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' 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.