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The Cropper!

A blog featuring #indie music, news, interviews, & the best darn songs west of Stockholm

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Soft People

What’s the point of even recording and performing music in 2018, when the world seems like it’s ending and — let’s face it — the field is crowded? That’s a question San Luis Obispo-based husband-husband duo Soft People seriously considered before starting the process of recording the follow-up to their 2017 debut American Men. The answer came to the duo’s chief songwriter Caleb Nichols during a late-night bike ride in the early spring; in the form of a melody that so affected him that he knew he had to get it down and record it.
The results of this musical epiphany are now available as the infectious and joyful pop single “I Saw The Moon!” which the band is releasing on their homegrown tape label, Sandwich Kingdom, along with a remix by Berlin-based dark wave duo Some Ember.
“I Saw The Moon!” builds on the foundation Soft People laid down on American Men while it pares down the duo’s sound to its essential elements. Simple and angular guitar lines performed by guitarist John Metz float above a thumping drum machine and motorik bass groove. Nichols’ vocal delivery drifts in and out in a dream-like haze, climaxing in an earworm of a chorus that calls to mind the euphoria of cycling fast downhill on a moonlit night. “I Saw The Moon!” is a fresh and colorful musical jaunt; the perfect soundtrack for the feeling of falling in love, for the coming fall; for that twilight inkling that reminds us that we’re here on this giant, gently tilting planet.

Soft People is an indie pop duo comprised of Caleb Nichols and John Metz, a married couple who live in San Luis Obispo, CA. The duo first met when Nichols, a veteran of the Oakland, CA music scene and who had recorded and toured with mid-2000s indie buzz-band Port O’Brien, recruited Metz to be the drummer of his Oakland indie band Grand Lake. Nichols and Metz started dating during their first few months as bandmates and were married several years later. Soft People is the first project that finds the pair collaborating as songwriters and producers. The band began in early 2017 as a bedroom recording project in Atlanta, Georgia. Later that year Nichols and Metz left Atlanta and relocated to their hometown of San Luis Obispo, CA, releasing their their full-length debut and playing their first shows. 2018 has seen them playing shows in the local DIY scene as well as starting Sandwich Kingdom, a tape label which releases an annual compilation of local DIY musicians and poets.

“The Absolute Boy” is perhaps Nichols’ most personal song to date. It deals with his struggle with PTSD resulting from years of abuse in early childhood. The track is Nichols’ attempt to wrap his head around generational domestic violence, and addresses his own abuse as well as the abuse his abuser suffered in his own childhood. The chorus is devastatingly vulnerable, and deeply cathartic as Nichols sings “before you hit me / before you clipped my wings / I was the absolute boy / I was him absolutely.”


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Press Contact:Email Bill Benson at Team Clermont

Radio Contact:Email Lauren & Nelson Wells at Team Clermont

Travoltas Cover

Travoltas, The

The Travoltas hail from Dallas, Texas, and were formed there in the fall of 2011. Salim Nourallah (vocals, guitar), Paul Slavens (keys, vocals), Nick Earl (guitar), Emsy Robinson (bass) and Jason Garner (drums), deftly swerve through music decades past ranging from tin-pan alley to the 60’s British Invasion and 70’s punk rock.

Nourallah, a well-established producer and solo artist in his own right, conceptualized the project, hand-picking each member for their unique skill set and a myriad of influences. The result is the Travoltas’ unique sound, a blend of pop/rock’s pre-1980’s history going back all the way to the 40’s.

The Travoltas recorded their full-length debut on the heels of a triumphant Midwest/East coast tour opening for the Old 97s. The 97s opening band sold over $7,000 worth of merch in just 4 weeks and the seeds of “Travolta-mania” were sewn, especially in New York City. Recording took place in Austin, Texas, with Jim Vollentine (Spoon; Old 97s, White Rabbits). The record was tracked in just 4 days and mixed back in Dallas by Matt Hibbard and Salim.

“I Can’t Say No” comes crashing out of the gate with reverb-drenched surf guitars and Liberace-esque piano runs. “Snowball” works a disco groove your mama would die for, almost as if the Kinks were doing a send-up of the BeeGees. The Travolta “formula” is basically twisted lyrics about situations gone awry coupled with perky pop tunes. “Mail Ya to Australia” showcase Slavens virtuoso piano work and continues the trend of clever wordplay. Slavens channels Randy Newman, Steve Nieve and even Scott Joplin on some of these numbers while Nourallah channels Ray Davies and some sort of punk-rock Sinatra persona.

The power pop/punky “If You Could Be the Star” and Weezer-esque (um…Blue album) “Making Out” call guitar player Nick Earl to the front of the class with his not-at-all-retro manipulation of sound. Earl fuses the past to the present with his guitar wizardry – at times creating sounds and textures that don’t even slightly resemble traditional guitar tones. This element is key to the Travoltas fresh sound and greatly helps the band step out of retro-kitsch land and in to the present day.

Surfer Blood

AthFest Artist Spotlight: Surfer Blood

Hailing from West Palm Beach, FL, Surfer Blood stormed onto the scene with 2009’s “Swim”, which was ranked by Pitchfork as one of 100 Best Tracks of the year. Then came months of festival and performances, garnering buzz at SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, and an epic stint opening for The Pixies. They’ve become known for their sunny melodies and shiny hooks, drawing comparisons to both Weezer and The Smiths for their contrastingly pop sound and darker, more evocative lyrical content. Between 2010 and 2013, the band released two full-length albums – Astro Coast and Pythons – and an EP Tarot Classics.

After a brief gap and a switch-up in its label, the band returned to their DIY roots and released their third album 1000 Palms on Joyful Noise recordings. The album has been praised throughout the internet, being called “consistently lovely” by Pitchfork and seen as a “mature return” to the subtle-surf rock of earlier releases by Detroit News . Now they’re back on the road, a revitalized touring band melding the style that launched them onto the scene with the lessons and growth that six years as a band will bring.

For their latest single “Island”, Surfer Blood invites us on a beach weekend complete with sandcastles and bucket hats. Check it out:

Don’t miss Surfer Blood at the Georgia Theatre on Saturday, June 27th during Athfest 2015!

For more info contact Nelson Wells
or Bill Benson

Nuci's Space

Nuci's Space Launches Indiegogo Campaign to save historic R.E.M. steeple

For the last fifteen years, local non-profit organization Nuci’s Space has provided financial aid, practice space and mental health services to Athens’ musicians. It has always been and remains one of the most essential players in preserving the Athens music scene.

On November 3rd, Nuci’s Space launched an IndieGoGo Campaign to help restore St. Mary’s Steeple, the last remaining remnant of the church where R.E.M. played their first official show in the spring of 1980. While the building itself was torn down several years ago to make room for yet another parking lot, the steeple still stands tall as an important Athens landmark. However, as the steeple has begun to deteriorate, the structure requires extensive repair.

In an effort to support the restoration, several Athens musicians have supplied unique items to be used as donation incentives. Items include (but are not limited to):

- A limited edition steeple logo poster from long-time R.E.M. art director and renowned graphic designer Chris Bilheimer

- Three Rickenbacker guitars autographed by R.E.M., Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, and Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal)

- Stage props designed by Michael Lachowski of Pylon

- A smashed Gibson SG and tour costumes from of Montreal

- A limited-edition autographed Wes Freed steeple poster from Drive-By Truckers

- New limited-edition Chuck Sperry posters and Brute posters (featuring autographs by both Mike Houser and Vic Chesnutt) from Widespread Panic

- Drumheads, albums, poster, etc autographed by Neutral Milk Hotel

The campaign, which runs through December 12, has already raised over $50,000 dollars and has received press from publications like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Spin. For more info contact project manager Marc Tissenbaum via marc @ nuci.org or by telephone at 706-410-6758. Nuci’s Space has provided a video detailing the restoration effort. Check it out below!


For more info contact Nelson Wells

Theme Announced For Normaltown Records Presents Team Clermont Summer Showcase! + Prom!

We’re excited to announce that this year’s prom theme is “Back To The Future”. Time to track down a DeLorean you can rent for the evening to transport your date, and start planning which era or character you’ll channel with your outfit. We invite you to dress as a character from any era the films visit, meaning 1885, 1955, 1985 or 2015!

It’s all part of the return of the Team Clermont Summer Showcase and Prom presented by Normaltown Records, as the Athens, GA firm celebrates 15 years of excellence in music publicity and radio promotion.

The long weekend also consists of two nights of showcases, all of which are open to the public. Over three nights, Thursday through Sunday, July 26, 27 & 28, two showcases will be held at the Georgia Theatre, headlined by critically acclaimed national act Bear In Heaven (Brooklyn, NY) psych-pop pioneers The Olivia Tremor Control (Athens, GA)

The third night (Saturday July 28) will be our prom held at The Melting Point. A favorite for out-of-towners and locals alike, the Prom takes the attendees back to the times of cover bands, questionable outfits, photo booths and punch bowls, without all of the awkwardness of being a teenager. Get ready to dance, as Yacht Rock Revue performs a set of 80s cover songs they call “Reagan Rock Prom!”

Also scheduled to perform: Dent May, Crooked Fingers, Pattern Is Movement, Wild Moccasins, Astronautalis, and more!

Dent May Added To Team Clermont Summer Showcase And Prom This July 26-28!

We’re pleased to announce the addition of Paw Tracks artist Dent May to our lineup for the Team Clermont Summer Showcase and Prom! Dent May joins The Olivia Tremor Control, Bear In Heaven, Crooked Fingers, Astronautalis, Pattern Is Movement, and more!

Our showcase happens this July 26-28 here in Athens GA, with two nights of music at the Georgia Theatre, as well as a “K’s vs. W’s Kickball Game” (to be announced by Astronautalis) and an industry record fair. Our weekend closes out with our Prom, which features Yacht Rock Revue’s “Reagan Prom” as well as local favorite, DJ Mahogany.

Three-day wristbands and single night tickets are available through TicketBiscuit!

About Dent May:
“The chorus of “Fun” feels like the record’s quick-beating heart: “I don’t know what’s in store for me, but I think it’s gonna be fun.” That youthful sentiment is a long way from the angst of getting older, or worrying about the economy; instead Dent May just wants to kick back with major chords and party. He’s even ditched his magnificent ukelele. In its place are spritely synths, airy acoustic guitars, and hints of psychedelia.” – Pitchfork

Pattern+Is+Movement-cropper

Pattern Is Movement Joins Team Clermont Summer Showcase and Prom!

We’re super excited to announce our latest addition to the Team Clermont Summer Showcase and Prom: Philadelphia’s own Pattern Is Movement!

Pattern Is Movement joins a lineup that already includes The Olivia Tremor Control, Bear In Heaven, Crooked Fingers (Eric Bachmann from Archers Of Loaf), and Astronautalis!

Our Summer Showcase weekend will be held here in Athens, GA from July 26-28. In addition to two showcases hosted by the Georgia Theatre, there will be a kickball game as well as an afternoon record fair!

Three-Day passes as well as single night tickets can be purchased now through TicketBiscuit!

About Pattern Is Movement:
Following their first three records, endless shows and tours (among them dates with friends St. Vincent, David Bazan, and The Forms), and the transition from five-to-four-to-three-to-two members, Pattern is Movement turned themselves inside out with their last release, All Together. Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward embody the two-man wall of sound; it‘s music that‘s been a long time building, rising out of the ether of left-behind evangelical childhoods (see Jesus Camp), best friendship (kindled as kids listening to The Chronic), and life in Philadelphia. All Together continued the mysterious narrative of the band, both documenting and foretelling the pounding energy of their near-legendary live show: Chris and Andrew side-by-side, hammering drums and keys (among other things), sweat flying, voices hollering. This is what resides in the ten exquisitely constructed tracks of All Together, the kind of stuff that compelled Stereogum to declare that “Pattern is Movement deserve your worship.”

Team Clermont awarded Promotion Company Of The Year!

New York – Top Honor, Promo Company Of The Year goes to Team Clermont.

CMJ Music Marathon is hosted in NYC every Fall, and this year was no different, except this year our team brought home the top honor!

Bill, Nelson, Steve, Shil and the entire team at Team Clermont headed up to the Big Apple to once again represent at CMJ’s music conference and music festival “the marathon”, and we did so in a big way! First off, CMJ and voters from across the industry and college radio honored Athens, Georgia’s Team Clermont with Promo Company of the year, as well as a few other top honors in these categories (included are quotes from some of the nominating industry reps:

Promo Company Of The Year:
Team Clermont – “They are way more legit than pretty much everyone else.”
“They really stepped up their game this year.”

Promoter Of The Year:
Team Clermont / Shil Patel – “He’s always lovely to talk to, remembers details about you, and he STILL promotes great music in an effective/non-annoying way.”

Most Sincere:
Shil Patel, Team Clermont

To see a full list of the winners, click here . If you attended CMJ and put in your vote for our team, Thank YOU for entrusting our team and for casting your ballot for Team Clermont!

It was also great to see so many of you at our Music Showcase held on Friday, October 23rd at Lit Lounge (93 2nd Ave New York). Thank you for supporting our artists who played!

Bear In Heaven (Hometapes)
Helado Negro (Asthmatic Kitty)
Peggy Sue (Yep Roc)
Hi Red Center (Joyful Noise)
Spring Tigers (Bright Antenna)

Thank you for voting and for coming out to party with us!
We couldn’t have done it without all your support, nor would Team Clermont be named Promotion Company of The Year.

Thanks from all the team
Alyssa, Bill, Nelson, Shil, Steve, Sarah, and all!

Congrats To The Winners Of Flagpole Music Awards Last Night!

Last night at the 11th annual Flagpole Music Awards, we saw some of Team Clermont’s finest walk away with awards for their amazing work and contributions to the music scene…

Best Jam/Funk: Widespread Panic
Best Rap/Hip Hop: Deaf Judges
Best Rock: Dead Confederate
Best Pop: Modern Skirts
Best Album Cover Art: Modern Skirts – “All Of Us In Our Night”
Band/Performer Of The Year – Widespread Panic

The night also included awesome performances by Deaf Judges, Casper & the Cookies, and Dead Confederate! What an awesome way to kick off the Athfest weekend. Congrats to everyone!

Also, Be sure to make your way to Nuci’s Space tonight for the Team Clermont/Aquarium Drunkard showcase featuring:

Liz Durrett – 8:30
Circulatory System – (only Athfest performance) 9:15
Modern Skirts – (only Athfest performance) 10:30

We’ll see you there!

Modern Skirts "Soft Pedals"

The release of Modern Skirts fantastic new record All of Us In Our Night is coming up this Tuesday. It’s been more than three years since the band’s Athens Music Award winning debut Catalogue of Generous Men, much of the time has been spent recording and touring the UK with Athens’ own R.E.M. In honor of the bands sophomore debut we are pleased to share with you the stunning new single “Soft Pedals” Along with the MP3, check out the video of the band recording the song (look for a cameo from producer David Lowery). ALSO! Catch the band on tour!

01.22 • T.T. The Bear’s Place (Cambridge, MA)
01.23 • Union Hall (Brooklyn, NY)
01.24 • Rock And Roll Hotel (Washington DC)
01.29 • Local 506 (Chapel Hill, NC)
01.30 • The Earl (Atlanta, GA)
01.31 • 40 Watt Club (Athens, GA)
02.06 • Cox Capitol Theatre (Presented by the Georgia Music Hall of Fame) (Macon, GA)
02.17 • Circle Bar (New Orleans, LA)
03.05 • Odgen Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, LA)


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About The Cropper!

A blog featuring #indie music, news, interviews, & the best darn songs west of Stockholm

Music Submissions - Send us your songs

The Cropper! accepts music submissions of all kinds. Though we cannot guarantee write-ups, we eagerly anticipate hearing, writing about and discovering new, unsigned, and exciting artists. Submit your music now. Thanks!

Here's to 20 Years of Team Clermont artists & bands. Thank you all!

We surely couldn’t have made it 20 years without all of you, our artists.
See our full roster, the whole list of the 2,238 artists, singers, bands and true creatives we’ve had the privilege of working with so far during our company’s (first) 20-year history. – with love from co-founders Nelson Wells and Bill Benson

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