Are you going to be in San Francisco this coming Thursday, Aug 23? If so, you can join BAMM.tv (and our good buddies over at Audyssey and Noise Pop) for a fantastic evening of entertainment. If you’d like to wallow in the luxurious dark folk strains of Emily Jane White (whose essential new album ‘Ode To Sentience’ has just been released), then RVSP right here and hit up our SF HQ for an exclusive gig – along with drinks, food, the chance to win special prizes and a closing DJ set by Brogan Bentley.
We’ve mentioned Baltimore genre-mashers Animal Collective approximately a gazillion times before, and we’re going to do it again – simply because we’re the sort of gibbering superfans who worship the very ground they walk on. Their last album (2009’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’) has already established itself as pretty much one of the all-time greats, and we’re therefore hugely excited about their upcoming release ‘Centipede Hz,’ which is scheduled to hit the racks on September 4.
If you can’t wait until then, you should check out next Sunday’s edition of Animal Collective Radio (well, you should really be listening to it every week if you want to retain any credibility, but that’s beside the point). The boys will be premiering the album in full, so you can revel in the crazy new sounds a few weeks before owning a copy.
And that still doesn’t tide you over, here’s the first material from ‘Centipede Hz’, in the form of recent single ‘Today’s Supernatural':
If you’re a fan of ‘Nebraska’-era Springsteen hankering for some introspective Americana and classic songwriting, then you really really should listen to JJ Schultz. Recently, JJ was kind enough – along with his band – to stop by BAMM’s SF headquarters and treat us to an exclusive performance. So sit back, chill out, and immerse yourself in the wonderful folk-and-western roots of ‘Carolina’.
And here’s some extra cool news – JJ’s new album of the same title (that’s ‘Carolina’, in case you haven’t been paying attention in that last paragraph) is set for release on Aug 11 – that’s tomorrow, date fans – and we’re holding a party at BAMM HQ in San Francisco to celebrate this. Details here!
Few festivals in the world match the sheer fun and scope of Outside Lands – a yearly extravaganza whereby San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is transformed from a thriving hub to an even bigger thriving hub. One with a shedload of awesome bands playing. Aug 10 – 12th, people … it’s right around the corner.
This year, four of these great acts happen to have worked with BAMM.tv before – and, as you should all know by now, that’s a bigger seal of quality than Superb Q. McQuality’s Special Brand Of Quality Sealing (established in 1908, the more quality year of all time).
The acts themselves? None other than Infantree, Geographer, Wallpaper and The Brothers Comatose. If you’ve got tickets to the festival, you need to check these guys out. If you haven’t (or even if you have, and just fancy a sneak peek of the great things in store) we’ve got a treat for you – four performances from the BAMM archives.
To use a rudimentary rhyme: it’s BAMM bands at Outside Lands! Enjoy …
So, how do you enter for a chance to win? Simply tweet your best road trip picture to @bammtv. Note that winners will be chosen under BAMM.tv employee discretion and announced on Thursday, August 2nd. All winners must be present in San Francisco to pick-up the tickets and following BAMM.tv on Twitter to win.
Whatever you think of the upcoming 2012 Olympics – or indeed sport in general – you can’t help but admit that the whole event shares many of the aesthetic elements we like to associate with great music: communal euphoria, the ebb and flow of waves of excitement, guitar feedback deafening the spectators in the front row (okay, so maybe that last one is a little more specifically music-related…)
We’ve already taken an in-depth look at the relationship between music and the Olympics (and if you missed that article, by the way, it’s well worth checking out). Now we’re hoping to prove the above hypothesis by showcasing ‘Theme For Velodrome’ by The Chemical Brothers, one of the official Olympic anthems this year. It’s got the adrenaline rush of all the podium posturing in the world …
Here at BAMM.tv, we’re not only dedicated to providing you with our own musical discoveries (although we’re pretty damn good at it, if we do say so ourselves) but we also like to use this blog-shaped mouthpiece to keep you posted on the latest developments from established artists we love. A lot of the time we’ll treat you to a pre-release stream of a single or album by just one artist …
… but sometimes days come along when an avalanche (album-lance?) of new material tumbles onto the internet at once. Today is one of those days, so rather than split things up we’re throwing everything together in one (a bit like that giant robot made of five others at the end of every Power Rangers episode) and providing you with a quick-stop solution to all your album preview needs.Circus-Large kids
Oh, what’s that? Only a new album announcement from one of the greatest bands in the world today. No concrete info as of yet, but the mere promise of a new collection of songs in 2013 should be enough to excite the most casual of fans. No word also as to whether the album will include ‘Abraham’s Daughter’ and ‘Horn Of Plenty’ (new tracks which featured on the soundtrack of ‘The Hunger Games’), but here they are for your enjoyment anyway:
Their self-titled debut album transformed from being the sleeper hit of late 2009 to the ubiquitous indie sound of early 2010. Now it seems that they’re all set to pull off another massive hit with their upcoming album ‘Co-exist’, scheduled to hit the racks on September 10th of this year – and today the band posted their brand new video ‘Angels’ to their Facebook page. Here it is …
They blossomed from the snotty-nosed new-punk troublemakers we all used to love as teenagers to stadium-playing goliaths with their 2004 ‘American Idiot’ album. 2009’s ’21st Century Breakdown’ was a massive seller but didn’t quite have the same cultural impact, so let’s see if their upcoming trilogy of new albums (yep, you read that right) “¡Uno!,” “¡Dos!” and “¡Tres!” puts them back on top. New single ‘Oh Love’ gives a taste of the trademark power-pop we can expect in September …
It’s all too easy to say that an artist has created a ‘soundscape’, when the label can often function as simple shorthand for ‘disjointed’ or ‘aimless’. There’s no worry of the term being misused with regard to NYC electronic duo Gatekeeper, however – when they set their hearts upon creating soundscapes, they really create soundscapes. Aaron David Ross and Matthew Arkell have an innate ability to mould noises and genres to their whim – be it big beat, acid house, experimental electronica or just full-on hands in the air DANCE.
That’s why – with the weekend just peeking round the corner like a tantalizing burlesque tease – it couldn’t be a better time to strap on some headphones and check these guys out. Their brand new album ‘Exo’ – due for release next Tuesday, the 17th July – fuses together the best of both worlds, enjoying both the accolade of being a genuinely innovative and bold musical odyssey and also the honor of being one of the best party records of the year so far.
Don’t believe us? Just check out the stream below for proof. Yep – that’s ‘Exo’ in its entirety, available for you to check out in advance. If you’re an electro-head, you’re gonna love this one …
Compliments are always nice, and while we like to think we’re a self-effacing and modest bunch here at BAMM.tv, we’re only human – and that means we can’t help but blush with pride whenever we get glowing feedback, be it mainstream press coverage or just a simple email from an enthusiastic fan. It’s what reminds us that our quest – to discover the next generation of great new artists and forge an exciting new ethos for the industry – is a passion shared by many others.
That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been included in AlwaysOn’s 2012 ‘Ones To Watch’. Every year AlwaysOn – the premier source for the analysis and prediction of top trends and top companies in digital media – releases it’s ‘Global 250′, which includes 50 up-and-coming digital companies to watch. This year they’ve highlighted BAMM.tv as one of these hot new properties, and we genuinely couldn’t be more excited.
Let’s hand it over to the AlwaysOn team for a moment:
“Inclusion in the AlwaysOn Global 250 Companies to Watch signifies leadership amongst its peers and game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. BAMM.tv was specially selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team and industry experts spanning the globe based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz.
“With a quickly maturing mobile and on-demand market, opportunities for technology innovation are opening up almost faster than entrepreneurs can respond. Application developers are now bringing their disruptive skills to the corporate and enterprise world, giving scope and purpose to users in the business world. Coupled with a massive smartphone and tablet adoption, the opportunities for this year’s up-and-comers are unlimited,” says Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. “This explosive market is being driven in large part by the companies that made this year’s AlwaysOn Global 250 Companies to Watch list. We congratulate the AlwaysOn Global 250 Companies to Watch, companies that our editors believe represent some of the highest-growth opportunities in today’s private company marketplace.”
“Congratulations to all the 2012 AlwaysOn Global 250 winners. As the top venture capital-backed software companies continue to disrupt the consumer and business worlds, they’re joining forces with infrastructure and hardware innovators to create a new meta-platform for interconnected devices, applications, and operating systems. The AlwaysOn Global 250 companies continue to provide disruptive innovation in both the hardware and software needed to create and maintain compelling consumer and business communities in a connected, vibrant always-on world.”
Is it acceptable to party on a school-night? Ah, it doesn’t matter. We just cracked open the champagne anyway.
On a still summer’s day you would have no idea that the world’s biggest circus is landing in this part of town. But the past five years has all led up to this point, and whether you have tickets to the main event or not, there is a strong sense of anticipation. Since the announcement of the 2012 Olympics, millions have been plunged into places like Dalston, and amidst dilapidated buildings such as the Chinese on the corner, next to the station, there are shiny new ones with empty windows and draped pictures of model nuclear families. While the developers want to attract new blood, the cultural drive of the area hasn’t changed. E8 has the biggest concentration of music venues in East London,and every night of the week sees check-shirted Converse-wearing queues and crowds blocking up the area’s narrow pavements. Music lovers who want to escape the official pomp and hardline commercialism of the Olympics could find this place a refuge. On the other hand, London is the self-declared home of live music and there is no better time for the music industry to showcase this. So has it been able to benefit from Olympics funding? The world’s biggest temporary tourist attraction provides a great test case of how musicians and bands interact with promoters, brands and old-school arts funders.
Despite the tangible gains in terms of development, there is a distinct air of a wedding that no-one wants to go to. You might have a good time in spite of yourself, but there’s a pervading sense of doom. Funding cuts have hit culture the hardest, but the Olympics offered the chance of a possible recoup, with money being allocated to unique, large-scale projects.
On the Olympics website, the official angle is: “The Olympic and Paralympic brands are incredibly powerful. They evoke the emotion, excitement and values of the Games. The London 2012 brand is fundamental to the Games. It is how we identify the Games, how we communicate our ambition, and how we drive excitement and enthusiasm for the Games.” Most of the run-up to the Olympics have been marred with stories about planned lockdowns and deployment of police to prevent the unauthorised use of the Olympics logo, or related mentions. Companies are not allowed to use any combination of ‘London’, ‘Olympic’ or ‘Games’ in conjunction or separately, meaning that numerous companies including Easy Jet and Mercedes have been forced to pull new advertising campaigns.
The impact of the branding exercise has been felt by those not traditionally associated with balaclavas and placards. The Musicians Union (MU) has been one of the most vocal about how the protective policy is affecting their work. More professional musicians have found themselves being approached for free work, according to the organisation. The rules of organising an event next to the Olympics is that it cannot be affiliated with anyone but official sponsors of the sporting event. With most professional music events being funded to the hilt (in the absence of government funding), it’s nearly impossible for professional music organisers to affiliate their events to the Olympics because of branding clashes. Horace Trubridge,of the MU, says that the Olympics have not given any tangible returns to musicians – and is unlikely to leave a legacy.
The main beneficiaries so far have been local acts who are able to adopt the ‘Inspired By’ slogan. The protectiveness over the use of this has frustrated professional musicians, who have lost out on potential income from not being able to stage events with the Olympics brand, the union claims.
Another issue has been the decision to stage the opening and closing ceremonies with pre-recorded music. The MU believe that this element has not been left to chance, because the organisers have instead focused their energies on the other elements of the spectacle. Trubridge described the decision as “pure laziness”. He said the biggest gains had gone to professional musicians who ironically are recording music to use for the live ceremonies – because of the policy against live music.
The Olympics may even have hastened the death of the festival scene. Trubridge said: “The festival scene is suffering a double hit and taken a lot of interest away from the festival scene – Hopdown and Sonisphere – a lot of the smaller festivals have been pulled this year. It’s really hard to see a balancing side, when you don’t see any return.”
The very event itself is unlikely to bolster the actual music it does showcase, given that it’s not live. For the Musicians Union, that sums up the failures of the cultural policy of 2012’s Olympics. Trubridge said: “Live music should have been the most important aspect of opening and closing. That’s what this country is famous for, but it’s been ignored to accommodate what’s considered most important. People in the UK don’t like recorded music in any event – we like reality shows because they feature live bands. We’re going to see a spectacular show without live music so we’re struggling to see any benefit.” Most recently, it was claimed that the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has an official policy of not paying musicians as they benefit from “exposure” by playing at the events (even though they’re not playing live).
It appears there’s a dark cloud over the events already, given the difficulties in coming to mutually satisfying agreements with many of its non-sporting performers. For many musicians, it could be difficult to forget the way they’ve been treated at a time when there should have been more than enough work to go around.
Returning to East London
And what does it mean for musicians in the epicentre of the city’s musical scene? It’s business as usual for most. Dalston’s music scene is busy, with the attention given to its venues balanced by a steady and loyal flow of regulars. Cafe Oto has been one of the most feted venues, with its strikingly leftfield roster which has seen it host artists from all over the world. Newspapers and magazines such The Guardian and Italian Vogue have described it as among the most culturally relevant music venues in the country. Despite the international praise,the cafe situates some of its ethos in the immediate community, and has fostered links with local projects such as radio station NTS. Its new clientele haven’t changed its goal or its vision of itself. John from Cafe Oto said, tongue-in-cheek: “We do get people who look cool coming in. But we don’t turn them away. They get bored easily and usually leave anyway.”
NTS interestingly features archival pictures of Dalston as the backdrop on the site, showing a side to the place that many of its listeners might not know. It features shows from local tastemakers and established DJs, covering a huge range of genres, possibly creating as much musical diversity as most of Dalston’s venues put together. More new venues are opening up replacing the makeshift ones which disappear, while Turkish bar owners are opening up venues in their basement to host more low-key nights.
For some, the changes in Hackney and Newham have only impacted in the most superficial way. The entrepreneurial spirit which made grime take off in the first place isn’t that far removed from that spirit which is behind the burgeoning digital industry of the so-called Silicon Roundabout. Elijah Butterz, owner of the grime label Butterz and Rinse FM DJ, told us how the perception of this East End-born music has changed radically since some of its musicians have become national award nominated. “We used to be seen as criminals, not entrepreneurs,” he said. But the landscape has changed, especially given the need to branch out into different mediums – and the cheapness and ease of exploring those with the rise of mobile technologies.
But the Olympics, he adds, is something that’s just there in the background when he’s near his home, rather than something that’s impacted on his life. He added: “I have two friends who lost their jobs this week. I don’t think it’s a priority for them. I don’t think I know anyone who has gained anything out of it.”
He also concludes that the exposure of the music had actually taken it out of its postcode, to other parts of the country, so now it’s impossible to tell where the music is from – whereas previously it was all about locale. So East London’s looking outwards, suitably, at a time when millions of people across the world will be paying attention to it.
BT River of Music is a massive showcase of free music from both established and emerging talent. It takes place the weekend before the opening ceremony, so could be a good way of saving your account balance beforehand. The best thing about this is that it takes place across London so visitors don’t have to schlep across the capital for entertainment. Given the branding restrictions, there’s less likelihood of seeing professional musicians playing, but there is a chance to check out more idiosyncratic local groups and see how grassroots music develops.
Alternatively, it might be easier to stay at home and watch the musical events from your hotel or rented accommodation television. The BBC has – at time of severe cuts to other public services – spent millions on televising concerts celebrating the Olympics. Interestingly, one of the films commissioned is by Julien Temple, the director of The Great Rock and Rock Swindle which features ‘God Save the The Queen’-singing Sex Pistols. As well as staging the annual British proms, it will also be televising several concerts including Radio One’s Hackney Weekend 2012. Ironically, the television may be the only place where people get to see live music. The BBC has described it as the biggest ever free-ticketed live music festival it has ever hosted.
Residents of the Olympic boroughs saw one tangible return in the form of the the later concert. The curation here is probably the most contemporary and fun of all the events – Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna and Azealia Banks feature in the extensive list of credible acts. Those lucky enough to get free tickets are probably saving hundreds on seeing the acts perform on tour.
The most heavily branded of all the events taking place around the Olympics is Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay. Coca-Cola has organised a series of concerts marking the delivery of the Olympic torch to the borough, starting from Land’s End. The Olympics seems to cause musicians to abandon any credibility they once had. Katy B and Mark Ronson are teaming up for a Coca-Cola song created especially for Olympics titled ‘Anywhere in the World’.
Blur’s fixation with Britishness has paid off, as the band will be headlining the closing ceremony in Hyde Park – the site of their last major reunion in 2009. Let’s ignore the fact that it looks like Britain hasn’t had any era-defining bands in the past ten years, and that they are irrevocably associated with the more plentiful Labour government years. Despite their early battles with Oasis, they’re now a non-controversial crowd-pleaser (and credible with it).
Lead singer Damon Albarn is also reconvening his Africa Express through the Barbican and taking it on a tour around the UK, hitting up the other musical cities in the country such as Manchester and Leeds. It’s easy to forget about the nationwide impact of the Olympics funding on arts events – and how much more innovative or daring these can be, away from the cultural capital. The contemporary arts centre received a huge injection of funding to hold events because of its location within the City of London. It has already hosted a number of landmark shows including a staging of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach. The area itself is a great place to experience the juxtapositions of this part of London. Walking around, it’s like a who’s who of the news – visitors can walk from the former grounds of Occupy St Pauls up to the banks and then finally arrive at the famed Silicon Roundabout.
The Olympics is often used to highlight world events, and this year’s celebrations are not any different. One of the major musical celebrations will start off in the former danger zone of Londonderry. The Peace One Day concert in London is a culmination of events organised across the world, called Global Truce which countdown to what it describes as the biggest reduction of global violence across the world. Singers at the event will include Pixie Lott and Newton Faulkner.
The New Music 20×12 Weekend might appeal to anyone with more experimental taste in music. Organised by the PRS for Music Foundation, the event brings together new and rising talent performing specially commissioned pieces. It’s also cross-platform, incorporating dance and film.
GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE HITS OF THE OLYMPICS
Olympics music occupies that strange place – unlikely to be in the most ardent sports-lovers record collection, it nevertheless remains culturally resonant for years. We know it when we hear it, but would otherwise be stumped to name our favourite. For your benefit, we’ve put together some of the anthems and songs inspired by the world’s greatest show of strength.
1. Koreana ‘Hand in Hand’/1988 Seoul Games
Possibly has had one of the longer lifespans of any Olympics song in its home country. The video is quite something, and sums up why Korean pop has such a cult following abroad. It’s impossible not to feel lifted by this ridiculously anthemic number – despite being horrified by the 1980s hairstyles. The spectacle in it has to be seen to be believed, which is the Olympics’ mandate. Hundreds of dancers in red costumes swirl around each other in perfect co-ordination.
2. Celine Dion ‘The Power of the Dream’/1996 Atlanta Games
Celine dedicated all the money for this saccharine power ballad to Canadian athletes. The global star has been known for her left-wing gestures and her fierce loyalty to the French-speaking Canadian cause. The song extols the power of the collective imagination.
3. Gloria Estefan ‘Reach’/1996 Atlanta Games
The Latino singers contribution may have been inspired by her own experience of paralysis and her fight against it. The song was nominated for a Grammy. It’s a slow-burn song.
4. Tina Arena ‘The Flame’/2000 Sydney Games
Tina Arena was a huge star in her native Australia, and her presence with this song was a testimony to the country’s many home-grown but internationally undervalued stars. Interesting, the composer of The Flame went on to become the musical director of ‘Australian Idol’. It builds up to an epic second half following an average start.
5. Bjork ‘Oceania’/2004 Athens Olympics
Bjork was an unexpected choice – but if there’s an artist who is good at providing spectacle, then it’s the Icelandic singer. Her dress folded out into a 100,000 ft map of the world, which billowed like a giant cloud on the aerial view of the stadium. She was forced to sing to a backing track after the track without her voice was damaged, but refused to mime on stage. Despite that, the performance was one of the rare ones where there was a sense of intimacy, created by the fragile delicate voice. If only more cities had the same sense of adventure when it came to choosing performers.
6. ‘You and Me’ Liu Han/2008 Beijing Olympics
The Chinese anthem was sung by Huan and British opera star Sarah Brightman, both hugely established and popular in their native countries. It’s typically saccharine but that’s a minor point next to the city’s spectacular opening ceremony for the event.
7. ‘Barcelona’/1992 Barcelona Games
This was originally composed and sung by Freddie Mercury, who died shortly afterwards. The song also became somewhat of a national anthem which seems to be rare among these Olympic efforts. It was also played at UEFA games for several years after its release.
8. ‘Spinnin’’ Tinchy Stryder & Dionne Bromfield/2012 London Games
The 2012 Olympic anthem for London marks a departure from the traditional ballad aimed at older record-buyers. Stryder and soul singer Bromfield collaborate on this upbeat number, which still carries the traditional Olympic message of unity and goodwill.
9. Amigos Para Siempre/Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras/1992 Barcelona
This song was performed at the Spanish premier’s funeral. Composed by the most British of composers Andrew Lloyd Webber, it was sung by operatic stars Sarah Brightman and Carreras. Like the other Barcelona anthem, it proved popular beyond the event.
10.Church Bell Music/ Martin Creed – 2012 London
This harks back to the art competitions that were held within the Olympics before the second world war. Conceptual artist Martin Creed (responsible for the on-off light switch which won the Turner Prize in 2001) proposes that bells everywhere in the country – from churches, to bikes, to that of town criers – are rung simultaneously on the first morning of the Olympics.
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