Some things just don’t sound like they’ll go well together, but once combined make for an incredible sensation – peanut butter and jelly, chili and chocolate, marshmallow and pizza (seriously). The same could be said for progressive house and classical music: they’re polar opposites, chalk and cheese, as fundamentally ill-suited as a Dave Grohl / Courtney Love pajama party. Right?
Wrong. Dead wrong. Brimming over with wrongness. Because the incredible electro duo Niteppl have fused the two with effortless ease (oh, and they’ve also thrown in a touch of good old-fashioned rock music too, just for good measure). BAMM.tv was lucky enough to catch a live – and totally exclusive – performance from Niteppl when they hit the stage at our venue. Check out the video above for a blast of their ‘Machine’ – and try not to pump your fist in the air when the rhythms kick in. We dare you.
See that picture above? The Rolling Stones have updated their famous ‘lips’ logo to celebrate their 50th anniversary, and – if anything – this revamp only goes to solidify its reputation as one of the all-time great band logos: instantly recognisable, effortlessly cool and simple enough to reproduce quickly on a billion T-shirts and a quadzillion bedroom posters.
So – which other band logos can proudly stand alongside those luscious red lips? Let’s construct a virtual hall of fame and take a look at some of the exhibits, shall we?
Pretty much close to perfection, this one. That cheeky little lightening bolt conveys both a) the electricity reference and b) the storm-laden power of balls-out RAWK MUSIC. Faultless.
Elegant, stylish and simple. Thank god no one tried to incorporate a beetle into this, or it would have immediately lost cool points and been relegated to the realm of ‘rejected clipart images.’
Gene Simmons and his fellow KISS rockers really aren’t fond of people using their logo on counterfeit t-shirts … and when they have a logo as timeless and classic as this, who can blame them?
Pretty much paint-by-numbers Gen-X nihilism – and pretty much fits the band perfectly.
Holding up the modern contingent, this effort from British indie stars The xx brilliantly reflects the dark minimalism of the band.
Psychedelic, warped, colorful and sprawling – both in terms of music and band logo. These 70s prog-rockers hit the nail on the head with this beauty.
So what do you guys think? Agree, disagree, or are screaming violently at your monitor right now? What are your favorite band logos?
It’s been something of a crazy week at BAMM.tv (and there’s still a couple of days left). We’ve been releasing awesome new stuff left, right and center – or, to put it in the manner of those hippity-hop stars the kids today seem so fond of, we’ve been dropping zingers like KFC. Chief among this roster of video goodies was part one of our exclusive documentary on San Francisco rockers The Soft White Sixties – ‘Knock It Loose.’
Aaaaand just as night follows day, thunder follows lightening and … erm, something follows something else … part two must surely come in the wake of part one. Here’s the second installment of this brilliant new series. Keep your eyes peeled (not literally, that’d be painful) for future episodes in the coming days.
Typical, isn’t it? You wait ages for a live performance from a blazing new electronic duo, and then two come along at once. We already treated you to a killer tune from San Francisco wonderkids Realboy on Monday, and now – because we’re just so darn good to you here at BAMM.tv – we’re going to throw another one your way. And they say that Santa Claus guy is generous …
‘The Ritz’ probably isn’t the sort of thing you’d hear played in The Ritz – and all the better for it. Rather it’s the sort of thing you’d hear amid a sea of flailing arms, strobe lights, and enthusiastic shouts of ‘hell yeah!’. Mixing up Charleston-style jazz refrains with the heaviest of beats, it’s quite unlike anything we’ve ever heard before … which is exactly how we like it.
Brooklyn’s Yeasayerare one of those success stories you don’t even notice happening – you just glance around one day and That Little Band Who Could are everywhere, filling up column inches with I-saw-them-first excitement and whirling around the word-of-mouth circuit like a dervish. From first capturing the public attention at SXSW 2007 to featuring on Bat For Lashes’ 2009 masterpiece ‘Two Suns’ to becoming the most blogged-about artist of 2010, their self-described brand of “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel” has only gone from strength to strength.
Now? Well, now it’s only going to get stronger. In August Yeasayer will be unleashing their third album ‘Fragrant World’, which is all set to prove a magnificent successor to their last effort (2010’s ‘Odd Blood’, which featured on several end-of-year lists and which really should be in your music collection by now). While August may seem like an eternity to wait for new material, here’s something to tide you over in the meantime …
… it’s their new single ‘Longevity’, available to download as of today. Check it out below, along the great accompanying video from artist Yoshi Sodoeka. Enjoy.
‘Eclectic’ is one of those terms that can often be overused – it’s journalistic shorthand for when an artist or band has so much going on that they defy easy categorization. Sometimes, however, you have to roll with the cliches and drag out such a word, simply because it suits the subject matter so well. Which brings us to Realboy. They’re eclectic. Seriously eclectic.
More than happy to hop and chop genres in a heartbeat, Realboy consists of electro-mastermind duo Daniel Gomez and Austin Jacobsen, who look all set to take their all-encompassing sound on a worldwide blitz – starting, of course, in their native San Francisco. If you want to get in on the ground floor of an exciting new trajectory, these are the guys to follow.
Check out our exclusive performance of ‘1922’ above, and prepare to be blown away …
Hopefully our little teaser post on Monday piqued your interest, and now BAMM.tv is extremely proud to offer up Episode One of ‘Knock It Loose’ – our on-the-road documentary which follows the trials and tribulations of San Francisco rockers (and BAMM favorites) The Soft White Sixties. Functioning as both as inspirational story to up-and-coming musicians and a fascinating look at band life for those among you who have never even picked up a guitar, ‘Knock It Loose’ is easily one of the coolest things we’ve ever done – and there’s lots more of it to come. Enjoy Episode One, and keep ‘em peeled for info about upcoming installments.
Let’s get straight to the point: there simply aren’t enough girls in the highly specialized field of rockin’ out. While there’s the odd exception – Marnie Stern, for instance, is one of the best elastic-fingered guitar shredders in the world right now – it is an undeniably male-dominated field.
All the more refreshing, then, when we can refer to a female guitarist in ‘rock legend’ terms rather than ‘promising young upstart’ terms. Lita Ford is one of those people. Former guitarist with all-girl rockers The Runaways (a band she joined at the tender age of 16), over the course of seven solo albums and a gazillion world tours, she has established herself as the rock chick other rock chicks aspire to be. And now she’s got a brand new release ready to go: ‘Living Like A Runaway’ is a brand new collection of unpretentious, flat-out raaaawwwwwk music which combines Lita’s innate grasp of melody with those all-important chiming guitars. Perfect party stuff.
Here at BAMM.tv, we’re always keeping an eye out for the latest exciting developments in the worlds of music and tech. That’s why we’re thrilled to offer up an exclusive interview with none other than Vince De Franco – musical innovator par excellence, whose incredible career to date has seen him invent new instruments like the Dimension Beam and the Mandala, collaborate with artists as varied as Yes, Tool, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Prince, Tina Turner and Peter Gabriel (not to mention working along psychedelic figurehead Timothy Leary) and develop several online systems.
In short: the man is a pioneer in a world where the term pioneer is thrown about with impunity. We were lucky enough to pick his brains about the future of music … and he had some fascinating stuff to say.
Do you think these are particularly exciting times for musical progression?
Yes. Everyone is a musician, and always has been. As time goes on we are moving closer to a reality in which our innate musical self is more easily projected onto a medium and distributed than ever before because of intuitive and accessible tools. More people are being more musically creative than ever right now because the tools necessary to create and record music are already in their pocket or on their desk in the form of a phone or tablet or laptop. The ability to share musical creations is also more widespread than ever right now by way of a few taps on a screen or clicks of a mouse. To me, more expression and more sharing of expression is progressive and creates excitement.
Does increased accessibility of technology mean that more and more people can create their own instruments/sounds?
There are an infinite number of ways to synthesize sound, from tapping two rocks together to playing a cello to speaking words to running a computer program, etc. So, we’ve always had the ability to create instruments and sounds with the tools around us, but with today’s increased accessibility of technology there’s been an exponential increase in the ability to create novel sounds. These days we’re hearing more and more new sounds than ever before.
How do new musical inventions come around, in a ‘chicken or egg’ sense? By which I mean, does an invention come about because an artist requests a specific sound, or does the invention arrive first and is then leapt upon by artists?
It can happen both ways. I may be experimenting with a new technology meant for some purpose outside of musical instruments and it suddenly becomes apparent that a more evolved version could facilitate the ability to express oneself musically.
The Dimension Beam [D-Beam] infrared musical controller came about because I was working with an IR beam that had 2 levels of reflection detection for video game control, but I pushed it up to 1000 levels in order to track my guitar neck. After it was presented at a musical convention it was leapt upon by many artists and then eventually licensed to Roland.
The Mandala Drum on the other hand came about because Danny Carey of the band Tool asked me to make him a three zone drum trigger that would connect to his Mac and output sound with just a few milliseconds of latency. In the course of creating that trigger I invented a membrane technology that could detect at least hundreds of zones, and now we’ve got a whole new instrument in the Mandala.
You’ve worked with Tool, who are noted for their experimental attitude. Which other artists are great to work with in this sense? Are there any you would like to work with in the future?
Groups like the Melvins and Fantomas use unconventional methods live and during recording. That sure keeps things fun and interesting. Also, Ryeland Allison as a composer and sound designer, etc., has kept my mind sharp for many years. He’s always trying new techniques whether he’s working on something like the Dark Knight score with Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard or solo compositional projects and groundbreaking sound libraries. He’s been a great help during development of the Mandala Drum as well. And there are also people like Aphex Twin [Richard James]. I’d be into somehow collaborating with that wizard.
The notion of ‘muscle memory’ machines (devices that will program our muscles with ‘memory’ – the same kind of muscle memory that a guitar player spends years developing through practice) sounds intriguing. Could you tell us more about this?
Going through the motions of playing constitutes practice whether a mechanical device is guiding/pushing you through or not. However, a mechanical device could reduce the amount of time it takes to ‘memorize’ something because the perfectly executed repetitive steps would, of your own volition, be forced upon you. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Sophisticated physical rehabilitation and therapy machines are being developed and used successfully at places such as the Kessler Foundation and UC Irvine. People are relearning how to walk! In theory there is no reason why their findings couldn’t be adapted to the development of the physical and mental motion necessary to play an instrument.
How do you think such muscle memory devices would compare against classically-trained people? Is there any contest for innate musical ability (i.e. if I used this machine, hypothetically, would I have the same skills as, say, Eric Clapton?)
There are plenty of people out there who have trained themselves to cover Clapton songs amazingly well, note for note, with all his inflections and technique. A lot of those people can pull off amazing covers of other players as well. That doesn’t mean they could’ve written any of those songs though. Developing muscle memory helps develop technique to get from one place to another and can help add some flair along the way. That’s not creative skill however. That’s technical skill. Technical skills are a tool that can support creativity but not necessarily conjure it.
What implications do you think these muscle memory devices would have on music and popular culture in general?
There’d probably be a lot more shredders out there …on all musical instruments! But, that wouldn’t do much to enrich culture. I think the cultural impact of musical muscle memory development would be analogous to the impact of motion picture special effects technology on culture. On their own, the effects do nothing. There has to be a great story underneath. Something essential. If there is, and the effects are top notch and used wisely, culture can be affected positively. Individuals are touched in a mythical way by these artistic offerings, and a unified feeling ripples through the collective unconscious. It’s similar with music. The inspiration and life experiences that fuel the musician will need to be there underneath the muscle memory technique which is being used as a tool to support the essence of the creator.
You also state that we will soon be able to play instruments using only our thoughts – which, again, is similarly fascinating. Could you expand on this?
Scientists at places such as UC Berkeley and University of Utah and Northwestern are already decoding and translating brainwaves into words and control signals for mechanical devices. Their applications for this technology are in the field of medical treatment right now but I see great new forms of musical expression emerging from their developments. Just think, directly from your mind to an instrument to someone else’s ears. Physical ability may no longer be required to compose music or record a new symphony for the ages!
What implications do you think such thought-controlled devices would have?
There will be a lot of previously untapped smiling and happiness bubbling to the surface. Something big will be unlocked in a lot of minds that hadn’t previously been able to fight through themselves. There will be a new freedom of expression. It makes me think of the amazing viral videos of people with new cochlear implants that are hearing for the first time ever. Thought controlled musical creation will be just as momentous in an inverse way.
Are there other exciting music/tech developments you could share with us?
The sound of a billion drums beating! What do you think the music industry will look like in 20 years time?
A struggle between individuals and large operations will continue, with the state of technology helping define whose court the ball is in along the way. In terms of substantial revenue streams for artists, the live experience can always prevail, as well as merchandise sales. The problem is that there will always be a way to exchange recorded music freely unless a technology comes along which adds a new and overwhelmingly desirable dimension to the musical listening experience by way of a medium or tools that are not easily accessible by most people. Then the distribution of those tools will regulate the distribution of the recorded musical experience. You had a long-standing working relationship with Timothy Leary. Do you think it’s beneficial to use the experimental, psychedelic approach of someone like Leary when approaching technology?
Timothy used to say ‘Everybody gets the Timothy Leary they deserve.’. What I got was was a mentor in the form of a world class psychologist that stressed the importance of learning. He encouraged me to continue exploring areas that were most exciting to me; physics, music, technology, personal expression and interpersonal behavior. The deeper something is examined the more properties and possibilities arise. The evolution of my learning processes resulted in divergent thinking that helped lead to the development of several technologies and the formation of my company, Synesthesia. Thanks for talking to us, Vince!
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In Depth: Game On!
If you’re a regular visitor to these here pages, you’ll no doubt be aware that we regularly sing the praises of San Francisco’s very own The Soft White Sixties – we can’t get enough of their storming, no-nonsense, soul-laden rock and roll, and their previous performances under the BAMM banner have quite literally torn the roof off (okay – not quite literally torn the roof off, as that would be against health and safety regulations. But they made sure everyone had a DAMN GOOD TIME nonetheless).
Now we’re proud to present something really special – ‘Knock It Loose: On Tour With The Soft White Sixties’. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you brand new episodes of this exclusive BAMM documentary, directed by our very own powerhouse team of Zachary Ryan and Jeff LaPenna. ‘Knock It Loose’ examines what it takes to be a young band in the digital age, forming a case study on rock and roll, burritos, beer, fireworks and life on the road.
Trust us – you don’t want to miss a moment of this one. Check out the trailer above to whet your appetite ….
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