Friday, June 30, 2006

Let's give it up for Red Pandas


Wow. That's cute. I don't think that most people know that pandas are more related to raccoons than bears. Their cousins, the Red Pandas, are pretty awesome. Look at that guy with the tongue! To celebrate, I am offering up an MP3 of Bang On A Can. Why? Because I can? Get it? Hahahaha. Download below:

A Ballad For Many

Download Bang on A Can and Don Byron--"Eugene II" (MP3, 192kbps)
Want another download? Why not? Check it:

Clemency

Download Summer Hymns--"Wet Mess"
Okay. So I just heard the new Summer Hymns record, coming out on Misra this Fall, and it's fantastic. It's classic Summer Hymns, but it also seems like something of a reinvention. More on it later. "Wet Mess" (ew!) is one of the best songs from 2003's Clemency.

This post is completely random, I know. I ain't sorry.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More Maury!



Okay, so this guy is a jerk about the whole paternity test situation, but--dang!--check out those moves!

Alright, I'm done now.

I, myself, am inexorably drawn to them, but...



I'm not one to make fun of people's fears, but...

Okay, I am. Pickles? I wish I could see the denouement of this episode.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Team Clermont Summer Festival lineup announced!

We here at Team Clermont are pleased as punch to announce the dates and lineup for our annual Summer Festival and Blue Ribbon Ball, marking the ninth year (!) of our company’s operation. The Summer Festival celebration is a music festival that showcases artists on Team Clermont’s client roster, both national and local, over the course of three nights. The last night of the festival, The Blue Ribbon Ball, is affectionately known as “The Prom,” and typically includes a featured artist doing cover songs and originals in the manner of the proverbial, slightly cheesy “prom band.”

This year’s “prom band” is none other than Athens’ own Elf Power! One of the longest-running and most active members of the Elephant 6 Collective, Elf Power has just released its critically acclaimed new album, Back to the Web, on Rykodisc Records. Also performing will be Man Man, John Roderick (from the Long Winters), White Whale, Now It’s Overhead, LYLAS, Iron Hero, Modern Skirts, and Dark Meat.

Previous Team Clermont Summer Festival performers have included Danger Mouse, The Wrens, Of Montreal, The Mountain Goats, The Starlight Mints, John Vanderslice, Phosphorescent, De Novo Dahl, The Polyphonic Spree, Trans Am, Songs: Ohia, Man…or Astroman, Enon, Idaho, Eleni Mandell, Snowglobe, Radar Bros., and the Rosebuds.

The Blue Ribbon Ball, sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon, is an actual prom-like event with photographs, balloons, spiked punch, and the aforementioned prom band. This year’s Blue Ribbon Ball will feature a Wild West theme. Also planned for the Summer Festival is the annual W’s vs. K’s Radio Station Kickball Showdown, sponsored by Merge Records. Last year, the event drew nearly 50 competitors and a thrilling K’s comeback. The K stations look to defend their title this year.

The schedule is as follows (all times subject to change):

Thursday, August 3rd—40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
Modern Skirts—One of Athens’ most popular new bands, the Modern Skirts are piano-pop dynamos, equal parts Beach Boys, Ben Folds, and Joe Jackson with transcendent harmony skills. Paste Magazine says: “The Modern Skirts make crafting unforgettable pop seem as easy as a 25-piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle.”

Download: Modern Skirts – “New York Song” MP3


Now It’s Overheard—Saddle Creek artist Now It’s Overhead is led by Athens’ ace engineer Andy Lemaster (Bright Eyes, Azure Ray, pacificUV), a master of gorgeous melancholy. His new album, Day Light Daybreak, was recorded with the help on long-time compatriots Orenda Fink (Azure Ray), Maria Taylor (Azure Ray), and Clay Leverett (Lona).

Download: Now It’s Overhead—“Wonderful Scar” MP3


Iron Hero—This six-piece Athens-based rock band plays “shoegaze for joggers,” rhythm-heavy epics heavy on ambience and intricacy. Josh McKay from Macha produced the band’s sterling debut, Safe As Houses.

Download: Iron Hero—“Pilot” MP3


LYLAS—One of Nashville’s many rising indie stars, LYLAS plays out-of-time Cole Porter meets Donovan chamber-pop that is almost too intricate and well-written to be called rock and roll but too sly to be anything else. This band’s debut album, Lessons for Lovers, has been steadily building buzz all year.

Download: LYLAS--“His Master’s Merriment” MP3

Friday, August 4th—40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
Man Man—The Philly band that Pitchfork called America’s most underrated live band will be bringing their ramshackle Beefheart maraca-ed brilliance to Athens. Not to be missed. “There is vintage violence afoot, with sub-tone saxomoans and unmerry marimbas, speaking-in-tongues sing-songy vocals and garbled guitars all burping out a sloppy yet beautiful noise.” -- New York Press

Download: Man Man—“10 lb. Moustache” MP3


Dark Meat—A perfect compliment to Man Man’s live show, the 18 person-plus Dark Meat collective (full name: Dark Meat Vomit Lasers Family Band) comes off like CCR and Neil Young joining the circus on a mescaline bender. Horns, pots, pans, strings, two drummers, and lots of face paint. Featuring members of (are you ready for this?) Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Vicariously Through Cats, We Versus The Shark, Col. Knowledge and the Lickety-Splits, Hope For Agoldensummer, Venice is Sinking, the Ginger Envelope, Ceramic Dvck, among many, many others. Album coming soon on Cloud Recordings, home of Olivia Tremor Control and the Tall Dwarfs.

Download: Dark Meat—“Dead Man” MP3


White Whale—Merge Records’ newest sure-fire hitmakers, Lawrence, Kanas-based White Whale features Matt Suggs (of Butterglory fame) and a former member of the Get-Up Kids. Epic pop songs that recall the swing-for-the-fences aspects of Lieber-Stoller mixed with fellow travelers Secret Machines and Okkervil River.

Download: White Whale—“The Admiral” MP3



Saturday, August 5th—Kickball Tournament (sponsored by Merge Records)
Annual W’s vs. K’s Radio Station Kickball Tournament—Last year’s game brought sweat, tears, blood, sweat, the thrill of victory, the soul-punishing agony of defeat, and more sweat. Over 50 college radio station and record label types participated in a kickball game of epic proportions. This year’s event should surpass all other kickball games played ever. The K’s are anxious to defend their crown!


Saturday, August 5th—Happy Hour sponsored by Barsuk Records—the Go! Bar, Athens, GA
John Roderick of the Long Winters—A special solo performance in an intimate setting from one of indie rock’s most distinctive voices. This will be a Happy Hour warm-up for “The Prom” to come. Alaska-raised Roderick’s wistful pop songs are marvels of catchiness and emotional complexity. Roderick will be playing songs from the forthcoming Long Winters LP, Putting the Days to Bed.

Download: The Long Winters—“Pushover” MP3 (from Putting the Days to Bed)


Saturday, August 5th—Blue Ribbon Ball—40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
The 9th Annual Blue Ribbon Ball featuring Elf Power—Elephant 6 mainstays Elf Power will do a mixture of covers and originals as guests at the prom will gadabout in their finest Wild West attire! The prom will feature decorations, photos, refreshments, secretive makeout sessions, too-close dancing, and plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon. The yearly highlight of the Athens social calendar! Elf Power is known for its stellar covers, so it should be a real treat for all!

Download: Elf Power—“An Old Familiar Scene” MP3


Ticket information is as follows:
Thurs: $5 advance, $6 at door
Fri: $5 advance, $6 at door
Sat/Go! Bar: Free
Sat/Prom: $12 advance, or $20 for all 3 nights.

Email me (lucas [at] team clermont [dot] com) for more info!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Phobos!


Download: Foma -- “Kurt’s Theme” MP3
Download: Foma -- “Soft Rains” MP3
Download: Foma -- “Don’t Burn Babies” MP3

Out of New Mexico rolls Foma, a lilting and delicate indie pop band enamored with beauty and niceness. Some have compared them to Grandaddy, Stars, and Broken Social Scene, but I hear something different in there that’s harder to place. Maybe it's just that it seems more organic and heartfelt. I’ll be thinking on it! Check out these great tracks. I think everybody is missing out on these guys!

The band's new album, by the way, is called Phobos, which reminded me of how much I love the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. I like the idea that they were asteroids that Mars just happened to pick up, these huge, goofy irregular lumps out there riding Mars' coattails. I think it'd be pretty cool if we picked up another moon. Yep, pretty freaking cool.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soul President!

According to Google Images, THIS is the Soul President.

Download: Soul President -- "Got To Have It"

Thomas at Salon.com hipped me to this track, from the Numero Group's new Eccentric Soul CD. Apparently, you could just walk in off the street and jam with the Big Mack label house band for $14.95. Man, if I could just jump in a time machine and lay down some tracks! Listen to that funky-ass steel drum track and those slightly rudderless guitars!

I had a dream recently where I wrote a song called "Ham Potato". The lyrics went like this:
Ham potato!
Ham potato!
Gonna be a tornado!
Ham potato!
I think I just wrote my first #1. Call me the Soul Prime Minister.

He poos clouds.


Download: Final Fantasy -- "Arctic Circle"
Download: Final Fantasy -- "Song Song Song"
Download: Final Fantasy -- "This Lamb Sells Condos"

How come we've gone so long without posting about Final Fantasy? Probably because we are idiots. Let's run through the talking points, shall we?
  • The album is called He Poos Clouds. I mean, that's awesome.
  • Owen Pallett has red hair.
  • His photos are funny.
  • He likes Choose Your Own Adventure books that are played with dice.
  • My wife thinks he is cute.
He's also involved with some band called the Arcade Fire and likes D&D and named after some video games and blah blah blah, but who cares about that stuff? What you should know about Owen Pallett is that the guy is a serious visionary, which He Poos Clouds clearly demonstrates. I mean, for real, how many folks are releasing albums of string quartet, piano, and voice? Take that, Bjork!

Never before have I hated so much.



What a turd.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Our stats are out of control.

Here I go again on my own...

Seriously, last week was the best week ever for our numbers at the Cropper, which usually draws, um, about 20 people a day, half of whom are either Jon or myself or people searching for "Windsor, Ontario Pickled Pork." So we thank our new readers and promise more exclusive content than ever, like this completely non-exclusive picture of Tawny Kitaen we stole from Wikipedia!

Thank you for your support.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iron Hero--Safe As Houses!


Download: Iron Hero – “Wearing a Wire”
Download: Iron Hero – “Pilot”

First off, let me say that Iron Hero lead singer Sam Gunn has a great alternate moniker: U.S. Gunn. He should really be a superhero like Captain America. Sam is also one of the nicest fellows I know, so that helps him in his quest for superherodom (hitherfore unknown even to him.

But on to Iron Hero the band. Their bassist, Ben, described the band as "shoegaze for joggers," and that's got to be one of the best band-created blurbs I've ever read. It's hypnotic drone-y two-drummer rhythmic atmospheric pop from one of Athens' most prodigiously talented bands. Iron Hero's first album, Safe As Houses was produced by Josh McKay from the dearly departed Macha. This is one gorgeous record! It's slightly melancholic and minor-keyed, and it's all driven with a focused energy, which is surprising coming from a sextet.

Another sterling new Athens act brought to you by the overeaters at Team Clermont.

Friday, June 16, 2006

beck revisited


now i know beck was sooo 2 days ago; but i was hungover and trapped at a pool party all day yesterday, so i wasn't able to announce my new social status of "famous by association" and flaunt this fantastic photo of jamie lidell and me. i attacked the poor man with inebriated flattery and made him pose for no fewer than 12 photos with me, all while i profusely apologized for the lack of flash, which in my somewhat impaired mental state made the photos "unofficial." my god can that boy sing. wedding invitations to follow.

jon polk also has a claim to "famous by association" to beck himself:

unfortunately, my photoshop training is on the second grade level, so you may have to zoom to appreciate the scope of jon's fame [read: see beck's hat.] i tell you, the clermonsters are racing to the top of the celebrity totem poll.

i know drew has already posted that the $40 show left much to be desired, but i disagree. maybe it was the quart-sized servings of beer as big as my head. maybe because the opener blew me away. maybe itwas the puppetry arts. or maybe, just maybe, it was the free aftershow at the georgia bar (seen in the photo above that secure's jon's spot on the a-list) where beck played another hour and a half in a random dive.

yeah, it was probably the puppets:



Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Scourge of the Sea!

Not the band.

Download: The Scourge of the Sea – “Out Of The Trash” MP3
Download: The Scourge of the Sea – “Waterwings” MP3
Download: The Scourge of the Sea – “Smitten Kitten” MP3

From Lexington, KY’s finest, The Apparitions, comes Lexington, KY’s other finest, The Scourge of the Sea, a band that’s drawn comparisons to everything from Jackson Browne to the Softies, which ain’t altogether off the mark, in a strange way. Man, with Midlake's new album and this, I'd say that CSNY/Jackson Browne/Fleetwood Mac harmony-driven 70s rock is back in a big way. I'm all for it! TSotS's new album, Make Me Armored, is delightfully untrendy bucolic folk-pop that’ll break your heart but let you down easy. What a find! This release also marks the welcome resurrection of Alias Records, back after nearly a decade!

Man..."Water Wings" is a killer song!


Another hot piece of Kentucky gold brought to you by Team Clermont.

A double-decker baloney sandwich!

You know, there comes a time in every boy's young life where his parents decide to trade houses with a farming family in a strangely named town (in this case, Nilbog) where people who may or may not be goblins try to force your family to eat bread and ice cream and strange green substances in order to do something unclear but sinister-seeming, so you have to pee on the family dinner in a major affront to hospitality. It's a story as old as time, and a story masterfully told in Troll 2.

Beck at the Georgia Theater




TC had the privilege of catching the intimate show last night. Jamie Lidell opened, and was accompanied by a pineapple and an impromptu performance by a diva from the crowd. Afterwards, the crowd, riding high on Jamie's rambunctious performance eagerly awaited Beck's arrival. Finally, when tension was highest, Beck made his arrival and was immediately followed by the real stars of the show, his band of puppets. One part concert and one part Venetian street show, last nights show was entertaining but for 40 dollars left much to be desired.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On The Road Again, Part Two!



I know you've been waiting with bated breath for the next installment in this semi-regular series, and here it is. Team Clermont Publicity currently has three bonified road warriors on our roster, and we want you to do your part to support them as they come rolling through your burg.... Peep the dates:

Final Fantasy

Download: Final Fantasy--"Arctic Circle"

06-23 Cambridge, MA- T.T The Bear’s Place
06-24 New York, NY- Tonic
06-25 Philadelphia, PA- North Star Bar
06-27 Cleveland, OH- Beachland Ballroom
06-28 Columbus, OH- Little Brothers
06-29 Cincinnati, OH- Alchemize
06-30 North Manchester, IN- The Firehouse
07-01 Chicago, IL- Lakeshore Theater
08-10 Portland, OR- Holocene
08-11 San Francisco, CA- The Bottom of the Hill
08-12 Echo Park, CA- Echo
08-13 Pheonix, AZ- Modified
08-14 Tucson, AZ- Solar Culture
08-16 Denton, TX- Hailey’s
08-17 Houston, TX- The Proletariat
08-18 Austin, TX- The Parish
08-20 Lawrence, KS- Bottleneck
08-24 Birmingham, AL- Bottle Tree Café
08-25 Atlanta, GA- Drunken Unicorn
08-26 Charlotte, NC- Tremont Music Hall

World/Inferno Friendship Society

Download: World/Inferno Friendship Society -- "Only Anarchists Are Pretty"

06-14 New York, NY- Brownie’s Hi-Fi, 9:00P
06-23 Revere, MA- Club Lido, 8:00P
06-24 Olneyville/Providence, RI- Redrum, 7:00P
06-25 North Tonawanda, NY- Steven Sikora Post, 6:00P
06-26 Detroit, MI- Trumbullplex, 8:00P
06-27 Lexington, KY- Arts Place, 7:00P
06-28 Champaign, IL- Independent Media Center, 6:00P
06-29 Chicago, IL- Logan Square, 6:00P
06-30 Madison, WI- The Wilmar Center, 8:00P
07-01 St. Paul, MN- Midway, 2:00P
07-01 Minneapolis, MN- Uptown Bar, 9:00P
07-02 Omaha, NE- Sokol Underground, 7:30P
07-03 Kansas City, MO- El Torreon, 7:00P
07-04 Omaha, NE- American Legion Post 1, 8:00P
07-07 Redmond, WA- The Old Fire House, 8:00P
07-08 Grant’s Pass, OR- Comatorium, 8:00P
07-09 San Francisco, CA- DNA Lounge, 9:00P
07-10 Oakland, CA- The Warehouse, TBA
07-11 Las Vegas, NV- Double Down Saloon, 8:00P
07-12 San Diego, CA- Casbah, 8:00P
07-14 Long Beach, CA- Long Beach Warehouse, 8:00P
07-15 Tucson, AZ- Plush, 8:00P
07-17 Dallas, TX- TBA
07-18 Houston, TX- TBA
07-19 Denton, TX- TBA
07-20 Austin, TX- Emo’s, 8:00P
07-21 New Orleans, LA- Dragon’s Den, 8:00P
07-22 Atlanta, GA- The Earl, 8:00P
07-23 Asheville, NC- Joli Rouge, 9:00P
07-24 Chapel Hill, NC- TBA
07-25 Washington, DC- Black Cat, 8:00P
07-26 Philadelphia, PA- Unitarian Church, 8:00P
07-28 New York, NY- Bowery Ballroom, 8:00P

The Never

Download: The Never -- "Cavity"

06-09 Wilmington, NC- Marrz Theatre
06-10 Wilmington, NC- The Soapbox
06-15 Charleston, SC- Cumberlands
06-16 Durham, NC- Regulator Bookshop
06-17 Charlottesville, VA- Starr Hill Music Hall
06-19 Norfolk, VA- Relative Theory Records
06-28 Pittsburgh, PA- Garfield Artworks
07-02 New York, NY- Pianos
07-03 Boston, MA- Bulfinch Yacht Club
07-05 Worcester, MA- Bulfinch Yacht Club
07-06 Asbury Park, NJ- Asbury Lanes
07-07 Pittsburgh, PA- The Quiet Storm
07-10 Thomas, WV- The Purple Fiddle
07-14 Ypsilanti, MI- The Elbow Room
07-15 Lansing, MI- Mac’s Bar
07-16 Indianapolis, IN- The Historic Melody Inn
07-20 Des Moines, IA- The Vaudeville Mews
07-28 Silk Hope, NC- Shakori Hills
08-12 Hinesville, GA- Over Coffee Café
08-13 W. Columbia, SC- New Brookland Tavern

On bad band names.


I think that a bad name for a band would be Cottonmouth Experience. Rattlesnake Jackson is a much better snake-themed band name.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

IMing With The Stars: Marvin Lin from Tiny Mix Tapes!


For all of the talk about Pitchfork Media's snarkiness, I'd have to say that Tiny Mix Tapes' news section has to be about 100x snarkier. It's also funnier than all hell, and Tiny Mix Tapes itself is one of the better and most respected music sites around, at least in my mind. I IMed with Minneapolis-based site co-founder Marvin Lin (AKA Mr. P) about a lot of stuff, though very little of it had to do with Tiny Mix Tapes itself. That's OK. Marvin's a great guy and filled with integrity (no ads at TMT!). We discussed race as a social construction, contextualism, being Asian, and killing a man. It just might be the most convoluted edition of IMing With The Stars yet! Enjoy!

Me: so Marvin
Me: have you been working on the night shift?
Me: haha
Me: not a day goes by that I don't reference the Commodores
Me: seriously, though, what do you do in your civilian job?
Marvin Lin: i sell commodities to weird obsessive types.
Me: hello?
Me: commodities? are you a stock broker?
Marvin Lin: i wish! it's just records. just records.
Me: haha
Me: your language is too poetic for my feeble mind
Marvin Lin: man, i should write some poetry!!!!!
Me: yeah, I've always thought of you as a poet
Me: not really
Marvin Lin: haha, really? i'm actually far from it.
Marvin Lin: ok good
Me: did you found Tiny Mix Tapes
Me: or did someone else?
Marvin Lin: yeah, me and my friend nate started it.
Marvin Lin: his moniker was "robot". he barely wrote in the beginning and obviously doesn't write now
Me: is he still around?
Marvin Lin: but he's a great artist! does visual/performance art
Marvin Lin: he's in a band in chicago
Me: which band?
Me: plug time
Marvin Lin: you know, i don't even know if he's still in the band.... better not say anything
Me: okay
Marvin Lin: let's talk more about ME!!!!!!!!
Me: you're in some bands, right?
Marvin Lin: yeah... it's more like a collective of people 'musicking'
Marvin Lin: "doing music"
Marvin Lin: we have practice this saturday!
Me: I like the superfluous k
Me: what kind of stuff? Noise, right?
Marvin Lin: it stands for kinetic, cuz we have that sort of energy
Marvin Lin: (kididng)
Me: what kind of stuff do you guys play?
Marvin Lin: well, it's all improvised stuff. i like to think that's it's sorta comical and inclusive, elements that noise music lacks sometimes. it's definitely 'experiemental', but we don't avoid harmony and rhythm just so we can be called "noise" or whatever
Me: yeah
Me: I feel like a lot of experimental stuff is actually boring and rather rote in its avoidance of melody and rhythm
Marvin Lin: we do a lot of vocal stuff. barking and the like. we do parodies of other genres of music sometimes, but mainly it's pretty discordant
Me: sounds good
Me: Are you taking the Twin Cities by storm?
Marvin Lin: yeah, i agree. i can appreciate the more adventurous stuff (drumm, nmperign, etc), but i think it's nice to have balance. or at least as a consumer, i feel it's nice too have balance
Me: what are you called?
Marvin Lin: haha, not really
Marvin Lin: we've been on hiatus for awhile, and are just now starting to get things going again
Me: I hear Tapes n Tapes aren't big in the Twin Cities either
Me: and they are from there
Marvin Lin: The Red Market.. but i'm starting an all-vocal project, soo i don't know what that'll be called.
Me: you should call it the Milky Throats
Me: eew
Marvin Lin: Jucas Lensen
Me: Is the music scene solid there?
Me: haha
Me: great name
Me: You can also rearrange my letters to spell Cajun Lenses
Me: Marvin Lin = ?
Marvin Lin: it's definitely varied here. we have the whole rhymesayers group (OBSESSIVE atmosphere fans), then there are noise acts (devillock), pop-punk (plastic constellations), and then happy stuff, like coach said not to, etc
Me: it's always been a ragged pop twon
Me: town
Me: what with the Mats and everything
Marvin Lin: yeah, definitely
Me: how are the crowds?
Me: I bet winters are tough
Marvin Lin: winters are tought, but people still go out a lot
Marvin Lin: some shows are embarassingly small though
Me: hey...it happens here in Athens all the time and we're supposedly a music town
Me: but there are too many non-music bars to go to
Me: people are supportive of local stuff but out of town bands find Athens very tough
Me: so it's everywhere maybe
Marvin Lin: the non-local bands i've talked to also say it's hard to get booked in minneapolis
Marvin Lin: or st. paul
Me: hmmm...it's hard to get booked anywhere I feel like
Me: if you are from out of town
Marvin Lin: there are some decent bars that are open to f'ed up shows (like Turf Club and Big Vs), but the turnout is pretty hit-or-miss. even when Lightning Bolt came, it wasn't as packed as it should've been.
Me: yeah?
Marvin Lin: i guess i haven't been to a bigger show for awhile though.
Me: let's face it: people are stupid
Me: haha
Marvin Lin: have you ever killed a person before?
Me: Once
Marvin Lin: who? and why?
Me: just some guy on the street
Marvin Lin: asian?
Me: to get that natural high
Me: nope
Me: white
Marvin Lin: :-(
Me: Um, just kidding!
Me: For the record, I am not a killer
Marvin Lin: so, what do you REALLY think of TMT?
Me: why are you said I didn't kill an Asian?
Me: because you are Asian?
Marvin Lin: i wish i wasn't
Me: and you want to thin the ranks to gain supremacy?
Me: what?!
Marvin Lin: dude, yo'ure racist
Me: yep
Me: I'm from the South
Marvin Lin: i bet most people assume Mr P is white
Marvin Lin: that's awesome
Me: which means I am a racist
Me: seriously, do you ever have to deal with problems of the Model Minority
Marvin Lin: hahah, chadwicked, one of my tmt favorites, just took a visit to the south
Me: yeah?
Me: good times?
Marvin Lin: sorta yeah. everyone assumed at my civilian job that i was smart. until i fucked up everything due to ignorance
Me: haha
Me: I've heard that a lot
Marvin Lin: well, he sorta got hit w/ racism in the face (he's white, btw)
Me: especially among more recent Southeast/East Asian immigrants like Hmong and Laotians, etc.
Me: really?
Me: what happened to him?
Marvin Lin: we have a big hmong population in minneapolis
Marvin Lin: i probably shouldn't say. you'd have to interview him!
Marvin Lin: you should interview our whole staff
Marvin Lin: see how many are white
Me: For the record, I am not a racist
Marvin Lin: i'll be sure to post that as a tmt headliner
Me: haha
Me: I find the South to be fairly racist, but no less racist than what I've encountered in the Midwest or up North
Me: the problem is that it's really out in the open here
Marvin Lin: it's a different sort of racism, i think.
Me: well, maybe that's not a problem
Marvin Lin: yeah, definitely
Marvin Lin: many things are manifestations of racism, which is where the problem is
Me: but what I hate is when white people assume I'm racist because I'm white
Marvin Lin: you get that?
Marvin Lin: that's horrible
Me: I used to rent construction equipment and this guy said to me, when asking about a ditch witch trencher, said, "hell, I could hire a couple of niggers for that price"
Me: classy!
Marvin Lin: i recently heard a contractor say "they nigger-rigged that son of a bitch!" (referring to a closet door)
Me: and a couple of guys made jokes about killing Mexican day workers
Marvin Lin: damn
Me: but then again, we actually have black people and Mexicans and stuff bumping elbows with white people
Me: I feel like we're hampered by "heritage" (a BS term) but we are well-equipped to make things better by sheer widespread poverty and proximity
Marvin Lin: people say "race doesn't exist, it's a social construction, etc"... but it definitley does exist in the sense that we talk about it and treat it as if it existed
Me: yeah
Me: it does mean something
Marvin Lin: just like "music"
Marvin Lin: abstractions treated as something real
Me: I mean, I guess it is a social construction and it can be used as a mask for class issues, but it means something to most people, so those kind of debates are sorta moot
Me: yeah
Me: music is just a sequemce of tones that we recognize as "music"
Marvin Lin: i always think of music as something people do, not something that IS
Me: that's interesting
Me: very utililitarian of you
Marvin Lin: i always bring up the fact that parts of africa don't even have an equivalent for the word "music"
Me: but 56 words for snow
Marvin Lin: it's so imbedded in their cultural practices that they don't need to name it. they just DO it
Me: awesome
Me: so why do you DO TMT?
Me: because there is such a vast dearth of online indie rock coverage?
Marvin Lin: i think western language has a bias towards reifying things, turning things into objects so that it can be picked apart and analyzed. there's good and bad, of course. but it's easy for people to forget that music, espeically on CD or whatever, is dispalced 'musicking'
Me: heh
Marvin Lin: haha
Me: so you wanted to express your Western bias on music?
Me: pick it apart and analyze it
Marvin Lin: well, when i personally approach a review, i like to think of it as cultural critique. rather than saying an album is "good" or "bad" (just boring aesthetic judgments to me), i like to put it in a cultlural context and critique it as such
Me: a contextualist, eh?
Me: I like to look at things from the symptomatic level myself, but I often feel like there needs to be a little more time before I can make grand pronouncements about it
Me: I never read a new book for that reason
Me: I like to pick them up after the dust has settled and stuff
Marvin Lin: yeah, i see what you mean
Me: so maybe I'm an anti-contextualist?
Marvin Lin: it's hard for me to truly appreciate something if i don't understand it. which is why i need context. it's hard for me to go "blindly" into a new album without understanding where it's coming from
Me: hmmm...
Me: so you would subscribe to auteur theory in film?
Me: that understanding a director's intent is important to understanding the work?
Me: and that the director's vision is sacrosanct?
Me: I go back and forth myself on that with music and film
Marvin Lin: it doesn't necessarily have to do anyting w/ the aritst or musician's intent
Me: gotcha
Marvin Lin: to me, that's superfluous. i'm talking more about a social, cultural, and political contest.
Marvin Lin: context
Me: what about pure entertainment value?
Me: Doesn't factor in?
Marvin Lin: when was the music made? why was it made? what cultural norms existed? which values in music were appreciated at the time? how is the music produced? how is it disseminated?
Marvin Lin: no, that's a huge factor i take into account. music is a very social thing.
Me: yeah
Marvin Lin: i feel indie rock (as in, the indie rock genre that includes major label stuff) is pure entertainement for a lot of people
Me: ok
Marvin Lin: i prefer, however, not to listen to music as pure entertainment
Marvin Lin: not that i can't be entertained, but there are just too many things swimming in my head when i hear an album
Me: do you feel like the rise of bands like CYHSY and Tapes and Tapes and Wolf Parade and the Cloud Room, etc. (I dub the genre Pitchfork Rock) is a good thing?
Me: I like some of these bands but there isn't much in the way of deep artistry there
Me: When I worked in college radio from 1994-2002, guys like Tortoise and Will Oldham and Jim O'Rourke and Sea and Cake charted #1 and stuf
Me: f
Marvin Lin: well, like everything, there's good and bad. those bands are all indepenedent musicians (on indie labels, but all distributed by majors nonetheless), so that's good in my opinion
Marvin Lin: yeah, i see what you're getting at
Me: but now those bands are marginal in indie rock consciousness
Me: and they were artists to me
Marvin Lin: there seems to be heavy emphasis lately on hooks and structure and happy tones
Me: that's great
Marvin Lin: usually those sounds turn me off
Marvin Lin: but i can see why it's so popular. it's so accessible and a lot of it is really harmless
Me: but, man, our big indie rock bands (and maybe I'm like grandpa here) used to be real thinkers, you know?
Me: and I don't think of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! as thinkers, necessarily
Me: I mean, I love the Spinto Band and stuff, so don't get me wrong
Marvin Lin: yeah, i agree. i mean, personally, i of course favor o'rourke and sea and cake over the hyped bands of today. i really feel this emphasis on pop melody and structure is blurring the line between Indie Rock (as a genre) and indie rock as music that's indepednent from the Big Four (EMI, WEA, SonyBMG, Universal)
Marvin Lin: and i hate that.
Me: but put up today's indie popsters against the OTCs and Neutral Milk Hotels and there is no comparison
Marvin Lin: the hyped bands of today are derivative in my mind
Marvin Lin: but so are the noise acts i champion
Me: yeah, I hate the whole Maximum Rock and Roll the business is the music vibe
Me: true
Marvin Lin: the difference is that these noise acts are producing sounds that are still political, whether over or not. to have a 1-minute song that's full of static is political in itself. pop writing to me seems like resignation
Me: I would respectfully disagree
Marvin Lin: (i mean to say "overt" not over)
Marvin Lin: (and i meant to say "meant" not mean)
Me: writing pop songs is standing in defiance of cynicism
Marvin Lin: are you talking pop as in, pop music with happy lyrics and happy chords?
Me: yeah
Me: I find it fairly defiant
Me: like, screw it, I'm just gonna stand up here and be stupid
Marvin Lin: yeah, i see what you're saying. but is it defiant? or is it just happy? but i think you're on point though. it's too easy to say that it's a "resignation" like i said.
Me: let's just agree to hate each other
Marvin Lin: but i love you. you know htat
Me: haha
Me: I know
Me: our love will come crashing over the mountains like a tsunami

Monday, June 12, 2006

blogs vs. crits


There's an interesting post about a polemic that's breaking out between conventional music critics and bloggers that has potential to become as big as greasers versus socs over at the always entertaining and informative music industry blog, coolfer. The whole debate seems to have been brought on by a NYTimes review of a recent Tapes N' Tapes show by former SPIN matron, Sia Michel, which certain bloggers took to be dismissive of their collective endeavors. While I think there might be some bloggers out there overly sensitive to criticism, it would be hard to hear complaints of an undeveloped live identity on the part of tn't from someone who presided over a cover issue of SPIN featuring Fall Out Boy.

Another common assertion of conventional music critics is that blogs spread uncritical hype as much if not more than they democratize music criticism. To this complaint, I have to object. First, a good number of the most high-profile blogs out there are maintained by seasoned industry professionals interested in creating an outlet for their criticism that isn't incumbered by concerns that might make it difficult to cover some of these lesser known acts in the higher profile magazines, such as what cover will sell copies (see Fall Out Boy above). It's not as if these blogs are run by a bunch of ritalin addled kids, buzzing from one band to the next indiscriminately. Second, and related to the back end of the first, a good number of the biggest blogs are very consistent and unwavering in their support for the bands whom they choose to champion, much as conventional critics are. Quite the contrary to the suggestions of uncriticial hyping, Gorilla vs. Bear, which I bring in here only because it's mentioned explicitly in the Coolfer article, has been a staunch supporter of bands like Midlake, Beirut, Cold War Kids, The Theater Fire, and Undeniable Records. I might add that, GVB does a very good job of supporting the local talent in his home city and state, which I find to be another admirable quality in his work. Finally, I think print outlets are just as susceptible to hype-mongering as any other, I mean c'mon, Wolfmother is all over every damn magazine out there, and I've yet to see (i hope it continues) much attention given to them in the blogs, right?

Coolfer seems to think that the conventional journalists have been fairly restrained in their criticism of the blogs up until now, but I can't entirely agree, I think it's been pretty chippy for a while now, and that the critics are really quite concerned about the bloggers cutting in on their turf. I mean, no less than Jim De Rogatis and Greg Kot took time out from praising the Flaming Lips and Wilco to do an interview in which they bashed the quality and caliber of the writers/writing at online outlets like Pitchfork, and this was a good 3 months ago.

As a smallish, independent publicist that deals, primarily, with smaller, lower-profile artists, I've got my complaints with all of the parties concerned: bloggers, online websites, and print. I will say, however, that the much maligned Pitchfork, along with a good number blogs, have generally been much more willing to take a chance on a record that they might not have heard of before, and those chances they've taken have seriously helped some of the bands I've worked with make a real go at it. This isn't to say that print media hasn't taken chances on my artists, they have, nor that they don't have some extremely viable reasons as to why it's difficult for them to cover our peeps, but only to suggest that there shouldn't be so many folks hating on bloggers for writing about bands that they're into, which, by and large is still what I believe most of them do. Hell, I'll take Midlake over Wolfmother any day of the week, and you can quote me on that!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Misra Records: someone we like!

Earlier this year, Pitchfork did a piece on Misra Records and why they weren't bigger (specifically Phosphorescent), which hopefully had the effect of, um, making them bigger. This is a label with a seriously good roster, and label head Phil Waldorf is a stand-up guy. I've been a passing acquaintance since 1996 or so--when I lived in Mississippi no less--but I do know him to be a man of extreme integrity and good taste. So here are songs from three Misra albums that we like:

Love You Just The Same

Download: Centro-matic--"Flashes and Cables" MP3 from Love You Just The Same
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Someone once told me that they found Centro-matic to be an "inspiring" live band, and this guy wasn't even a musician. He was absolutely right, though. Every Centro-matic show is a series of wrenching peaks and valleys, beautiful passages butting up against rough-edged bombast as drummer Matt Pence becomes more and more unhinged (a one-man Live at Leeds!) and Will and Scott's voices battle the guitar wash for first chair.

And, on record, the band is no slouch either...underrated even. "Flashes and Cables" is one of the band's most stunning songs, live or on record.

    Lost In Revelry
Download: The Mendoza Line--"A Damn Good Disguise" MP3 from Lost In Revelry
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Much like their namesake, the Mendoza Line is all about lowered expectations and succeeding despite oneself. Lord knows, the Mendoza Line has put on some of the most execrable, screechy, sloppy live shows I have ever seen. But I keep coming back for more because the records manage to take all that's wrong with the band's tawdry backstory (cheating, drinking, more cheating, more drinking) and reconstitute it into some of the most vulnerable and haunted pop this side of Fleetwood Mac.


Streethawk: A Seduction

Download: Destroyer--"The Very Modern Dance" MP3 from Streethawk: A Seduction
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Man, we listen to this record all of the time in our office. We're pretty major Destroyer freaks around here (though I found Your Blues extremely disappointing), and this is probably our all-time fave. Rubies is pretty brilliant, too, as is Thief, but, much like its spiritual predecessor, Hunky Dory, this is one album I keep coming back to. Maybe it's the often hilarious but always pithy self-referential lyrics or the skewed arrangements or Bejar's vocal gymnastics. Nah. It's the hot piano licks that keep me coming back for more. "The Very Modern Dance" has easily the best piano hook on the record; it comes right after the chorus like the bastard child of Bowie-era Rick Wakeman and Todd Rundgren. It's killer.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Venice is Sinking Contest Winner!

Lil' Romeo says "stay in school."

That's right, Anonymous! You're the winner! For some of you less hooked on the semi-regular nectar that is The Cropper's missives you might be saying, "jonpolk, what the hell are you talking about? Winner of what?" Well, Dear Reader, almost a month ago, on May 12th, we announced our first official Cropper contest for Venice is Sinking. To be more exact, I promised the winner some 'Lucas Jensen paraphanelia'. The winner would be the reader that suggested the best prize, and although there was some pretty stiff competition, utlimately, an anonymous reader with chillingly detailed knowledge of the Team Clermont Publicity offices won with his/her/its suggestion of Lucas's prized bag of Lil' Romeo's Bar-b-quin' with my honey Chips, brought to you by Rap Snacks, the official snack of hip-hop. So, without further ado, Snonomyous, step forth to claim your flavoricious prize.

And let this serve as notice to certain critics out there, The 'Cropper, unlike Stephen Merritt and others, can never be accused of serving only the indierock establishment.

Oxytocin


Download: Snowglobe -- “Rainbow” MP3
Download: Snowglobe -- “Dry” MP3
Download: Snowglobe -- “At Times A Nightmare” MP3


These three tracks come from the new Snowglobe record, Oxytocin, which is actually the first in a projected series of five albums mostly written by the individual members of Snowglobe. This one’s by co-frontman Brad Postlethwaite and it’s pretty fantastic. Whether the band actually releases all five records remains to be seen, but this one’s a great start. E6-y pop with a heavy influence of The Band and maybe even ELO or Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies Man.
A short polypeptide hormone that is released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland and stimulates the contraction of smooth muscle of the uterus during labor and facilitates release of milk from the breast during nursing.
I'm not really what the songs have to do with oxytocin itself, but that's what happens when a med student makes a record, I guess. There's a push-and-pull of contradictory emotions about love on this record: the brightest songs are often the darkest lyrically. It's like telling someone to @#$% off with a smile on your face.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I used to read Black Fiction...


Download: Black Fiction -- “I Spread the Disease”
Download: Black Fiction -- “Magic Hands”
Download: Black Fiction -- “I Hope You Never Die”

I seriously think you gals and guys are about to flip out over this Bay area band, Black Fiction. I don’t know what it is about them. It’s like a shaggy tidal wave of rhythmic lo-fi psychedelic slow jams and freakouts; it’s so friggin’ effortless and so much fun. This sextet is as charming and shambolic as they come, and there’s just this forward momentum, this inertia, this mysterious pull to the whole affair that’s absolutely addictive. They’re not afraid to quiet down either, as evidenced by “I Hope You Never Die.” I’m so happy to bring this to you! The whole debut album, Ghost Ride, is pretty hot.

Another lo-fi tsunami from the folks at Team Clermont.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Curious...

Dang!

The Cropper is now the #2 search result for "breakdancers 1986 northampton mass." on Google. After this post we will probably be #1. That's pretty awesome.

The Bleachers!


Download: The Bleachers -- “Suitcase B” MP3

Download: The Bleachers -- “Don’t Make No Roads” MP3

Download: The Bleachers -- “Poltergeist” MP3

From the tourist-ridden streets of Las Vegas come the Bleachers, who are way, way better than the Killers. Their new record, Suspicion, is nifty, but a little hard to describe. I hear a few things going on here. First, a healthy obsession with the high points of the 80s IRS Records output, that sort of dark jangly REM or Gun Club sound. Also, I note a bit of the great early Internal Wrangler-era Clinic stuff. Spooky! But it can be absolutely beautiful (if still a little edgy!), as evidenced by "Don't Make No Roads".

Friday, June 02, 2006

Man Man to play Team Clermont Summer Festival!

Download: Man Man -- "Van Helsing Boombox"

YES! IT IS TRUE!
MAN MAN has been confirmed to play the Friday Night show of Team Clermont's Summer Festival!
By now you should know that "Prom" will be August 3rd, 4th, and 5th right here in Athens, GA at the Fabulous 40 Watt and other choice venues.
You should also know that it's going to kick ass.

Already scheduled to perform are The Modern Skirts, Now It's
Overhead
, White Whale(debut out on Merge this summer), John Roderick from The Long Winters and Prom Band Elf Power! We are beyond stoked to add Man Man to that list. And be sure to stay tuned, as more bands will be announced soon.

The Men are heading out on an American tour TODAY in support of their latest release "Six Demon Bag". They will end up in Athens, GA to play the 40 Watt on August 4th. If you can't wait til then, Check them out when they hit your town:

Fri 06.02.06 - Somerville, MA P.A.'s Lounge
Sat 06.03.06 - Montreal, QC (CA) La Sala Rossa
Sun06.04.06 - Ottawa, ONT (CA) Cafe Dekcuf
Mon 06.05.06 - Toronto, ONT (CA) Silver Dollar Room
Tue 06.06.06 - Lansing, MI Mac's Bar
Wed 06.07.06 - Chicago, IL Subterranean
Thu 06.08.06 - St. Paul, MN Turf Club
Fri 06.09.06 - Lawrence, KS Jackpot Saloon
Sat 06.10.06 - Denver, CO The Walnut Room
Sun 06.11.06 - Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
Tue 06.13.06 - Seattle, WA Neumos w/ Fiery Furnaces
Thu 06.15.06 - San Francisco, CA Fillmore w/ Fiery Furnaces
Fri 06.16.06 - Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre w/ Fiery Furnaces
Sat 06.17.06 - San Diego, CA Epicentre w/ Fiery Furnaces
Sun 06.18.06 - Tucson, AZ Solar Culture Gallery
Tue 06.20.06 - Austin, TX Emo's Inside w/ The Lovely Feathers
Wed 06.21.06 - Dallas, TX The Cavern w/ The Lovely Feathers
Thu 06.22.06 - Houston, TX Walters On Washington w/ Apollo Sunshine,
The Lovely Feathers
Fri 06.23.06 - Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon w/ The Lovely Feathers
Sat 06.24.06 - Atlanta, GA The Earl w/ The Lovely Feathers, Human
Television, and many more
Sun 06.25.06 - Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
w/ The Lovely Feathers
Tue 06.27.06 - Philadelphia, PA Theatre of the LIving Arts w/ Fiery Furnaces
Thu 06.29.06 - New York, NY Webster Hall w/ Fiery Furnaces
Fri 06.30.06 - Washington, DC 9:30 Club w/ Fiery Furnaces
Sat 07.29.06 - Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival
Fri 08.04.06 - ATHENS, GA 40 Watt TEAM CLERMONT'S SUMMER FESTIVAL!!!

Things I bought on iTunes recently.

Sorry the blog has been derelict for a while. We've been slacking. To tide you over I am going to list all of the hot songs I've bought recently on iTunes. This list will be quite embarrassing.

  • Gnarls Barkley-"Crazy" (okay, who hasn't bought this one?)
  • Sufjan Stevens-"Chicago" (in lieu of the whole album for I am broke)
  • Jay Ferguson-"Thunder Island" (yacht rock at its finest)
  • Gerry Rafferty-"Baker Street" (an impulse buy)
  • Seven Mary Three-"Make Up Your Mind" (I swear that this song is not so bad and stupid like most SM3 songs...I heard it once years ago and thought it was nice. It's not as good as I remember, but it ain't terrible.)
  • The Rolling Stones-"Memo From Turner" (I love that slide guitar on this one)
  • Snow-"Informer" (there is no justification for this)
  • Cyndi Lauper-"Goonies R Good Enough" (thinking about covering this one)
Um, that Snow song really screws up my credibility.