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The Cropper!

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

Good Service cover

Good Service

Noah Fardon (Good Service) was born in Nashville in 1994 and raised in an old stone house west of town. When not in school – a very traditional, all-male, former military academy where football will always reign supreme – he sought creative and conversational freedom and inspiration each day on the front porch of a nearby coffee shop that was a main haunt for prophetically deep thinkers, brilliantly singular personalities, and artists of all mediums and ages. Buoyed by their passion and the atmosphere of encouragement, he took his limited musical chops out of the shower, where they’d long been waging a losing battle against Hamilton Leithauser, picked up a guitar (and a guitar teacher) and started a band. Things went well for a few years, and then faded away as we all found new places to call home.

Fardon then moved to midcoast Maine in 2012 and, after a few years translating Ancient Greek, decamped to nearby Portland, into a repurposed laundry facility owned by a mustachioed, Twizzler-hoarding, self-proclaimed pirate. There, he set up shop in a 9’ X 7’ wooden box (sawdust on the paint-stained concrete; it had most recently been a carpenter’s workspace) that occupied one corner of a large white-walled room (now the New System Exhibitions gallery space). Fardon spent the next two years writing and recording in musical and spatial isolation, aiming to see if, in so doing, he couldn’t shed some habits that had begun to make the whole thing feel stale.

Please is the result of that effort; alternately sweet and unsettling, it is a wonderfully strange and engrossing thirty-one minutes, thematically informed and contextualized by Good’s sudden need to reckon with a rapidly unwinding perspective on mortality in light of his grandmother’s terminal diagnosis and subsequent passing a year and a half later. As the album’s bookends, “And a Foot” and “The End,” are also its most direct confrontations with death, each peeling through varying layers of anxiety, regret and despair to uncover the beauty and lightness hidden deep within the folds: that necessary inspiration to trudge on, to be patient, to choose to accept life. “And a Foot” settles hesitantly though encouragingly on a plan to turn things around: “Twenty-three, obsessed with death, regretful of the only love I’ve left, I smoke as much as fills my chest, but I’m trying to get right again.”

And yet, as the album plays out, Good’s resolve to choose and cherish life is subsumed by an inability to breach the sea of distractions – those much more immediate and prescient than mortality – that all but defines the restless sprawl of each day. Meaningful commiseration becomes tied in with increasingly unhealthy patterns of substance use that demand nonetheless occasionally still feel effective and revelatory (“Summer Muses”/ “MaPaw”); a love lost years before, now distant in time and space, creeps its way into a new start in a new city (“Washington Avenue”), cutting through the din of social life and the current of a budding romance with the sharp edge of vivid memory (“94”). By “The End,” Good, having lost family and friends alike to whatever it is that comes next, has grown more fully aware of the way mortality manifests in even the smallest windows of time, and embraces this unearthed truth reluctantly: there is no linear path to follow, only cycles of birth, death, and rebirth, that we must repeatedly opt into as we discover who we are before we simply are no more (“If now were the end, it wouldn’t get to me much; I feel so spent, though I know we’ve only just begun). But it is not the end. Good Service is a beginning.

What you will hear within first had to pass through the hands of his trusted, capable, and generous friends, Vaughn Hunt (additional recording; synthesizers) and Jamie Joyce (drums), and then through those of Roger Moutenot (additional recording; mixing), who brought a true sense of life and identity to this music — without him this record would simply not be what it is.

There’s so much more: a desperate and defeated return to Nashville; a New Jersey cemetery swelling under the billowing and pulpy heat of a midday in August; the misidentified shallot that brought him closer to Springsteen’s quiet side and the notion of chosen family; two deceptively quiet brushes with death in the sap and sweat of a New Orleans predawn; eight cats, a puppy, three drunk infants, “customer is king,” orange kouign amanns and spelt ciabatta…If you want to know any of it…just ask!


Photos: Henry Austin


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Athens, Georgia

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.


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Reviews


HKS cover

Relix Magazine premieres new Helen Kelter Skelter video!

Helen Kelter Skelter release their blistering new album Melter last month. But they’re not showing any signs of slowing down. Relix Mag just premiered their newest video, for the single “Palamino.”

Check out the post here and pick up your very own white-vinyl copy of Melter here!

If you’re in Tulsa, you’re also in luck! They’re playing The Vanguard tomorrow night, the 2nd. For all of their tour dates, head over to helenkelterskelter.com

AmyBlaschkeBTBloresByIxchelLara

Amy Blaschke Shares Video with Elmore Magazine

Amy Blaschke shares new music video for “Under My Skin” with Elmore Magazine and talks her upcoming record Breaking The Blues : “Music was like a sanctuary, and it ended up being the fastest I’ve ever written a new body of work.”

Read on over at Elmore Magazine

Contact [email protected]

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone Winter Tour

Owen Ashworth, aka Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, cannot be stopped. In 2009 alone, CFTPA released the fantastic singles, b-sides, and rarities collection, Advance Base Battery Life, a stellar new full-length, Vs. Children, and extensively toured North America and Europe. And he’s not done yet.

Get your Casiotone For The Painfully Alone requests ready, because Owen will be bringing his stacks of keyboards, bass-heavy beats, and wry stage banter to both sides of the pond in the next two months.

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE IN EUROPE

Dec 16, 2009: Istanbul, Turkey @ Indigo

Dec 18, 2009: London, UK @ Lexington

Dec 19, 2009: Leeds, UK @ Nation Of Shopkeepers

Dec 20, 2009: Cambridge, UK @ Portland Arms

Dec 21, 2009: Oxford, UK @ Jericho

Dec 22, 2009: Brighton, UK @ Freebutt

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Jan 06, 2010: Portland, OR @ Backspace

Jan 07, 2010: Seattle, WA @ Vera Project

Jan 08, 2010: Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret

Jan 09, 2010: Anacortes, WA @ Department of Safety

Jan 10, 2020: Victoria, BC @ James Bay United Church

CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE IN FLORIDA

Jan 20, 2010: Lake Worth, FL @ Propaganda

Jan 22, 2010: Miami, FL @ Electric Pickle

Jan 23, 2010: Tampa, FL @ New World Brewery

Jan 24, 2010: Orlando, FL @ Backbooth

Jan 26, 2010: Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds

Jan 28, 2010: Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder

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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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