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.

Cory Brown and everyone at Absolutely Kosher Records

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


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


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

Live! Office Photo Booth


Hector hates the south / whitey

LIVE! Office Photo Booth


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”

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)


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.


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.


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.


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!