Friday, March 31, 2006

Team Clermont's Song(s) of the Week 3/31/06: Cinemechanica

Download: Cinemechanica -- “Bruckheimer”

Download: Cinemechanica -- “Brain Tarp”

Download: Cinemechanica -- “I’m Tired of Paul McCartney" video

So, these guys from Cinemechanica can freakin’ play. That’s all there is to it. Drummer Mike Albanese is one of the best drummers in Athens, if not the best. And the other three are no slouches. But Cinemechanica brings quite a bit more to the table than empty technicality (and they run one of the coolest labels around, Hello Sir Records). The band’s myriad time signature changes and apoplectic melodies are all couched in a very current atmosphere of political paranoia and fear. The whole thing is wound tight as a drum. You could, um, bounce quarters on its abs.

I will stop with the metaphors now. I hope you enjoy these tracks (and the great video) from the band's debut, The Martial Arts.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone on the OC tonight!

News flash! Casiotone for the Painfully Alone will be on the Fox hit show, The OC, peddling his wares. "Young Shields" will be used for 1:14 in the background. Tune in to your local Fox station tonight at 8 PM Eastern to catch the hotness!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hazard County Girls' Divine Armor

They are actually very nice.

Download: Hazard County Girls -- "Insect" (from Divine Armor)

I lived in New Orleans. I escaped the hurricane through a combination of many things: First, I had friends who were more aware then I of the dangers of a category 5 hurricane crash-landing in a bowl (which in retrospect is painfully obvious). Second, money forwarded from my mom to pay for gas to leave the city. Third, the luck of the well-timed gas run which involved hunting through the city for any gas station that still had gas (that was the scariest part; everyone in the city was filling up and the gas stations were emptying out; gas had quickly become the most valuable commodity). All these things combined for a successful exit from New Orleans hours before the storm struck, followed by sitting in the comfort of my mother’s house in SC watching on tv the developing chaos while some of my good friends waded through the cityscape of post-Katrina, post-apocalyptic New Orleans.
We worked on Magazine St. and even hung out late nights at the Saint (Sean Yseult from White Zombie’s bar, which of a couple of the Hazard County Girls worked at). During this time period there were legends circulating around nocturnal New Orleans about a motorcycle gang of all girls in true Fellini style. I was told that it was the Hazard County Girls. So on my late nights driving from the CBD to uptown and back I was on the lookout. A couple of times it happened—I would be sitting patiently at an incredibly long red light debating secretly scooting on through and out of nowhere a fleet of Vespas would shoot by and ride off into the distant quiet on some secret all-girl rock and roll mission that I would never understand. What were they rebelling against?
So many years later the ex-roller derby knockouts Hazard County Girls have surfaced again in my life. What was their story? The girls were on tour when the hurr. How did the album fare despite all the hardships? I’ll tell you…
Divine Armor is doom. Now I don’t know much about doom but I do know a little about impending doom, which isn’t necessarily a musical genre, but rock-n-roll nonetheless. Divine Armor is thick with riffs and chug; the vocals are dark, brooding, and haunting. The album’s starter is “red light” a full somber piece with that ironic sinking feeling stapled to its tapestry and echoed in its lyrics:
“Sick as it seems/I had a dream of water/ with you beneath/ with bricks for teeth”
Yes, that would suck.
“Leyes” is a rocker in true L7 fashion with a hint of pop laced chant punished with muddy guitar kicks to the head. Oh, and I love the way Christy Kane sings/spells; its shadowy melodica brings a new take on “Now I know my abc’s.” My vote for a revamp of that song definitely goes to Hazard County Girls.
The chorus of “Fine Lines” is so good: “with a heavy heart and two weary eyes/run away, run and hide.” Christy’s vocal delivery is so sultry and smooth. Anyone who knows New Orleans well appreciates its haunted, cultural diversity and Hazard County Girls clearly spring from that heritage. Their music is the perfect soundtrack for any rainy day in New Orleans spent fighting off vampires, voodoo charms, and alligator attacks, while dissecting the French-cajun-creole small talk at the crawfish broil, or lurking through the swamps with fire-eaters, snake charmers, and Hollywood movie execs filming the latest thriller. Expect the Hazard County Girls to spread their infectious sounds your way soon.

Nancy Grace must be stopped!

This isn't germane to music in any way, but let me tell you: we strongly dislike Nancy Grace here at Team Clermont. And it takes a lot for us to diss a fellow Georgian!

Is it the hair? The trumped-up accent? The fact that she has defiled the purity of Headline News' hithertofore sacrosanct pledge to go "around the world in thirty minutes?" I think it's her frantic "will somebody please think of the children?" self-righteousness and false piety that gets to me. It's like she's the only who cares because her fiance was killed and you don't know what it's like because I was a prosecutor on the front lines and will somebody please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD think about the children for once PLEASE because they are being kidnapped RIGHT NOW and you can't miss a word of this or you will be a HORRIBLE PERSON, probably a kidnapper yourself but if you want to kidnap someone who is not PRETTY, WHITE, or FEMALE then we probably don't care.

Ugh. She stinks.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the best part...she's a liar.

Music for your eyeballs.


So I've been going around looking for videos of bands we like and have found a couple for your visual/aural pleasure:

Watch: About -- "Think Niles Drink" video by Mirka Duijn

Man, this video is hot. It's so professionally done it's scary. If MTV had the you-know-what's they'd play this. The jittery look and those cloned backup singers all perfect fit the cracked electropop of the song (more on About's killer new record, Bongo, soon!).

Watch: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- "Young Shields" by Rubbish Films

This one is really neat and a masterful display of editing. This was one tough video to film, given the rules set forth at the beginning of the project"
1. All footage must be taken from nine different shots, each 2 minutes 59 seconds in length.
2. Each shot must be taken from a different location.
3. All footage must be shot outdoors, using only available, artificial light.
4. No script, no actors. Any persons appearing in the video must be strangers to you.
5. No stationary shots. The camera must constantly be in motion, but without zooms.
6 . No special effects, titles, or any sort of post-production treatments can be made to the images.
7. All audio must come from a single, on-location microphone.
8. All audio must be cut to match the image, without any other
audio source. hence, the song must be broadcast wherever you are filming and recorded as part of the environment.
9. The video must run for the exact length of the song.
Owen must have been in a particularly masochistic mood that day when he hired these poor guys to do it. Kidding! Also, check out this mesmerizing video for CFTPA's "Bobby Malone Comes Homes", hand-crafted (dig the Apple IIc intro!) by Dan at Said the Gramophone. It seems to be centered around exploring some tenuous connection between tennis and the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Eyeball scrubbings courtesy of Team Clermont!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

SXSW 2006: Diary of a Hammjamm!

Not me, but hammjamming nonetheless.

Well, I must say that I have yet to recover from this past week’s festivities. I met many of you and missed even more of you still. I also drank a lot of Sparks and got gum in my hair. Here is a diary I compiled a list of actual SXSW experiences:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  • Order a Shiner Bock at Emo’s--bartender makes a “humph” noise and grumbles about tourists…I tip him because I am weak.
  • I graze at no less than three parties, never moving 3 feet away from the food tables. I eat sixteen chickens worth of wings. I am not ashamed.
  • Get drinks from a very drunk waitress who proceeds to drink the beer she just served me. She also, um, (not trying to be gross or sexist here) plays with her breasts a lot and asks if we need company. Everybody around her is freaked out.
  • I lose my voice.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
  • We throw a party at Red 7. The hammjamming’s great and the bands are good, but still no voice!
  • I get gum on my jacket and in my hair in what appears to be a case of mysterious candy-based teleportation.
  • I show some companions how to properly eat crawfish, including “sucking” the “head.”
  • I call Steve from Sub Pop “very handsome” which is awkward for all involved.
  • I hit my head on a red crystal chandelier. Bear in mind that I am 5’5” with a vertical leap of 2 inches.

Friday, March 17, 2006
  • Still not much of a voice. Drinking 12 beers an hour at this point
  • I see Rue McClanahan from the Golden Girls. She’s looking a lot older.
  • I think I piss off Jenny Toomey for the second day in a row when I call her glasses “Elton John” glasses.
  • Take a ride with a stoner cab driver who likes Sirius Radio for “the stats and the things.” He is a fan of the New England Patriots and tells me to watch out for “the Spider Girls.” Indeed.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
  • Eat a breakfast of pork products covered entirely in hash browns. Why is everyone staring at me?
  • I discover that Studio 54-style velvet rope treatment is being used to keep me out of the Fader/Levi’s party, which is technically being held in a muddy wedding tent. David Cross breaks in line. I was only in it for the free Red Stripes.
  • Starting to get voice back.
Sunday was spent antique shopping with friends, eating frito pie and chicken fried steak, and chillaxing. I think I might have seen some bands along the way as well.

I'm still feeling groggy, though almost getting hit by a car driving into a building this morning has pepped me right up!

Monday, March 20, 2006

things i saw at sxsw

More so I don't forget than anything else, here are some of the things I saw in Austin this past week.

Field Music
Midlake (2x)
San Agustin
Tony Conrad
Arnold Dreyblatt Ensemble
Jonathan Kane's February
Rhys Chatham "Guitar Army"
Hot Chip
Animal Collective
Man Man
The Dirty Projectors

Needless to say, this is just a bit of the great shows I saw, but every one of these bands brought it big time for their SXSW 2006 performances, and I recommend checking each and every one out if you get the chance.

Lucas and the rest of the crew are held up in Houston. He'll be back to more articulately blog later.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Team Clermont's Song(s) of the Week 3/3/06: Untied States

Download: Untied States -- "It's Not Goodbye"
Download: Untied States -- "It's Not Enough"
Download: Untied States -- "My Cause Is My Curse"

This week I’m bring you song(s) from Untied States’ new one, Retail Detail. These guys are from Atlanta and really don’t sound like any ATL band in recent memory, which is definitely a good thing. Think the Birthday Party, Brainiac, Swans, Secret Chiefs 3, and Sonic Youth and you wouldn’t be too off the mark, though Untied States’ innovative and chaotic worldview is wholly unique. It’s aggressive and challenging stuff, but I find it all really enveloping and strangely beautiful. It’s great to just sink into it and let its mind-warping properties take over.

Another batch of beautiful noise brought to you by Team Clermont.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thoughts on Etiquette

Download: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- "Young Shields"

Download: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone -- "Cold, White Christmas"

Time has always been the most precious of commodities (perhaps because, at present, it is the only one cannot be bought or sold...unless you consider working a job the commodification of time, though that seems more like the commodification of your labor than anything else....I don’t know). But it seems as though everyone I know (that which I know of myself included) has taken the concept of “time as precious,” and brought it close to their heart, boasting far less free time than we did just a few years ago. We’re not all having kids, getting married, or working more time-intensive jobs (though some of us are)--maybe we’re just spending too much time adding comments on friends’ Myspace pages or trying to craft witty text messages instead of actually interacting with one another. What ever the reasons, we have somehow carved out lives that rarely allow for us to sit down and listen, undistracted, to an album for 30 minutes and 42 seconds.

I am now putting out a(n)(in)formal invitation to friends and strangers alike to do just that. Make the album Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s Etiquette. I did it once and I’ve had to do it a few more times in subsequent days. Cause this shit is good.

I haven’t moved to New York yet....and it’s questionable as to whether or not I will. But I imagine that if I do I’ll find it as overwhelming as I currently imagine it. I imagine being broke and living in a slanted apartment in Brooklyn that probably should’ve been condemned in the 70's. But, because of a payoff to the New York City Property and Land Commission, I am afforded a modest but low-fare dwelling. It’s sad. It sends memories flooding back. Some memories are mine and some are those of others. “Cold White Christmas” makes me think of one of my tightest bros from way back in 10th grade who now lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife and still new daughter. But his will be a different kind of Christmas in St. Paul–and for that I am glad.

His will be one filled with cleaning up pine needles and Harry Potter wrapping paper in his pajamas early in the evening after the tofurkey has had a chance to settle. Far different than the one that CFTPA’s craftsman, Owen Ashworth, tells about on the album. Christmas on this album is not too different than any other day. In Ashworth’s story, “You’ve marked your independence with a signature on a lease/Home is the photograph you tape to your wall/It’s gonna be a cold, white Christmas in St. Paul.”

Etiquette seems like the stories of those from whom time is disappearing at unfamiliarly rapid rates. A story that tells of one who goes looking for a “New Year’s Kiss” days after the clock strikes 0. A story of a recent transient who mildly panics when he/she realizes that “the money’s running out.” A story of cutting ties and finding that maybe new ones don’t replace the old ones as easily as they once did. A story sometimes told in the sonic styling of early Magnetic Fields. A story that puts shiny, reverb-soaked slide guitars exactly where they should terms of position in the mix, timing within the song, and location on the album. The aforementioned slide guitars provide a nice contrast to the otherwise synthy (oft-danceable, always tasty) pop arrangements.

And it’s not all sad. The characters in the stories still manage to save enough money from their collective job “typing letters for a lawyer in a bad toupee,” to go dance to Casio-based electronics and buy NYC-priced drinks. They’re still reminded of old loves. Maybe the one with whom they “moved together out to Philly after college/took a two bedroom on South and 9th.” Maybe the one who fell fast in love with a Jersey boy (“of course”). Maybe the failed relationship that they swear “felt like a divorce.” But the characters don’t live in a Bob Seger song about the way things used to be. They pay more attention to the way things are. They have found that cheery melodies exist in even the saddest of songs. Sometimes they wake “up at dawn/face down on the lawn” with “stains and scars [they] can’t explain.”

But there’s a certain humor in such a seemingly dismal start to one’s day. And there’s a certain charm to being broke, alone, and without ties....there must’ve been a reason that you cut them in the first place. It’s all confusing I suppose--the happy/sad/alone together thing. Sometimes you need to just end the story abruptly with a simple, (poignant/nonsensical?), “Oh. Oh, oh, oh/Some things are best left unsaid.” When you are asked why you think that makes for an appropriate ending to a story or album, just slowly repeat the second part of the line like four or five times.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Look up!

We've got this fancy new media player thing that plays all of the songs we have linked to on the front page. Pretty nifty, no? It's that gray bar just under the google ad above. I'm trying to find a better place for it, but I haven't come up with anything yet!

Click on the "play" button to start "rocking."