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


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?