We’re a globe-trotting bunch here at BAMM: a bit like Phileas Fogg, but with a far cooler record collection. Last week we rounded up our fantastic Global Scene: London series, which took an in-depth look at the musical comings and goings of the UK hotspot.
Now? Now we’re casting our gaze further in Europe, and focusing on the vibrant musical topography of Amsterdam: a city with lots of soundscape-based secrets, all ready to be unveiled. Take a look at this week’s episode – an introduction which acts as a handy primer for the awesome stuff you’re going to see. Enjoy!
Its always sad when a great band calls it a day, and even sadder when that break-up is something that almost seems to go unnoticed. Even if you’re already a fan of Los Angeles indie-rockers Rilo Kiley, it might have passed you by that they decided to go their separate ways earlier this year. The group had already been on a creative hiatus, but lead guitarist Blake Sennett broke the bad news in July: this temporary split was to become a permanent one.
If you haven’t heard of Rilo Kiley, well, let’s face it: their catalogue ain’t gonna grow anytime soon, so now’s the ideal chance to fully acquaint yourself with one of the most underrated bands of the past few years. Fronted by the luminescent Jenny Lewis (who instantly became the poster girl for lonely indie boys nationwide), their melodic, smart, sassy output spanned four full length albums, of which the two most recent (2004′s ‘More Adventurous’ and 2007′s ‘Under The Blacklist’) solidified their sound perfectly.
This isn’t to say that they were totally unappreciated during their twelve years together. Rilo Kiley were indeed heralded by certain quarters as the ‘next big thing’ roundabout the mid-noughties, with magazines such as Rolling Stone and Word continually championing them. The fact that they didn’t become megastars makes this hype something of a double-edged sword: they could rather unfairly be seen as having ‘failed’ to break the big-time, when that was far from their primary artistic objective. That objective remained constant to the end: to make great music.
Thankfully all the band members remain active, so that Kiley magic will be sprinkled across numerous new creative ventures in the future. Still – it’s a shame that (barring a reunion, which is so often a bad idea) we’ll be hearing no more literary pop-rock from this very special band.
Some bands are just too good to actually exist – should their awesomeness manifest itself in the real world, chances are the very fabric of reality could collapse in on itself. Maybe. Probably. Look, we haven’t researched the scientific logistics of the whole thing. We’re not Stephen Hawking, you know.
Take our hand (come on, its winter, you could use the body warmth) and join us for a rundown of the Top 5 Greatest Fictional Bands in history …
(Note: we decided not to include Spinal Tap in this list, because that would possibly be the most obvious thing ever, and we’re nothing if not contrary).
5. Wyld Stallyns – ‘Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure’
Okay, so they can’t actually play (despite a plot device in which their future songwriting skills help unite the planet in peace) but we’ll be damned if an evening at a Bill and Ted gig wouldn’t be the best party this side of 1988.
4. The Soggy Bottom Boys – ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’
George Clooney gets in touch with his bluesgrass side – with remarkable singalong results – in The Coen Brothers’ 2000 comedy masterwork.
3. Three Times One Minus One – ‘Mr Show’
Hilariously bad spoof act from comic geniuses David Cross and Bob Odenkirk (whose TVcomeback in recent years has seen him killing it in ‘Breaking Bad’). If these guys actually existed, there’s no doubt that even whistling one of their tunes would get you laid in a heartbeat.
2. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem – ‘The Muppet Show’
Our furry friends rock out to the utmost.
1. The Commitments – ‘The Commitments’
Often regarded as the best Irish film of all time, it’s very telling that the producers placed musical ability at the top of their casting wish-list. They wished, and they most certainly got it.
British pop legend Kate Bush has been responsible for a few stone-cold classics during her 30-plus years in the business: tunes like Running Up That Hill and Army Dreamers sound as unique today as they always did. Distinctive, madcap, emotive and haunting, Bush is one of the few female solo artists to marry critical acclaim and massive commercial success almost entirely on her own terms.
Today sees the release of her tenth studio album ’50 Words For Snow’ – and its already being hailed as one of the best long-players this year. Thanks to the good people at NPR, you can check out the entire album, streaming free in its entirety. Why not treat yourself to a listen?
Benn Jordan is a man of many aliases: he’s performed under the titles of (deep breath) Acidwolf, CHR15TPUNCH3R, DJ ASCII, Dr. Lefty, Dysrythmia, FlexE, Human Action Network, Lucid32, MC Flashbulb, rapemachine, rnd16, 66x and Q-Bit. Last – and most certainly not least – there’s The Flashbulb, his most widely-known identity, and the one which has brought his trademark breakcore sound to a loyal and enthusastic audience.
The Flashbulb recently blew away the crowd at the Photosynthesis 4.0 festival, and BAMM was there to capture all the action. Enjoy this exclusive performance of ‘We Are Alone In A City’.
Every city has a unique energy to it, and – when that enthusiasm sparks off a number of great musical scenes – the potential to take on the world just grows and grows. In the latest episode of the first season of BAMM’s Global Scene (which delves into the music and madness of London), we take a look at this impact and notoriety – which London-based sounds are transcending their local roots to create a worldwide storm? Enjoy some great insight and great music from an amazing roster of up-and-coming talent.
Here’s a chance to check out something very special from Nacional Records – Ritmo Machine’s new album ‘Welcome To The Ritmo Machine’, the new project from project from Cypress Hill and Beastie Boys percussionist Eric Bobo and Chilean DJ/turntablist Latin Bitman. With a funky blend of hip-hop beats, live instrumentation, and guest appearances, Ritmo Machine is a border-crossing culture clash of electronic, hip-hop and Latin music. It also features guest appearances from Money Mark & Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys), Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), Ana Tijoux, P-Nut (311), and Sick Jacken (Psycho Realm).
The album hits iTunes tomorrow and the shops on the 22nd. You can check out ‘Maestro’ here:
The Photosynthesis festival can be something of a homing beacon for larger-than-life characters – and they don’t come much more blazingly unique than Afro Q Ben, a Portland-based multi-instrumentalist, DJ and self-described ‘one man jam band’. Throwing together 70s disco, funk and reggae with modern electronica and hip-hop beats, he’s also shared stage space with big names like Aceyalone, Myka 9, Lafa Taylor, and Ras Attitude.
BAMM happened to catch Afro Q Ben making the stage his own, however, and you can check out the awesome results in the above (needless to say, exclusive) performance of ‘Futuristic Electro’…
Having done a quick straw poll of the BAMM staff (i.e staring at their faces and trying to decipher their thoughts, before getting told ‘will you go away, man, you’re creeping me out’) it’s clear that we’re all big fans of The National – the moody and magnificent Ohio five-piece who are responsible for some of the most moving, immersive and endlessly replayable tunes of the last decade.
Most recently, they contributed an exclusive song to the videogame ‘Portal 2′. While most bands would treat this as a quick marketing opportunity and throw out a B-side-calibre outttake, The National decided to produce ‘Exile Vilify’, one of the best songs of their career:
Twin brothers from the band Aaron and Bryce Dessner are also the masterminds behind Brassland, an artist-owned record label which is pretty much the centre of the New York alt-rock scene. Started back in 2001, Brassland is now celebrating its tenth birthday – and for the next couple of weeks they’re offering a track a day, free to download. Yep. Totally free.
You just have to retweet a message or like their Facebook page. Sound like a fair deal? Course it does. Find out more here.
We’re always on the lookout for exciting new talent here at BAMM, but that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally stop to pay our respects to existing musical legends. And Joe Satriani – Grammy-nominated guitar virtuoso who has influenced more guitarists than we’d like to guess at – falls into that ‘legend’ category nicely.
BAMM’s very own Chris Hansen caught up with Joe at a Music Tech panel to discuss the changing face of the music industry, production methods, the pressure of fame and overexposure in a digital age and much, much more. It’s a remarkably candid, fresh and honest interview from a musical pioneer who (no matter how self-deprecating he might be) has a lot of fascinating stuff to say. Thanks Joe!