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BAMM.tv Featured Artist – Ash, ‘Burn Baby Burn’

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We hope you’ve enjoyed our Featured Artist season this past week, delving into the career and music of British rock veterans Ash. We’ve seen an exclusive performance of ‘Shining Light’, a look back at their classic albums, and a hand-picked roster of their top ten tunes – and to round things off we have another exclusive BAMM.tv performance in the shape of ‘Burn Baby Burn’. Enjoy!

BAMM.TV FEATURED ARTIST – ASH – THEIR TEN GREATEST MOMENTS

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We hope you’re enjoying our season of content from our Featured Artist Ash – a celebration of the Nothern Irish rock legends to tie in with the release of some exclusive BAMM.tv performances from the band. We’ve already seen a blistering BAMM.tv rendition of ‘Shining Light’ (keep ‘em peeled for another exclusive live track later this week) and a glowing look back at their classic and contemporary albums.

Now? Now let’s fire up the BAMM.tv office stereo. We’ve handpicked our top ten favorite Ash tunes. Whether you’re a) using this as a long-overdue introduction to the band, b) just reliving some great tunes, or c) can’t believe our choices and want to murder us, we hope you enjoy …

10. SOMETIMES

One of Ash’s most overlooked aspects – as well as rocking out, they also know their way around a pop ballad or two. Sun-kissed and splendid, ‘Sometimes’ is a prime example of this.


More after the jump …

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Disneyland No More: A Teenager’s Rock Pilgrimage To L.A.

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In July, 2013, BAMM.tv’s intern Madeleine Buzbee took a road trip down to Los Angeles with her parents. The Mission: come face-to-face with the mythology of the L.A. music scene.

“I am going to Los Angeles and am NOT going to Disneyland.” Big changes were happening, because for the first time I was visiting LA on a music expedition without much of schedule. I wanted to have the full road trip experience, with lots of mixtapes and abandoned town stops along the way. I lusted to have an experience open my eyes to new music. I wanted a new music identity, like someone would want a new wardrobe, and I was going to LA to find it.

For as long as I can remember, music has always been the thing I could relate to the most, and has provided me with the words and concepts to define who I- a 15 year old San Francisco kid- identify as. It’s rare that a few weeks pass without a night at a venue along side my friends.

I envisioned that upon arriving in LA, I would witness paparazzi running down “the-next-big-things” driveway. I expected to see lots of live music, and get a feel for a music culture separate from the open arms culture the Bay Area encompasses. I wanted to see punk rock in a tiny venue in Downtown LA. I wanted to experience the crowd surge around me to the music coming from the speakers above in the oh-so-hip Southern California atmosphere, and I wanted to walk into a record shop and receive recommendations from a local. This was wishful thinking. I had not considered the size of Los Angeles, the mythology of “fame”, and the fact that this self-discovering music expedition was to be executed by a team. Aside from me, the team was comprised of my 56 year-old parents, who didn’t enjoy standing for too long, things that are too loud, nor driving for too far. As I would learn on this trip, all of those scenarios are unavoidable in LA.

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Here’s the thing about traveling to somewhere beautiful in California: more often than not, you have to travel through strip mall towns and down highways sandwiched between warehouses to get to your destination. Our first stop on the road trip was the hilly seaside town of San Luis Obispo. Inhabited primarily by Cal Poly students, I expected a lot of pizza by the slice and a couple of record stores. The first record shop I visited was Booboo Records just off the main road. The walls were covered with posters representing every era and every genre imaginable. Amidst the chaos of the crowded record store hung an enormous chandelier. It added to the shop’s charm.

I talked with the man at the back counter about the jist of the store. Booboo has been in SLO since 1974, and sells newer vinyl and lots of merchandise pertaining to bands and SLO. He explained that working in the shop had just started as a way to pay off student loans, but eventually led him to become an enthusiast about newer music and added that he had started making his own music in his dorm. It was always refreshing and inspiring to meet someone acting on his passions and creating art. Booboo seemed to foster a warm and fuzzy feeling amongst the shelves, similar to the record stores I’m accustomed to. The store seemed to provide a ton of new vinyl that I hadn’t seen back in San Francisco. I was having deja-vu; this was exactly what I had dreamt of. This tiny room held so many albums just ready to have a needle dropped on to their surface, and was sprinkled with people who were thirsty for those sounds.

I received a few recommendations from that man, ranging from Boards of Canada to Surfer Blood. I browsed for an hour or so, admiring the posters and large David Bowie selection. Despite this being the first day of the trip on a relatively strict budget consisting of my birthday money, I could not leave the store empty handed. I picked up Little Joy and The Velvet Underground’s always lovely Loaded.

A few blocks over from Booboo is a maze of used records called Cheap Thrills. Cheap Thrills opened up a few years before Booboo and specializes in CD’s, some used records, and, as I learned the second I saw a herd of 11 year-old boys rushing across the store, extensive amounts of Futurama memorabilia. I walked up the attic stairs to their vinyl section, admiring the murky space with endless shelves of rock records. The atmosphere was very similar to what I was used to in San Francisco, and the urge to search through crates for the miniscule chance of finding something to add to my collection drew me in. After an hour of sorting through bins and hopeless, sweaty moments where I was ready to stop searching, a few vinyls clicked. I headed out with a copy of a the Rolling Stones’ Through The Past, Darkly. It had no corners and the track sheet had been previously annotated with gel pen reading “I WANT YOU, MICK!”. I was holding a piece of someone’s past, possibly scribbled during a warm Southern California trip, like I was embarking on.

I crossed the street for a cup of coffee and found a window seat. I looked out at the unfamiliar, yet inviting, streets of San Luis Obispo. The Woman by Rhye played throughout the cafe. At sunset, we set out to Morro Bay for dinner and eavesdropped on the surrounding tables for the final 3 hours in SLO. I overheard stories of love, debt, bad toddlers, and a lost cat. This all seemed like the worthy subject matter for a country song.

Santa Barbara and The Coast

Stopping in Santa Barbara, I received a recommendation from the man at Pizza My Heart. He played all of Telekinesis’ Power Lines as my mom and I stared out at the countless surf shops and hungover UCSB students. For a moment, I felt like I was living that picturesque Southern California beach town dream. It was ephemeral. Moments later, we hit the road again, with our final destination being Santa Monica. I stared out at the picturesque waves that refused to stop kissing the shore, in awe at the land that had inspired so many artists. The albums accompanying the drive seemed so fitting, knowing that some of the inspiration for these albums came from the seaside on which I was feasting my eyes. Best Coast and DIIV roared through the speakers as we descended towards the long awaited music-Mecca below.

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Santa Monica

The next morning, I awoke on the edge of the futon bed in our art-deco hotel room to the sound of German tourists splashing around in the Grinch-green pool below. Several episodes of SpongeBob and one bagel later, I walked onto real Santa Monica soil. Clear skies, palm trees, and 70 degree water. I hit the shore. Out off the shore, emerged the pier. I discovered that all games and merchants offered the same thing: a chance to have your very own One Direction pillow and/or a keychain with your name written on a piece of rice.

Back on The Promenade, countless street artists singing over backing tracks serenaded the shoppers. The performers were often very talented but, like it is in any city, maybe 1 in 500 people would drop a few spare coins in their hats. The store fronts were inviting, pumping Disclosures’ newest single through the speakers to lure me in. Then it was time to put the endless maze of chain stores to the test.

I asked Siri, in an effort to feel futuristic, “Find the nearest Record Store”. To my disappointment, Siri could only suggest a Barnes and Noble and an Urban Outfitters, all the way on the other side of the complex. I trekked out to Urban Outfitters, in hopes that they might have some local vinyl selections, despite being a chain. No such luck. Only Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 and unloved copies of Sigur Ros lined the nearly barren vinyl section. The rack was placed among headbands and sunglasses. Here, vinyl was an accessory. I wondered if the music would ever be appreciated by their future owners, or just another object to instagram.

Hollywood and Downtown

On the evening of our third night in the area, my parents and I drove nearly 4 hours to Hollywood to see the only all-ages show we could make: a local electronic alternative band called Kitten. The traffic was accompanied by Los Angeles by Flying Lotus. The drive lacked anything resembling a landmark, so this was the perfect noise to keep the brain busy while stalled at endless red lights. The most exciting thing I managed to see on the road was the West Hollywood Post Office.

A line looped around the block leading towards The Troubadour–the legendary venue found inside a German-inspired woodland church right off of Pico Blvd. The scene outside didn’t differ much from the venues in San Francisco, as the air was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The man at the door stamped my hand with the under-18 stamp, and rolled his eyes. Everything was dulled down in the venue and the excitement seemed to disappear into thin air. Quiet chatter and blank stares echoed in the lofty church space. My parents went up to the balcony to rest their old knees- so as usual, we separated as I joined the crowd. The only time those around me spoke, they would make some sort of complaint. By the time the music started, all the crowd became a sea of white screens and unappreciative, sweaty middle-aged men, and annoying teenagers. When Kitten began her rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain, the crowd swayed. It was such a relief. The people on the floor below still resembled human beings. No fan pressed against the stage seemed to sing along. Little collaboration occurred between the audience and the performers. The band had great energy, but I realized that if the energy doesn’t carry into the crowd, the whole picture can’t come alive.

The following day, the entire family headed to The Grammy Museum. LA was a tangled mess of highways, dipping over and under each other, filled with cars driven by very busy people. The streets sandwiched between the iconic downtown skyscrapers were filled with the same very busy people whom I had encountered the night before at The Troubadour, but this time in suits. Upon arriving at the museum, it seemed like just another set of encased artifacts and security guards on the prowl for tourists trying to snap a picture next to the Daft Punk helmets. In a matter of sheer moments, I would have my big “ah-ha” moment.

I stood next to Ringo’s drum set– the very one he recorded Abbey Road on. The surroundings were adorned with Beatles paraphernalia and replicas of Ringo’s costumes, along with photos of The Beatles’ first time in LA.

Standing with my face pressed against the glass panes protecting the drums, I found what I had been searching for–a glimpse into the world of fame and excellence from the stories I had been told, and the trip I had envisioned. I was inches away from the instrument where history had been banged into. Yet, I did not breathe the same air as it. The days when those snares sounded had passed many decades ago. I was only 3 inches of bulletproof glass away from the connection to the music that I had been searching for.

The Road Home

We left the flats of LA and back into the hills, hoping to reach San Francisco before nightfall. Passing through countless valleys and farming towns, I listened to The Black Keys, Mac Demarco, and Christopher Owens. I was going to return with a memorable moments, but not nearly to the extent I envisioned. The experience with Ringo’s drums served as a distilled experience. On one hand I was experiencing a piece of what made pop possible, but I was still detached.. I was aware of the talent and wonders that burrowed in LA, but I couldn’t access them. I imagined LA to be so different than my previous travels–it harbored a reputation across such a large stretch of busy and annoyed people, that it is hard to expect everything in sight to reflect that ideal.

Crazy weather creates crazy people. That can be a positive thing– inspiring Flying Lotus’ and DIIV’s vibes that are hard to internalize, but so satisfying once finally decoded. It can also result in angry, drunk people in tiny venues feeling self-entitled. Perhaps the glorious fame and talent that had been rumored to live in Southern California was not a myth after all. Maybe that talent just had gone on vacation in the summer of 2013. Maybe I had experienced a copy of a copy, or a fabrication of the genuine aspects of talent. It all felt filtered. My parents experienced the trip similar to the way I had, but seemed to lose hope in finding that genuine experience we were chasing. Even the bones of that ideal were impressive, and if you looked far and wide, you might catch a glimpse into the wonderful, creative madness of the City of Angels.

Does LA’s music industry really value fame over excellence, or are the real gems hidden away in the cassette rack in San Luis Obispo, or in the presence of Ringo’s Sergeant Pepper costume? LA had proved to be a weird, hauntingly mysterious sprawl, but more than anything, begs for exploration. Rolling past hundreds of gas stations and tomato fields, Devendra Banhart played- the perfect music for reflection. I was more than eager to return to my friend, Karl The Fog, with armfuls of vinyl and the mystery of the elusive Los Angeles on my mind.

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Madeleine Buzbee has been an intern at BAMM.tv since late 2012. She was born and raised in San Francisco, and is currently a high school student Jewish Community High School in the Western Addition of San Francisco. She spends her summers in Montreal and uses mixtapes as a way to score her travels. She loves writing and curating various mediums. She hopes to go into journalism some day, and has her mind set on living in New York City. On any given day, you can find her mistaking herself for a Ronnette or eating over-priced toast while listening to Mac Demarco.

Maddy’s playlist from her trip:

Song she’s listened to more than any other: “Is This It,” by The Strokes

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

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Here’s the latest in our BAMM.tv season ‘Why I Love Music’. This time, BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt has a few very personal musical choices …

When contemplating the question ‘Why I Love Music’, I was struck by how one word can produce so many stories, memories & feelings that have help define me as a person, throughout my life. Lenny Kravitz, Tracy Chapman, Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald…. The list of musicians whose music will trigger a memory or a feeling (whether it be good or bad) is endless…

Last year, I gave birth to my first child, a baby boy. I knew that music would be a big part of my baby boy’s life and like most pregnant women I listened to music all the time (no… no Beethoven, like my mother wanted…) Anything from Broken Bells to my childhood favourites, Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald. The first few months after Benn was born were joyous, challenging, emotional, inspiring, teaching and so much more and again music was there. One very interesting discovery we made, was that contrary to my thought; that babies would fall asleep listening to classical music (see Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1 or Faure’s Requiem, OP 48 IV Pie Jesu)… Ha! More like Frankie Knuckles hour-long session at the Boiler room or Green Velvet’s Electro, minimal sounds… Something about their beating little hearts having the same bpm…

Music has the power to surprise you, keep you on your toes, nod your head with disapproval or ecstatically jump up and down like a crazy person. This polarity, this randomness is what I love about music and how it feels when I discover a new song or artist that make my hips move and my heart beat a little bit faster – that makes my day.

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

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Here’s the latest in our season of articles from the BAMM.tv crew about why music is the love of our lives: Sophie DeWitt reminisces on a very special experience which was soundtracked by Vampire Weekend …

It was early afternoon on a cool Sunday in August, the third and final day of Outside Lands 2013. Not only had the previous two days in Golden Gate Park brought me one of the most wonderful, serendipitous weekends of my life (holy crap, I’d seen Paul McCartney live), but that day was shaping up to be one incredibly epic finale.

My friends and I had spent the better part of the morning hopping around to Foals then Hall & Oats (a set which had inspired a spontaneous dance circle with the wonderfully happy, drunken strangers nearby our blanket). For about forty minutes all that mattered were the people I tapped toes with, laughing and smiling as we whirled around each other. We had the audacity to hold eye contact for more than a second, unwilling or unable to break the spell the festival had cast upon us. It wasn’t the drugs or alcohol though, it was the music.

We were fast friends. When the set was over, some departed with a gleeful look, a wave, fully exhilarated. My ragtag group stuck out like a sore thumb in the notoriously still San Francisco crowd. It was my amigo Amit’s first live concert (don’t ask me how that happened, I was as confused as you). He couldn’t have been more enthusiastic, moving one way then another, pulling us out onto the grass, stomping along to “Everlasting Arms”. (You know you’ve had a great festival experience when you can lose your collective shit dancing to downtempo Vampire Weekend).

We noticed a slender woman, early 50’s, swaying quietly next to a tall teenage boy who couldn’t have been older than 17. She glanced at me and our bubbling, bouncing mass and smiled. The boy couldn’t be bothered, too preoccupied, too uncomfortable, he stood stoically. As Amit extended his hand out to the woman, her face lit up, incredulous. To both our joy and surprise she stepped over to our circle, laughing, jumping, and clapping along with us. We went on like that for another song or two until the set ended and applause erupted from the field around us. Breathless, she nodded ‘thank you’, smiling wide, and retook her place next to the young boy. If I had to guess, I’d say she enjoyed the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ manic closing set almost as much as our crazy group did.

On any other day, in any other setting this woman and I would’ve passed one another without notice. Our age difference was almost too vast to share much commonality. Her willingness to engage with the music, with us in the moment, is a singularly unique experience I haven’t encountered again this year. That is what I love about music. The intimacy and spontaneity that grows from a shared musical moment is incredibly special and can’t be recreated. It’s not the sweating-in-a-bar-on-Polk-street-with-a-questionable-guy-groping-you kind of intimate, but the unspoken, just looking, just feeling, just dancing-in-a-field-of-strangers-and-seeing-their-true-happiness kind of intimate.

It was the music, that woman will remember. Music allowed her to leave her daughter’s distant boyfriend behind to join our crazy group of twenty-somethings in pure bliss.

That’s where music can take you, how it can connect us. And that’s what I love.

BAMM.tv Rundown: Five Crazy Cover Versions

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Cover versions are a somewhat divisive prospect. They can generally go two ways: either an artist can reinterpret an existing song with passion and respect, or they can utterly destroy it, not so much burning bridges with musical aficionados as nuking the toll booth from orbit.

There is a third category, however – one that exists outside the traditional realm of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and more in the realm of ‘just plain unbelievable’. Here, then, are 5 of the most downright bizarre cover versions you’ll ever hear. You may love them or hate them, but you certainly can’t deny their uniqueness …

5. William Shatner – ‘Common People’

The original: generation-defining Britpop tune from Jarvis Cocker and company, mixing in deadpan social commentary with chiming guitars and irresistible melody:

The revamp: William Shatner adds his unique ‘bewildered old man in post office’ slant to proceedings:

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Check out The Blank Tapes – live!

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To any younger readers out there wondering what a ‘tape’ is, or how indeed it could be ‘blank’, treat yourself to a quick google search. Seriously – we’ll still be here when you get back. Plus, you might also learn some exciting trivia about ‘video recorders’ and ’8-track cartridges’. It’s a whole new world!

The rest of you, however, can treat yourself to something much better: an exclusive BAMM performance from low-fi SF natives The Blank Tapes, whose Pavement-tinged hooks and riffs are always a joy. Take a look at the video above? Did that float your boat? Weeeeellll, if you’re lucky enough to be based in San Francisco, you can catch ‘em live at Cafe Du Nord (in association with Loving Cup) tonight at eight! Go on – inject a little mayhem into your Monday.

BAMM.tv exclusive: ‘OG’, Religious Girls

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Religious Girls don’t have the most accurate name for a band – their membership is comprised of three guys, and the fact that they lie about being girls means they’ve ignored one of those ten commandment things. We shouldn’t let such semantics get in the way of the fact that they’re an awesome, awesome group, however. If you’re a fan of the fractured, unconventional and wild musical stylings of Animal Collective and Battles, this Oakland three-piece may well become your latest obsession.

Check out this killer (and needless to say, exclusive) performance of ‘OG’, taken from last year’s Phono del Sol festival (brought to you by our good buddies at The Bay Bridged and Tiny Telephone).

Oh – and while we’re on the subject, how would you like ‘I Want To Believe’, the brand new album from the band, entirely free? It’s a one-day-only offer, so you’d better hurry over here and grab it …

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

BAMM.tv exclusive: ‘Love Star’, Nicoluminous

BAMM.tv exclusive: ’1-2-3 Go!’, HOTTUB

BAMM.tv exclusive: ‘Hey Big Bang’, The Superhumanoids

BAMMsterdam Review: Capeman – Stand Out Cause Trouble

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Capeman are the kind of rock outfit who really wear their cocky, boyish charm well. It’s a trait often associated with Amsterdam natives. Britpop enthusiasts might remember it from their 90′s icons, or perhaps modern-day acolytes Kasabian. Whatever you might call it, singer-guitarist Darko Tadic and his motley crue have plenty of it.

It’s what makes them a particularly exciting live act, even though they’ve definitely dialed things down from their earlier exploits as The Darko. Their previous entity was all energy; Capeman employ a different, more dynamic approach to songwriting and also boast the added bonus of a fourth member, guitarist/soundscapist Ymer Marinus. With plenty of stage time under their belts and harboring a new musical direction, they’re as confident as ever, a fact bolstered by the aptly titled debut album Stand Out Cause Trouble.

Of course, the first question is: how does all this on-stage energy translate to their studio efforts? Well, the pumping rhythm section of Martin Von Lier and Sin Banovic definitely holds it own on record, driving the band’s staccato grooves home to great effect. Oddly enough, it’s not the muscular cuts that hit home the hardest. Aggressive riffs like those in Mass Destructo or Shed Some Light feel transitional, as if there’s a residue of The Darko they can’t seem to shake off. A shame, as such pumped up rock songs can’t help but feel … well … dated.   We Got Glue is a notable exception, thanks to it’s Bloc Party-esque guitars shreds and it’s haunting synthpads.

Thankfully, the majority of the album leaves the band with more room to breath. As it turns out, Capeman have found their comfort zone in spacious mid-tempo songs with plenty of influences, ranging from new wave to electro. Here the slick production works to their advantage, pushing tracks Mongolian Oil and single Science to above average performances. But the absolute standout here must be Televisions. It’s by far the best composition, beautifully arranged and produced, with plenty of room for Tadic’s vocals to take the limelight. Combine that with the excellent hook in the chorus, and you could be mistaken for thinking it’s the next big single from Foster The People.

Overall, Stand Out Cause Trouble is much friendlier than the title might suggest. It’s rock tendencies feel more like leftovers from a bygone age, while their more indie/electro inspired tunes have all the potential to take alternative radio stations by storm. If they exercise a little more restraint, and keep playing to their strengths (as well as awesome live shows), Capeman could well become a strong contender for festival slots and greater exposure in the Benelux and beyond. A promising debut, all in all.

Look out for Capeman’s session on BAMM.tv in the next few weeks, as we’ll be releasing the sessions recorded by BAMM.tv at Desmet Studio’s in Amsterdam last January.