Friday, December 21, 2007

My Teenage Stride video



It's nice to have this visual/aural reminder of a super record that came out earlier in 2007. My Teenage Stride's video for "To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge" was directed by Nara Garber, and the song is from the album Ears Like Golden Bats. The British label Becalmed Records released the record earlier this year, and it's been in heavy rotation here at The Cropper ever since.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wisely

Download: Wisely -- "Through Any Window"
Download: Wisely -- "Cracked World View"

Wisely's been around for a while, but this album, his fourth, is the first one where he's felt like it's what he's really wanted to do. That's why it's self-titled. It's an album of evocative pop, as he calls it, drawing on influences like Elliott Smith, the earlier (better) Badly Drawn Boy, and the first two solo records of McCartney's. Wisely is also friends with Jenna Fischer AKA Pam Beesly from The Office, whose film Lollilove he scored. She returned the favor by appearing in the video for "Through Any Window", which you can watch below!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Meredith Bragg



Download: Meredith Bragg -- "My Absent Will"

Download: Meredith Bragg -- "Twin Arrows"

Silver Sonya is DC artist Meredith Bragg's first solo record without his backing band, the Terminals. Late in 2006, Bragg met with Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Smart Went Crazy) and T.J. Lipple (Aloha) at their studio, Silver Sonya, to discuss his plan for a solo record. The trio worked together on his last record, The Departures EP, which forged a strong friendship as well as a strong producer/artist relationship. If anyone was willing to jump off the bridge Bragg was headed towards, he knew it would be them. The idea for the record consisted of two rules --

Rule #1: Only the sounds Meredith could get from his acoustic guitar or voice could be used.

Rule #2: Once recorded, there were no restrictions on how those sounds could be manipulated.

After recording the basic tracks, these sounds were pulled, filtered, shifted, butchered, looped, broken, and mended. While some songs changed little, others developed from the process, unfolding in excitingly unexpected ways. Out of this process came a record that is both expansive and intimate, fractured and yet whole.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Dimes



Download: The Dimes—“Jersey Kid”

Download: The Dimes—“Paul Kern Can’t Sleep”

Download: The Dimes—“New York 1930”

Download: The Dimes—“Catch Me Jumping”

Wildly melodic and inherently quirky, The Dimes’ sunny day indie-pop is born of the same Northwest, um, loins as The Decemberists, The Shins, Ben Gibbard, and even recent Austin to Portland transplants, Spoon. Known for unexpected outbreaks of foot stomping and hand clapping at their live shows, The Dimes boys’ first full-length looks to push them a couple rungs up the ladder, closer to likes of the aforementioned indie royalty – maybe sooner than anticipated. This album is really starting to turn heads with its hooky high-concept songs based on some Depression-era newspapers found in the basement of the lead singer's house.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Yarrows



Download: The Yarrows--"May"

Download: The Yarrows--"Diamond"

The YarrowsPlum comes at you with such subtlety and mastery of its own language that it's hard to believe that this album is a debut. Plum is a musical atmosphere as textured and psychological as the songs themselves, filled with full-blooded and naked emotionalism that never descends into melodrama. It’s a sublime record, one that trucks in the same territory mined by tindersticks and the National while sounding wholly unique. Really take your time with these. They're worth it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Black Tie


Download: Black Tie—“Wide Open”

Download: Black Tie—“The Haunting of Francisco De Goya”

A veteran of the Albuquerque scene, Roger Apodaca’s project Black Tie is an orchestrated, moody affair that brings to mind influences as disparate as Mogwai, the Constellation Records crew, Galaxie 500, and Mojave 3. This is patient, passionate music; it’s Americana without being country. We use the term Americana a lot to mean twangy, Ryan Adams-y sounding stuff, but this record is has an Americana to without much of that. It's from a guy who lives in the Southwest, in the expanse of New Mexico, and his music is informed by that. It's ambitious, open, far-reaching, beautiful, and lonely. Did I mention beautiful?

Friday, November 30, 2007

around the horn

Sorry for the posting absence, I know you've been missing our updates. In lieu of bringing new content in this post, I'll go ahead and draw some attention to some press a few local bands have been picking up at other outlets

Pylon - Gyrate Plus - DFA Records - reviewed in Pitchfork

We Versus The Shark
- "The Lament of Sue Richards" from EP of Bees EP - Hello Sir Records - reviewed in Paper Thin Walls

The Ginger Envelope
- "Drift" from Edible Orchids - One Percent Press - reviewed in Forkcast

Nice to see some people outside of town turning their ears to what Athens has to offer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ginger Envelope



Download: The Ginger Envelope—“Failsafe”

Download: The Ginger Envelope—“Dirty Penny”

Download: The Ginger Envelope—“Caretaker”


Every time I see Ginger Envelope I come away even more convinced that they are a great band. A few nights back at the 40 Watt, after playing their LP Edible Orchids in its entirety, the band played a second set of more recent material, which was equally strong. The songs above are from the aformentioned LP. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Castanet & Shiny Around The Edges.

Michael Seman from Denton, TX based band Shiny Around The Edges sent over this video a few days ago, and I felt compelled to post it here on The Cropper. The song, which is performed by Ray Raposa of Castanets, and Shiny Around The Edges (with Jennifer Seman on vocals), and is a cover of Willie Nelson's "I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye":

Thursday, November 08, 2007

DJ Donna Summer "Eating Crow"



Download: DJ Donna Summer -- "Eating Crow"

Got an email from the hyper-prolific, and just plain hyper, DJ Donna Summer yesterday. In his own words:

"Here's an especially cheesy B'more track that I think SHOULD make people go nuts at your party!...There's no release for this one, let it spread like the flu! "

Have at it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Miss Fairchild



Download: Miss Fairchild—“Number One”

Download: Miss Fairchild—“Vanilla Place”

Here are a few tunes off the new album from the insane blue-eyed funk/R&B band, Miss Fairchild, Ooh La La Sha Sha. These guys are 100% committed to what they are doing. This isn't just some suburban white kids play-acting at being an 80s funk band. Lucas showed the record to someone and they said, "I bet this band isn't funky. This is just some indie pop band with a drum machine, right?" WRONG! Miss Fairchild provides wet pop-funk madness; they’re probably the only group around that cites Raphael Saadiq and Morris Day as major influences, and we certainly like that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Leland.



Download: Leland -- "And Why"

Singer songwriter Leland's sophomore effore, "The Golden West", released on Rubia Records, is an expansion of the sound she created for her 2004 debut release "Forever." This time around the lush instrumentation and haunting infectious melodies have been rendered in a much more robust rock production. The basic tracks for this entire album were recorded live with a full band over the course of a few days lending an intense, rhythmic, and energized quality to these well crafter avant pop songs. Each song is an epic experience with a build up, crescendo, and magnificent outro section infused with layered vocal instrumental harmonies. Like the songs on her debut "Forever", they are songs with a familiar romantic nostalgic tone steeped in the late 1960s and early 1970s and year are unmistakably now. They are songs describing romantic disappointment, lonlieness, spiritual awakening, the rejuvenating power of nature, and the redemption of love. "The Golden West" is a music odyssey that begins with the solitary acoustic guitar of the title track taking the on a desolate journey of lost love in the Old West. The next ten successive tracks bathe the listener in lush orchestration, musical movements, crescendos and vocal harmonies until finally we arrive at the final pristine vocal and acoustic guitar track of The Sound of Music which bookends The Golden West listening journey carefully constructed by Leland and her producer/collaborator Marc Doten.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bear in Heaven



Download: Bear in Heaven -- "Bag of Bags"

Download: Bear in Heaven--"Werewolf" (single edit)

The songs above are from Bear in Heaven's soon to be released LP, Red Bloom of the Boom. The members of the band have cut their teeth with an impressive array of musicians including, but not limited to: Rhys Chatham, Jonathan Kane, Savath and Savalas, Panthers and Paul Duncan. Red Bloom of the Boom makes a compelling case for the band's compositional talents as well as their technical proficiency. Long, spacious, and dark, the seven songs of the LP work best when listened to in one sitting. Though the tracks offered above are a testament to the quality of individual songs on the album, Bear in Heaven succeeds in creating a cohesive work that is somehow more than the sum of its parts. We hope that you enjoy the songs here, and if you do, be sure to pick up the whole record from your local record store or the fine people at Hometapes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Andy Ditzler



Download: Andy Ditzler – “Another Customer”

Download: Andy Ditzler – “Economics”

Andy Ditzler is wild artist: this former theatrical production is part TMBG intelligent whimsy, part Ken Nordine spoken word, part Laurie Anderson, part...well, who knows? It's all over the map, and that's why we decided to work with Andy. He's so wonderfully different than all of the other stuff out there. As much as we love the indie rock, it's nice to encounter an artist who is striving for something larger than band with four members that rocks out. With a healthy sense of humor, the song lyrics range among technology, the metaphysics of TV news, a Buddhist samba, economics for beginners, politics, and love in 21st-century America. Songs From Yes and No is a witty, poignant, and illuminating view of current events, and a provocative musical vision. He's got samba, jazz, rock, and electronic influences scattered about, sometimes in the same song! He even has Outkast's sax player!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Siberian



Download: Siberian – “Belgian Beer and Catholic Girls”
Download: Siberian – “Islands Forever”

This is big-time, reach-for-the-stars, anthemic rock and roll. Siberian doesn't do anything small and their songwriting ambition is surprising given the relative youth of the band members. This Seattle band writes crafty big-hearted pop that reminds us of the Bends-era Radiohead (with a decidedly American filter) or maybe the Arcade Fire without the quarter note bass drum all-the-freaking-time. There are twists and turns galore and a lot of subversion of traditional structures without seeming showy about it or anything. And what I really like is that they don't mind "going for it" in a non-ironic way. Siberian is a band that pounds it out without cynicism and full of optimism and enthusiasm, and even though "earnest" is supposedly back, it still seems refreshing when you hear it done right. Siberian comes our way courtesy of Sonic Boom Recordings, who also put out the great Pseudosix EP and Ghost Stories LP this year...a name you can trust!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Biirdie


Download: Biirdie--"Him"
Download: Biirdie--"Estelle" MP3

We here at Team Clermont are pleased to announce the upcoming release of Biirdie's second album, Catherine Avenue. It's coming out on Love Minus Zero Records (part of the Drive-Thru Records family), and we think it's a big, stunning Great American Rock Record. The band spins sweeping anthems told in California semi-gloss, with twinges of West Coast Country and big-hearted Southern balladry. It's an album about place and location, about the way that geography affects us. California itself figures heavily as a character on the record; two of the band's members are Southern ex-pats and the lyrics often address the bewilderment of finding oneself transplanted to Los Angeles. If you need musical analogues then we hear Fleetwood Mac, Grandaddy, CSNY, Rilo Kiley, and Brill Building pop, but that's by no means a complete list. This is ambitious orchestral music decked out in gorgeous harmonies, ringing pianos, and some pretty killer guitar work that knows a thing or two about dynamism. It knows when to take a breather, and it knows when to go for the knockout.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Slaraffenland US Tour

Download: Slaraffenland -- "Dust (Me As A Monster)"

Denmark's finest, Slaraffenland, are going to be hitting the States for a fall tour culminating in their performance at Hometapes' CMJ showcase. We here at The Cropper couldn't be happier about this. Slaraffenland put out one of our favorite records of 2007, and consistently put on an impressive live show. If you're at all able to make it out to any of the dates below, consider yourself very lucky. We love them. We hope you're able to see Slaraffenland soon:

Sep 25 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge - w/ Porlolo
Sep 26 - Nampa, ID - Flying M Coffeegarage - w/ The Invasion
Sep 27 - Portland, OR - Towne Lounge - w/ Donny Hue and The Colors
Sep 28 - Seattle, WA - Easy Street Records
Sep 30 - Hollywood, CA - Knitting Factory - w/ The New Loud, Casxio
Oct 01 - San Diego, CA - Che Cafe - w/Clock Work Army/Channing Cope
Oct 04 - Ames, IA - Iowa University - M-Shop - w/ The Helio Sequence
Oct 06 - Chicago, IL - South Union Arts -w/Fred Lonberg-Holm/David Daniell
Oct 07 - Fayetteville, AR - JR's Lightbulb Club - w/ Memphis Pencil
Oct 08 - Austin, TX - Mohawk - w/ Silver Pines
Oct 10 - Atlanta, GA - 11:11 Teahouse - w/ Tradesecrets
Oct 11 - Washington, DC - DAM! Festival @ Rock-n-Roll Hotel
Oct 12 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern - w/ Phosphorescent
Oct 14 - Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery - w/Paul Duncan/The Caribbean
Oct 15 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fire - w/ Pattern is Movement
Oct 16 - Somerville, MA - PA's Lounge - w/ The Coast
Oct 19 - New York, NY - CMJ Music Marathon - Mo Pitkin's - Hometapes showcase

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Little Name



Download: Little Name -- "How To Swim and Live"
Download: Little Name -- "Tracy & I"

This record has to go down as the surprise release of the year for us. It must have been a surprise for Ann Tabor of Sleepy Records as well. She received the Little Name "demos" one day out of the blue. This guy, Lee Barker, from Liverpool, is holed up in his house for eight years because of panic attacks and records this marvelous, bubbly British pop record that follows in the footsteps of Belle and Sebastian, British twee, and Gruff Rhys (his voice is often a dead ringer). The guy plays 99.9% of the instruments, the production is impeccable, and he just sends it out to a fledgling label, who was absolutely floored and quite happy to release it. Would that every unsolicited package was like that! Can you imagine getting this brilliant pop album in the mail unannounced? One wonders how many other great songwriters are holed up in their houses making beautiful music like this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ham1



Download: Ham1 – “White Rat”
Download: Ham1 – “Hare Lipped Bust”
Download: Ham1 – “I Had A Good Idea, But It Passed My Mind”

Ham1, an Athens, GA mainstay that released its self-titled (and free!) debut to much acclaim in 2005, has been picked up by eco-conscious Orange Twin Records for its second album, The Captain’s Table. The brainchild of schoolteacher/songwriter, Jim Willingham, Ham1 takes equal inspiration from old movie soundtracks and modern dilapidation, drawing from jukebox rock and roll archetypes, spaghetti westerns, and flea market lost and found sounds to create original pop songs and instrumental scores.

For his first Orange Twin release, Willingham capitalizes on his longstanding musical relationship with a pair of veteran Elephant Six luminaries; former Olivia Tremor Control members, drummer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Harris and keyboardist Pete Erchick, make key textural and compositional contributions to the new disk. Rounding out the idiosyncratic lineup are Athens fixtures Jacob Morris and Chris Sugiuchi on cello and trombone, respectively; acclaimed local songstress Liz Durrett, whom the band often backs on stage, lends her rich vocal harmony to two tracks.

Ham1 will soon embark on the “Three On A Tree Tour” supporting Liz Durrett and Vic Chesnutt and acting as both acts’ backing band.

The “Three On The Tree” Tour:

Sept 28 The Werehouse Winston Salem NC
Sept 29 The Grey Eagle Asheville NC
Sept 30 Gravity Lounge Charlottesville VA
Oct 5 Arts Center Carrboro, NC
Oct 6 Evening Muse Charlotte, NC
Oct 12 The Pilot Light Knoxville, TN (tentative)
Oct 13 The Basement Nashville, TN
Oct 18 The 40 WATT Athens, GA
Oct 19 Workplay Birmingham, AL
Oct 20 The Earl Atlanta, GA

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mother and the Addicts



Download: Mother and the Addicts -- "All in the Mind"
Download: Mother and the Addicts -- "So Tough"

Chemikal Underground (home of the Delgados, Arab Strap, and Mogwai) brings us another great band from the UK. This time Sheffield's Mother and the Addicts, whose second album, Science Fiction Illustrated, is a real piece of work, a catchy of slab of uniquely British post-rock. It recalls the Fall, Orange Juice, Jarvis/Pulp...lots of stuff, but it's definitely it's own thing. MOJO and NME are falling all over themselves for this band, and I think you will, too!



Friday, August 17, 2007

The Three 4 Tens



Download: The Three 4 Tens--"Everyday"

The Rainbow Quartz label returns with another batch of wonderful power pop; this time is comes from the Three 4 Tens, a group that seems equally adept at ringing jangly rock and dystopian, sludgy JAMC-style fuzz. It's a great romp (I'll try to refrain from using the word psychedelic in any manner--man, we overuse it...hey! it's what we dig!) and a real grower as an album, which ain't a bad thing at all. Plus, compared to a lot of similar bands, they go for interesting textures and frequencies beyond the normal Rick guitars and punchy bass tones.

Complete Hoogie-Boogie Land



It's like US Maple vs. Ugly Kid Joe. Thanks to Candice Jones for the tip!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Alina Simone



Download: Alina Simone – “Black Water”
Download: Alina Simone – “Saw-Edged Grass”

She's already earned plaudits from publications like Pitchforkmedia, Magnet, The New Yorker, and Time Out New York, and for good reason. Alina Simone's songs, driven by her razor voice, are heart-stomping marvels. She puts it out there in the manner of the early non-Starbucks-y Cat Power/PJ Harvey with a little of that Sleater-Kinney swagger, but she has her own voice, though. Her voice and guitar sit impossibly high in the mix, with every note hanging there naked for maximum efficacy. This album, Placelessness, is something else...it really cuts deep. This Ukrainian-born, North Carolina-based NYCer is a real discovery and I really see good things on the horizon. It's just undeniably good. Listen to "Black Water"--that thing is a smoker.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mabuses



Download: The Mabuses--"Mirth"
Download: The Mabuses--"Seasider"

Who are the Mabuses? Multi-city, multinational, multitalented, and many other multis. A lot of guys who get together and assembled their third record, Mabused, a sprawling quirk-pop masterwork that has no paucity of great ideas. They just keep rolling them out until the end. It's got shades of XTC, Super Furry Animals, Olivia Tremor Control, you know, the good ones. As for the band members themselves? Well, that's a bit of a mystery, isn't it?

Also, the listen to the whole album, which is streaming at Stereogum.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mancino



Download: Mancino--"Five Blades"
Download: Mancino--"L'Amour (Or Less)"

Mancino's Manners Matter is a blast...a wild, inventive piano pop monster rife with clever turns, dodges, changes, and hooks. I've never seen them live, but I bet they completely kill it. This album's been building buzz now for a while in anticipation of its national release and for good reason. You can read more about the album here, here, here, here, and here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Angel and the Love Mongers



Download: Angel and the Love Mongers -- "The Humanist Queen"

This bunch of ex-bankers and ex-lawyers and Knoxvillian gadabouts have put together a fist-pumping new wave record, The Humanist Queen, that recalls the Smiths and Morrissey's output, Modern English, and, occasionally, in the best possible way, Duran Duran. Lead singer Angel has a powerful voice, one that recalls Jeff Buckley's more soaring arrangements, and the band just motors through the song, always going for it. I really feel like that is a band that has captured a kick-ass live show and transferred it to record. Look for it on Rock Snob Records.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Airiel



Download: Airiel--"Thinktank"

Airiel's LP, The Battle of Sealand, is soon to be released via Chicago label, Highwheel Records. This is reverb-heavy, effects-coated, honest-to-goodness shoegaze pop in the early Creation Records mold. It's not the slow stuff like Slowdive or Spacemen 3. This is the stuff with that great Mancunian backbeat and the pop hooks amid the crazy din the guitarists whip up. Expect to write posts with the words "swirling" in them.

Show: Club Europa (98 Meserole Ave, Greenpoint)
Where: Brooklyn, NY
When: August 11th, 2007

Show: AS220 (115 Empire Street)
Where: Providence, Rhode Island
When: August 13th, 2007

Show: The Khyber (56 S. Second Street)
Where: Philadelphia, PA
When: August 14th, 2007

Show: Black Cat (1811 14th St NW)
Where: Washington, D.C.
When: August 15th, 2007

Show: The Metro Gallery (1700 North Charles Street)
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: August 17th, 2007

Show: The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave) **The Battle of Sealand - RELEASE PARTY**
Where: Chicago, IL
When: August 29th, 2007

Show: C.C.La Noche (Av Bolognesi 307)
Where: Lima, Peru
When: September 1st, 2007

Show: Triple Rock (629 Cedar Avenue)
Where: Minneapolis, MN
When: September 28th, 2007

Show: KEXP Live from Chicago
Where: Chicago, IL
When: October 3rd, 2007
Details: Airiel Performs a live set on KEXP 90.3 Seattle remotely broadcast from Engine Studios in Chicago listen live on www.kexp.org

Show: KEXP Presents Airiel @ Darkroom (2210 W. Chicago ave)
Where: Chicago, IL
When: December 6th, 2007
With: Arks and Walking Bicycles
Details: 9 PM

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Donny Hue and The Colors



Download: Donny Hue and The Colors – “Humming With The Flower Birds”
Download: Donny Hue and The Colors – “Real, Long Time”

Donny Hue and The Colors' first album, Folkmote, combines lush, magisterial lullabies with shimmering chamber pop, yet the songs are haunted by psychedelic nursery rhymes gone horribly awry, and ghostly, incandescent dreamscapes. It's got a lot of early Of Montreal vibe to it, which is to say that it's got a lot of Kinks vibe to it! Haha. Donny moonlights in The Terminals with the wonderful Meredith Bragg as well. This is quality stuff, in part because it has a good time and doesn't take itself too seriously. Ace record label The Kora Records is putting this out (M. Bragg, Gregor Samsa). Donny Hue and The Colors will be hitting the road this fall. Look for them in these fine cities:

9.03 - WFMU Radio Appearance @ 3pm
9.04 - Brooklyn, NY @ Southpaw
9.06 - Philadelphia, PA @ Khyber
9.07 - DC @ Olsson's Books & Records in Dupont at 7pm
9.07 - DC @ Velvet Lounge
9.09 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Blend
9.10 - Athens, GA @ Little Kings
9.11 - Atlanta @ The Earl
9.12 - Memphis, TN @ P&H
9.13 - Tulsa, OK @ Soundpony
9.14 - Austin, TX @ House show
9.15 - El Paso, TX @ Cactus Café
9.16 - Flagstaff, AZ @ Macy's
9.17 - Las Vegas, NV @ Aristocrat
9.18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Knitting Factory
9.19 - Los Angeles, CA @ TBA
9.23 - Oakland, CA @ Mama Buzz
9.26 - Eugene, OR @ Black Forest
9.27 - Portland, OR @ Towne Lounge
9.28 - Olympia, WA @ Le Voyeur
9.29 - Seattle, WA @ Mars Café
10.1 - Denver @ Hi Dive
10.2 - Lincoln, NE @ Crescent Moon

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As many of you may know, Bottom of the Hudson was involved in a tragic and fatal van accident that left bassist Trevor Butler dead and drummer Greg Lytle in intensive care in Chapel Hill. The band has made its home on Absolutely Kosher Records for many years, and label owner Cory Brown has issued the following statement:

"Philadelphia/Brooklyn band Bottom of the Hudson suffered a serious van wreck on Sunday, July 29th, while returning home after the final date of a short East Coast tour to promote their new album, Fantastic Hawk, released just two weeks ago on July 17. While on I-40 near Clinton, NC, a tire blew out sending the van out of control and flipping it multiple times. Bassist Trevor Butler was killed in the accident and drummer Greg Lytle is currently in ICU in Chapel Hill, NC. The other members of the band, Eli Simon, Michael Prince and William Chesterton Chambers, suffered minor injuries and were released from the hospital.
We didn't have an opportunity to get to know Trevor Butler as well as we would have liked, but he was a great guy and a great musician. He was instrumental in the evolution of the band's sound over the years. In addition to playing in Bottom of the Hudson for the last several years, Trevor also was a founding member in fellow-Philadelphia group Coyote. He was utterly devoted to music and helped many, many bands set-up shows in Philadelphia. We are devastated by his loss and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the band and their families. Thanks to everyone who has sent condolences and well-wishes.

We are currently accepting donations via Paypal (the address is both@absolutelykosher.com) on behalf of Trevor's family and for Greg's medical bills resulting from the accident. A benefit show is being discussed, but we're all still reeling from this tragedy. We will update our home page as news of Greg's condition and progress on further fundraisers comes in. Your generosity in this difficult time is appreciated.

best,
Cory Brown and everyone at Absolutely Kosher Records
www.absolutelykosher.com"

We here at Team Clermont echo Cory's statements. Bottom of the Hudson played our Summer Festival last Thursday here in Athens, and we really enjoyed meeting those guys in person, including Trevor and Greg, who joined the band a week or two before the tour began. It was a great show, by the way.

I talked to guitarist Michael Prince earlier, and he was devastated as one might imagine. He said that the band was heading to Chapel Hill after cleaning out the van and gathering their gear. Greg's condition has stabilized, though he is still in intensive care at the UNC hospital's trauma center. Michael was cautiously optimistic.

Check back at www.absolutelykosher.com or www.philebrity.com for updates on Greg, the band, and information on memorial services for Trevor.

Our thoughts go out to Greg, Trevor's family, Eli, Michael, and William.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's like kissing your sister!



The 3rd Annual Ws vs Ks Kickball has come to an end, and there was no victor. The game concluded in a 3-3 tie. Calvin Johnson gave a very fitting and memorable perfomance before the game took place, and then joined Ks both as a kicker and fielder! Thank you so much Calvin!

We're all getting showered and heading to the Go Bar at 3PM to see Abra Moore and Benjy Ferree perform!

Then it's on to PROM! Go buy your golden guns and head down to 40 Watt at 8:30 PM!

Love to everyone that has joined us so far!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Live! Office Photo Booth

JJ (TeamClermont) and The Kronic (Merge)


JJ's actually yawning, not screaming, at Lindsey K

TCB


Also, here's a great picture of Team Clermont's own Shil K. Patel and Jonathan James Flores chatting with Cinemechanica's Bryant Williamson and Mike Albanese outside of The Caledonia Lounge. The lovely and talented Courtnie Wolfgang took the picture. Profesh on all accounts. Courtnie's playing with the Folk Yous in a matter of minutes, and Cinemechanica is headlining tonight's show at the 40 Watt. Get some.

Tonight's The Night!



Download: Summer Hymns -- "Start Swimming"
Download: Alina Simone -- "Black Water"

Friday, July 27th—Caledonia Lounge (Happy Hour show), Athens, GA—Free
Go There Now!

Summer Hymns. Zachary Gresham’s long-running project Summer Hymns just released what might be its finest album ever, 2006’s Backward Masks, a cohesing of the band’s experimental and traditional elements. Summer Hymns’ songs are bittersweet and frequently lovely, but they come imbued with a shocking and caustic wit, which often translates to the band’s free-flowing live performances.

The Folk Yous. Athens’ favorite glam-folk troubadours have recently added Jesse Flavin (The Good Ship, Phosphorescent) to the lineup. Expect bittersweet and wistful folk versions of your favorite rock anthems from the 70s and 80s. You’ve never heard Asia or REO Speedwagon until you’ve heard it played on a baritone ukulele.

Alina Simone. Possessed of a powerful voice and cutting songwriting skills, Ukrainian-born Alina Simone is touring behind her debut LP, Placelessness, which has drawn fawning comparisons to early Cat Power, PJ Harvey, and Sleater-Kinney in the New York press.


Friday, July 27th—40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
Doors Open At 9pm, First Band At 10, Cheap Beer Early!

Download: The Castanets -- "A Song Is Not The Song"
Download: Phosphorescent -- "I Am A Full Grown Man (I Will Lay In The Grass All Day)"
Download: Arizona -- "Thimble"
Download: A Northern Chorus "Skeleton Keys"

Cinemechanica. One of Athens, GA’s most intense live acts, Cinemechanica has also found national acclaim for last year’s The Martial Arts, which served notice that so-called “math rock” bands can make compelling, diverse albums that capture the spirit of their live shows. Now expanded into an astounding two drummer lineup, Cinemechanica never fails to deliver a mind-bending live experience, complete with twists, turns, and buckets and buckets of filthy riffs.

Castanets. Castanets is American music drowned then reborn clear-eyed and wet with sea spray. Castanets is murderous nights and the 10 west sunset and crying gulls. Castanets is Raymond Raposa. Castanets is Raymond Raposa alone, walking through the dark and crowded dancefloor, singing bare voiced (rangy, high, cracked and real) with acoustic guitar. Castanets is a four-piece or a five-piece, six-piece, seven-piece, all-of-us-everywhere-piece stomping out electric tombstone chants or something that sounds like Pink Floyd with more heart. Castanets is delta heart, Nashville hands, outer space brain. Castanets is Cathedral (Asthmatic Kitty, 2004) and First Light's Freeze (Asthmatic Kitty, 2005). Castanets is banjo and strings of bells and howling feedback and high plains drifting and horn sections and brother folk-rock riding in a beater Datsun with sister free-jazz. Note: Castanets and Phosphorescent will be playing together as one unit for this performance.

Phosphorescent. Matthew Houck's Phosphorescent recorded two frighteningly brilliant works, 2003's A Hundred Times or More and 2004's The Weight of Flight EP, both released on the WARM label to quiet but lavish praise. While they weren't widely heard, those who that did tune in felt the spark in Houck's cracked voice, wondered at the weird and beautiful poetics, sensed the involuntary smile behind the lyrics, and settled in for the ride. Aw Come Aw Wry (Misra) moved the band's loose, ever-shifting arrangements away from the sparse and melodic and toward the rowdy and unhinged, at times conjuring a free, revival-tent spirit awash in homespun orchestrations and brushed with spiritual and psychedelic undertones. Phosphorescent is entrancing, unruly, cacophonous. Note: Castanets and Phosphorescent will be playing together as one unit for this performance.

Arizona. Arizona is the ka-tet of five close friends who like to drink mezcal and sling songs forth. Each member dresses in a sexy pajama outfit. The band currently wanders in Asheville, North Carolina but still calls New York City home. The music sounds like sweetly sleeping faeries nestled in the dewy grass of a magical land while dark, sharp, drooling creatures lurk nearby. Arizona is a masterless wanderer. Listening to Arizona's richly imaginative music will allow you to hear colors and taste thoughts, to hold moonlight in your hand, and to better know your own heart.

A Northern Chorus. A Northern Chorus is a string-laden band of Canadians whose songs deal in the momentous and beautiful. Reviews regularly use words like “epic” and “ambitious” and they are not lying. ANC has toured the continent several times, and have even crossed the pond for a small tour of the UK. They've steadily gained popularity in North America, and are anxious to do the same overseas. Over the last few records, the band’s sweeping pieces have gained tempo and volume without losing the constant striving for emotionally stirring arrangements.

Live! Office Photo Booth

RADIO UTD




Those sweethearts from Richardson, TX stopped by and all realized they wanted to leave at the same time.

Live! Office Photo Booth

HECTOR!!! (AAM)


Hector hates the south / whitey

LIVE! Office Photo Booth

ERICH AND BOBBY POWER FROM WRAS!



That's erich's "funny Face" and a rare smile from.....BOBBY POWER

LIVE! Office Photo Booth

JJ (Team Clermont) Ben Cruz (KZSC)

LIVE! Office Photo Booth!

Jon Polk (Team Clermont)
Jon likes eyebrows, curly hair, and sunglasses.

Shil Patel and Travis Tritt
The Tritter stopped by the office. I put him in a loving headlock. What a sweetie.

Still two more nights?!


Thursday proved to be damn fun. I would love to list all of the people that came into town yesterday that festivalized with us, but I know I might leave someone off.

It all started off innocently enough, with a trip to the Grit. Everyone got their fill of Mid-E Platters, Golden Bowls, Chik'n Parmesan Sandwiches, and Tofu Reubens. Then the mass exodus to Caledonia Lounge for the second night of bands.

King of Prussia went on first and gave everyone a pretty sweaty hometown performance on their stop in Athens. Then Ham1 came up and turned in another great set complete with the attractive Liz Durrett and a clapping monkey which produced rapturous applause from former Team Clermont intern and current public defender Megan Haley. They were followed up by Bottom of the Hudson whose vocalist and songwriter Eli Simon we finally realized sounds just like Bob Mould (this just in: Bill has always thought that he sounds like Bob Mould, and even wanted to put Husker Du on the sticker (this also just in: Bill wonders if anyone will care about this post beside Shil and Jon)). Deerhunter came on next and played to a sold out Caledonia crowd, blowing most of our minds and ear drums. Vocalist Bradford Cox was mesmerizing, and at many moments I thought he would fall off the monitors and right onto Jon and myself.

Keep checking in throughout the course of the day for more live blogging and photo updates! And stayed tuned for tomorrow's reviews of Cinemechanica, Castanets, Phosphorescent, Arizona, A Northern Chorus, Alina Simone, The Folk Yous and Summer Hymns!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

LIVE! Office Photo Booth

BILL AND PAT (The Syndicate) and J. Lewis (WUTK)




Pat and Bill just flew in from Jersey this morning and were escorted by our wonderful intern Marcela down to Athens. Marcela is now known as "Speedy Gonzalez" and she has the $160 ticket to prove it. NICE ONE!

J. is in this picture because he was lurking about. I don't know what he was thinking while making this face, but dollars to donuts it involved the word "douche"

tonight, tonight, tonight...Woooo Ooooooh



Download: Deerhunter -- "Spring Hall Convert"
Download: Bottom of the Hudson -- "Handwriting"
Download: Ham1 -- "I Had A Good Idea, But It Passed My Mind"

Deerhunter, Bottom of the Hudson, Ham1 w/ Liz Durrett, King of Prussia
Thursday, July 26th—Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA--$6
First band starts at 10pm sharp

Deerhunter. Deerhunter began in 2001 with the ambition of fusing the lulling hypnotic states induced by ambient and minimalist music with the clang and propulsion of garage rock. The band has weathered chaotic line-up changes, the death of a member, and much discouragement. Their live performances almost always leave audiences polarized. They are a five-piece based in Atlanta. Currently signed to Kranky Records, the band’s recent LP, Cryptograms, was highly acclaimed, most notably by Pitchfork Media.

Download: Deerhunter—“Spring Hall Convert”
http://teamclermont.com/mp3/deerhunter_springhallconvert.mp3

Bottom of the Hudson. Philadelphia power-poppers Bottom of the Hudson are playing behind Fantastic Hawk, the band’s most anthemic and complete work to date (and also its first as a multi-person unit to date) with more aggressive arrangements, clearer production, and airtight songwriting without sacrificing the mid-fi charm for which the band is known.

Ham1. Jim Willingham is an intrepid English-as-a-second-language teacher by day and enigmatic songwriter and bandleader by night. Willingham’s dusty, surf-and-western-influenced indie folk is ably fleshed out by an ace band that includes Eric Harris, formerly of Olivia Tremor Control. Add trombones, cellos, and found sounds and you have a recipe for success. Ham1 is releasing its second album, The Captain’s Table, in the fall on Orange Twin Records.

Liz Durrett. Liz Durrett has drawn complimentary comparisons to the works of Gillian Welch and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), but she is a unique artist in her own right. No doubt, Durrett’s upbringing had an intense effect on her interest in music. Growing up in the sleepy southern town of Rome, GA, she’s quick to credit much of her musical inspiration to the lifeline that her legendary uncle, Vic Chesnutt, threw her in the midst of a turbulent youth. It was Chesnutt, she says, who gave her a guitar at 16 and jokingly told her to “write mean songs about your parents”. Chesnutt’s intuition was dead on, as soon after, not only was Durrett writing her own material, Chesnutt was also employing her to perform on his tours and several of his own recordings, from his 1992 epic album, ‘West of Rome’ to his most recent release, “Ghetto Bells”. She has released two well-received records on WARM recordings that highlight her serene voice and sturdy songs. Liz Durrett and Ham1 will be performing together!

King of Prussia. One of Athens’ lovely bands, King of Prussia’s epic pop anthems will stick to your ribs. Band scion Brandon Hanick’s literate, poignant lyrics bounce along rich Brit-tinged songs that recall Belle and Sebastian, Richard Hawley, and even the decidedly non-British Unrest. The band’s first EP, Save the Scene, is a work of confidence and craft.

Live! Office Photo Booth

All weekend long we will be posting pics from our awesome office photo booth. Here's round one!



GRAHAM (Warner Bros) & SHIL (Team Clermont)





CANDICE (Team Clermont) & ROHAN (WMUC)

IT HAS BEGUN!




Yes indeedy. Think of this as sort of a live blogging of our prom for those of you out there who were not able to make it this year. We still love you and want you to experience it all first hand.
Things started off well last night with Tin Cup Prophette, Ladybug Transistor, and The Starlight Mints at the fabulous 40 Watt. (pics coming soon). The show was fantastic and had the perfect encore: 4th meal over at Huddle House It was great because we went with Graham from WB, Eric from KCRW and his girlfriend Kristen, and the man with the best name ever, Bobby Power (WRAS). Shil had a patty melt (it was gross) and sweet potato fries (totally awesome). I had a grilled cheese sandwich and fries for $2.99. What i'm trying to say is Huddle House is awesome.

Today the folks keep coming in! I showed up late to the office and was greeted by Candice and Rohan, sweet and sassy (respectively). We were "surpised" by the arrival of Hector from AAM. I ran into a door and passed out. Shil jumped out the window and landed on Jenn and Jenn from Fanatic (narrrowly missing Lisa and Matt from CMJ). Still waiting on Pat from Syndicate, Calvin Johnson, More WRAS kids, all of pirate and oh, i hear there are some bands playing (deerhunter?) also, if you are coming, come a little early King Of Prussia, they need to feel the love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gringo Star and driving in Atl


Download: Gringo Star -- "No Reason"

I just finished reading Tom Wolfe's novel, "A Man In Full", which is set in Atlanta, GA. It's the first book that I can remember reading that takes place in a city I'm fairly familiar with, and I was surprised how much that changed the way I read. Normally, I must spend a fair amount of energy imagining the places and things the author describes, because this time through I was able to pay much more attention to the nitty gritty aspects of the books creation, like the structure of the book itself, and the type of research it would have required. One thing that "A Man In Full" touches on briefly is the amount of driving that goes on in Atlanta. In my experience, it could have spent a good bit more time emphasizing how wed to the automobile most people in Atlanta are. Atlanta has to be right up there with the drivingest town in the drivingest country in the world, on par with LA (a town I feel has a spiritual connection with Atlana). Having lived in the town both with and without a car, I got to experience the car culture of the city from a variety of perspectives.

My first two years in Atlanta, I lived in north Buckhead, practically Sandy Springs. I worked at a Starbucks a couple miles up Roswell road, which I walked or rode my bike to every morning to open. Roswell road is one of those roads that you don't stop to think about too much until you have to walk it. At that point, you realize just how inhospitable the damn thing is to anyone that's not in a car. The sidewalks are small, disappear and reappear without warning, and more often than not are clogged by cars coming and going from the various shops, apartments, and parking lots along the road. It's a mess to walk, and because of that, the road was, in my experience, mainly walked by people that were the human equivalent of the cut-out bin in Atlanta. A group of the poor, broken, and mentally unbalanced - often a combination of all three. The Starbucks I worked at was quite busy, and I'd say about 75% of its business came from the drive through window. The store was located at the top of 285, close to GA 400, and I-75 and I-85. Every morning there was a near constant stream of cars pulling through on their way from the affluent northern suburbs to their offices within the city limits. It was an impressive deluge. During that same time period, I was going to school on Emory's campus, way the hell over in Dekalb, almost Decatur. Sometimes we'd get a ride to school, a 35 minute drive at least, but it was often up to Marta to get us there. Public transportation in Atlanta is pretty tough going once you get off the train lines, which only go North/South and East/West. I don't recommend it.

A few years later, after I finished college, I was back in Atlanta, living further in town. I was in Grant Park for a while and then 4th ward, but I worked in Virginia Highlands (again, at Starbucks - I know, depressing), and still drove like crazy. I always felt as if I was at least a 20 minute drive from where I needed to be no matter where I was in Atlanta. Around this time, I started seeing hand painted wooden shipping palettes advertising shows for a band called, A Fir-Ju Well. The signs were visually striking, and what's more they were geared towards motorists. The palettes would be left at prominent intersections in neighborhoods packed with the band's target demographic, or affixed to telephone poles in similar areas. You can see an example of their signage at Cable and Tweed. You can bet that there were precious few people living inside the perimeter (above or near I-20) in the early 2000s that didn't at least know the name, A Fir-Ju Well. It was an impressive 'marketing plan' in no small part because it demonstrated an acute understanding of importance of cars, traffic, and intersections in Atlanta.

Since leaving Atlanta and moving back to Athens, I've started doing publicity for independent bands here at Team Clermont. Understandably, I spend a good bit of time thinking about how smaller, less well known bands with great music can bring themselves to the attention of more people. I was surprised how often I found myself remembering A Fir-Ju Well's palettes in Atlanta. So, when we had the good fortune to work with Gringo Star, the band that A Fir-Ju Well has morphed into, here at Team Clermont we happily jumped at the opportunity. The MP3 above comes from their self-titled EP. It's good stuff.

How's that for a self indulgent blog post?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I made this.

I have no idea what this is, but I made it.




Cool.

Art in Manila sets the woods on fire!


Download: Art in Manila--"Set the Woods On Fire"
Download: Art in Manila--"The Abomination"

How's that for a really lame news story title? I totally incorporated the name of the band's album into it and everything! I'm like a real blogger now! Breathless no punctuation portion to follow:

Anyway Art in Manila is the new project from Orenda Fink who was in the Azure Ray duh and yes they are a band now with a bunch of awesome Saddle Creek types and yes Adrianne from the Anniversary is in it playing keyboards and singing backup and of course it's totally amazing.

Phew.

At times, Art in Manila travels the lush path set forth by her previous work, however, here it’s subsumed with edge and backbone. The band flirts playfully with genre wanderlust without ever abandoning cohesion. Moody slow-burners follow four-to-the-floor rockers, which butt up against serene ballads. And it all works. Orenda and company have deviated from their collective musical pasts without forsaking it... and have conjured a powerful debut record in the process. "Set the Woods On Fire" is fairly indicative of the rockers, but there is a lot of diversity here. Outstanding mellower track, "The Abomination", proves that.

Enjoy!

More from Lindsey Buckingham



I know posting YouTube videos is gauche and all, but I watched this with my roommate and it gave me chills. Ignore the stupid count-off and the creepy stare. That's Mick on the drums, by the way. That backing band can sing.



Now, this is a cover. If I was going to say "imagine Lindsey Buckingham playing 'Here Comes The Sun'" this is EXACTLY what you'd come up with. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but I think it accomplishes its goal (Lindsey Buckingham plays "Here Comes The Sun") perfectly. I like how he goes blues-y at the end. Sure, he's pretty much ripping himself off, but I could listen to that man pick all day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Black Before Red



Download: Black Before Red -- "Underneath Gold"
Download: Black Before Red -- "Teenage America"

It's the the pressure to hyperlink, that's my new theory as to why we here at The 'Cropper don't do more posting. I know you're thinking that it's more likely that we're overworked or that we're afraid to try our hand at providing cogent analysis of the music we're posting, but I promise you it's much more about my fear of having to dig up a link for Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Donkeys, Man Man, My Teenage Stride, and A Sunny Day In Glasgow as I regale you with tails of last week's shows and after show sleeping bags. Again, I anticipate you're thought process reader, "J0n, if you'd stop rambling on senselessly about things you did last week you wouldn't need to worry as much about hyperlinking." Too true, too true. I'll move on soon. For now, we're back! And, while it might do for certain fancy New York music critics -that shall remain unlinked here- to go for almost a month without posting, it certainly won't be allowed for such bloodless, soul sucking pr flaks as those of us here at the 'Cropper. And with that, we bring you Black Before Red.

BBR is out of Austin, Texas. Their LP, Belgrave To Kings Circle, is going to be on the streets as of August 14th. Austin's, I Eat Records, a Texas label with more Athens connections than I care to bore you with, will be handling the release.

Hopefully, you've jammed the tunes above before/as you're reading this, so you won't have to rely on my word to know that Black Before Red are laying down some fantastic Summer tunes. Their easy, breazey songs of the Prekop/Prewitt persuasion, particularly "Underneath Gold", have a sound that I'd dare call a touch romantically nostalgic. I've always operated under the assumption that the mid-90s were something of a golden era for indie rock, a time when you didn't have to be embarrassed to say that you liked it. Lately I've come to find out that this isn't a view that's universally shared, and probably has a lot more to do with me having been in my late teens/early twenties around that time. One way or the other, "Underneath Gold" whisks me back to those days in the best way.

"Teenage America"? Pardon my french, but this song is a god damn jam. Roll down the windows and turn this joker up when you're driving around sometime....it works. Cliched activity? Maybe, but it's good, really good with this song, so is beer (though not at the same time as the driving). I'm for it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

American Catastrophe



Download: American Catastrophe -- "The Well"

The track above comes from American Catastrophe's upcoming release, Excerpts From the Broken Bone Choir, and it's fairly representative of what the record is all about. Dark, haunting, and sparse the song rumbles along beneath lyrics concerned with deeds equally shadowy. It's difficult not to make comparisons to other great American gothic artists such as Nick Cave, 16 Horsepower, and Michael Gira when listening to this Kansas City, MO outfit. It's nice (?) to know that there's such cinematic, emotive soundscapes being created out in our heartlands. And while I'm not normally one to go on too long about packaging, this CDs digi-pak fits it like a glove. The cover, all black, with an image of a crow holding an axe in silver is perfect. On the back, the darn thing is sealed in red wax with an Am Cat seal. The final touch, that's right, a black feather inside the package. Ok, maybe that last bit with the feather is a little over the top, but you have to admit it fits in well with the overall aesthetic. Excerpts comes out on July 3rd via Kansas City's Oxblood Records. Get some.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Schooner!


Download: Schooner--"There's Enough To Do"
Download: Schooner--"They Always Do!"

Another fantastic band from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area (can you guys just admit they're the same town?), Schooner trucks in...well, this band is actually all over the map in the best possible way. World-weary drunken sing-a-longs? Check! Smiths-esque crooning? Check. Old school indie rock? Oh yeah! And they tackle it all with such aplomb that it kind of pisses off the musician in me. I hate them. But that doesn't mean you should! These two tracks are just scratching the surface. We hear GBV in there, along with Red House Painters, the Silver Jews...all kinds of stuff. It's so refreshing to hear a band that's diverse and still sounds like the same band, you know? I hope you enjoy Schooner as much as I do!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blair.

Download: Blair - "Mona Lisa"

Blair is from New Orleans, and at the age of 23 has just released a damn impressive debut EP called "Pluto." I have already read many reviewers making comparisons to Jenny Lewis and Chan Marshall, and Blair describes herself as "Dolly Parton meets Radiohead."

She notes that the title of the album came about after witnessing the effects of Hurricane Katrina on her hometown. New Orleans was changed forever, much in the way that IAU took Pluto out of the group of planets. Blair says, "something is one way all your life, then all of a sudden, it totally changes.”

As if the fantastic 4-song EP, Blair has also been playing shows with very high profile names lately in New Orleans. Recently she has played with Cat Power, Calexico, and Bright Eyes on their stops in the Big Easy.

Keep an eye out for Blair, and be sure to download "Mona Lisa" for a sample of her enchanting voice and subtle, careful arrangements.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Reviews by former Team Clermont interns



We've got a new feature for you here, one which I hope we'll have more of soon, that involves a former Team Clermont intern reviewing records. We always have fantastic, bright, and overall inspiring people interning for us here, doing things far below what their skills would merit, for little to no recognition. I'm hoping this will give the readers of the 'Cropper an opportunity to get to know these budding, behind the scenes PR stars. Today's review comes from Emma Kiser, currently a resident of Atlanta's finest suburb, Decatur, GA. Emma's reviewing
Tin Cup Prophette's new LP, Liar and the Thief. Check it:

Tin Cup Prophette, the name Amanda Kapousouz gives to her main musical
project, is a concentrative effort with little outside contributors.

With Kapousouz's technical ability and lots of experience performing
solo, there is the potential that her first album "Liar and the Thief"
will sound off balance or narrow; however, it doesn't. Instead, it's
a very natural integration of instruments and sound that maximizes
Kapousouz's strengths without letting them dominate or overcompensate.

Kapousouz's violin is an extension of her self. She engages us with
her quick melodic plucking and accents, occasional wails and
screeches, and low heart-pulling drones, all masterfully woven and
layered through the use of a loop pedal. In its versatility, the
violin does not weigh the album down and feels fresh throughout.
Kapousouz's silky and smokey voice meshes well with the blueish-gray
mood of the album but keeps us above the ground. Her vocals are soft,
soulful and they carry -- a good partner to the thin timbre of a
violin.

Though the voice and violin are the foundations of the album, the
bass, accordion, glockenspiel, keyboard, and hip-hop flavored drums
provide the depth, and are perfectly synchronized and arranged to
create hypnotic, head-nodding, moody, and well textured compositions.
The overall effect is quite visual, a personal and intimate landscape
that conveys the relationship of self and space. The violin, bass,
and Portishead-like beats occasionally evoke a mechanistic image,
especially with the track "Curses on Purses". I imagine the album to
be at times the soundtrack of the dark, eerie yet moving streets of
New York City, where she honed her skills and got the inspiration for
her name, enriched with the folk and heart of Athens (most evident in
the song "Poster").

With "Liar and the Thief", Kapousouz proves her full-band capability,
and I can't wait to see and hear what comes next.

Songs I taped off the radio: Animotion's "Room To Move"



The lesser-known and inferior follow-up to "Obsession," I taped this song off either Casey Kasem's show or Shadoe Stevens back in the day ('86? '87?). The tape is long gone, but I remember listening to this one a lot when my dad bought me a Walkman about 2 years after every one of my friends had one (we had a dual cassette player AFTER we had a CD player!). I think I liked the chord progression in the chorus. Hell, I don't know. This was a big hit to me. I had the weirdest (as in Not Good Weird) music taste as a kid. I also really liked Miami Sound Machine.

Friday, June 01, 2007

LEYODE



Download: LEYODE—“Irene”
Download: LEYODE—“Isabelle”

Former Atlantians (that's not the term, is it?) and Athenians LEYODE are about to release their first album, fascinating tininess..., and it's a real winner. Though the band has relocated to NYC (and who hasn't?) from the South, they still have a wonderfully serene, placid (in a good way) vibe to them. This is warm stuff...lush, cinematic, electric pop music with a heavy dose of chanteuse-ism (I know, I know) that manages to avoid posturing and just delivers the goods. It's not really much of a surprise that this comes from G. Scott Herren's Eastern Developments label, and even less of a surprise that Prefuse himself makes an appearance in his Savath and Savalas incarnation. It's easy to see why he was attracted to LEYODE: great arrangements (mastermind Yusuke is trained on the violin and piano), solid beats, and an underlying, often sneaky sense of pop smarts pervade the project.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shapes and Sizes.


Download: Shapes and Sizes -- "Teller/Seller"

So I thought I would spend sometime this Friday before Memorial Day, that most American of holidays, to bring to you a band from Canada.

Shapes and Sizes are a bit nomadic, meeting in Vancouver, and now claiming Montreal as home. The newest record, "Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner", hit stores on Tuesday, and is a tremendous follow up to last year's self-titled release. According to Pitchfork, Asthmatic Kitty label-mate/mega-critic Sufjan Stevens had this to say about Shapes and Sizes:

"They hardly let the songs take flight before shooting them down with the cunning of a duck hunter. But this is where things get interesting. The jumping and barking of hound dogs, the breathless sprint to the mallard, slumped and bloodied in a sanctuary of water, the howling reeds, the ghost of the wind. Well, my metaphor gets the best of me here."

Catch Shapes and Sizes on their tour of the US and Canada this summer, starting off with an extended jaunt with The National!

06-02 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's *
06-04 Montreal, Quebec - Cabaret du Musée Juste Pour Rire *
06-05 Toronto, Ontario - Opera House *
06-06 Detroit, MI - The Magic Stick *^
06-07 Chicago, IL - The Metro *^
06-08 Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar *^
06-09 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon *^
06-11 St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill *^
06-12 Louisville, KY - Headliners *^
06-13 Atlanta, GA - The Earl *^
06-15 Cincinnati, OH - 20th Century Theater *^
06-16 Columbus, OH - The Basement *^
06-18 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom *^
06-19 Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theatre *^
06-20 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *^
06-21 Cambridge, MA - Middle East *^
06-29 Vancouver, British Columbia - Railway Club
06-30 Victoria, British Columbia - Metro Theatre
07-04 Kelowna, British Columbia - The Whitehouse Gallery #
07-05 Calgary, Alberta - The Marquee #
07-06 Lethbridge, Alberta - Tongue 'n' Groove #
07-07 Edmonton, Alberta - Argyll Hall #
07-08 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Amigo's Cantina #
07-09 Regina, Saskatchewan - O'Hanlon's #
07-10 Brandon, Manitoba- TBA #
07-11 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Collective Cabaret #
07-12 Fardo, ND - Aquarium #
07-13 Minneapolis, MN -Nomad World Pub #
07-14 Champaign, IL - Cowboy Monkey #
07-15 Madison, WI - Cafe Montmarte #
07-16 Milwaukee, WI - Stonefly Brewery #
07-17 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle #
07-18 Detroit, MI - Majestic #
07-19 Windsor, Ontario - Phog Lounge #
07-20 Brantford, Ontario - Ford Plant #
07-21 Toronto, Ontario - Sneaky Dee's #
07-22 Sudbury, Ontario - The Townehouse #
07-23 Hamilton, Ontario - The Casbah #
07-24 Guelph, Ontario - TBA #
07-25 Kitchner, Ontario - Starlight Social Club #
07-26 Ottawa, Ontario - Zaphod's #
07-27 Montreal, Quebec - Main Hall #

* with the National
^ with Talkdemonic
# with They Shoot Horses Don't They


There's also the video version of "Teller/Seller." Makes me want to start a fire in a park for Memorial Day!



Oh, and Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yeah, I know...



I know this thing has already made the rounds, but, damn!, Shaq has some moves. And I like how he gets uncomfortably homoerotic with Lebron and Dwight Howard.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Je Suis France



Download: Je Suis France -- "Je Suis France Is Playing At My House"

While not formally streeting until next Tuesday, May 29th, Je Suis France's third LP and ultimate HammJamm, Afrikan Majik, can actually be ordered today. I know, I know, it's almost too much to handle. Now take a deep breath and gird up your loins for what I'm about to tell you, because that, my friend, is not all. If you direct your web browser on over to Antenna Farm's France pre-order page and do the right thing by ordering your copy now, you will receive a username and password from the East Bay's finest enabling you to download the entirety of The France's performance at Twilight Delirium 8 for free! Blau. If you needed any extra motivation to get on with it and order Afrikan Majik, this oughta do it for you. I was there; I went down on one knee twice (which may or may not be as nasty as it sounds); it was a fantastic, sloppy, drunken evening as the track above will attest. Essentially, we're dealing with the single most important document of rockin' in the free world ever, and it's free.

Further, Je Suis France is also gonna be running a little contest for the "Je Suis France Party Pack". The winner gets: a copy of everything the band has released (that's three LPs and something like 18 EPs people), a night of drinking with the band in Lexington, Kentucky (see the date below, travel not provided), and an autographed back tattoo of the Darkness Dead Head shirt that is currenty in the design phase (also to be paid for by the recipient). All you have to do to win the Party Pack is create the cover for Je Suis France's next EP. Much like The Highlander, there can be only one. The band will choose the winning EP cover themselves. You can get a feel for what The France might be looking for, and what you might win, by headin' on over to their EP page at Nokahoma Records. For now, there's no official repository for entries into the contest, so send your submissions to thecropper(at)teamclermont.com and we'll be sure to get them to the band.

What's more, starting in July you can get your France in the flesh at any of the following locations on the corresponding date:

July 14: Atlanta - the Drunken Unicorn
July 15: North Carolinaesque - TBA
July 16: Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
July 17: Boston - Great Scott
July 18: New York - Cake Shop
July 19: Washington DC - DC Nine
July 20: Lexington, KY - The Icehouse
July 21: Athens, GA - Caledonia