To any younger readers out there wondering what a ‘tape’ is, or how indeed it could be ‘blank’, treat yourself to a quick google search. Seriously – we’ll still be here when you get back. Plus, you might also learn some exciting trivia about ‘video recorders’ and ‘8-track cartridges’. It’s a whole new world!
The rest of you, however, can treat yourself to something much better: an exclusive BAMM performance from low-fi SF natives The Blank Tapes, whose Pavement-tinged hooks and riffs are always a joy. They blitzed through a killer cover of The Velvet Underground’s legendary ‘Waiting For The Man’, just for us. Take a look, and – if you’re nearby – check them out at the Davis Music Festival on June 25th.
BAMM UK is a regular opinion piece from our London-based correspondent. This week: Hanging On The Telephone …
Ever heard of Peter Maxwell Davies? He’s the ‘Master Of The Queen’s Music’, which – to explain a peculiarly British term – means that he is the head composer working for the entertainment of a decrepit, essentially pointless Monarch and her ultra-rich playmates. Not the most rock and roll character in the world, sure … but he has raised an issue which affects gig-goers of every kind.
Davies is sick of cellphones (or ‘mobiles’, as they’re called in the UK) ringing during concerts:
It breaks the concentration of the performer and the audience and breaks the spell and bond between them. It is an act of vandalism as far as I’m concerned and should be punished as such. I would just love to see something where people would be fined … and that the money went to the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.
Things are slightly different in the realm of classical music: a chirpy ringtone which would completely ruin the mood of a low-key violin concerto would no doubt be drowned out in the storming opening number at a Wolfmother gig. Yet mobile phones have become something of a performer’s pet-hate for other reasons. Any pop star can step on stage and expect to see hundreds of audience members with their cameraphones held aloft, recording the action for personal posterity (or, more likely, youtube bragging rights).
Bono, for example, doesn’t take too kindly to this sort of thing:
The question is: what’s the etiquette here? Should a cellphone be produced during a play or stand-up comedy evening, it’s a hideous distraction. If one gets pulled out during a stadium rock gig … well, is it really such a disturbance? It all boils down to personal taste. Filming a few seconds of the gig may make one punter’s night – but the four or five people around him who have to put up with shunting elbows and irritating screen light in their peripheral vision would probably disagree.
It stretches beyond mere logistics, though, and more into the realm of what a concert/live show means. Say someone texts her friend to boast about what an awesome time she’s having. To the texter, that’s harmless fun – and all part of the experience. To someone else, that’s a pathetic example of total disconnection: someone unable to switch off the hyperconnected outside world for an hour or two and simply enjoy the feeling of being at a live gig. A generational divide? Very possibly.
So: as the ubiquity of mobile devices grows, how should their presence at a live show be treated? Where do we draw the boundaries; level out the tolerance? Is it time (just as every movie you go to see features a ‘no phones please’ trailer before it) that venues, artists and audiences alike began to formulate a ‘code of conduct’? Or, within certain types of live event, is the whole thing such a non-issue that it doesn’t really matter? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.
Cinema buffs will know Keyser Soze as a character (well, kind of) from the hit movie ‘The Usual Suspects’, in which Kevin Spacey gives such an amazing performance as a complete liar he may well have a promising second career in politics. And while that particular film is dark, brooding and intense, the Keyser Soze you’re about to see are a far more upbeat bunch of guys.
Hailing from Reno, Nevada, Keyser Soze offer up a fresh, modern-sounding take on ska and rocksteady, as well as finding time to incorporate lots of strong jazz and soul influences. Unlike the mysterious Mr Soze of ‘Suspects’, the band are actually quite easy to track down – and that’s why BAMM asked them to stop by our studios for an exclusive performance of ‘Next To Me’.
BAMM.tv has come a long way since it’s garage beginnings, but we were fortunate enough to work with great artists right from the beginning. Phil and Zach, joined by a handful of BAMM.tv staff, share stories that shed light on the humble beginnings of music start-up.
Martin Murray – “Watch It Fall”
BAMM.tv’s first productions took place in this garage, which is located in the shadows of the University of San Francisco Campus. Several BAMM.tv staff have lived in this house at one point in time (two currently), and the best part about the house is it’s situated in one of the few neighborhoods with ample street parking. I doubt we would have set up a studio in the garage if there wasn’t street parking, so who knows if BAMM.tv would have ever come to fruition if we happened to live in the Mission.
Sonny & the Sunsets were one of the first bands we had in the current studio…if not the first. No par lights, no black backdrop, no ProTools HD, no pre-production? No problem! OK, a few problems, but this lo-fi video is further proof that good music trumps all.
Infantree – “If She Could”
Infantree’s performance was a breakthrough for the studio. Stage design, lighting, audio capabilities, pre-production–all facets took a giant leap forward on this shoot.
Genius and the Thieves – “Quart of Blood Technique”
This was a special session for several reasons. Two of the band members (Zach Ryan on vocals and Jerad Fox on hair and bass) work full-time for BAMM.tv, and guitarist Ben Roider also mixes audio sessions for us. Aside from the relationships, this is the first production in which we experimented with incorporating an audience into the production. Also, we used a GoPro camera strapped to Milos Pina (drummer) for some cockpit-esque shots.
The Soft White Sixties – ‘Queen Of The Press Club’
Here’s a video from one of our most recent productions. You will hear more from The Soft White Sixties. It’s one thing to look the part, but it’s quite another to deliver the goods. It’s hard to believe this is the same stage as the Sonny & the Sunset’s shoot, but there you have it. We’ve earned our stripes and taken some on the chin in these formative years, but the one thing that’s been our strength from the get-go is the team we’ve assembled. Thank you to our incredible (and ever-growing) staff. They are f@#$ing incredible, each and every one of them.
- The Soft White Sixties: “Queen of the Press Club” (opening and closing credits)
- Martin Murray: “Watch It Fall”
- Sonny & the Sunsets: “Too Young to Burn”
- Infantree: “If She Could”
- Genius and the Thieves: “Quart of Blood Technique”
You don’t need us to tell you that the Smiths’ ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ is a stone-cold classic – hyperactive and hummable, it’s nothing less than the ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ of the eighties. There’s been many a cover version over the years, but nothing quite like the version performed exclusively for BAMM TV by 8-bit mastermind Crashfaster. He’s a code designer by day, crazed musical genius by night (and also the founder of Monobomb Records), and you can follow him on Twitter here. Check out the video above for some synth-fused Smiths action.
Time once again for BAMM’s regular Friday list of curiosities to keep you talking over the weekend. This week: the top five craziest examples of music memorabilia …
Music fans come in all shapes and sizes – from casual listeners to full-on, expert aficiandos. Somewhere towards the latter end of this scale is the collector: a fan whose love for a particular artist or band is so great, they feel the need to get their hands on every single related object, from autographs to t-shirts to deluxe 247-set DVDs. The items we’ve uncovered below, however, would surely appeal to only the most dedicated of followers. Let’s take a look at the 5 strangest items of music memorabilia …
5. KISS coffins
What’s the ultimate statement of fandom? Why, carrying on your love of Gene Simmons into the afterlife, that’s what. Now – with the help of the Kiss Kasket – you can rest comfortably (forever) in the knowledge that not even death can stop you rockin’.
4. Thom Yorke’s toenails
Radiohead’s brand of post-millenial angst fused with progressive electronica strikes a (heavily distorted) chord with a lot of people. Not sure how many of them feel such an affinity that they’d like to get hold of Thom Yorke’s toe clippings, though. To the guy who raided Yorke’s dressing room a couple of years back, then put the aforementioned clippings for sale on the internet: good luck finding a buyer.
3. Elvis’s pill bottle
Pay tribute to the King by reliving his classic prescriptions – including this one for Benadryl, an anithistamine with sedative effects. Someone liked this so much they bought it for $800 in 2009.
2. Mogwai pacemaker
Scottish post-rock masterminds Mogwai (if you haven’t heard their stuff, check it out now) decided to sell a unique piece of memorabilia in 2007, in order to help out the British Heart Foundation. The very appropriate item itself: the pacemaker of drummer Martin Bulloch.
1. Britney’s hair
In 2007, a trouble Britney Spears walked into a salon and insisted that all her hair be shaved off. The shorn locks were then gathered up by wily staff and placed on eBay. The sale was later cancelled (presuambly because it’s, y’know, a bit exploitative) … but not before it reached a bidding price of one million dollars.
Now here’s something really special – a beautifully inspiring piano rendition, filmed down at San Francisco’s Pier 14. The pianist himself is none other than John Thatcher Boomer, one of the three visionaries behind the John Brothers Piano Company (an East Bay art collective who aim to bring unadulterated performance work to the public). ‘Mint Julep’ journeys through several genres – stride, jazz and classical – to emerge as something genuinely unique. Enjoy.
It seems that it’s not only the methods of storing, collecting or downloading music which are ever-evolving – the app explosion has also seen a number of developments in the aesthetic/visual ways music players can work. An imaginative and original interface (rather than a simple list of tracks and a play button) can arguably become a work of art in itself, and nothing proves this more than Bloom Studio’s new effort Planetary.
Planetary transforms your iPad screen into a miniature universe: artists become stars, albums become planets, tracks become moons, and so on and so on. It’s an oddly hypnotic and enthralling method of music consumption, ideal for those times when you need to re-engage with your existing music collection. Simple yet charming. There’s a demo vid below:
Pedro Moraes is determined to share his uniquely Brazilian stlyings with the world – and over the course of a decade in action he’s done just that. His joyous, catchy and contemporary take on samba/salsa rhythm has seen him win the hearts of both audiences and critics alike on a global basis (Pedro was even the first Brazilian artist to have his music released by an Indian label). So: if you haven’t discovered him already, now’s your chance, with this exclusive BAMM performance of ‘Xote De Manha’.
Taken from their freshly-picked seventh album ‘Radio Tragedy’ (although a band who sound this good are anything but tragic), ‘Easy To Be Your Lover’ is a refreshingly playful rocker from SF five-piece Tea Leaf Green. Singer and guitarist Josh Clarke has mentioned that one of the band’s aims is to distance themselves from the “braggart auto-tuned rappers and inane teeny bop prop puppets that has come to rule and choke the life out of rock and roll.” Over the course of their time together – creating great music for a decade-plus now – no-one can say they haven’t done that! They dropped by the BAMM studios recently to treat us to an exclusive performance, which you can see above.