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Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

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This is the first in a new regular series in which we ask the BAMM.tv crew one simple question: why do you love music? We begin with Mr. Phil Lang …

I love Aretha Franklin’s voice when she goes up to get that last note on “People Get Ready.” Her voice pulls you closer to God, or at the very least makes a damn good argument for the notion one exists.

I love that the last line on the last song of For Emma, Forever Ago is “Your love will be safe with me.”

I love how “Oh Yoko” reminds me that the most romantic sentiments are literal and simple. “In the middle of the bath I call your name.”

I love knowing what song will play at my funeral – “When the Ships Come In”.

I love knowing what song will play for my first dance at my wedding. “Need Your Love So Bad,” by Little Willie John. I have zero doubt that my future bride, whomever that might be, will agree with me on this choice, regardless of her music tastes.

I love moments of perfection. There’s no perfect song, but there are songs with perfect moments. The bridge of Mason Jenning’s “The Light” (Part 2) is perfect (at the 1:30 mark). “Please don’t forget how much I meant to you when you are redefined by someone new.” A simple articulation of the most complex of feelings.

I love how “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” changes my gait. It’s coolness manifests itself in my stride. The song makes me cooler than I am for seven minutes and fifteen seconds.

I love horns in rock music. There aren’t enough horn sections in rock bands these days.

I love that Jackson Browne wrote “These Days” at 16 years old. It’s kind of silly, actually. What days, other than “these,” are there to a 16 year-old? Yet, he nails it. He’s right – I do think a lot about the things I forgot to do. It is hard to risk another (lover) these days. And while we’re at it –I haven’t forgotten my failures, so don’t confront me with them. Yeah, what that 16 year-old Jackson said. I think writing a song can produce an idea the songwriter doesn’t fully understand at the time he or she writes it, it goes out into the world, and its full weight is first felt and understood by a stranger. There’s something metaphysical and fundamental to human nature in that transference.

I love Freddie Mercury.

I love when Hip Hop is backed by a live band. “The OtherSide” – The Roots, Bilal Oliver, Greg Porn.

I love a killer sample. “Heart Of The City” (Ain’t No Love) – Jay-Z.

I love that “The Boy In The Bubble” challenges me everytime. I know every image rendered in the song, and I line them up in my mind and take stock of which run parallel and which intersect. I’m still figuring this song out.

I love that a great song can be high art, but high art is not a requirement in order for a song to be great.

I love that “Move On Up” is over eight minutes long. I don’t typically like long songs, but  “Move On Up” (and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” for that matter) could go on as long as I want them to go on.  I should be able to select the amount of time the song plays, like a setting – “10 minutes,” “30 minutes,” or “doing dishes.”

I love how music is a dog ear to our memories. It preserves who we were and contextualizes who we’ve become. Shameless plug – that’s why we (BAMM) made a series about this very thing – Musical Yearbook – themusicalyearbook.com

I love movies about music, but I don’t like biopics about musicians. Give me more High Fidelity and Almost Famous and less Walk The Line and Ray.

I love that music – even more so than sports – is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you grew up. All that matters is whether or not you can play.

I love that Sting was the artist featured in Bill O’Reilly’s meltdown. That detail has always been hilarious to me. Of all artists to be involved in a clip of a dumbass losing his shit, it’s Sting – the serene, tantric love machine.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_HyZ5aW76c

I love what the right song at the right moment can do to the mood of a bar. You can’t go wrong with “I Want You Back” (if you’re looking to breathe some life into the place) or “Desolation Row” (if you’re looking to clear the place out and drink some whiskey alone…but the wrong bartender will probably skip that one on you).

I love music how music can make lonesome a shared experience.

I love how my take on a song is ever-changing. It’s possible I’ve  listened to Graceland (the album) one thousands of times, but I am not the same person I was when I first heard the album, so, in a way, it’s not the same album either. Relationships work the same way. Friends, foes, family, and lovers – as I change so does my understanding of them. That’s comforting.

I love how my mom played the station wagon dashboard like a piano on our road trip to Mount Rushmore when I was five or six. We listened to a lot of Willie, and she was on the keys for “On The Road Again.”  Harley’s were flying by us on I-90 (the Sturgis motorcycle rally was the same week), and we, the personification of Suburbia, stood out like a boulder in a river. The farmland extended beyond the horizon. It was August, and hot. On that day, we were the band of gypsies rolling down the highway. I was happy.

Jay-Z And Master P: A Tale Of Two Empires

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Joey Bien-Kahn takes a revealing look at the interwoven business history of two modern day moguls: Jay-Z and Master P …

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2013 was a bad year for Jay-Z the Rapper. Magna Carta … Holy Grail had none of the dark elegance of Reasonable Doubt, none of the club slaps of The Blueprint and not even any of the royal over-indulgence of Watch the Throne. It didn’t have a club hit, wasn’t committed to artistry, and some of the lyrics read like stroke-induced gibberish (“I’m in the ocean/I’m in heaven/Yacht!/”Ocean’s Eleven”).

But 2013 was a great year for Jay-Z the Mogul. Once again, Jay made money for himself and his friends, while remaining squarely in the public eye. He presold a million copies of Holy Grail for early download on Samsung smartphones and tablets (check out that promo below). He toured North America with Justin Timberlake, bringing in $69.75 million. And his protégées J. Cole and Kanye West put out two of the best studio albums of the year, while his wife won the Pop Star Wars with an unprecedentedly unexpected album drop that defied the Age of Internet Leaks.

Stadiums: sold. A million records: sold. Samsung smartphones: sold. Say what you want about Jay’s rap output since The Blueprint (2001); just don’t say a thing about his business savvy. Let’s be honest here—Jay-Z the Mogul has been the more impressive side of Shawn Carter for much of his career. Remember: He’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man.

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BAMM.tv Artist Of The Month: Wild Child

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It’s the return of our Artist of the Month feature – and we’ve got an absolutely amazing band all set to fuel your February. Gather round and get ready to tame the beast that is Wild Child! We’ve got all sorts of exclusive stuff coming up over the next couple of weeks, starting with this in-depth interview. Enjoy …

How did the band get together?

Kelsey and I we touring together as part of the backing band for a Danish band called The Migrant. I was playing accordion and she was playing violin. We were on the road for 6 weeks and during that time we started writing songs in the van to pass the time. During one stop in SF we stayed with my cousin Evan and wrote “That’s What She Say” together. After that we really started cranking them out and by the time we got back to Austin, we decided we wanted to make a band and make a record. Next came a full band lineup and the album Pillow Talk.

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Bamm.tv Artist Of The Month: The Flashbulb

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Meet electronic mastermind Benn Jordan. He’s a man of many different names, collecting pseudonyms the way a hyperactive 90s kid collected Pokemon. You may also have heard him referred to as (deeeeeep breath now) Acidwolf, CHR15TPUNCH3R, DJ ASCII, Dr. Lefty, Dysrythmia, FlexE, Human Action Network, Lucid32, rapemachine, rnd16, 66x or Q-Bit.

For the purposes of our Artist Of The Month celebration, however, we fixing our beady eye on Benn’s most well-known alterego: The Flashbulb.

Benn is particularly direct when it comes to the origins of Flashbulb. “In the mid-70′s,” he recounts, “Lee Jordan and Denise Richardson met while vacationing in Virginia. Many sexual instances later Denise noticed she was more nauseated than usual. 9 months later the band was formed, but did not record music for another 14 years.” In other words: it’s just him. Flashbulb is a one-man operation, and Benn is the brains and talent behind it.

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BAMM.tv Artist Of The Month: Hollerado

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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.

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BAMM.tv Artist Of The Month: Wallpaper.

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Anyone familiar with reviewer shorthand will know the meaning of the term ‘wallpaper music’. It’s often used to describe the output of MOR giants like Coldplay or Maroon 5 – it’s background stuff, ambient dinner party noise, inoffensive and barely noticeable chatter which uses music more as a pleasant crutch than a blazing center of attention.

Sooooo … if you were a frenzied hip-hop electro-pop mastermind who drops beats like John McClane drops bad guys, you probably wouldn’t want to associate yourself with the word. You’d call yourself ‘Explosion Beast’ or ‘Annihilator’ or ‘Dance Yourself Sick’. That would be the predictable thing to do. The thing is: Ricky Reed – the producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind Wallpaper., our brand new Artist Of The Month – is anything but predictable.

Interested yet? Want to read on as we get all Home Depot on your ass and really start examining Wallpaper.? Or are you just a big old Doo-Doo Face?

(Note: Doo-Doo Face is the title of his first album. It’s just a joke. We’re not really calling you a Doo-Doo Face. Unless you’re a sadomasochist and are into that kind of thing. This is the internet, after all).

Anyway. Let’s continue (after the jump …)

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BAMM.tv Rundown: Weird Music Memorabilia

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Music fans come in all shapes and sizes - from casual listeners to full-on, expert aficiandos. Somewhere towards the latter end of this scale is the collector: a fan whose love for a particular artist or band is so great, they feel the need to get their hands on every single related object, from autographs to t-shirts to deluxe 247-set DVDs. The items we’ve uncovered below, however, would surely appeal to only the most dedicated of followers. Let’s take a look at the 5 strangest items of music memorabilia …


5. KISS coffins

What’s the ultimate statement of fandom? Why, carrying on your love of Gene Simmons into the afterlife, that’s what. Now – with the help of the Kiss Kasket – you can rest comfortably (forever) in the knowledge that not even death can stop you rockin’.

4. Thom Yorke’s toenails

Radiohead’s brand of post-millenial angst fused with progressive electronica strikes a (heavily distorted) chord with a lot of people. Not sure how many of them feel such an affinity that they’d like to get hold of Thom Yorke’s toe clippings, though. To the guy who raided Yorke’s dressing room a couple of years back, then put the aforementioned clippings for sale on the internet: good luck finding a buyer.


3. Elvis’s pill bottle

Pay tribute to the King by reliving his classic prescriptions – including this one for Benadryl, an anithistamine with sedative effects. Someone liked this so much they bought it for $800 in 2009.

2. Mogwai pacemaker

Scottish post-rock masterminds Mogwai (if you haven’t heard their stuff, check it out now) decided to sell a unique piece of memorabilia in 2007, in order to help out the British Heart Foundation. The very appropriate item itself: the pacemaker of drummer Martin Bulloch.

1. Britney’s hair

In 2007, a trouble Britney Spears walked into a salon and insisted that all her hair be shaved off. The shorn locks were then gathered up by wily staff and placed on eBay. The sale was later cancelled (presuambly because it’s, y’know, a bit exploitative) … but not before it reached a bidding price of one million dollars.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

BAMM.tv Rundown: Five Criminally Underrated Albums

BAMM.tv Rundown: The 10 Craziest Album Covers

BAMM.tv Rundown: 10 More Crazy Album Covers

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