Monday, April 30, 2007

The Cripple Lilies.

Download: The Cripple Lilies -- "Bella Of The Rocks"

Pensacola's The Cripple Lilies is comprised of the central songwriting duo of Chad Bishop and Elizabeth Lopiccolo, and grew out of a group called C.B. Radio. According to the band's site, "fans of their earlier work may be in for a bit of a shock." Apparently, C.B. Radio was a tense, energetic band, as opposed to the Cripple Lilies' gentle, delicate style. The nine songs on La Bete find Bishop and Lopiccolo taking turns on vocals, with warm, subtle instrumentation providing the backdrop. La Bete was produced at Chase Park Transduction, which is based here in Athens, and was recorded by David Barbe of Sugar, who has also worked with Son Volt, The Drive-By Truckers, and many more.

The Cripple Lilies are playing several dates through June from Florida to Texas to North Dakota, so be sure to pause a moment and find them in your town.

Mar 21 2007 - End Of The Line - Pensacola, FL
Mar 23 2007 - Fonville Press - Alys Beach, FL
Mar 30 2007 - Olde Town Cavern - Pensacola, FL
Mar 31 2007 - Sluggos - Pensacola, FL
Apr 5 2007 - Radio Live 88.1 - Pensacola, FL
Apr 6 2007 - First Friday - Savannah, GA
Apr 7 2007 - Palm Coast Coffee - St. Simon Island, GA
Apr 18 2007 - Java City WKU - Bowling Green, KY
May 5 2007 - Eighth & Rail - Opelika, AL
May 6 2007 - The Earl- Atlanta, GA
May 7 2007 - The Black Sheep Pub - Chattanooga, TN
May 8 2007 - The Basement - Nashville, TN
May 9 2007 - Farm 255 - Athens, GA
May 10 2007 - The Sentient Bean - Savannah, Georgia
May 11 2007 - Rhino's Bar Downtown - Columbus, GA
May 12 2007 - Vito's Rock and Roll Pizzeria - Valdosta, GA
May 16 2007 -Government Street Grocery - Ocean Springs, MS
May 17 2007 - Head on the Door - Montgomery, GA
May 18 2007 - The Meltdown - Houston, TX
May 19 2007 - The Troubadour -Austin, TX
May 24 2007 - Replay Lounge - Lawrence, KS
May 26 2007 - Saddle Creek Bar - Omaha, NE
May 27 2007 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA
May 28 2007 - The Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
May 31 2007 - Acadia Cafe - Minneapolis, MN
Jun 2 2007 - Uncommon Ground - Chicago, IL
Jun 4 2007 - Cafe Rumba - Columbus, ND
Jun 6 2007 - WSCA 106.1FM, Portsmouth Community Radio - Portsmouth, NH
Jun 8 2007 - Arlene's Grocery - New York, NY
Jun 11 2007 - The Camel - Richmond, VA

Thursday, April 26, 2007

John Cale-"Dying On The Vine"

My old band in college used to cover this. I prefer the various piano-driven live versions to the slower, more produced, more 80s studio version, but that's good, too. The dialogue at the beginning of this video is kinda awkward, as is John Cale's hair.

And I can't find a video of Television from this same program...sounds like a great show, no?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thinking About Orange

Download: Ray's Vast Basement -- "California's Gone"

Download: Ray's Vast Basement -- "How Through Sacrifice Danny's Friends Gave A Party"

The other day I came across a particularly good post at Audiversity that focused on two upcoming releases (Slaraffenland and Paul Duncan) from the venerable Hometapes label. Within the post, the author made it clear that rather than getting excited about particular artists or genres, it's record labels that grease Audiversity's wheel. I couldn't agree more on both fronts. Hometapes is a great label, and getting turned on to new labels that can be counted on to bring out new, interesting music is a real blessing. Particularly in this age of declining financial returns, I've got nothing but the most massive respect for people willing to stick their necks out there and release new, vibrant music.

That brings me to talking about another up and coming label, Howells Transmitter. We were fortunate enough to work with the San Francisco-based operation on the most recent releases from Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs and Black Fiction; both records that have gotten considerable spins in the Team C. offices. And, as you can read here and here, members from both outfits contribute to the fantastic new record from Ray's Vast Basement, Starvation Under Orange Trees. I am so very much in full-on fan-boy mode about this record, and I couldn't be happier that we get to send it out to folks.

Here's what RVB frontman, Jon Bernson, told us about the making of the album:

Thinking About Orange

'Starvation Under The Orange Trees' is the name of an obscure Steinbeck essay. Printed in the Monterey Trader, rumor has it that Steinbeck was asked by Time magazine to write about the work camps in California during the depression. The manuscript submitted to Time was rejected. The opressive work camps in California were unpalatable to American readers, which I'm told, this was the beginning of The Grapes of Wrath.

We toured this album before we started recording. Four nights a week at the Actors Theatre doing live music for 'Of Mice and Men'.

Personal highlight: while we sang 'Work Song', the cast would build an elaborate bunkhouse and stable in front of the audience. Personal low point: when we had a theater full of exchange students who had to have the show translated to them. No one told me. I thought everyone in the theater was drunk. I walked off the stage.

I've written about a dozen soundtracks for theater and indie films. This was the first time I was really able to bring my full band on board. Working in theaters rules. You can use live and pre-recorded music. You can dial in the sonics. The room is quiet. Theater actors are epic individuals. Movies rule the land, but they spend insane hours practicing their ancient religion.

Chance of a lifetime: to be able to score Steinbeck. I re-read all my faves and read 'East of Eden' for the first time. Lee is clearly the hero of that book. Why did they cut him from the movie?

Got to take a look at a career of work and see how Steinbeck has gotten branded by the movies and by high school teachers and by the literary set. His best work is fundamentally critical of the American system. It disturbs me to see his work get sanitized and used by The Man. He had rediculous breadth and experimented throughout his career. I knew that Karouac dug Steinbeck, but didn't see it until I re-read 'Grapes of Wrath' after reading 'On the Road'. The freedom of style, the road story, the manic pace, symbolic characters, spritual recycling, lot's of parallels.

Also got to see his faults. Doesn't hide them well. Male characters are a lot more developed than women characters. He can be too obvious at times. Bugs me when he throws undeveloped characters into his stories for the blatant and immediate purpose of advancing the plotline. In the end, I think most people don't care about his faults because his great novels weren't about trivial things. I may be naive, but I feel like he had actual love for humanity and hoped his writing would have something to contribute. Now I sound like a Hallmark card. But that's Hallmark's fault.

Recording the album was an odyssey because our studio got flooded. Michael Zapruder and I share an underground recording spot that got watered by a broken City of Oakland sewer line. Nightmare. Holding pattern. Blessing in disguise. When I got back to work on the record, I had a much clearer idea of how I was going to assert my own musical ideas, and still make an authentic Steinbeck record.

By way of name dropping, I had good help from Larry Crane (Tape Op / Jackpot!). Nate from the Decemberists played bass on the record, toured with us last summer, listened to mixes and was a generous advice donor. Enzo from Jolie Holland's band was a master of saw and accounts for some of my favorite moments. Also had my homeboy Tim from Black Fiction sit in on some tracks. We have a good time recording.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tin Cup Prophette (also available in the lowered case)

Download: tin cup prophette—“Going Numb”
Download: tin cup prophette—“Speak or Spill Down”

I met Amanda Kapousouz (AKA Tin Cup Prophette) when I moonlighted at Vision Video (in addition to this job) a few years ago. I really liked her and her husband, Bain Mattox, because they laughed at my bad jokes, which you really shouldn't hold against them. Amanda told me she was a musician, and I asked her what bands (it's Athens, so it's a plural question) she was in, and she said she just played here and there. I had no idea she played with people like Jim White, Shannon Wright, the Low Lows, etc. She was very modest about her talent and her songwriting ability. A few weeks later, she dropped off a CDR in a cute handmade package (pink poster pen ink) with "Tin Cup Prophette" written at the top in perfect script. It took me a few weeks to listen to it (honestly, there are a lot of bands in Athens of varying quality, and I'm always a little skeptical), but I was completely blown away. This wasn't the work of someone who had just started "fooling around" with her own songs, as Amanda put it. It was the work of someone who'd had a distinct vision of what they wanted with their music and had achieved it in their first attempt. It kinda pissed me off, really, as I'd been croaking into a four track for six years results.

But, I've learned to stop being mad at Amanda for her abundance of talent and good humor and looks and--starting to get pissed off again--great album. She's one of Athens' most enchanting performers. She and stalwart compatriot Jeremy Wheatley (also of Je Suis France and the Low Lows) on drums can whip up more sound between the two of them than bands with three guitarists can manage. It's dark minimalism, perfectly arranged for maximum impact. The fact that Tin Cup Prophette is playing at Bonnaroo (!) is no surprise to me...she did some dates with Jeff Tweedy and apparently blew audiences away. Liar and the Thief, her debut LP, reminds me of a lot of different things: there's Melting Face-era Peter Gabriel in there, there's Portishead, there's even fellow violin-loopers Andrew Bird and Final Fantasy (though that's probably more methodological than anything). It's the work of a true artist, and I'm very excited to finally be working with her!

Did I mention she was playing Bonnaroo!?!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I don't know about you

but this looks like fascinating television. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church's obsession with homosexuality borders on the absolutely ludicrous. No. Amend that. It IS absolutely ludicrous. I try to ignore them, but I can't. Their conflation of the deaths of...well, anyone in America (or anywhere in the world) with God's retribution for our "acceptance" of homosexuality is so hard to get my head around that I keep looking at them when I know I should turn away and ignore them. Check it out for yourself (sorry that I don't have any information on the TV show):

I think this song by I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House pretty much sums up my feelings about the Westboro Baptist Church:

Download: I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House--"Westboro Baptist Church"

UPDATE: In the interest of fairness, how about this WBC #1 JAM?

Download: The Westboro Baptist Church--"This Land Is Fag Land" (set to the tune of "This Land Is Our Land" (Sorry about the hot link! Not really!)

More WBC Jamz here. Try not to hate.

Here is their phone number if you need it: (785) 273-0325

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jacob Danziger

Download -- Jacob Danziger -- "For Zach"

Poking about the internet over the weekend, I stumbled across Jacob Danziger's label, Naming Distances. The track I've posted above comes from the label's first release, which bears the same name as its label. The album was created with a violin, and a guitar loop pedal served as the only means of electronic processing. This sense of spartan instrumentation is quite apparent in, "For Zach".

A 7-8 eight second segment of violin is looped for the duration of the songs' six minutes. Beneath the hynoptic drone of the looped violin, there is a faint gurgling of plucked strings, and a bit of quiet see-saw bowed violin. The see-saw bowed violin starts out faintly, appears to drop out for much of the second minute, but is then re-introduced near the two-minute mark. Around the 3:00 minute mark, the hand-picked strings begin to grow louder, taking over the seat of prominence in the listener's ear, as the faint see-saw remains in the distant background. The piece ends with the picked strings striking alone in rain-like sequence. The piece is at once hynoptic and engaging. The over-arching drone of the song is supplemented by the intense listening that the interplay of the segments requires in the listener as the pieces of the tune slip in and out of place at a crawl.

Having grown up amongst an amazingly prolific and creative crew in Michigan and New York City, Danziger is a regular contributor to a staggering number of bands. He currently studies electronic music at Mills College in Oakland, California. You can read other writing on his music here and here. You can purchase Naming Distances and other releases from his label here.

The Mac

Download: Fleetwood Mac--"What Makes You Think You're The One"
Download: Fleetwood Mac--"Farmer's Daughter" (Beach Boys cover)

When people talk Fleetwood Mac (and in Athens, GA, that's quite a bit), they usually fall back on the same worn out talking points:
  • Lindsay Buckingham doesn't use a pick
  • Stevie Nicks will die if she does coke again
  • Rumours is the best; Tusk was a flop
  • Stevie Nicks had a roadie blow coke up her butt (I still don't believe this one)
  • "Oh Daddy" really creeps me out
  • They did a lot of coke
And so on...

One thing that never really gets brought up in these conversations is how damned strange the band was. Specifically, in what parallel universe did Tusk come from? How many bands follow up one of the biggest selling albums of all time (Rumours) with a disjointed, coke-fueled fever dream, whose lead Stevie Nicks single was nearly nine minutes long? How was the song "Tusk" even a hit (my friend, Julie, says that it sounds like "your parents having sex")? I'm not gonna compare Tusk to The White Album or anything (Christine's never-ending odes to romance sorta hold it back), BUT I will say that it falls in line with a lot of the late 60s Beach Boys experimental pop, the stuff that Lindsay so obviously adores. It's like Sunflower or Friends: all over the place and all the better for it.

I'm not here to be the fifty-thousandth person to tell you Tusk is underrated...I think by now it falls into that category of Overhyped Underrated Records that also includes Pinkerton and Wowee Zowee. I'm just saying that Fleetwood Mac could easily have been the Eagles but chose not to.

Listen to the drums on "What Makes You Think You're The One". I believe that Lindsay once said it was his favorite drum part ever, and I'm inclined to agree with him. I've covered this in a band before and there's a crazy logic to it, even though I bet Mick just bashed it out in two takes. I don't even think the ladies make an appearance on this one. It's just Mick, Lindsay, and John (probably coked out of their minds) sitting in Lindsay's living room bashing out this simple song with insane drums. Without them, it would just be another chord progression. And the lyrics...they're so mean.

And "Farmer's Daughter" is a Beach Boys cover. It's from the bonus tracks of the Tusk reissue and the group's late 70s live album that you don't hear much about (can't say I've ever heard it myself). They recorded it live backstage somewhere, and it's proof that they could just sing. Period. It's one of those songs that will silence a room if people start paying attention, just suck the sound right out of it. I've seen it happen a number of times, everybody just closing their eyes--even at the rowdiest of parties--and listening. It's nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Avett Brothers.

Download: The Avett Brothers - "Will You Return"
Download: The Avett Brothers - "Pretty Girl From San Diego"

With Emotionalism, the lastest release on Ramseur Records by The Avett Brothers, the grey areas in which their music exists have become blurred even further. The new album, which will be available for purchase on May 15th, covers that part of the spectrum ranging from banjo picking and vocal harmonies to straight up rock and roll madness.

Their live show is a maddening event as well. Recently, The Avett Brothers played a completely packed show at The Georgia Theater here in Athens. Not only was the theater filled to the brim, but there was not a single person in the audience standing with arms folded. The entire crowd was swaying to each and every song, and mind you, these are songs played by three guys armed with acoustic guitar, banjo, and upright bass. Not exactly the kind of instrumentation I would expect to make a crowd go absolutely insane.

The Avett Brothers will be playing a ton of shows this spring and summer, and a lot of festival dates. So if it's sunny and warm in your part of the world when they roll through, be sure to see them perform live! You will not regret it!

4/21/07 Boone, NC Appalachian Roots Revival
4/25/07 Santa Rosa, CA Last Day Saloon
4/26/07 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
4/28/07 Hanford, CA Hanford Fox Theatre
4/29/07 Indio, CA Coachella
5/10/07 Richmond, VA Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Amphitheater
5/11/07 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero Theatre
5/12/07 New York, NY Irving Plaza
5/13/07 Northampton, MA Iron Horse
5/15/07 Greensboro, NC BB's Compact Discs (4:00 PM meet & greet)
5/15/07 Raleigh, NC Schoolkids Records (12:00 PM in-store)
5/15/07 Charlotte, NC Manifest Records (8:00 PM in-store)
5/18/07 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
5/20/07 Lancaster, PA The Chameleon
5/30/07 Chicago, IL House of Blues
5/31/07 Newport, KY The Southgate House
6/1/07 Scottown, OH Appalachian Uprising
6/2/07 Mills River / Horse Shoe, NC Asheville Music Jamboree
6/7/07 Knoxville, TN Sundown in the City
6/8/07 Chattanooga, TN Riverbend Festival
6/10/07 Lawrence, KS Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival
6/13/07 Pittsburgh, PA Three Rivers Arts Festival
6/16/07 Raleigh, NC North Carolina Museum of Art
6/21/07 Telluride, CO Telluride Bluegrass Festival
6/23/07 Manhattan, KS Tuttle Creek State Park
7/7/07 Sherman, NY Great Blue Heron Music Festival
7/22/07 Trumansburg, NY Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival
7/27/07 Nelson Township / Garrettsville Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
8/5/07 Portland OR Pickathon
9/14/07 Bristol, TN Rhythm & Roots Reunion
10/20/07 Santa Barbara, CA Lobero Theatre

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Gary Carters

Download: The Gary Carters -- "Walkin With Jesus" (Spacemen 3)

Baseball is back upon us, and I couldn't be happier. In honor of baseball, I bring you, The Gary Carters. This group has always been in the running for my favorite band on the label most near and dear to my heart, Colonial Recordings USA. Their three EP series:

CR-038 The Gary Carters "Iran Contras Child" cassette
CR-039 The Gary Carters "Off My Mind" cassette
CR-040 The Gary Carters "California is Burning" cassette

is an absolute must have in my humble opinion. This Spacemen 3 cover, displays the Gary Carters seemingly contradictory sonic signature of marrying lo-fi and high tech seamlessly. Though the hiss of tape is audible throughout the track, and the backbone of the song is a simple, repetitive guitar line; as the song progresses, the GCs layer on more guitars, and a fuzzy organ to underpin the reverb soaked, matter of fact vocal delivery which ultimately blasts off into the red under a torrent of manipulated noise that would make Deerhunter proud. So yeah, contact their label, and ask them to put a little something together for ya. Tell them the 'Cropper sent ya, and they'll be sure to give you a nice price.

Full disclosure: Yours truly is both friends with the members of the band in this post, as well as their bad-assed label. To make matters worse, I've even been in a few of the bands on Colonial. So, there's that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bowling, Booze, Birthday, Booze, Bands, Booze.

Download: Gringo Star - "No Reason"

Guess who just won $9 dollars playing the Georgia Lottery?!

Tuesday, April 10th, I celebrated my 27th birthday, and my first birthday in Athens! I had actually already been celebrating for two days. I made the short drive to Atlanta on Easter Sunday night to see Sebadoh. That should have been enough to satisfy me, but Monday night's show at the 40 Watt was something I just could not pass up. Dark Meat and Elf Power were playing a benefit show for Nuci's Space, and Of Montreal played a karaoke set. I nearly lost my voice shouting along to their rendition of "Don't Stop Believing." I also found a copy of Fo Montreal, re-mix album done by another Athens resident/musician, which you should definitely listen to.

So, back to Tuesday. The good people that I work bought a massive cookie cake and sang the "Happy Birthday" song in various made up languages. Kristin brought me a huge bag of presents, including some Fun Dip, Pez, Jolly Ranchers, balloons, whistles, temporary tattoos, gummi bears, and a big bouncy ball. After work we went to Taste of India, where I dined on really incredible saag paneer. All evening long, JJ kept mentioning a meeting that he was supposed to have at 8:30pm. I thought he was being cryptic to hide a surprise party at someone's home. Once we got in the car and started driving, I noticed that we passed the part of town where eveyone lives, and then we were completely out of the downtown area. At that point I realized where we were headed: KINGPINS!

Between sets on Monday night, I had mentioned my desire to go bowling to several friends on the following night. However, I really had no idea that we would be actually do it, so I was genuinely surprised to see my friends waiting for me at Kingpins. They were convinced that I had figured out the plan since I had talked about bowling so much the prior night. Needless to say, I had an incredible time! Got a strike in my first frame, took some shots, knocked more pins over, and a scratched off a few lottery tickets! To top it all off, I had the high score in the second round of bowling, with a 145!

Then it was off to the Caledonia Lounge to see Gringo Star, who were once known as A Fir-Ju Well. More shots were taken. I talked to Nick Furgiuele, who plays guitar for Gringo Star, about life on the campus of Georgia Tech back in 1997. The band too the stage and managed to put on a really impressive set, and the songs on the self-titled EP definitely sounded great live. Then we took more shots.

Needless to say, I'm ready to go home and get some rest, but I think you should go see Gringo Star play in your town!

Apr 11 2007 8:00P The Earl Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 13 2007 8:00P The Comet Cincinnati, Ohio
Apr 14 2007 8:00P The Basement Columbus, Ohio
Apr 19 2007 8:00P Head on The Door Montgomery, Alabama
Apr 20 2007 8:00P Blue Cats Knoxville, Tennessee
Apr 21 2007 8:00P Workplay Theater Birmingham, Alabama
Apr 27 2007 8:00P Casa Burrito Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Apr 28 2007 8:00P The Dame Lexington, Kentucky
May 11 2007 8:00P Hostel 639 London, England
May 12 2007 8:00P Seaxe Brentwood, England
May 13 2007 4:00P Hannakins Chelmsford, England
May 13 2007 8:00P the Bassment Chelmsford, England
May 15 2007 8:00P the Musician Leicester, England
May 16 2007 8:00P TC's Nightclub Carlisle, England
May 18 2007 8:00P Lincoln Imp Scunthorpe, England
May 20 2007 2:00P The Springhead Anlaby, Nr.Hull, England
May 22 2007 8:00P Zoo Bar St. Helens, England
May 23 2007 8:00P The Cavern Club Liverpool, England
May 24 2007 8:00P The Cavern Club Liverpool, England
May 25 2007 2:00P Haslingden High School Haslingden, England
May 25 2007 8:00P Bacup Leisure Hall Bacup, England
May 26 2007 8:00P TBC Carlisle, England
May 28 2007 8:00P The Maze Nottingham, England

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Elk City

Download: Elk City -- "Cherries in the Snow"

Download: Elk City -- "Los Cruzados"

The other day, I won the Dean and Britta CD-giveaway contest over at Aquarium Drunkard, which was a pretty nice surprise. I figured it would only be fair to do a good turn for another Luna related endeavor, Elk City. Not that they really need the help, as a glance at the Elbows Track Chart will reveal, this New York based band has already been pulling in a steady helping of blog attention. And it should come as no surprise, when you've got Sean Eden bending the strings for your band, good things are bound to happen. I saw Elk City this past fall at a Friendly Fire/Paper Bag Records CMJ event, and can attest to the fluidity with which this gentleman plays guitar. Like the heroes of the 60s and 70s, the guy just seems to be unbelievably comfortable with a guitar in his hands. Kind of one of those situations where the dude looks more natural when he's on stage with his instrument than he does walking around the room before or after without. The two tracks above are from the bands upcoming full-length, New Believers. The record streets April 17th, but you can pre-order from Friendly Fire here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Show Is The Rainbow!

Download: The Show Is The Rainbow -- "Do The Skinny"

Have you ever seen The Show Is The Rainbow? If you're saying to yourself, "possibly, but I don't remember", then the answer is NO. TSITR is one of unforgettable experiences that will stick with you for a long time. Then again, if you don't remember seeing TSITR live, it might just be that you were knocked unconscious by Darren Keen's intensity.

I was first exposed to TSITR in the summer of 2005, while quietly sitting on a chair in Athens' Go Bar. Darren looked at my friend and I and shouted, "that's cute, these guys think it's story time!" From that point on, he began to rock our faces off, take his shirt off, wipe his sweaty beard on Ben's face, and hit the concrete after falling out of a chair. Since then I've seen him two more times performing on bills with bands like Japanther and Yip-Yip, and each time has been a uniquely spastic experience.

TSITR's new album, "Gymnasia" is out on S.A.F. Records, and is a blitzkreig of synthesizers and vocal shredding, and Joel Peterson (of The Faint, Broken Spindles and Beep Beep) worked behind the boards on many of the tracks on the album.

The video below was taken in Omaha, and features TSITR in full-band mode.

This does not do any justice to the actual live experience, so be sure to go out to one of these shows! Notice, the man will hardly be taking a break! So, if you go to one of these shows, bring him a Powerbar or a Bawls!

Apr 9 2007 Art Bar Las Vegas, Nevada
Apr 10 2007 Modified Phoenix, Arizona
Apr 11 2007 The Smell w/ TBA Los Angeles, California
Apr 12 2007 Cafe Pergolesi Santa Cruz, California
Apr 13 2007 Biko Goleta, California
Apr 14 2007 Hemlock Tavern San Francisco, California
Apr 15 2007 Off Liimits Chico, California
Apr 16 2007 Towne Lounge Portland, Oregon
Apr 17 2007 Ride The Bull Portland, Oregon
Apr 18 2007 Comet Tavern Seattle, Washington
Apr 19 2007 Area Code Boise, Idaho
Apr 21 2007 3 kings tavern Denver, Colorado
Apr 24 2007 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines, Iowa
Apr 27 2007 Beat Kitchen Chicago, Illinois
Apr 27 2007 Beat Kitchen Chicago, Illinois
Apr 28 2007 Skelletones Grand Rapids, Michigan
Apr 29 2007 Myspace Cafe Roseville, Michigan
May 1 2007 Mad Hatter Covington, Kentucky
May 2 2007 Keswick Democratic Club Louisville, Kentucky
May 3 2007 The Reverb Cedar Falls, Iowa
May 4 2007 Studio Academy Rochester, Minnesota
May 5 2007 The Warehouse La Crosse, Wisconsin
May 6 2007 Station 4 St. Paul, Minnesota
May 7 2007 The SPEC Decatur, Illinois
May 8 2007 Frankies Toledo, Ohio
May 9 2007 Pirates Cove Cleveland, Ohio
May 10 2007 The Big Bop Toronto, Ontario
May 11 2007 The Vinyl Guelf, Ontario
May 12 2007 Club L'Ambi Montreal, Quebec
May 14 2007 Middle East Cambridge, Massachusetts
May 16 2007 The Fire Philidelphia, Pennsylvania
May 17 2007 LoFi Social Club Baltimore, Maryland
May 18 2007 The Silo Reading, Utah
May 19 2007 Hyperlink Richmond, Virginia
May 20 2007 Club Relevant Virginia Beach, Virginia
May 21 2007 Lucky's Pub Wilmington, North Carolina
May 23 2007 Masquerade Atlanta, Georgia
May 27 2007 Exit/In Nashville, Tennessee
May 29 2007 Remingtons Springfield, Missouri
May 30 2007 The Bottleneck Lawrence, Kansas
Jun 21 2007 Dreiraum @ Arena Wien, AUSTRIA
Jun 22 2007 Blaue Traube Erlangen, GERMANY
Jun 23 2007 K4 Nurenberg, GERMANY
Jun 24 2007 Dirt Kassel, GERMANY

Friday, April 06, 2007

we've got ourselves a free-rider problem here

Well, well, well, another day, another post from j0np0lk. Phew, it's hard breaking all these rocks out here in the hot sun. Anyway, I've got no mp3s for you today. But c'mon, yesterday, I pointed you to a full album download for crying out loud. So, what you get today are a few of my random musings on various things.

Deerhunter - I really like this band, a lot. I feel extremely fortunate to live relatively close to this band since their live shows are always a bit different, and consistently impressive. The last time I saw them, Shil and I both just kind of stood there watching them for the entire show, not really talking to anyone, just watching them play. I know that this should not merit any particular mention, but I'll be honest, that doesn't happen very often here. The town is small, the show going community even smaller, and it's almost an inevitability that you'll get caught up in at least a brief interchange at some point in the show. I'm also the first to admit, that I often get bored by at least some aspect of most shows I see. With Deerhunter this is never the case.

Another nice aspect of this last show was that they had copies of their most recent LP, Cryptograms, packaged as a 2xLP with their soon to be released EP, Flourescent Grey. Having recently returned to the vinyl population with the purchase of this turntable - which I highly recommend for the casual vinyl listener - I scooped up the LP. Here's what I like most about the 2xLP, it splits Cryptograms into three sides. For all the talk I've heard about their being two parts to Cryptograms, I've always felt that it worked better as three. The last four songs, starting with "Springhall Convert" are decidedly more poppy than the first part of the record, but I think that, as is pretty clear in the 2xLP format, the first part of the record can be divided relatively easily as well. Side two features the bulk of the more spacious tracks, the songs that for lack of a better term, seem to be more stereotypically Kranky in their sound. They're all songs I really like, and I think they hang together quite well. Long story short, I definitely recommend the 2xLP format. If you're a fan of what you've heard from the band up to this point, I definitely think it's the way to go. I don't know what they'll charge for it in stores, but I bought mine for $15 at the show, making it a relatively economical move as well.

Next up, Midlake. I'm not gonna bother digging for the links to back this up, but I hope you'll trust me when I tell you that a number of the reviews I saw for their most recent album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, made mention of the radical departure in the band's sound from their last full-length, Bamnan and Slivercork. It usually ran something like, whereas B&S trucked in spacey synths remiscent of Grandaddy or the Flaming Lips, Van Occ draws from the canon of 1970s FM, folk rock in the style of Fleetwood Mac, etc. Now, I'll be the first to admit that there's something to that - matter of fact, it's just pretty darn close to the truth of the matter. What I was a little bit more disappointed about was the lack of people writing on what I see as a consistent lyrical arch that runs through both albums.

It's not as if there's absolutely nothing similar about the Midlake of their most recent record, and the album that came before it, and I found it to be somewhat lazy of people to stick to describing how different the new album was from the last one. How's about looking for some similarities. Now, while I'm no writer, and far from being able to articulate this in any stunning detail, I'd suggest that the place to look is in both record's emphasis on the 19th century. Lyrically, B&S came from a distinctly Dickensian disenfranchisement with urban life, see "Kingfish Pies" and others. There's an overarching unhappiness with the toil, dirt, and inescapability of an industrializing city and a longing to escape, see the emphasis on balloons. Van Occ, on the other hand, is decidedly pastoral in its lyrics, but pointedly, I'd argue, still placed squarely in the 19th century. I haven't, up to this point, been able to pinpoint whether or not the world sung about in Van Occ is supposed to be the solution to the problems depicted in B&S. Perhaps, this is the very life envisioned from afar by the various characters of B&S that were trapped in their urban blight, but I don't think it's as easy as all that. If I had access to Tim, who writes all the lyrics and a lion's share of the music, these are the things I'd like to speak with him about. While I can't credibly make the case for a thematic consistency in terms of the actual protagonists of the two records, the themes do appear to be fundamentally interconnected in a way that I have not, as of yet, seen explored.

I had planned on writing more in this post, a little somethin' somethin' on the color palette (spelling?) of Jean Pierre Melville, but frankly I've run out of patience and space. I'm sure you're very upset about that. And, if any of you other 'Cropper 'posters' thing I'm getting too long-winded, feel free to freakin' post whenever you'd like!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Solter Remixes Again

Photo by and via: John Vanderslice

Download: Scott Solter remixes John Vanderslice -- "Plymouth Rock"

Perennial 'Cropper fave, Scott Solter, has struck again and with similar weapons: machines, razors, and tape. That's right, it's another of his soon to be famous analog remixes. This time the target is none other than, John Vanderslices's, Pixel Revolt. Much like his remix of Pattern Is Movement, Canonic, Scott's analog machinations so thoroughly place his stamp on the source material here that the remix has created an entirely new beast- one that is definitively the product of Scott Solter. However, the more of his recontextualizations I hear, the more I begin to feel that each one is perfectly suited as a companion to the original record. Whereas his re-working of PIM was large, banging, and heavy in its distortions, The Pixel Revolt remix, while equally large, moves at a more glacial pace at times more reminiscent of his solo album, One River. Slow, crystalline, and patient the work's precision is monumental. I've included the first track above for a taste, but you really ought to do yourself a no-brainer of a favor, and get the whole remix here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Marlboro Chorus

Download: The Marlboro Chorus -- "Love is in Love "

Download: The Marlboro Chorus -- "Doctor I'm Sick"

With the other 'croppers taking what appears to be an extremely long break from posting after sxsw, I guess I'll pull double duty this week and put this post up on, The Marlboro Chorus. The band first came to my attention via one of our former interns, Donovan Babb - currently drumming for the neverendingly touring, The Winter Sounds. Back in what must be 2004, he pulled two of their records out of what I have to assume were the Team C stacks, and singled them out for further listening. The band held a fairly steady spot in our intra-office listening rotation for quite some time. Doing some research, in an attempt to remember the name of the two records in question (Good Luck and Entangled), it became quite clear that we were dealing with a band quite possibly as prolific as Je Suis France.

As you can see, if you look over towards our links, we welcome submissions from anyone that cares to send songs our way, but rarely do we get them, and even more rarely are the submissions something that I feel excited about posting on. So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw an email in our box from the label, Future Appletree Records discussing the upcoming full-length, American Dreamers, by The Marlboro Chorus, and it had MP3 links to boot! Sweetening the already overwhelmingly tasty pot, I come to find out that The Marlboro Chorus's Patrick Stolley is the main recording engineer for none other than the Cropper approved, Let's add it up: we've got some fantastic power-pop tunes from a band featuring a member of one of our favorite websites. Their record is going to be released by a nice indie label, which took the time to reach out to us in an attempt to promote their artists. Mix that in with a lack of effort from my fellow 'Cropper posters, and ladies and gentelemen, you've got yourself a blog post.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Sunny Day In Glasgow

Download: A Sunny Day In Glasgow -- "The Best Summer Ever"

Download: A Sunny Day In Glasgow -- "C'mon"

When I first heard A Sunny Day In Glasgow (ASDIG), I honestly wondered if the file I was listening to was playing at the proper speed. The guitar sounds were so bent, the tuning and timing so odd to me, and the vocals so thoroughly washed out by effects that they seemed more like the voices of some otherworldly creatures than humans. My initial confusion was a welcome reaction; it's always nice to be surprised and challenged by music, and this band certainly does both of those things well. I've since started to find my footing with the band, and have begun to more fully enjoy their brand of pop.

There's a lot of shoegazer in their sound, which has garnered a number of comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, but the more I listen to ASDIG the more I get excited about the fact that the shoegazer tag does not entirely fit. One of the things that always jumped out at me about the classic shoegazer bands was how immediately comfortable I was in those songs; it was the aural equivalent of being suspended in some type of warm, protecting body of water. ASDIG's songs on the other hand, are a bit more disorienting and disconcerting - at first. It's tough to get your bearings in their drenched, and at times rather caustic songs. The songs shock me out of my all too often complacent style of office listening, demanding more rigorous participation from me in the process. Tough to classify, and all the better off for it as a band, A Sunny Day In Glasgow has been a pleasant companion for me over the last month or so.

With champions in all the right places, and an upcoming national tour with My Teenage Stride, which will hopefully include Athens, they seem poised to reach a broader audience. At least, here's hoping! You can order their new LP, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, from their label Notenuf Records now.