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 …
The phrase ‘Big in Japan’ has always been a bit condescending. Being successful there is supposed to be easy, because of the island’s famed love for anything different and western. The stock description has also been used to imply the artist in question just isn’t very good. But we hear it less and less, as the so-called borderless internet makes it impossible for stars to moonlight as rubber duck pedlars and credible musicians (check the two shameful examples below).
Are the musicians who only become successful abroad actually less cool? Is it just harder to get a successful career off the ground in the diminished pop markets of the US and the UK? And does it even matter anymore where you’re successful, when the music industry is in such a fragile state?
Hope you’re enjoying our season of cool stuff from our Artist Of The Month Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – and we really hope you’ll keep your beady eyes on BAMM.tv towards the end of this week, when we’ll be unveiling an exclusive competition to win some personalised merchandise from the band themselves!
In the meantime, we’ve got something else very cool to share – we asked lead singer Thao Nyugen to pick her five favorite performances from the sprawling (and awesome, and amazing, and exclusive, and numerous other descriptive terms) BAMM.tv archives. Here are her choices:
Will Sprott – A Dog Will Love You When Nobody Else Will
A dog will indeed love you when no-one else will. Unless of course they’re those hell hounds from the end of Ghostbusters. You want to avoid those.
Woah, woah, woah – we never said that ‘weird’ meant ‘bad’. There are few stranger combinations than British electro-anarchists the KLF and old dame of country Tammy Wynette, but when they unleashed ‘Justified And Ancient’ in 1991, they produced the catchiest tune of the year.
Here’s another of our in-depth articles from our London-based correspondent Zakia Uddin. This time, she looks at the increasingly prevalent modern phenomenon of the comeback artist …
Justin Timberlake announced his comeback this year – yes, JT. Put it this way, the 32-year-old’s first release was back when Dubya had been in power for less than a year and the first dot com bubble had just exploded (‘Like I Love You’, below).
The comeback has always occupied a special place in the world of music. Unlike political comebacks, musical ones rarely the same renewed vigor. You don’t humour a politician (or at least we don’t think we do) but the force of nostalgia is enough to get people excited about a singer or band’s return. We’re never quite sure whether to take it seriously – arguably, we’re even more cynical about musicians’ abilities than we are about those of politicians. Will they be as passionate as they used to be? What if they aren’t as good as we remember? What does that say about us? Worst of all, they remind of us how old we’re getting.
There was a more (or less) cynical time – depending on your point of view – when making a comeback was like doing an encore. Or comebacks were only for the kind of musicians who did encores, who couldn’t get enough, and were willing to spin out the old hits for an unimaginative audience. So what’s changed? It’s a real truism that touring is the only way to generate money – correspondingly many bands have sucked it up and gone touring together, including legendary fall-outs like the Stone Roses (below).
Generally, rock music comebacks have always seemed more dignified. It involves a different kind of struggle, as though they just didn’t want to come back until they were truly inspired. Click on ‘more’ to continue!
It happens to even the most musically literate of us: you know a song from somewhere (in the case of a tune that’s doing the rounds on the advertising circuit, everywhere) but you don’t know what it’s called. Scientists have a name for this – they call it ‘what the hell is that song? Seriously, it’s driving me mad. Just someone, please, throw me a f**king bone here.’
Anyway, because we’re big acolytes of the whole ‘public service’ thing, we’ve decided to enlighten you this Friday with a quick rundown of those songs you know but don’t really know. If you know what we mean. Y’know.
‘Clubbed To Death’ – Rob Dougan
You say: ‘oh, you know the one. It’s in The Matrix. And it’s always featured on inspirational stuff, like sporting montages or energy drink commercials. And it goes ‘bff-ttt-bff-ttt-bff-ttt-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa’.’
You mean: Clubbed To Death by Rob Dougan. It dates from 1995, which means that if it was a person, it would soon be thinking about going to college. Not to make you feel old or anything.
No matter how visually exciting a band or artist may be, sometimes sticking to the ‘real world’ can put something of a limit on creative imagination. Sculpting a whole new universe from scratch has always been one of the imperatives for any good animator: be they the 1920s pioneers who knocked together those first flickering Disney cartoons, or the computer whiz-kids who sculpt the next Pixar masterpiece.
What happens when this animated wonderland is combined with the world of music? Great, great things – as our rundown of the five best animated music videos will attest …
5. The White Stripes – ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’
Superstar director Michel Gondry combines two of the greatest inventions of the latter half of the 20th century – lego and rock ‘n’ roll – into this whirlwind high-octane blast.
The photo-op has long been an established part of musical success. Want your band to get noticed? Then get ready to do whatever the nice people in the art department say. The thing is: sometimes what seems like a good idea can just turn out to a little bit … weird. Let’s take a look at some of the craziest examples of this breed.
5. Paul McCartney And Michael Jackson
PAUL: Hey, Michael, how does this dishwashing thing work again?
MICHAEL: I don’t know. I’m so rich I usually have an army of butlers do it for me.
PAUL: Me too.
4. Iggy Pop
Iggy takes to the red carpet and does his best impression of a bag of Cheetos exposed to high G-force.
3. David Bowie
An accidental shot rather than a staged opportunity, this pic of David Bowie being assaulted via a lollipop-eye interface still remains of the strangest in rock history.
2. Louis Armstrong
Louis takes on the Egyptian Gods and presumably wins.
1. Freddie Mercury
Actually, we’re not sure if this picture classifies as ‘crazy’, or ‘the greatest moment since the invention of photography’.
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”
So the humble CD has seen better days, but let’s not forget that – while it ruled the physical-format roost – it was a good friend to us all. It had plenty of quirks and distinctions which were unique to the format – like those little spokes which made it impossible to get the damn thing out of the case, or the fact that they scratched incredibly easy and then skipped mercilessly, or their massive overpricing, or their limited 74-minute storage capacity, or …
Ahem. Let’s concentrate on one of the more nostalgic elements, shall we? Who remembers the phenomenon of the ‘hidden track’ – the cheeky musical additions to albums which went unlabelled or unheralded. Vinyl records could contain such hidden delights, true (via the technique of ‘double-grooving’), but CDs remained the dominant format for these sneaky add-ons. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones …
5. ‘Zero Is Also A Number’ – Nick Cave
A real oddity, this. In 1996, ‘Songs In The Key Of X’ was released – a compilation album of music influenced by (or featured in) seminal TV series ‘The X-Files’. Cave’s brilliant ‘Red Right Hand’ was a full-fledged album track, but the sleeve notes contained a cryptic message: “Nick Cave and the Dirty Three would like to remind you that zero is also a number.” By holding down the rewind button for a few minutes at the very start of the CD, listeners could discover a hauntingly beautiful secret track that actually surpassed the rest of the album. Mulder and Scully would have been proud.