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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: The Soft White Sixties

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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?


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BAMM In-Depth: Did Anyone Kill The Radio Star?

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Time for another of our great in-depth features from our BAMM.tv London correspondent Zakia Uddin. This time around, Zakia looks at the state of modern radio …

Musicians have been singing about the death of commercial radio for over thirty years, but it’s only now that the rest of the entertainment industry is in agreement. Todd Pringle of the online curation app Stitcher can think of few advantages that terrestrial radio has over online radio: “There aren’t too many – from a user perspective, terrestrial radio is pretty poor. You’re beholden to a particular schedule which may or may not fit with yours, often have to stop listening at inopportune times (i.e. arrive at work), and can’t go back and pick up where you left off.”

The projected future of online radio has long been curation. Has curation been displaced by the driving force of personalisation, at a time when we trust algorithms more than DJs? Some of the BAMM.tv team were way ahead of the curve back in the days of Open Thread Radio. One of BAMM.tv’s predictions for 2013 was the rapid growth of online radio and streaming services. The picture online is even more dynamic now, and threatens to change radio as we know it. Has radio failed to stay relevant? And if that is the case, what did manager and business mogul Troy Carter mean earlier this year when he said that radio is ripe for “disruption”?

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The Stone Foxes: Their Favorites From The BAMM.tv Vault

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We’ve been busy celebrating our awesome Featured Artist 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.


Waters – Mickey Mantle

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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: The Stone Foxes

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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.

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BAMM In-Depth: Big In Japan

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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?

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Thao’s Favorites From The BAMM.tv Vault

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Hope you’re enjoying our season of cool stuff from our Featured Artist 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.

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Thao Nyugen: What Is She Listening To Right Now?

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The eagle-eyed among you (well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – we’ll just settle for ‘those among you who have taken a look at our blog this past week’) will know that alt-folk-rock stars Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have taken the throne as our coveted Featured Artist.

As usual, then, we want to find out which tunes are tickling their earbuds right now. So we asked frontwoman Thao Nyugen to spill the beans. Here’s her top five …

Aha- “Take On Me’

Classic 80s pop with one of the best videos ever made.

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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: Thao And The Get Down Stay Down

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‘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 Featured Artist.

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)

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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: Diana Gameros

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Time for another BAMM.tv Featured Artist: a selection of great music, exclusive articles and prize giveaways (among other things) from one of our favorite up-and-coming artists. This month we put San Francisco singer-songwriter Diana Gameros under the spotlight …

Soulfulness is a hard thing to quantify. People are a varied breed, and experience tells us it would be foolish to go all-out and categorise emotional response – music that leaves one listener cold may well prove to save the life of another. Music may be universal but the gamut of reactions works on a far more personal level – an innate form of relativism that both unites and separates us all.

Sometimes, though … sometimes you just have to appreciate the resonance of an artist. Opera may not do it for you, but you can’t help but quiver at the bombastic authority of a tenor or soprano. Heavy rock could well be the last thing you’d listen to, but you’ve have to be a cultural zero-mark not to marvel at a virtuoso guitar solo. As for emotive, Latin-tinged, classical acoustic songwriting? That might be outside your sphere altogether, but – frankly – if you’re not massively moved by the heart-stopping performances of Diana Gameros, then you might as well nail that coffin lid down now.

Luckily – here at BAMM.TV – we are big fans of emotive, Latin-tinged, classical acoustic songwriting. And we’re even bigger fans of the heart-stopping performances of Diana Gameros.

Stick around, and you might just find out why.

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