Archive for December, 2011

BAMM Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen

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What do you want for Christmas? A new iPhone? Some cool clothes? A nice selection of festive spirits? Peace on Earth, and goodwill to all men? Bah. Booorr-iiing. That’s, like, so predictable. You should follow the lead of the Fountains Of Wayne – they don’t want any of those tired old cliches. Oh, no – they want an alien for Christmas, and they’re going to tell you exactly how goshdarn much they want an alien for Christmas in their alien-for-Christmas-themed song ‘I Want An Alien For Christmas.’ Happy Day Seventeen of the BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown!

Albums Of The Year -Part Five

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What with 2011 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a look (in no particular order) at some of the best albums of the past year. A different selection every day this week …

‘100 Lovers’ – Devotchka

The sixth studio album from the Denver-based multi-instrumentalists redefines the term ‘melting pot’ – a warm, fuzzy, shimmering fusion of Bowie and The Beach Boys, it’s similarly experimental and effortless:

‘Camp’ – Childish Gambino

You might know Donald Glover as Troy in TV sitcom ‘Community’, but you might not be aware he’s something of an animal on the mic. Transferring the smart, subversive humor of ‘Community’ in the realm of beats and rhymes, ‘Camp’ sees Glover’s alter-ego Childish Gambino reach new heights.

‘w h o k i l l’ – tUnE-yArDs

Merrill Garbus isn’t exactly keen on being pigeonholed – experimenting as she does with manic fusions of acoustic folk, rock, R&B, punk, funk, free jazz & Afro-beat. And somehow – as with her impressive second album ‘w h o k i l l’ – she manages to make it all work.

BAMM Advent Calendar: Day Sixteen

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With all this talk of the increasing commercialization of the holiday season, sometimes you can’t help but feel that someone needs to inject a little soul back into Christmas. Step forward, then, Smokey Robinson, the perfect man for the job, and the special festive tune we’re unveiling today as part of our BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown. ‘Christmas Everyday’ isn’t the sort of idea we’d like to take literally (there’s only so many turkey sandwiches and James Bond re-runs a sane person can cope with) but we can’t deny that Smokey makes it sound pretty damn appealing. Then again, Smokey Robinson could recite the North Korean phone directory backwards can make it sound awesome, so that probably isn’t saying much.

Albums Of The Year – Part Four

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What with 2011 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a look (in no particular order) at some of the best albums of the past year. A different selection every day this week …

‘Torches’ – Foster The People

‘Pumped Up Kicks’ was such a massive crossover hit (and rightly so) that it may take L.A indie rockers Foster The People a while to emerge from its shadow. If their future output is anywhere near as good as 2011’s ‘Torches’, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.

‘Trans Love Energies’ – Death In Vegas

They’ve dropped off the map in recent years, either due to creative hiatus or occasional underwhelming output. 2011 saw Death In Vegas return with force, however – ‘Trans Love Energies’ saw a full-on creative invigoration, with ‘Your Loft My Acid’ standing out as a definite Single Of The Year (decade?) contender.

‘Ceremonials’ – Florence And The Machine

So melodramatic, over-the-top and shouty-drama-student that it’s impossible not to love, Flo’s follow-up to 2009’s ‘Lungs’ saw her expand her sound while keeping the bombastic aesthic that has won her millions of fans.

BAMM Advent Calendar: Day Fifteen

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We’ve already mentioned the fact that we’re big fans of Sufjan Stevens here at BAMM, so how could we resist his impassioned invitation to ‘Come On! Boogie To The Elf-Dance’? Answer: we couldn’t, and that’s why we chose Sufjan’s wonderfully festive ditty to mark Day Fifteen of our BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown. It seems that Sufjan is especially fond of Christmas too – this track is but a mere blip included in his ‘Songs For Christmas’ box-set, which spans a staggering five discs of yuletide goodness.

Albums Of The Year – Part Three

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What with 2011 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a look (in no particular order) at some of the best albums of the past year. A different selection every day this week …

‘Gravity The Seducer’ – Ladytron

If last year’s ‘Best Of’ was a reminder of how great a pop band Ladytron can be, this year’s ‘Gravity The Seducer’ reminded us that they still have the capability to surprise. More glacial and detached than previous efforts, it can take a while for the impact to settle, but once it does it’s well worth it. ‘Ambulances’ in particular stands out as one of the best things they’ve ever done:

Sigur Ros – ‘Inni’

Live albums can often seem like a dirge, or at worst a half-baked cash-in. Trust ambient electronic masterminds Sigur Ros to make their first live album something really special, then …

‘David Comes To Life’ – Fucked Up

A sprawling rock-opera concept piece from the distinctively-named Canadian hardcore punk group, ‘David Comes To Life’ indulges itself in swathes of overarching ambition, putting 99% of anything else produced this year to shame. Awesome video for ‘Queen of Hearts’ too:

BAMM Advent Calendar: Day Fourteen

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You know, if Jim Jones of My Morning Jacket dyed his beard white, he could easily pick up a job as a supermarket Santa. That’s assuming his music career goes the pan, of course, which – given My Morning Jacket’s status as one of the best, most-loved and effervescent rock bands of their generation – probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Let’s enjoy some of their music with ‘Christmas Time Is Here Again’, their wonderful contribution to day fourteen of the BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown.

Oh – and if you want to hear a full radio show session of My Morning Jacket covering yuletide songs, then head on over to Aquarium Drunkard.

Albums Of The Year – Part Two

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What with 2011 drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a look (in no particular order) at some of the best albums of the past year. A different selection every day this week …

‘Welcome Reality’ – Nero

So Dubstep has now reached the evolutionary stage where it demands a concept album – and Nero were happy to step up to the plate. The result: a unique scattershot landscape of massive beats, intense orchestral arrangements and pulsing rhythm.

‘The Hunter’ – Mastodon

Taking a cross-breed of numerous metal genres into the realm of highbrow critical acceptance (something which they are often denied) the fifth album from Mastodon both establishes them as the natural heirs to Queens Of The Stone Age, and much, much more.

‘Ritual Union’ – Little Dragon

They’ve been gathering more and more attention over their 15 years in the business, but 2011’s ‘Ritual Union’ saw Swedish electro-pop act Little Dragon seize their biggest hit yet. Well deserved too, as its one of the most original-sounding albums of the last 12 months.

BAMM Advent Calendar: Day Thirteen

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Day Thirteen of our BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown, and we’re looking at a track which – while receiving massive airplay this time of year – is all too often overlooked as being sentimental and tacky. In 1974 Greg Lake (formerly of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer) released ‘I Believe In Father Christmas.’

While the title alone makes it sound like something which should be consigned to the novelty record scrap-heap, it’s actually a touching and thoughtful look at the loss of innocence and growing cynicism which comes with getting older. If you’re one of those people who’ve been desensitized to this track by its constant inclusion on shopping-mall playlists, give it a fresh listen: there’s more to it than you think.

Check Out ‘Paris’ By Geographer on BAMM TV

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Life can be tough when you have a bad sense of direction. One minute you can be certain of reaching your destination on time, the next minute your sub-par map-reading skills have landed you smack-bang in hillbilly central, surrounded by banjo players with webbed fingers and rage-filled rednecks (or Tea Party HQ, as we believe its called). Despite their name, Geographer won’t be able to help you out direction-wise, but at least their awesome brand of indie-electro-dream-rock will give you something cool to listen to on your journey.

We caught this incredible performance – with invaluable help from our buddies at Noise Pop and Audyssey – at San Francisco’s majestic Engine Works. The band laid down an acoustic set to an intimate audience, and with just a single click on the video above, you can experience the brilliant ‘Paris’ for yourself.