post.
Me: you know what...sure
Me: this is really long
Me: haha
Me: I need a good ending
Brian: okay, when i get back i'll talk shit about nick denton.
Brian: kidding!
Brian: okay, give me five more minutes...sorry
Me: See this?
Brian: yeah, i saw that!
Brian: pretty funny
Brian: i actually don't hate CWK as much as some others do.
Me: I was meh about a few songs, but I reserve judgment until I hear the whole record
Me: but I like that The Fork is getting kind of contentious again!
Brian: yeah. i was happy the nice boys got a good review. love that record
Me: haven't heard it
Me: I wish people would send me stuff
Brian: i thought publicists got stuff sent to them all the time from other publicists
Me: I am out of the loop here in Athens
Me: maybe I should ask more?
Me: we work small unsigned bands a lot of the time
Me: not a lot of copies
Brian: i thought there was a swap between companies. hook that shit up!
Me: I don't live in NYC and hang out with the cool kids
Me: do you think the industry is too NYC swung right now?
Me: I do
Me: Is EVERY band in Brooklyn good?
Me: You'd think so!
Brian: i have no idea, to be honest.
Brian: and to be fair, a lot of people move to nyc to catch that brooklyn "buzz," a word i hate
Me: sure
Me: Animal Collective
Me: Hold Steady (sort of)
Brian: yes, yes. these are bands, yes.
Me: Animal Collective would be cooler if they were from Baltimore
Brian: they should have stayed in baltimore so they could get a song on the wire!
Me: I love the Wire
Me: maybe my favorite show ever
Me: one of 'em
Brian: it's one of the greatest things to happen to us as humans. i'm not kidding.
Me: along with Small Wonder
Brian: ha!
Me: I think so, too
Brian: well, she is fantastic, and made of plastic.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

IMing With The Stars: Brian Raftery, editor of Idolator--part I


Idolator has made some serious waves in just a few months on the job with its snarky news stories, jabs at bloggers, and irreverent takes on music news. Much like sister/parent site Gawker, Idolator carries with it a love it/hate it vibe, and I get the feeling that the editors wouldn't have it any other way. After all, controversy generates hits like Cold War Kids MP3s! But seriously, I "sat down" for an iChat with Brian Raftery, editor of Idolator to talk about some stuff. Raftery has worked for GQ, SPIN, EW, and more, so he comes with a strong publishing pedigree to the online world. We discuss this, the Wire, Gerard's identity, choosing magazine covers, the new My Chemical Romance record (he likes it...and he's not the only one!), and more in this edition of IMing With The Stars! Here's part I:

Me: hello
Brian: hey there
Me: good time?
Me: bad time?
Brian: yeah, why not?
Me: cool
Me: okay…questions
Brian: my wireless is a little spotty today, so if it knocks out, it's not like I got angry and left
Me: cool
Me: So...why Idolator? Does the world need another music site?
Me: and why leave the mild-mannered world of magazine editing?
Brian: yep. well, it needs a *good* music site.
Brian: zing!
Brian: i keed.
Brian: but the real reason why i wanted to do it
Brian: was because there are a lot of great sites, but they all have their own niches, followings, obsessions. which is great, but i think there's a need for a more general-overview music site.
Brian: for people who don't spend all day reading 3,000 blogs.
Me: a clearinghouse, perhaps?
Me: I mean, there are blogs that do that, too
Me: what about the Fork or Tiny Mix Tapes or the like?
Me: snarky news stories, etc.
Brian: Well, I think even both of those sites are very interested in indie-rock as a main pursuit.
Me: yeah
Me: sure
Brian: weirdly, i think the best magazine-world example
Brian: would be blender
Me: really?
Brian: yep. whatever people think of the magazine, they can get away with rap, hip-hop, pop, alt-rock, classic rock, reissues.
Me: yeah, I see that
Brian: they haven't niched themselves into a corner.
Me: but so does Rolling Stone, right? Or SPIN?
Me: Blender has good review writers, for sure
Me: I think people forget that
Brian: Well, yeah...I mean Christgau, Powers, Douglas Wolk all review stuff for them
Me: yeah
Brian: As for Rolling Stone and Spin
Me: but overall their tone is completely superficial to me
Brian: blender's tone?
Me: yeah
Me: and that's not a bad thing
Me: just not for me
Me: I like that catalog review section in the back, though they were way off on the Kinks
Me: Kinda Kinks one star?!
Brian: ha! well, the music-writer world will never agree on the kinks
Me: after Muswell Hillbillies I am out and you are kidding yourself if you think any of that crap is even close to good!
that's my take
Brian: "come dancing" is a great karaoke song.
Me: Ouch...you got me!
Me: Rolling Stone and SPIN, though--sidetrack!
Brian: oh yeah: rolling stone's music coverage has been beefed up in the last few years, but it's more of a lifestyle/entertainment/politics mag, whereas blender is pretty much all music.
Brian: as for spin...it's a tricky one
Brian: spin, i think, covers the alt-rock world and subcultures better than any other mag.
Me: ultragrrrl drives me crazy
Brian: their problem, i think, is that it's hard to tell what "the kids" are into anymore, and whether said kids are worth following
Me: in a bad way
Brian: well, she's not there anymore.
Me: really?
Me: she was gone and then she was back
Me: and now she's gone?
Brian: no, she hasn't worked there regularly in over a year, but
Me: I don't understand that SPIN party section
Brian: pemberton, i think, brought her in. she certainly doesn't have a recurring column or anything
Brian: the party section's a mess. and i say that as an unapologetic spin booster
Me: I thought Sia was taking it in an interesting direction, but I got that year end list and it was all My Chemical Romance vs. Fall Out Boy
Me: so a major disconnect between the readers and the writers
Me: I am a SPIN supporter, too.
Brian: yeah, the disconnect is there, but I think MCR is basically going to win all of those people over on this album
Me: Of the big 3 (Paste, Harp, etc. excepted--I mean RS, Blender, SPIN), SPIN covers our artists the most
Me: they take the most chances
Me: I mean, they reviewed Paul Duncan and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone for us
Me: MCR is good?
Brian: new one is pretty good. i wish that guy would stop some of his vocal tics, but the songs are good
Me: I have never gotten one review in Blender!
Me: Are you just saying that?
Me: c'mon
Me: are you doing one of those writer "let
Me: oops
Brian: i'm listening to it now!
Brian: fourth time today.
Me: "let's pretend that System of a Down is good" things
Me: I hate that crap
Brian: well, that "everybody going to the party" song was great! didn't like much more by them
Me: WHY cover the Red Hot Chili Peppers and even act like they make a difference now?
Brian: me, i generally like what i like
Brian: but man, I guarantee you this:
Me: everyone at big mags bemoaning the state of the industry and then they kowtow to the LCD
Me: an Idolator guarantee?
Me: I like it
Brian: the red hot chili peppers probably sold more in one week than most of the paste/harp/magnet bands sell in a year..so that's the coverage
Me: sure
Brian: in the end, big magazines have to sell every month
Me: yeah
Me: I understand that
Me: but take a few chances
Me: and Panic! at the Disco is not taking a chance
Me: I think EW and SPIN do the most
Brian: true, but there's a trick that most magazines need to do. take a Brian: look at some of those spins from the '80s
Me: I loved that mag then
Me: I grew up with it
Brian: you'll see david lee roth, michael hutchence on the cover
Me: yeah
Me: madonna, too
Brian: they would put big stars on the cover, and them--bam!--a 3,000-word piece on nick cave on the inside
Me: and then the Pooh Sticks and GBV and Sonic Youth on the inside
Me: Totally true
Brian: yep. and that's the best way to make these things work. the problem is that there are very few big, big artists who are also really cool these days
Me: haha
Me: I agree
Brian: really! i mean, who would put on the cover of spin?
Brian: or blender?
Me: Radiohead ain't even that big anymore
Me: Beck maybe?
Me: it's tough
Me: think about the Beatles
Me: top with fans, critics, press, everybody
Me: same with the Stones
Me: U2 has come close
Me: REM for a time
Me: but, yeah, in the rock world--it's problematic right now
Brian: think about how small that big-star pool is
Brian: and then consider: 12 issues a year!
Me: now I'm depressed
Brian: i'm not defending panic at the disco, but it's hard
Me: oh yeah
Brian: the truth is, magazines need to get ready to become smaller
Me: I understand that decision
Brian: just like everyone else in the biz!
Brian: but yeah, panic at the disco just sucks as a band and as a youth movement
Me: it's the equivalent of Sigue Sigue Sputnik to me, but they had Moroder!
Brian: ha!
Brian: better haircuts, too
Me: and Moogs!
Brian: ha
Me: think about the Monkees--man, they were a killer fake band
Me: our real bands seem more fake than them
Brian: well, they had carole king/etc writing for them!
Me: Porpoise Song is one of the greats
Me: hey, what was your MCR guarantee a while back?
Brian: one of the best music-movie moments ever. i love that opening of head!
Brian: oh, and the guarantee was about chili peppers outselling
Me: oh yeah
Me: you are probably right
Brian: but i do like most of this MCR record
Me: although Harp cover star Tom Petty has sold a couple of records in his day!
Me: that's good to know.
Brian: that record is pretty good

Part II tomorrow!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Paul Brill--"Don't Tell Them" video!

Mr. Paul Brill, as directed by Caperton Barnes/Barney Miller:



This is the second single from the fantastic Harpooner album after the fantastic "Paris Is On". I don't think I need to go into what an important independent artist Paul is again, but here it is: Paul Brill is one of our greatest assets, completely DIY and a guy keeps on pushing the envelope of who he is as an artist and what a singer-songwriter can and should be.

Me and Mr. P #3: Racial Tensions!


Part 3 in my ongoing series of conversations with Tiny Mix Tapes elusive editor, Mr. P. In this edition, I relate a story about some Southeast Asian kids harassing me in St. Paul in the 80s and then we have a brief discussion about the Model Minority (of which Mr. P is a member) and Asian male desexualization (Mr. P makes a good point that goes unexplored, unfortunately). I wish we had gotten a chance to finish this conversation, but Mr. P had to go eat or something. Pshaw...Asians! Always eating!

Me: Mr. P
Mr. P: and me!
Me: haha
Mr. P: you still hate me?
Me: oh yeah
Mr. P: c'mon
Mr. P: love me!
Me: haha jk lmao
Me: what does lmao mean?
Mr. P: lick my ass out
Me: really?
Mr. P: no, i'ts laughing my ass off
Me: man
Me: so obvious
Me: I never knew
Mr. P: i mean.. so i heard from internet geeks...
Me: yeah,right!
Me: so, you're asian, right?
Me: well I have a story for you
Me: one year, on Summit Ave. in St. Paul
Me: a summer
Me: I was staying with my grandparents and I went outside to ride a bike on the sidewalk in front of their rowhouse
Me: and a bunch of vietnamese or Cambodian or Laotian of Hmong kids came up to me and pushed me down
Mr. P: that is funny!
Me: and they were yelling at me and calling me a fag or something
Me: and I cried behind my grandparents' house
Mr. P: awww
Me: where I came from the Asian kids were always quiet!
Me: The Model Minority
Me: but you St. Paul thugs!
Mr. P: haha
Mr. P: you know how we do it
Me: it was such a disconnect for me, though...
Me: the stereotype of the smart, bookish Asian kid and encountering the reality of a group of Asians that has been somewhat left behind
Me: more recent Southeast Asian immigrants have it tough because everyone expects them to be so perfect
Mr. P: and southeast asians aren't quite AS model minority as japanese and chinese
Me: I think that the Model Minority Myth, even if it is a "positive" stereotype, in a manner of speaking, is still damaging insofar as it creates false behavioral expectations
Mr. P: yeah
Me: the Twin Cities has a large population of that
Me: and, at the time, St. Paul was a little "rougher"
Me: there were, apparently, Vietnamese gangs and stuff
Me: maybe there still are
Mr. P: we have one of the highest hmong populations in the US
Mr. P: but yeah, i know.. that model minority myth backfires often
Me: but I will say that the worst slum in the Twin Cities is nicer than most places in Atlanta!
Me: Do people expect you to be a certain way
Me: ?
Me: you seem quite gregarious to me
Me: but I bet in school you were supposed to be quiet, right?
Mr. P: hmmm... iwas a loud mouth
Mr. P: class clown in certain classes
Me: awesome
Mr. P: quiet in others though
Me: did teachers react differently or were they surprised?
Mr. P: i'm not sure really. i think i got a lot of slack for being chinese
Me: I mean, they should know not to trust a Marvin
Mr. P: haha
Mr. P: race came up a lot in my high school
Me: I did a lot of work in grad school on this very subject, so it interests me
Mr. P: yeah, race is a big topic for me
Me: I think Asian girls have it even worse
Mr. P: i kicked someone out of my record store who was tryign to sell shit because he said something racist
Mr. P: well, the thing with asian guys is that they're so desexualized
Me: what did he say?
Mr. P: like.. maybe ONCE in the history of u.s. TV have they shown an asian dude kissing
Me: that's why I think Sun and Jin are important on Lost
Me: because they are totally hot
Me: and the guy is hot
Me: for once
Mr. P: short story: i was flipping through his records that he was selling, and i was pulling the shit that was actulaly worth something to our store. then he's like: 'wel, you know.. you're ORIENTAL, and this is AMERICAN music from the '70s"
then he looks at me with a smirk
Mr. P: i told him i'm american

Up next...an interview with Idolator editor Brian Raftery!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hometapes @ CMJ



Download: Pattern is Movement - "In Tape Grass"(Scott Solter remix)
Download: Nick Butcher - "Minutes Overlap"
Download: The Caribbean - "First & Apple"
Download: Slaraffenland - "Shuto-Uchi"
Download: Shedding - "Rain Drops Revisited v.2"
Download: Feathers - "Skara Brain"
Download: Paul Duncan - "In A Way"

I know we say this a lot, but we absolutely adore Hometapes. They've got a pretty sweet CMJ showcase lined up this year featuring all the artists above. Come hang out with Hometapes and The 'Cropper at:

The Trash Bar
256 Grand Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY
Wednesday, November 1st
7PM

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Team Clermont @ CMJ

Download: The Little Ones - "Lovers Who Uncover"
Download: Loney, Dear - "The City, The Airport"
Download: Tall Hands - "Introduction To The Razor"

Team Clermont can be pretty hard to pin down at a music conference. We're generally running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but any interested parties can count on catching us at the event described above! Come say hello!

Team Clermont/Sub Pop/Astralwerks/Pulse Party
Friday, November 3, 2006! 2-6 PM
Arlene's Grocery, NYC
w/The Little Ones, Loney, Dear, and Tall Hands!

By the way, those babies, yeah...they'll drink you under the table. Scout's honor*

*I was not a scout, nor will there be drinking babies**
**maybe

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Scott Solter plays Pattern Is Movement - Canonic


Download: Scott Solter plays Pattern Is Movement - "Blanched and Threshed"
Download: Pattern is Movement - "Maple"

Today, we present the first song, "Blanched and Threshed", from the most recent Hometapes release, Canonic, which is Scott Solter's remix of Pattern is Movement's 2005 LP, Stowaway, and the original song, "Maple", upon which it was based. Pretty different tunes, eh? The differences between the two records are vast and impressive. Both albums are fantastic, but in a lot of ways it's difficult to associate the one with the other. I'm not really much of a remix buff, but there were several other things about this project that interested me, not least of which were the people involved.

Followers of The 'Cropper will know that we've been fans of Pattern is Movement, Scott Solter, and Hometapes for some time, so we expected to hear a quality record from the get go. Further, I thought that Solter's role as engineer/producer of, Stowaway, would make for an interesting perspective as a remixer. He had been there for almost the entirety of the original songs creation, serving as a sort of midwife for PIM, and now he had the opportunity to pull apart and dimantle the artifact he had helped to construct. Actually, the more I think about it, that last sentence comes across as too destructive to me. To be sure, there's an aspect of this record that reminds me of a more frenetic, Disintegration Loops, but the album is not one of total decay, but rather one of Frankenstein style creation. The pieces of, Stowaway, are rearranged to form a hulking, lumbering monster of a sonic collage. At times the album can be soft and gentle, particularly the last track, "The Memory Of In Or Out", but for the most part, the record is large, heavy, and crashes around both the speakers and the room with abandon. This is true to the polyrhythmic strangeness of PIM, and to the sounds of, Stowaway, which segues nicely to my final point on this record, the ascetic nature of its material.

For, Canonic, the only source materials were the sounds of, Stowaway, no additional data was added. It's a testament to the studio wizardry of Solter that he was able to manipulate those original tapes in such a way as to create such an internally consistent, yet extremely different remix record from the original. It gives me visions of a hephaestusian soundsmith wrestling with tapes in his workshop as sparks fly around in the background. This must be how vulcanized rubber first came about, no?

Habeas corpse.

By the way, as of right now, our esteemed president has effectively suspended the Great Writ. Yay! All in the spirit of compromise!

Oh, yeah. One more thing: the government--this government--can torture at will now. Fun!

Monday, October 16, 2006

IMing with the Stars: 20 Questions with Gerard, part II: #'s 12-20

So, in the second half of my interview with Gerard, things get more contentious and weirder. I think I kind of sound like a goober. Sorry about that. And Gerard comes up with a new profession, Tautologist, which is funnier than we make it seem. Oh, and Marathon Packs gets some serious love, and I decry the lack of soul blogs because I am an idiot and haven't figured out elbo.ws and Google apparently. I found a bunch after this interview. Though I'm still looking for Jeannie Reynolds and Ronnie Dyson tracks!

And Gerard still won't tell me who he is.

Anyhoo, here is the interview:

Me: #12--are you sure we haven't met in another forum? I get the feeling we know each other
Gerard: lucasjensenusa - gerard IS YOU!
Me: Maybe so
Gerard: Gerard accused of be many!
Me: #13--do you think there are more conflicts of interest in the blogging world or in the traditional MSM media? I do worry about ad sales and editorial being in the same place
Me: At the same time, bloggers aren't under the monetary pressures that mags are
Gerard: Filter, Fader/Cornerstone bigger interest conflict. some blogger make big money. Stereogum whoa!
Me: #14--You think Stereogum is in conflict? I mean, they are considerably more corporate than some, sure, but I don't get the feeling that Scott hides anything, unless I missed a memo somewhere.
Gerard: no
Gerard: stereogum make bank!
Gerard: Gerard mention stereogum for money, not interest conflict
Me: #15--do you have a list of your biggest conflict of interest people? Care to share?
Gerard: Gerard no list yet. Gerard write about some, go read!
Me: haha
Me: just trying to increase my paltry, 29 people a day hit count!
Gerard: lucasjensenusa almost big time!
Me: I'll post some Sufjan tracks
Me: wait, we work with Sufjan...score!
Gerard: someone tell gerard today think casimir pulaski day actually about boy
Gerard: maybe sufjan.....eh
Gerard: not that anything wrong with that
Me: #16--do you think blogs have gotten hubristic?
Me: I mean, just because Pitchfork added MP3s, doesn't mean the blogs are "winning" against them
Gerard: gerard think YES
Gerard: especial that point
Gerard: pitchfork not care about blog!
Gerard: calm down assholes!
Me: I love how some bloggers accused Pitchfork of biting their rhymes when it was the Fork that had been writing about music on the internet since 1996
Me: hell, half of the bloggers out there were in middle school then!
Gerard: Gerad miss old review when pitchfork review buying hot dog then be "oh and record bad!"
Me: I surfed the web with Netscape 3 back then, I think
Me: which review?
Me: that sounds funny
Gerard: no remembe exact
Me:#17--how old are you anyway? I'm 31.
Me: I feel old for some reason
Gerard: Gerard older than 20. Younger than 35.
Me: I mention bands like Superchunk and people say, "huh?"
Gerard: MAC!
Me: of course, they mention current bands and I go, huh?
Me: yeah, Mac is a major force in my life
Me: not personally
Me: but I've loved him long time
Gerard: Gerard hot bother!
Me: #18--do you think Idolator is biting your rhymes, what with their blogger ombudsmanship?
Gerard: Gerard no pay for blogging.
Gerard: maybe pay Gerard then Gerard show Idolator thing or two.
Gerard: until pay Gerard, no, Idolator more resources
Gerard: (Gerard funnier!)
Me: #19--will you ever write about any specific music?
Gerard: do lucasjensenusa want music talk from Gerard?
Me: nope
Me: just curious
Gerard: I think there are enough other blogs out there
Gerard: or not?
Me: I kind of wish there were more soul blogs
Me: there are some good ones, but still
Gerard: Gerard maybe talk little music someday.
Gerard: not all time
Gerard: not much
Me: but I mean, I know who the Numero Group is, too
Gerard: Woo!
Gerard: show Gerard lucasjensen eccentric soul!
Me: I've been looking for Ronnie Dyson lately and Jeannie Reynolds and Cyl Johnson and Lyn Collins
Me: those four in particular—only heard tracks on comps and iTunes is a bust
Gerard: Gerard want lady of canyon one from numero
Me: oh, yeah
Me: the numero group was awesome--I meant no disrespect--I really like blogs like Tuwa's Shanty and some of the 45 blogs where they hit you with stuff you don't know about
Gerard: yes.
Me: I wish I could run a blog like Marathon Packs myself
Gerard: packy smart!
Gerard: Packy no think Gerard so funny sometime.
Me: but I worry about us putting up non-legal MP3s being that we are involved in the music industry
Gerard: that must be disappointing for you
Gerard: Gerard okay with
Me: so #20...
Gerard: #20!
Me: ...who are you really?
Gerard: lucasjensenusa, Gerard is Gerard!
Me: argh
Me: tautologies drive me nuts
Gerard: Gerard is tautologist
Me: but I guess we will have to leave it at that!
Me: wow
Me: I've never thought about the profession of tautologist before
Me: "so, what do you do, Jack?"
Gerard: hard work
Gerard: no pay.
Me: "You know, what I do."
Gerard: yeah
Me: "What do you like?" "What I tend to like."
Gerard: also burgers.
Gerard: interview out!
Me: thanks, Gerard.
Gerard: yes lucasjensenusa!
Me: Why, I bet we will hit that 40 a day hit count!
Gerard: toast of town!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Inner Banks


Download: The Inner Banks -- "Acoustic"
Download: The Inner Banks -- "Siberia"
Download: The Inner Banks -- "Glittering Sky"

Wow. This is beautiful stuff, along the lines of Azure Ray, Tristeza, or Japancakes. I think this is truly one of the most stirring and altogether pleasant debut records you’ll hear this year. It’s kind of great—speaking as a publicist here—that I get to bookend the year with Gregor Samsa and The Inner Banks. That's some seriously melodious business. I think a lot of the pretty music out there is kind of facile, so it's nice to hear the movement and fluidity of this stuff, not to mention the strong sense of verticalization--C chords and G chords are always gonna be nice together, but you've gotta do something with 'em, you know? The Inner Banks have. From the fine folks that brought you The Bootleg Remedy and Folksongs for the Afterlife, the Inner Banks is sort of a combination of those bands' sensibilities: there is a slight touch of the Americana (the former) and the swooning atmospherics of the latter. Bah, I'm terrible at descriptions today. Read what these folks have to say and click on the music above.

Like I said, this is beautiful stuff.

IMing with the Stars: 20 Questions with Gerard, part I: #'s 1-11


I love MP3 blogs as much as the next guy, but everything feels too serious out there right now; it's like this new, exciting medium has aged 35 years old and turned cranky and self-serious in all of two and a half years or something. Some levity is needed, and, honestly, a good dose of ombudsmanship ain't a bad thing, either. It's always good to get a nice kick in the butt now and again to keep you honest.

Idolator has reared its head and though I like a lot of what they do, it's a pretty slick operation. For my money, there is no better rancoteur around than the broken English-speaking, third person-talking weirdo Gerard of Gerard Vs. Bear. Sure, it's too insider-y and its immaturity often feels forced, but it's funny as hell and serves the much-needed purpose of making sure people don't take themselves too seriously. It's the perfect antidote to the unfunny, mugging, pat-ourselves-on-the-back, yay-we-made-some-bands-sorta-big hipsterism of that execrable Aziz Ansari skit that everybody thought was so funny.

In this set of 20 questions, done over iChat one day, I try to ferret out Gerard's identity and start a conversation about conflicts of interest (a big pet peeve of his) and You Ain't No Picasso's butt. Who is he? Why is he here? No, really, who is he? Enjoy!

Me: hey
Me: wanna do an interview for my blog?
Gerard: yes, sure lucasjensen
Me: I must warn you that I am a publicity person, but we don't lie about it!
Gerard: gerard knows who lucasjensenusa
Me: haha
Me: I'm sure
Gerard: maybe interview clever trick
Gerard: throw scent off path to georgia
Me: GA, eh?
Me: c'mon...who you is?
Gerard: Gerard!
Me: yep...Gerard
Me: how about we play 20 questions?
Gerard: okay, go!
Gerard: Ok Go!
Me: are you vegetable, animal, or mineral?
Gerard: more animal.
Gerard: little vegetable.
Me: good. #2--are you a bear?
Gerard: NO!
Gerard: Gerard vs BEAR
Me: #3--do you live in the Southeastern United States?
Gerard: Gerard live in heart and mind of readers everywhere.
Me: #4--are you a dirty foreigner?
Gerard: Gerard bathes regular
Gerard: semi-regular.
Me: #5--do you like the band Foreigner?
Gerard: Gerard okay Foreigner.
Gerard: Journey better.
Me: tough call, to be sure
Me: #6--do you have a day job?
Gerard: Be Gerard ffull-time job!
Me: #7--have we met in person before?
Gerard: Gerard no meet lucasjensenusa
Gerard: maybe meet
Gerard: Gerard no memory for lucasjensenusa!
Me: #8--do you actually like any bloggers?
Me: besides yourself, of course
Gerard: Gerard hate self.
Gerard: no, that lie.
Gerard: Gerard like many many blogger.
Gerard: Packy smart.
Gerard: T-side Taylor Gerard friend.
Gerard: blogger chicago reader
Me: Do you like Squashed?
Me: #9?
Gerard: Gerard write more clearly than squashed!
Gerard: not enough LSD in world make Gerard taht annoying!
Gerard: INSIPIDITY!
Me: #10--are you more surprised that your questions of conflict of interest haven't really been addressed that often?
Gerard: Sadly, no.
Gerard: Jack Abramoff clear way
Me: #11--be honest, do you think we have a conflict of interest, operating this blog and cruising the elbo.ws boards and such?
Gerard: No.
Gerard: lucasjensenusa say "pr me asap!"
Gerard: all know who is lucasjensenusa!
Gerard: no secret!
Gerard: really?
Me: not all. . .
Me: I wish they did
Me: maybe I would have a band as big as [edited] or [edited]!
Gerard: haha
Gerard: then ain't picasso touch your butt a lot!
Me: he already does!
Gerard: sweet!?


Part II coming soon!

Where have we been all week?


Man, I don't know either. It's just...you get busy and you have kids and the little rugrats want Tickle Me This and Elmo Me That and before you know it you're 55 and crying 'cause your kids have gone to college and you're a tub of guts and three mortgages deep, you know?

All I'm saying is that we won't be this bad again. I promise.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

On a more serious note...


John Yoo is a soulless, creepy man who wants to suspend habeas corpus and clearly has no idea what values have made this country different from, say, China or the former Soviet Union. We are NOT torturers.

Listen to this interview (never mind the wimpy Steve Inskeep, who let the man get a pass here and there) and tell me you're glad that this guy has the president's ear. I'm not sure our administration even understands anymore what it means to be an American.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Niobe and White Hats


Download: Niobe--"Give All To Love" MP3

So, Tomlab pretty much rules the roost. This is shaping up to a banner year for them, what with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Final Fantasy, Les Georges Leningrad, and more releasing/released in 2006. Niobe's White Hats is the real capper for them. This is an odd and endlessly intriguing album. I love Joanna Newsom and Ys and everything, but I honestly think that Niobe's put out the more interesting album here (and it's quite a bit more succinct). It's just such a bizarre, undefinable listen and yet everybody I know who hears it agrees that it's great.

Who is Yvonne Cornelius/Niobe? Is she an electronic artist? Sure, there are elements of that and she did sing with Mouse on Mars once. But the term "electronic" seems pretty limiting to me. Hell, John freakin' Mellencamp had drum loops in a song of his ten years ago. I think we've come to the point where "electronic music" has thoroughly permeated the musical landscape that we need to stop defining artists in the often exclusive category. You say "electronic" to someone and they think you have to sound like Moby.

So is Niobe pop? Err, yes, but in the more traditional sense of the word "pop" and less the indie rock definition. She's a true musical omnivore, coming off as a warped Andrews Sister or long-lost descendent of a black sheep Gilberto. She's got a Nico-like chanteuse-ness, but everything is filtered through a gauzy false nostalgia that's faked for good reason. It's like cherrypicking the best from each decade of the 20th century and pulping it.

Check out this video to get a good feeling for the Niobe aesthetic:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alex Ross


One of the best music writers I've come across. Remind me to buy his book when it comes out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Barsuk's Flying Circus


Download: The Long Winters -- "Pushover"
Download: What Made Milwaukee Famous -- "Idecide"
Download: Menomena -- "E Is Stable"

We caught the What Made Milwaukee Famous, Menomena, and The Long Winters tour at its first stop in Atlanta this past Friday, and came away quite impressed.

Team Clermont Publicity has always harbored a love for Menomena rivalled by precious few, and there most recent live show did not dissapoint. They still play as a trio, incorporating more instruments than you'd think it's possible for three guys to play in the span of one song. They mixed in a good number of new songs, which I can only assume will be included in their Barsuk debut, Friend and Foe, that streets January 23rd. I'm happy to report that the new tunes are winners all the way.

As much as publicity gets into Menomena, our radio department might just trump us in their borderline unhealthy obsession with The Long Winters. And, what I found at the show was that they're not alone in their fandom. The whole front row of the audience knew the words to every single song, and were, quite frankly, singing along with John Roderick like their life depended on it. One couple, conspicous fans amongst fans, was made up of a guy and his girl that were so excited you'd think they'd landed on the moon. The dude was on crutches, and nearly fell over at least three times from writhing and singing along to his favorite tunes. Fortunately, his lady was there to catch him every time. I like The Long Winters records fine, but I still had a much better time at their show than I expected. So, check this show out if it rolls through your town. Here are the remaining dates:

9/26 - Charlottesville at Satellite Ballroom
9/27 - Baltimore at Sonar
9/28 - Philadelphia at World Café Live
9/29 - NYC at Bowery Ballroom
9/30 - Boston at Harper's Ferry
10/3 - Montreal at La Sala Rossa
10/4 - Toronto at Lee's Palace
10/5 - Detroit at Magic Stick
10/6 - Chicago at Subterranean
10/7 - Minneapolis at Triple Rock Social Club

Friday, September 22, 2006

a little of this, a little of that


Download: The Low Lows -- "Dear Flies, Love Spider"

First and foremost, belated congratulations to Owen Pallett, Blocks Recording Club, Tomlab Records, and anyone else in Final Fantasy's corner, on the recent Polaris Prize Victory! Of course, we here at the 'Cropper can't think of a more deserving victor.

Next up, two blogs that have been entertaining us for entirely different reasons: 1) Gerard vs. Bear, is on the warpath, mowing down any and all MP3 bloggers that stand in his path. He's quite the topic of conversation over at the Elbo.ws' forum. 2) Georgia Soul offers up delicious songs from The 'Cropper's lovely home state, and as Lucas will certainly tell you (again, and again, and again if you let him) we're all for promoting some blogs that cover stuff other than your tried and true indie offerings. Hit'm up!

Finally, be sure to check out our download today, which comes from local lads, The Low Lows. I'd get into more detail on them, but it's happy hour time! They've got a show this Friday, September 22nd here in Athens, but it's a SECRET....get it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more suggested reading


While most of AOL's music site leaves me cold, they do offer one feature that I want to highlight, which is that they are always streaming twenty records. And though the bulk of what they'll offer is pretty tepid, it's one way to stay informed on chart topping stuff without having to drop any coin on it. Further, there is usually at least one or two records I'm actually anxious to hear. For example, today you can check out the much anticipated and hyped, Lupe Fiasco's, Food & Liquor.

Monday, September 18, 2006

and we thought we had the deepcuts


Every time I ask John Fernandes what he's been listening to, I've never heard of at least half of it. He's generally spinning some pretty underground stuff. Of course, this is not in and of itself something to be desired. I've got no love for folks that lord their knowledge of obscure music over you, and fortunately, I've never once gotten that feeling from John. With him, it seems to be a case of a guy that really loves music, and has devoted a lot of his life to digging. I'm pretty sure he'd want everyone to be hearing the music he's listening to. Check out his Dusted List to see what he's been rocking lately.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Second Story Man!

Not all of these people are in the band.

Download: Second Story Man—“Catalyst”
Download: Second Story Man—“Cancer Dance”
Download: Second Story Man—“Letter to Be”

Straight from Louisville, KY, home to some of our favorite bands (MMJ and the Merediths) and one of our favorite cities on the planet, comes Second Story Man, a long-running fixture on the scene that appears ready to break out with its fun, energetic, twisty guitar pop. They sound like Second Story Man (natch), but I hear a less serious Sleater-Kinney in there or maybe a more sprightly Ida. Another great Kentucky band!

And the world breathed a sigh of relief.


And we learned to love again. And crested birds lit atop rooftops. And women hung yellow, polka-dotted linens that smelled of warmth. And children danced 'round maypoles and sang songs of youth.

And I moved on. Finally, I moved on.

Sleep well, tuneful angels. I love thee.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Matmos, or Two Birds With One Stone


Download: Matmos -- "Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein"

Time is not on the 'Croppers' side these days. For a variety of reasons, it's been hard for us to get to posting with the regularity that we'd like. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your feelings on my posts, I frequently am not doing what I should be while I'm on campus pursuing my studies, which opens up a world of posting possibilities. Today's post will be an attempt to explain why I like Matmos' most recent album, The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast.

The record did not jump out at me right away, although I was always fascinated by its structure, with each of the songs dedicated to a particular artistic personality. Some of these people I was familiar with (Wittgenstein, Crash), but some of the names were unknown to me(Joe Meek, Patricia Highsmith). The sounds on the album, made by the two permanent members of Matmos, M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, are collages pieced together to form a sort of audio narrative. We have on this record, what looks to be an attempt at sound biographies, which I find rather interesting. Matmos thinks, and I tend to agree, that something can be said, in music, about the figures these songs are dedicated to that the copious books written about the subjects cannot touch. The sounds are particular to the personalities. Whether it's the crash course in the trajectory of house music in the Larry Levan song, the snipping sound of scissors on the castrating war path in Valerie Solanas, or the wrap, wrap, wrapping of the adding machine in "Rag for William Burroughs", the songs on this record reveal detailed study of their subjects by Matmos, and facilitate a visceral interaction between the lives depicted in the song and the listener. In addition, the record offers a window into the two men that created it, by introducing the listener to the thinkers/creators that have influenced them. To me, the songs still sound good without a knowledge of the personalities they're about, but it's been rewarding for me to go back and try to pick out more and more of the ways pieces of these lives are placed in their songs.

I don't have a physical copy of this record, and, I didn't find the extensive track notes on it until recently. To be honest, I'm rather glad of this fact, because it was in the investigation of the album's subjects that I was won over with this record. As I said before, I'm frequently not doing what I should be at school, and I spent a completely unproductive, yet very satisfying afternoon, listening to this album and reading up on its source material. There I was at my little node of information (desk) with my digital copy of this record and my computer having an extremely interactive experience with this piece of art. My curiosity about the personalities of the album brought about an active participation, on my part, in my experience of the record. Now, of course the listener always has a role in her experience of music, but it's extremely easy, and getting easier, to forget that. Music is increasingly available and increasingly disposable. Our society continues to reward and champion multi-tasking, while frequently reducing art to the backdrop or context in which other endeavors take place, or at best elevating it to the status of entertainment. Sure, interesting things have been done with the idea of art as wallpaper (William Morris, Brian Eno, a filmaker whose name escapes me), but I welcome an artistic endeavor that coaxes me out of my passivity as well. The Rose Has Teeth baits the listener by appealing to her with the wormholes of names. "Who the hell is James Bidgood?" one asks, and soon, after a bit of reading up on the subject, the listener finds that Bidgood was a downright interesting personality and she becomes more interested in thinking about the sonic statement Matmos is making about Bidgood, and she listens more actively while bringing the music into a new context for herself by the small bit of research she has done.

The creation of an audio document that hopes to trigger changes in the way a listener experiences its record as the listener actively involves herself in the music and the subject matter of the music is the noteworthy achievement of Matmos with this album. The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast is not the same record before and after knowing the subjects of the album, and it is the listener that brings about the change in the music. To me, that's very cool, and I'm grateful to Matmos for setting that up.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Suggested Reading


The sardonically irreverent catbirdseat has got a handy cheat sheet for bloggers best of 2006 lists up today. Admittedly, some of my favorites are on there. Also, don't think we've highlighted his work before, but largehearted boy, who has been at this blog game for some time, presents a staggering amount of information to readers in an even-handed format that we dare call professional. And sure, we can't help but appreciate that he appears to have an affinity for things Athenian. Hit'em up ya'll, and if you feel like it, remind us of some of your favorite records from this year so far.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Here Comes Science


My friend Neil sent this to me today, this posts title as the subject of the email:

“The 1990 decennial data for each neighborhood was obtained from the STF1A data file. You'll note that NBHD # E07 has a non-cooperation rate of 34.8, however this jumps to a dramatic 74.2 in the minority owner-occupied oversample when the list-assisted presurvey letter is utilized. In retrospect, we probably overestimated the updated rate of the t Statistic and P-values for the intercept. Now then, the Multiple Regression for Undersample of Percentage Male is at an adjusted R sq of 0.33. That resolves to 12.9 percent with unweighted numbers and 9.7 percents when weights were used. All that remains is to update the disposition.”

“Biosociological-survey-datamatification is the application of space-age computasystematics technology and metainformpsychation sciences in extremely important scientifical researchification. This discipline enables science researching people to gather and analyze humongous volumes of data, information critical in futuristical sciences and ground-breaking genetic research. Biosociological-survey-datamatification allows scientists to more rapidly develop therapeutic surveys and effective robust top-tier research production for society, in both regional and hemispherical niches. Heuristically speaking, the optimal avenue for amplification of the uptake is to update the dispostion.”

or, more simply,

A monk seeking enlightenment went to see a great master. the monk said, "master, how can there be 1.1, 3.3, 2.41, and anonymous surveys all in the same folder? furthermore, master, my computer will not map the T drive that I need to access the teleform evaluation suite. Should I get Rick from SocHelp on the horn, or just tell the boss lady?" The master replied simply, "That is the meaning of Zen." The monk was flabbergasted and insisted, "I still do not understand!" The master replied simply, "If you do not understand, simply update the disposition."


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Colour Revolt


Download: Colour Revolt -- "Mattresses Underwater"
Download: Colour Revolt -- "Mattresses Underwater" (Live at the Fillmore)
Download: Colour Revolt -- "A New Family" (Maverick Remix)

Athens can be a fickle town for the travelling band. People here have a lot of local acts to choose from, and they're generally quite loyal to the Athenian bands they latch onto, but people here also like to socialize, and do a little raising of the wrist, and they aren't gonna let a little thing like a band they've never heard of playing get in the way of that. So, while it's usually tough to get a decent crowd out to see a group that's kicking the night off in the 11 slot, it's even tougher to keep them from chatting through the set. I'm not judging about this, I'm just sayin' is all more or less setting up the backdrop for this Colour Revolt post, because the first time I saw this band from Oxford, Mississippi they were in just such a slot.

I can't remember what day it was, I think it was a Friday (so they had that going for them), but they were the first band on the bill at the Caledonia. Imagine my surprise when I sauntered in to find a relatively full room at 11pm. Turns out the Psychic Hearts had been doing a good bit of grass-roots promotion throughout town that week and had brought a number of folks out to see Colour Revolt, but it was still up to the band themselves to hold the audiences attentiong, and, hold it they did. Almost immediately upon arrival, I was pulled aside by Mike (who was running sound) and Bryant, of Hello-Sir Records, and grilled as to what I knew about the band. Both were quite impressed with Colour Revolt's live show, and believe me when I tell you they're tough critics. Truthfully, they had every reason to be impressed. Colour Revolt plays with an energy and abandon that's not often found in your run of the mill opener. People didn't go outside to smoke while they played their set, people didn't really do too much talking either, people mostly watched the band, and by all accounts were impressed with what they saw. They've played to good-sized, enthusiastic crowds here every show since.

My thinking and hope is that if Colour Revolt can do well here in Athens, picking up enthusiastic supporters like the gents from Cinemechanica and Iron Hero along the way, then they've got a good shot at winning you over as well. So, check out the songs we're offering for download today, and catch the band on the road here:

Sep 16 - East Atlanta Strut / Paste Rock and Reel Fest (afternoon) - Atlanta, GA
Sep 16 - Caledonia Lounge (night) - Athens, GA
Sep 21 - Thacker Mountain Radio Show - Oxford, MS
Sep 22 - The Cavern - Dallas, TX
Sep 28 - Newby's - Memphis, TN
Sep 29 - The Basement - Nashville, TN
Oct 7 - The Capri - Jackson, MS
Oct 13 - Proud Larry's - Oxford, MS

Saturday, September 02, 2006

How I Became The Bomb


Download: How I Became The Bomb -- "Secret Identity" (via midwest music summit)

Things are really hopping with our neighbors to the north, Nashville. In addition to indierock hall of famers like Lambchop and the Silver Jews, there's a whole new crop of young bands springing up there making interesting music. What we at the 'Cropper like about what we know of the Nashville scene is that there doesn't appear to be any particular sound. The bands diverge wildly from one another in terms of the music that they're playing, but there looks to be an overarching supportive vibe between the groups. So, when acts like Be Your Own Pet, Lone Official, Hands Off Cuba, or The Features do well everybody is excited for them. Nashville people feel free to tell me I'm wrong if that's not the case, but it looks like you've got a good community up there. These bands are just the tip of the iceberg in this fertile metropolis.

Team C. publicity alone has worked with The Mattoid, LYLAS, Stone Jack Jones, and Character fantastic bands one and all. Throw in groups like Velcro Stars, Ghostfinger, and a sweet ass record store like Grimey's and you've got yourself one hell of a stew going. Word on the street is that even Coolfer is going to be moving to town soon. We also hear good things of The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker. So, keep your eyes to Nashville people, it's on.

And, if you need yet another reason to believe us about the Nashville area, we bring you, How I Became The Bomb. We'd been hearing rumblings of this outfit for quite some time, and I think Lucas might have even played a show with them up in Murfreesboro, but my first time catching the band was at this years' Athens Popfest. A good number of us were headed down to check out our boys, So Many Dynamos, and The Bomb was playing right before them. Indeed, they were quite impressive. Tight, concise pop with a bonified front-man. They had a great rapport with the crowd and kept the set moving at a brisk pace. Well worth the price of admission. Also, they've got a great little EP out called, Let's Go, which you can pick up directly from them here. The song they graciously allowed us to put up for you today is the fourth song on that record. Go ahead and scoop up that EP, we did! Also, you can check out a pretty nice photo shoot with the band here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Final Fantasy action



I wasn't able to make it to Final Fantasy's Atlanta show this past weekend. Yeah, I'm not very happy about that at all. I've been getting nothing but overwhelmingly positive reports of his live performances, and word from the other 'Cropper scribes indicates that his Drunken Unicorn show lived up to, and exceeded, their expectations. Fortunately, for those of us in the South that missed Owen's shows here, the ladies of Red Blondehead have made some of his Birmingham show at the Bottletree, which has been doing some impressive booking of late, available at their site. Go get a taste.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to praise Birmingham's burgeoning music scene. We've been over there for a few shows here and there, have worked with numerous bands that sing the city's praises, and have had nothing but positive interactions with everyone we've bumped into there. We shouldn't minimize the importance of towns like Birmingham stepping up to the plate and creating a viable touring route for bands interested in coming through the South.

Owen's rockin' PA's Lounge in the Boston area tonight. So, if you're in that neck of the woods, be sure to get out to the show. And for the international 'Cropper reader, fret not, Final Fantasy's got a host of Canadian and European dates coming up this fall. Check his myspace page for the specs.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

when it rains, it feasts


It's been a good week for Team Clermont artists over at the slowly loading 'fork. First there was the ViS review, which we discussed below, then they ran photos of So Many Dynamos' smoking Chicago show, and now, we've got a long awaited Snowglobe review from Mr. Joe Tangari. Let it rain!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Deerhunter


Download: Deerhunter -- "Adorno"

In our ongoing hyping of the Table of the Elements Festival being held in Atlanta this weekend we feature Atlanta-based band Deerhunter today on The Cropper. Recently, the merits of the ToE fest have been sung by Dusted, Tiny Mix Tapes, and Signal To Noise to name only a few, so I won't dwell on that. Instead, I'll focus on revealing what little I know about Deerhunter:

1) they're playing on Saturday night, the same night as One Umbrella, and Rhys Chatham

2) two of their members put on a thing at the Eyedrum last year that brought down a host of acts that rarely grace Southern soil including: No Neck Blues Band, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Charlambides, Magik Markers, Excepter, and Burning Star Core

3) the 'croppers' own Lucas Jensen records in the same space as Deerhunter, and claims that the stuff he's heard off of their upcoming Kranky Records LP is dynamite

4) the song we're posting today is not from that record, but from their first LP

5) one of them is very slender, and he looks frighteningly similar to my buddy Justin Andrews...for real

So, enjoy their tune, and we hope to see you at their performance this weekend!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Venice is Sinking update


Athens, Ga's own Venice is Sinking finally got the Pitchfork review that singer/guitarist Daniel 'tiny d' Lawson has been bugging me about for the last three months. Phew. But seriously folks, this is quite the feather in the cap for ViS and puts the finishing touches on a very successful run for the band. Maybe now, when you google 'venice is sinking sorry about the flowers', that crappy Stylus review won't be the first one to come up. You can catch them on tour this fall at a variety of locals in the Southeastern United States:






































































Sep 7 2006 10:00P
The Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, GA
Sep 9 2006 10:00P
The Art Bar Columbia, SC
Sep 13 2006 10:00P
The Georgia Theatre Athens, GA
Sep 15 2006 12:00P
Lunch on Broad Atlanta, GA
Sep 15 2006 10:00P
The Sidebar Gainesville, FL
Sep 22 2006 10:00P
The Map Room Charleston, SC
Sep 23 2006 10:00P
TBA Greensboro, NC
Oct 4 2006 8:00P
Elberton County Fair Elberton, GA
Oct 6 2006 10:00P
TBA Orlando, FL
Oct 7 2006 10:00P
New World Brewery Tampa, FL
Oct 13 2006 10:00P
New Brookland Tavern Columbia, SC