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.