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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 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.

Ha Ha Tonka: Their Favorites From The BAMM.tv Vault

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We hope that you’re enjoying our new Featured Artist Ha Ha Tonka. There’s lot more great (and exclusive) stuff to come, including a fantastic competition lined up for next week. In the meantime, however, we asked the Tonka gents to select their five favorite moments from the sprawling BAMM.tv archives. Here are their choices:

The Flashbulb – ‘Virtuous Cassette’

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Wild Child: Their Favorites From The BAMM.tv Vault

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Hope you’re enjoying our exclusive season of stuff from Austin’s very own melody-merchants Wild Child, who have presently been crowned our Featured Artist. We’ve already interviewed them and revealed their personal playlist … now we ask them to pick their personal highlights from the massive musical vault here at BAMM.tv. Which great artists did they choose? Check out the list below …

1. Birds and Batteries – ‘Trouble Makes Three’

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Wild Child: Their Personal Playlist

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Earlier in the week we introduced you to our Featured Artist – Austin’s very own Wild Child, a group whose multifarious melodies will surely see them blasting out of every open window this coming summer (trust us, we’re usually good at predicting these sort of things). We asked Wild Child to put together a playlist of their favorite stuff right now, and this is what they dropped our way. Perfect entertainment to unwind with on a Friday …

1. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Awesomely quirky animation as recommended by an awesomely quirky band.

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BAMM.tv Featured Artist: Wild Child

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It’s the return of our Featured Artist 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 Best Of 2013 – Sophie DeWitt

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Here’s another ‘Best Of 2013′ roundup from the musical masterminds within the BAMM.tv team. This time around, we asked Sophie (Artist Relations) to pick a variety of her favorite musical moments from the year gone by …

Music documentary – “20 Feet From Stardom”

An intriguing look at the backing artists who provide invaluable support to the biggest megastars of the music world.

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Best Of 2013 – Sonia Pina, ‘BAMM Latino’ Producer

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Time for another of our multi-themed ‘Best Of 2013′ lists. Today we asked BAMM.tv’s Sonia Pina to select her favorite Latino music discoveries that she has been wowed by over the past year. The list is as follows …

1. Mao de Oito – Beats (Brazil)

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BAMM.tv Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen

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What do you want for Christmas? A new iPhone? Some cool clothes? A nice selection of festive spirits? Peace on Earth, and goodwill to all men? Bah. Booorr-iiing. That’s, like, so predictable. You should follow the lead of the Fountains Of Wayne – they don’t want any of those tired old cliches. Oh, no – they want an alien for Christmas, and they’re going to tell you exactly how goshdarn much they want an alien for Christmas in their alien-for-Christmas-themed song ‘I Want An Alien For Christmas.’ Happy Day Seventeen of the BAMM Advent Calendar Countdown!

Best Of 2013 – Jeff LaPenna, Media Director

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Incredibly, 2013 is almost over – and while the year might have sped by like a freight train, that hasn’t stopped the BAMM.tv team from amassing some favorite musical moments from the last twelve months. Oh – and we’re not sticking to that boring old ‘Albums Of The Year’ format that a billion zillion other outlets like to recycle. Instead, our team have chosen a category close to their hearts/talents/creative outlook.

To kick things off, BAMM.tv Media Director Jeff LaPenna has compiled his favorite Special Effects Music Videos of 2013. Here’s the list …


1. Beyoncé – “Grown Woman”

Her surprise new album was a late entry for ‘Musical Surprise Of 2013′ – but that’s not the list we’re dealing with here. ‘Grown Woman’ fuses nostalgia, retro video effects and psychedilic verve with typical Beyonce power:

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BAMM.tv Advent Calendar: Day Four

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If we asked you to make a list of acts most likely to release a Christmas song, chances are you wouldn’t include brooding slowcore college-radio darlings Low. You’d be utterly and unforgivably wrong, however (okay, maybe we would forgive you, seeing as its the season of goodwill and all that) – the moody Minnesotans actually released a whole EP of Christmas tunes in 1999, presenting the whole shebang as a gift to their loyal fans. Highlight of the lot is today’s entry in the BAMM Advent Calendar: ‘Just Like Christmas’.

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