Charity begins at home, the old phrase goes – and if the history of Canadian melody-merchants Hollerado is anything to go by, it seems that musical genius begins in that area too. Born and raised in Manotick, Ontario (infact, three of the band members grew up on the same street together), the four Hollerado boys – Menno Versteeg, Nixon Boyd, Dean Baxter and Jake Boyd – officially came together in April 2007. Relocating to Montreal, they’ve since been gathering a well-deserved reputation as everyone’s favorite Bright Young Things.
We’ve already explained just how great our Artist Of The Month Whiskerman is – so let’s give them the chance to recommend some greatness too. The band have been granted super-privileged access to the BAMM.tv vault (i.e. they bought us a couple of beers and we ‘accidentally’ let slip the combination lock), and they’ve chosen five of their personal highlights. Let’s take a look at the rundown …
It’s that time again. Long-time BAMM.tv fans (and if you’re a new BAMM.tv fan, just pretend you’ve been following us for ages to increase those coolness points) will know the drill by now: roundabout the middle of each month, we showcase an exciting new group or artist who we just can’t get enough of.
This time around, it’s the turn of Whiskerman, the phenomenal folky soul-rock five-piece who recently guested as part of our ‘Proving Grounds’ sessions (in association with Jawbone). Here’s a clip of this amazing group in action:
We’ve got all sorts of exclusive Whiskerman features coming up over the next couple of weeks, including a competition to win some very special prizes. In the meantime, we recently caught up with frontman Graham Patzner for this revealing interview …
Our weekly roundup of what’s happening with BAMM.tv’s favorite artists …
The fantastic Wild Child (seen below in one of the greatest BAMM.tv videos to date) have announced a release party for their new album ‘The Runaround’, taking place at Austin City Limits, TX on October 11. It may seem like a while away, but demand will be high – so grab those tickets now! And if you can’t make it to Austin … make sure to pick up a copy of their new album anyway!
If you haven’t already checked out our write-up on phenomenal Artist Of The Month Typhoon, you can do so right here. And if you have read that and are hankering for some more Typhoon action, we’ve asked this superbly stormy ensemble to pick their five favorite moments from the sprawling BAMM.tv music archive. Here we go …
Not to paraphrase Monty Python (we’ll leave that to boring people at parties the world over), but what exactly did the Sixties ever do for us? Baby boomer music critics and one-time rock icons will collectively scurry to tell us that it was the single greatest period in all of human history, but did the rest of us really miss out on that much? There seems to be an overhanging cultural consensus: that anyone born after 1970 missed the party in the private treehouse club.
Yet … one can’t deny that the Sixties had something. An oomph. A verve. A kick-out-the-jams aesthetic that the decade has come to define as its own, no matter how wet and wild pop culture has become in the ensuing years. That’s why the Soft White Sixties are so perfectly named.
It would be misleading to label this San Francisco four-piece a ‘retro act’. While their storming, groove-laden R&B does channel many musical elements that evoke a knee-jerk association with the Sixties, it’s more about the attitude of that decade than anything else. That whole ‘we’ve got guitars and anything is possible, so fuck you and dance’ feel.
And is there anything the modern era needs more than that?
We’ve been busy celebrating our awesome Artist Of The Month The Stone Foxes – and by ‘celebrating’ we mean a) posting lots of stuff about them, and b) cranking their records incredibly loud and dancing around with a bottle of whiskey in each hand until 4.30 in the morning. Mainly b), to be fair, but that’s just how we roll.
So far we’ve featured an exclusive article on the band and taken a look at their favorite songs of the moment … but what about their fellow BAMM.tv artists? We cracked open the vaults and allowed the Foxes to have a good old rummage through. They picked out the moments that inspired them the most. Want to take a look at them? Sure you do.
Blues, rock and country – they’re labels so simultaneously vague yet culturally ingrained that sometimes they seem to have lost all meaning. Pretty much any guitar based album in existence – and, to some extent, a number of genre-fusing hip-hop and electronic projects too – carry elements of this all-American heritage, be they proudly displayed as centerpiece artistic choices or tucked away as subtle undercurrents. Whether it’s sound, attitude, aesthetic, or a combination of all three … there are certain touchstones guitar music will always have to adhere to. Its just part of the deal, folks.
With this in mind, it’s easy to come to a natural conclusion: that to define a band as ‘blues-rock’ with hints of ‘country’ is to render them somewhat unremarkable. A drop in the ocean. A thumbprint on a skyscraper. In some cases (hell, let’s say in most cases) this wouldn’t be too far from the truth. In the case of California’s foot-stomping avengers The Stone Foxes, however, listeners can rest assured that their sound – while steeped in the vast, winding heritage mentioned above – is far from generic. Let’s put it bluntly: a rock to the head has always been a rock to the head since the first brawl between two cavemen. That doesn’t mean a perfectly-placed rock to the head in 2012 doesn’t carry with it a real fucking impact. Some things just don’t seem to mellow with age.
The Stone Foxes throw out rock with a capital R, blues with a capital B, and country with … well, maybe an odd smattering of uppercase font. Put it all together, and you’ll no longer be interested in literary deconstruction anyway – you’ll be too busy (in the time-honoured fashion of another American tradition) throwing your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
‘Get down, stay down’ may sound like a direct command (imagine your clichéd ‘give me fifty’ drill instructor barking it in your ear) – but such straightforward bludgeoning really isn’t the style of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, the San Francisco act who just happen to be BAMM.tv’s new Artist Of The Month.
This isn’t to say that there’s no immediacy to their music. Thao Nyugen and her mainstay cohort Adam Thompson (the band members have previous included Frank Stewart and Willis Thompson) have crafted a body of work which – while loosely fitting within umbrella terms like alt-rock and folk-rock – opens up with multiple listens to reveal rewarding intricacies, unique vocal and musical flourishes, and melodies within melodies.
You may think you’re getting everything with a surface listen – and an enjoyable surface listen it definitely is – but sentiments like ‘you are a dead man/I just have to shoot the gun’ (‘Body’) and ‘I come back because the punches always hit the same’ (‘Trouble Was For’) show off a beguiling complexity. Think of similar creative multi-taskers like Broken Social Scene, Jim Ward, Cat Power, Fiona Apple and Feist – not a bad line-up to be mentioned alongside – and you’ll be close.
Or, y’know, just listen to them. (click ‘more’ to continue)
We’re still celebrating our Artist Of The Month – the wonderfully talented singer-songwriter Diana Gameros. Coming up tomorrow is an exclusive poster giveaway and on Thursday we’re offering the incredible chance to spend some time in the studio with Diana.
Today, however, we asked Diana to pick her five favorite videos from the BAMM.tv archives. Here are her choices …
Infantree “Living Proof”