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The Cropper!

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

Median cover

Tummyache

tummyache is An Alternative Rock Project created by Songwriter / producer soren bryce. The project is named after one of the side effects of severe physical anxiety. Bryce has been creating and releasing music for the past six years Under her own name. Tummyache manifested from Bryce’s need to explore a new set of emotions She experienced while living in brooklyn, new york.

the debut ep “humpday” is an honest and aggressive self-dive into a myriad of Intra/interpersonal issues; as well as a reflection of the human condition through the lens of absurdism. Songs like “machine” and “commonplace” are a cry to understand a life without intrinsic meaning, while “median” and title track “humpday” surrender to the existential anxiety in an attempt to be comforted by self-made hope. “in between” is a bitter-sweet outline of Bryce seeking to simply ‘feel better’.


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Stream Tummyache


Photos: Lizzie Steimer

Lyrics


4.MEDIAN

Maybe I’ll call my mom today / I feel happy, I feel loved, I feel everything
Swinging by some shoelaces and weather change / my atoms rearranged, rearranged

Made it outside the gray / I tried to suffocate my brain but it won’t die
My moral compass is intact / even when it’s a little shy
My life has been a collection of two extremes / until I rested in
The median

You’re just like a root canal / dug you out / there’s ghost feeling in my mouth
Laughed so hard I couldn’t speak / then again, oxygen has a losing streak / at least with me

Made it outside the gray / I tried to suffocate my brain but it won’t die
My moral compass is intact / even when it’s a little shy
My life has been a collection of two extremes / until I rested in
The median
I rested in / the median

Simplicity / simplicity / simplicity / sit down I’m not your enemy
Simplicity / simplicity / simplicity / sit down I’m not your enemy

My life has been a collection of two extremes / until I rested in
The median

Simplicity / simplicity / simplicity / sit down I’m not your enemy
Simplicity / simplicity / simplicity / sit down I’m not your enemy
Sit down I’m not your enemy / sit down I’m not your enemy

5.IN BETWEEN

It’s been a rough couple years, I won’t lie
I / I’ve been down on my knees / and I kissed the floor where I lied
I can’t help / the ones that I love get better
And I feel / as much myself as a poison

I am not strong / I’m very weak
There is / barely a human upon these feet
There is no will / left within me
Oh life and death / I am sorry / for all that I did in between

I want to feel better / I want to feel better / I want to feel better
I want to feel better / I want to feel better / I want to feel better
I want to feel better / I want to feel –

Lyrics by Soren Bryce

~~

Press Contact: Email Bill Benson at Team Clermont

Radio Contact: Email Nelson Wells & Adam at Team Clermont
Team Clermont Twitter
© 2019
Team Clermont
Athens, Georgia

Noc Blonde Cover

Nocturnal Blonde

Nocturnal Blonde was originally created to bring awareness, in loose story form, to the devastating reality of the opioid pandemic. Ritchie Williams, producer/ songwriter/ singer/instrumentalist of Nocturnal Blonde, nearly lost his brother, Dave Williams, to an incidental opiate-related overdose. Though he survived, Dave was left with permanent neurological damage.

Before his brother’s incident, Ritchie had the opportunity and privilege to work with Athens, Georgia legend Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Michael produced an album by a local act in which Ritchie sang, wrote, and played guitar. Stipe also lent assistance to Williams by co-writing and simplifying one of his songs.

Ritchie was truly moved by Michael’s concise, intuitive approach as producer. With the education of studio experience and the need to help the fight against the opioid crisis, Williams initiated Nocturnal Blonde, a studio project with purpose. Most of the material on Still Gushing was written by Dave and Ritchie Williams, brothers and best friends, during the throes of Dave’s addiction. Younger brother, Ritchie experienced his own full system breakdown while writing the rest of the material alone.

Williams didn’t have to dig too deep to find compassionate talent in Athens. With a deep, supportive cast of instrumentalists on deck, Ritchie’s confidence grew. The only thing missing was a true lead singer. By luck, standout vocalist, Rachel Adams was discovered, harmonizing to radio songs at Ritchie’s day job. The coworkers immediately bonded, and Rachel accepted Ritchie’s proposal to join forces and fight for the cause. Within three months, Nocturnal Blonde released their debut EP, Smart Heart.
“The positive press reviews of Smart Heart and positive feedback from my brother was so encouraging that I had to keep the project alive. The next step was to share the whole story, and hopefully touch someone who’s struggling with similar issues, with our LP, Still Gushing. – Ritchie Williams.


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Photos: Rachel Renee Levasseur


THE TIES THAT BIND US (story):


Addiction serves as a catalyst for the beautiful darkness of Nocturnal Blonde:
A story of An Artistic Brotherhood, An Opioid Overdose, and A Brotherly Bond Bound Through The Music They Create to Heal Themselves – and Others
From “Ties That Bind Us full story“https://www.thetiesthatbindus.org/addiction-serves-as-a-catalyst-for-the-beautiful-darkness-of-nocturnal-blonde/” by Steve Wildsmith 2019

Ritchie Williams was 17 years old when he first noticed his brother Dave’s descent into the depths of addiction.

Since their childhood in Jacksonville, Fla., the two had been thick as thieves; best friends then and now, but Dave’s drug use began to steal Ritchie’s older sibling, with the slow assuredness of guaranteed destruction.

Looking back, Ritchie — who now leads the Athens, Ga.-based band Nocturnal Blonde, which draws on music the two brothers created to tell Dave’s story and light a beacon of hope for those who might similarly struggle — sees that his brother’s path was, in some ways, no surprise.

“He’s incredibly intelligent in a lot of ways, and in the ’80s, they had a gifted program where they would really just lay it all out for you,” Ritchie told The Ties That Bind Us recently. “They would give you an IQ test and tell your parents what your personality was going to be, and they told our parents that he was only going to see things in black-and-white. This is pretty much a direct quote from my memory — they said he could either end up working for NASA, or end up in a ditch.”

Dave didn’t end up in a ditch, but he came close. An opioid related overdose in 2016 brought on respiratory failure, which led to acute ischemia, a stroke that damaged his brain. He’s alive, but he’s forever changed, and when a part of him died, a part of Ritchie did as well. Nocturnal Blonde, his band with Rachel Adams, was his own way back into the light. The band released an EP, Smart Heart, in 2018 which includes songs from the forthcoming full-length album, Still Gushing due August 16.

A brotherly bond forged in music

“My dad used to play with Chet Atkins a little bit when he was a really young kid on the guitar, so we had no choice but to pursue music. My brother and I were immersed in it” recalls Ritchie. For the Williams brothers, music has been one of the primary ties that bound them as siblings and friends. Ritchie remembers realizing his connection to music when he heard “Us and Them” by Pink Floyd at age 4. “It hit my pleasure center so hard, and I remember feeling overwhelmed and in love.” he said.

As the brothers got older, the two began writing and playing together, and the pair eventually moved to the college rock incubator town of Athens. Ritchie and Dave had always been co-writers in the bands in which they were involved. Fortunately, most of the work they did was recorded in a professional home studio before Dave’s descent into opioid addiction.

“His music opened so many doors for me, and the connection was still there as my brother, but he just kept getting deeper and deeper into anything he could just to feel good at the moment. The music was huge and hard to capture, because he couldn’t get it together, but whenever we did, we kept it.”

When Dave became incapable of playing, Ritchie decided to venture out. Through a mutual friend, his music was introduced to Lynda Stipe of Flash to Bang Time. The collaboration of Ritchie, Lynda, and the band got the attention of Lynda’s big brother, Michael Stipe, singer and front man for Athens-based R.E.M. After a show at a local venue, Michael asked if the band would like to take the live material into the studio for production.

During the recording process, Ritchie was fascinated by Michael’s approach. “I was so impressed with how concise Michael was while producing. It was great to see a true leader simplify the process and achieve his vision with ease, all while having fun.” Ritchie said.

While there Ritchie also received some lessons about song-crafting from Mr. Stipe himself. Williams recounted, “Michael really liked one of my songs but felt that it needed attention, and he wanted to sit with me and go over it. He and I went in a room together hoping to find a lyrical ending with a twist for the last stanza of the song. He jotted down a couple of lines and asked what I thought about it. At that moment, I truly felt the magic of his genius.”

A bond is broken

In 2016, Ritchie arranged for an intervention to get Dave into treatment in Athens. The plan was for Dave to return from a visit back to Florida and enter the treatment program directly, but he slipped the net and disappeared. About a week later, their father called.

“My dad said he had overdosed, and the paramedics were taking him away with a sheet covering his face,” Ritchie said, pausing against the well of emotions those searing memories entail. “However, somehow, 11 minutes into a 20-minute ride, he came through.”

It was a call Ritchie had long dreaded but still expected, and his world came crashing down around him. He suffered his own nervous breakdown, wondering if his brother would ever be the same. Almost three weeks later, Dave called from the hospital.

“It was like a phone call from beyond the grave,” Ritchie said. “But he remembered the number, and he dialed it, and within a week, I was playing music again. That’s always been our main bond, and it was such a relief to see that it was still a possibility.”

Nocturnal Blonde was born when Ritchie met Rachel in December 2017. She grew up outside of Athens, and her earliest memories of music are of sitting on the front pew of churches around the area, listening to the Southern gospel quartet of which her father was a part. Music has been a part of her life ever since, and when she discovered the music Ritchie and Dave had created she knew that she could bring something to it.

The first time Ritchie heard her sing, he knew as well, he added.
“When we met Ritchie told me he was trying to get something started and asked if I wanted to listen to the music, so I did,” Rachel added. “He gave me three songs, and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with them. And then, when he told me the story, it all made sense.”

Music remains the bedrock

After three meetings, the two were a band; in February, they borrowed a line from the Syd Barrett song “Feel” for a name and immediately went into the studio to work on “Smart Heart.” It’s gorgeous acoustic psych-folk, drawing on the dual harmonies of other male-female combos like Mandolin Orange and Carolina Story but wrapped in a patina of ache and darkness. It’s impossible to listen to the EP, however, without hearing the hope on the other side of that void.

Because despite his brother’s stroke, Ritchie still has his brother. There are many whose stories are contained in Nocturnal Blonde’s songs who do not still have that person in their lives, and the music Adams and Williams make is for the ones who’ve been lost and the ones who’ve survived.
“I haven’t been the same since then, but Dave’s sound is still there,” Ritchie said. “I’ll call and talk to him about a song, and he’ll say it needs this or that in terms of color. He can’t drive, and he can’t work, and he falls a lot, but I get to bounce the ideas off of him, and because we’ve worked so long together, his presence is in there. It’s more than inspiration.”

Dave and Rachel struck up a close friendship — “We talk all the time, and text almost every day, and he’ll tell me if he thinks what I’m doing is good or if something could sound better,” she said. “The two of them are so special, and the music is so special, and adding to it has been really fun for me.”

Although he’s forever changed, Dave is clean today. He went through treatment at an Athens area treatment facility, and he’s active in recovery. However, the damnable part of his brain damage is that the part where his addiction lives is unaffected.

“He knows that he still craves it, and if he has the opportunity and isn’t active in recovery, he would use,” Ritchie said. “But in terms of support, he has a program, and he uses the tools of the recovery center, and I can see it in his outlook that things have changed.”

And part of that support is Nocturnal Blonde. Dave lives vicariously through Ritchie and Rachel, and the two are very aware that the music made by a once-brilliant mind still has a role in healing hearts also damaged by addiction. They hope to move from the studio to the stage soon, but they’re not anxious to force anything. The band has been guided to date by a higher power, and shoehorning it to fit into a certain box would defy Nocturnal Blonde’s momentum.

Ritchie, Rachel and Dave have been through too much to allow that to happen, they said.
“I’m not trying to force it anymore,” Ritchie said. “I think the songs stand strong enough on their own. I want people to know just how dangerous it is to dabble with these particular substances. There’s a depth of isolation to it that I want them to feel, but I want them to know that there is inspiration as well. You don’t have to go to those places and lose yourself.”

by Steve Wildsmith

Press Contact: Email Bill Benson at Team Clermont

Radio Contact: Email Nelson Wells & Adam at Team Clermont
Team Clermont Twitter
© 2019
Team Clermont
Athens, Georgia

Prince

Prince will forever be remembered as a commanding live performer, chart-topping recording artist, and music business revolutionary.

Yet for all the time he spent in the spotlight over his four-decade-long career, Prince also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to nurture talent and pen songs for the rising artists he respected.

The Prince Estate, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records and TIDAL, releases Originals, a 15-track album featuring 14 previously unreleased recordings that illuminate the vital, behind-the-scenes role Prince played in other artists’ careers. The tracks were selected collaboratively by Troy Carter, on behalf of The Prince Estate, and JAY-Z.

By the mid-1980s, Prince was dominating the charts even as a writer/producer with songs he’d composed and recorded for others. In addition to releasing nine of his most commercially successful full-length albums, he also wrote and recorded endless reels of material for proteges The Time, Vanity 6, Sheila E., Apollonia 6, Jill Jones, the Family, and Mazarati. Occasionally, Prince’s original demo recordings would be used as master takes on their albums, with only minor alterations to the instrumentation and a replacement of the vocal tracks. Other times, artists would rely on his demos to guide them through their own recording process, with Prince’s initial take informing their final version of his song. The aggregate effect was a complete saturation and transformation of the pop music landscape, with Prince both leading and subverting mainstream culture.

Several of the iconic songs found on Originals were considerable hits for the artists who recorded them. Sheila E.‘s “The Glamorous Life” reached #1 on the dance charts in 1984, while the enormous success of “Manic Monday” propelled the single and its accompanying album, The BanglesDifferent Light, to the #2 spot on the pop charts. The Time’s Ice Cream Castle, featuring the top 20 “Jungle Love”, spent a whopping 57 weeks on the Billboard 200. And in 1991, Martika enjoyed international success with “Love… Thy Will Be Done”, a top 10 hit in France, Australia, the UK and the USA.

Originals pulls back the curtain to reveal the origins of these familiar songs, in addition to deeper album cuts such as Vanity 6’s “Make-Up,” Jill Jones’s “Baby, You’re a Trip,” and Kenny Rogers‘ “You’re My Love.” The album also features Prince’s majestic original 1984 version of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” released in 2018 as a standalone single.

Today Warner Bros. Records releases this extraordinary body of work, sourced directly from Prince’s vast archive of Vault recordings, via all download and streaming partners and physically on CD, while 180 gram 2-LP and limited edition Deluxe CD+2-LP formats will follow on July 19th.

Press Contact: Email Bill Benson at Team Clermont

Radio Contact: Email Nelson Wells & Adam at Team Clermont
Team Clermont Twitter
Team Clermont
Athens, Georgia

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

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!

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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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