Posts Tagged ‘Amsterdam’

Global Scene Live: Amsterdam – Avant La Lettre, ‘Floodwater Blues’

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Day three of our exclusive season of live sessions from Desmet Studios in Amsterdam, and we’re indulging in some indie rock harmonies courtesy of Avant La Lettre. Layered and compulsive but also light and lucid at the same time, this performance of ‘Floodwater Blues’ is the ideal way of kicking back and looking forward to the weekend (it’s on the horizon, folks … almost there … just one more day …)

Avant La Lettre has new tracks coming out next January. Check out their tight performance from earlier this year and then get to know them at


Introducing Global Scene Live: Amsterdam!

Catch up with’s ‘Global Scene: Amsterdam’

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Global Scene Live: Amsterdam – The Secret Love Parade, ‘Plastic In Plastic’

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Our exclusive Amsterdam sessions continue apace! We’re only on Day Two of our Global Scene Live showcase, which means that we have acres and acres of great music just waiting to be unleashed. Today’s performance comes from The Secret Love Parade.

Warm yet raw, melodic yet edgy, with hints of Ladytron, I Break Horses and The Knife among others … The Secret Love Parade’s unique brand of harmonised electronica was a particular highlight of our varied Desmet sessions. Check out ‘Plastic In Plastic’ – and if you love these guys, there’s no need to keep it a secret: tell us what you think below!


Introducing Global Scene Live: Amsterdam!

Catch up with’s ‘Global Scene: Amsterdam’

Check out Sufis live at!

Global Scene Live: Amsterdam – Koffie, ‘There Is A Catch’

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Aaaaand let’s go. Global Scene Live: Amsterdam (our season of exclusive content as detailed yesterday) begins right now!

First up we’ve got ‘There Is A Catch’ by Afrobeat-jazz-funk masterminds Koffie. Inspired by this frenetic Nigerian style, these guys mix endless beats with swoops of improvisation to make a scintillating whole. As you’ll no doubt grasp from the performance above, their live shows have the pumping dynamic of a house party (one at which the DJ has become all but obsolete) …

Come back tomorrow for another great band from our Amsterdam sessions!


Introducing Global Scene Live: Amsterdam!

Catch up with’s ‘Global Scene: Amsterdam’

Check out Sufis live at!

Introducing Global Scene Live: Amsterdam!

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As we recalled last week, has had its eye on Amsterdam over the past year … and the verdict’s in: the Dutch can bring the goods with the best of them.

As we learned in the third episode of the Global Scene Amsterdam documentary series, the Netherlands produces a considerable amount of English-language output, with diverse influences. Inspiration comes from within, but location matters — even in a small country, with artists in the West tending to “play towards” the UK and the US, artists in the East keeping an eye on Germany, and artists in the South taking influence from Belgium. There is also a “Schiphol sound”, reflective of the large international airport at the heart of Western Europe where everyone seems to pass through at some time or other.

Global Scene is our flagship network program, offering a snapshot of what it’s like to be a musician in the most interesting music cities in the world (as well as Amsterdam, we’ve previously looked at the ultra-cool city of London). doesn’t necessarily set out to produce “world music”, but we do produce interesting music from different parts of the world – music that we think deserves global recognition.

The diversity of the content we found in the Netherlands was astounding, and we think you’re in for a treat. We’re kicking things off with a week’s worth of singles from our Global Scene Live concert series, recorded in Amsterdam this year, as the documentary series was coming to an end.

For the rest of the week, we’ll be highlighting six outstanding bands. These include Koffie (playing an irresistable Afrobeat-inspired track), Avant la Lettre (the superb Dutch band with a French name playing compelling American indie), The Secret Love Parade (Holland’s answer to The xx), Hit Me TV (essential indie rockers whose albums you can download for free), Horses on Fire (indeed, they were smouldering that night) and the infectious energy and emotion of The Fudge.

Stay with this week and next – because once you hear these songs, you’ll want to find out more about the artists. We’ll be releasing exclusive documentary interviews with all the bands all next week, alongside the world-famous International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)! We’ll also be rolling out more great videos from even more Global Scene Live artists, filmed at Amsterdam’s Desmet Studios, throughout the end of the year.

Oh yeah, musn’t forget (as if we would) …

Nobody would doubt that one of the most warmly received music groups in Amsterdam is the band Jungle by Night. Playing Afrobeat-inspired self-envisaged musical journeys, we had the privilege of working with them as they released their first full-length CD at the temple of Amsterdam music performances, Paradiso. We’ve captured the moment with an hour-long documentary introducing you to this unique musical collective, sharing the celebration on the happy occasion of their CD release party, and showing a good long set from Paradiso. That comes out next Monday, and we’re telling you: you won’t want to miss it.

Incidentally, if you’re in Amsterdam, you can pop by the Melkweg cinema on November 24th (time TBC) to catch a live screening!

So keep on your musical radar in November. You’re going to like what you see and hear.

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 in the next few weeks, as we’ll be releasing the sessions recorded by at Desmet Studio’s in Amsterdam last January.

The BAMM Argument: OK Go

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BAMM writers Chris and Jasper face-off for and against a musical issue of the day. This time around – the pros and cons of viral promo-vid pioneers Ok Go …

For (Christopher Davies):

Let’s begin with a caveat: there’s no point in pretending that Chicago rock quartet OK Go are better known for their musical output than for their innovative promo vids. Ever since they rocked out four treadmills for the beautifully simple and engaging reel to ‘Here It Goes Again,’ internet-land is always awash with excitement whenever they unleash their latest effort.

And this, it would seem, is where the problem lies for a lot of people. Naysayers insist that OK Go represent something insidious – a genuine triumph for style over content, a band who eschew any interesting creative direction in favor of gimmicky virals that are guaranteed to rack up the Facebook hits. Their music takes a very noticeable second place – perhaps even to the band itself.

Just how fair is this? No-one has ever claimed that Ok Go are a revolutionary-sounding act – their stock-in-trade is the sort of whimsical indie which has proven to be the lifeblood of college radio stations for decades now. This doesn’t mean that their output is bad: perhaps a little uninspiring to those who demand a little more ‘oomph’ with their listening choices, but there’s certainly a market for their kind of thing.

Is their music worthy of the same contempt as the stuff out there that is genuinely lazy, tired and cynical? Sure, they’ve recently started to engage in all sorts of corporate sponsorship, but last time I checked that wasn’t fundamentally incompatible with having artistic integrity. Only the tiresome whiners who still hold up Kurt Cobain as some bastion of ‘never selling out’ would be so churlish. (And while we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus controversial argument for you all: Nirvana really weren’t very good).

Also – let’s address the fact that OK Go’s music is overshadowed by the videos. Whose music wouldn’t be? This isn’t so much a comment on the state of their sound as it is the sheer imaginative power of their promos. To dislike a band for excelling in one area of their craft – while they are simultaneously nothing less than proficient in all the others – is a bizarre mission statement indeed.

Against (Jasper van der Put):

Let me start off by stating that I think cross-media fertilization is a good thing. Engaging multiple senses should make for an enhanced artistic experience. As a consequence, I would have zero problems with OK GO if they would define themselves as a multimedia platform, with the video aspect at least of equal importance as the so-cal band ‘s musical stylings. My issue lies with the persistence of OK GO in portraying themselves as a proper band, when the music’s in fact the weakest link in what OK GO brings to the table.

Consider the band website. OK GO very clearly presents the tabs marked Shows (live music) and Music (recordings) ahead of Videos. Standard practice for any indiepop band you might say. Looks can be deceiving. Their entire frontpage consists of paraphernalia that ties in with their video for the new single “Needing/Getting”, including behind-the-scenes documentary, novelty merchandise (car fresheners) and “OK GO’s ultimate road trip playlist”. Then there’s what Paste Magazine refers to as:

“More impressive than the driving stunts, intricacies of the course and thousands of instruments (junkyard pianos, homemade percussion, tubas and Gretsch guitars) that are featured in “Needing/Getting,” however, is the successful collaboration of band branding that the video represents.”

Sure, partnering up with Chevrolet for their new video was fruitful. Having your video premiered at the Superbowl is not to be sniffed at. But this is a BAND, or at least so they say. But there’s just not much music going on with OK Go. Before I set about writing this piece, I watched this video at least three times and while the driving stunts, intricacies of the course and thousands of instruments used are firmly planted in my brain, there’s not a single hook or melody that stuck with me from the song itself. It’s a pattern that exhibits itself throughout the band’s singles catalogue, from the treadmill shtick to the Rube Goldberg Machine video. They even went as far as to perform their breakthrough treadmill act at the 2006 MTV Awards, supported by a BACKING TRACK.

This choice of marketing value over musical prowess and novelty choreography over musical instruments grants the final push with which to discard OK Go as a musical act. They might be great video producers, fine marketeers, stunt drivers or treadmill ballerinas … but it’s pretty evident: OK GO are not a band. At all.

Check Out The Final Episode Of Global Scene: Amsterdam

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Well, it’s been a great ride, but we’ve reached the last of our regular Friday instalments of BAMM’s Global Scene: Amsterdam. We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at this amazing city and all the fantastic musical elements it has to offer. To round things off, we’re looking to the future: who are the faces to watch in the world of Dutch music?

As for Global Scene itself? Well – it will return in the not-too-distant future! To date we’ve covered London and Amsterdam, and can guarantee that we’ll be heading somewhere similarly exciting next. Where would you guys like to see us go?