Some bands are just too good to actually exist – should their awesomeness manifest itself in the real world, chances are the very fabric of reality could collapse in on itself. Maybe. Probably. Look, we haven’t researched the scientific logistics of the whole thing. We’re not Stephen Hawking, you know.
Take our hand (come on, its still not summer yet, you could use the body warmth) and join us for a rundown of the Top 5 Greatest Fictional Bands in history …
(Note: we decided not to include Spinal Tap in this list, because that would possibly be the most obvious thing ever, and we’re nothing if not contrary).
5. Wyld Stallyns – ‘Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure’
Okay, so they can’t actually play (despite a plot device in which their future songwriting skills help unite the planet in peace) but we’ll be damned if an evening at a Bill and Ted gig wouldn’t be the best party this side of 1988.
So the humble CD has seen better days, but let’s not forget that – while it ruled the physical-format roost – it was a good friend to us all. It had plenty of quirks and distinctions which were unique to the format – like those little spokes which made it impossible to get the damn thing out of the case, or the fact that they scratched incredibly easy and then skipped mercilessly, or their massive overpricing, or their limited 74-minute storage capacity, or …
Ahem. Let’s concentrate on one of the more nostalgic elements, shall we? Who remembers the phenomenon of the ‘hidden track’ – the cheeky musical additions to albums which went unlabelled or unheralded. Vinyl records could contain such hidden delights, true (via the technique of ‘double-grooving’), but CDs remained the dominant format for these sneaky add-ons. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones …
5. ‘Zero Is Also A Number’ – Nick Cave
A real oddity, this. In 1996, ‘Songs In The Key Of X’ was released – a compilation album of music influenced by (or featured in) seminal TV series ‘The X-Files’. Cave’s brilliant ‘Red Right Hand’ was a full-fledged album track, but the sleeve notes contained a cryptic message: “Nick Cave and the Dirty Three would like to remind you that zero is also a number.” By holding down the rewind button for a few minutes at the very start of the CD, listeners could discover a hauntingly beautiful secret track that actually surpassed the rest of the album. Mulder and Scully would have been proud.
Here’s another of our regular Friday rundowns of what the BAMM.tv team members are listening to right now. This week it’s the turn of Nick Hansen, Co-Founder and Company Director …
1. Caribou – Jamaila (Swim, 2010)
I’m down with songs that are tripped-out and mildly twisted, full of tension and intensity. Well, look no further. I think it was a brilliant decision to make this video (finally), using such a challenging washed-out grading and imagery. The dichotomy really works between the tropical sounds of what sounds like steel drums and what I’m imagining to be a Canadian wilderness, maybe British Columbia, all of it just before it gets seriously cold. Overall, Daniel Snaith is obvioiusly a genius — do have a look at his PhD, but it’s all a bit Greek to me.
Well, it’s that time of the week when we usually select a member of the BAMM.tv Team to choose their favorite tunes of the moment … but, as we’ve installed the amazing San Francisco three-piece Geographer as our Featured Artist, we’ve handed the feature over to them. There’s just one slight twist – all their faves are from the BAMM.tv archive …
‘Better Way’ – The Soft White Sixties
These badasses play MUSIC, and they play it well and they play it raw. You get that “I’m listening to something good” feeling in your guts when you watch this.
Another week, another playlist from one of our all-knowing BAMM Team (that’s ‘all-knowing’ in terms of music, by the way … none of us are too hot on quantum theory). This time around, we find out what Editorial Director Christopher Davies is listening to right now …
1. “Hold On, Hold On” (Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, 2006) – Neko Case
One of the many talents behind The New Pornographers, Neko Case effortlessly transposes the melodic pop strains of that particular supergroup into her solo work. Nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking – just great songwriting.
2. “Green Shirt” (Armed Forces, 1979) – Elvis Costello
For a good decade or so, Costello was quite literally at the top of this whole ‘music’ game. He has too many classic tunes to mention, but this one is often overlooked, so I’m going to stick it here. It’s just great: instantly hummable yet undercut with a weird simmering menace (‘you can please yourself, but somebody’s gonna get it ..’)
3. “Shake This” (Street Hop, 2009) – Royce Da 5’9
This is, quite simply, awesome.
4. “Ladybird” – (Nancy & Lee, 1968) – Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
Hazlewood and Sinatra are maybe one of the best male-female double acts in history. There are lots of great moments on their 1968 album ‘Nancy & Lee’ (everyone knows ‘Some Velvet Morning’ … or at least they should do) but ‘Ladybird’ is a personal favorite.
5. “Careful” (The Warning, 2006) – Hot Chip
Gotta love these techno-geek ravers and their sense of undying fun and experimentation. ‘Careful’ is, in my humble opinion, one of the best opening tracks to any album EVER …
Lots of things change with the dawn of a new year … but some things always remain constant. The BAMM.tv crew, for instance, will still be the same bunch of highly-knowledgeable music masterminds they always were, and we’ll still be sharing a new playlist from one of the team each and every Friday. This week, we ask the multi-talented Ian McPherson to share his current musical choices …
1. “Here I Come” (1996) – Love & Hate: The Best of Dennis Brown
A top male reggae vocalist, Brown is the true king of roots rock reggae and ‘lovers rock’, a sound that was born in the UK, and also one that has been lost in the past. He has smooth vocals that complement the baseline. I love his songs because of the spiritual overtones in his works.
2. “Let’s Stay Together” (1972) Al Green
The harmonies are uplifting and the pure expression in his voice is one of pain, but the words have a comforting vibe that makes a person feel like they are not the only one who suffers. Pure soul in a bottle.
3. “Move on up” (1963) – Curtis Mayfield
Blaxploitation films formed my introduction to Curtis Mayfield. He was a great story teller, painting vivid images with the sound of early New York City, like a roving reporter on the streets. A believable, heartfelt voice with great musical arrangements and melodies, that sadly seem to have been lost to the past.
4. “Microphone Fiend” (Follow the Leader, 1988) – Eric B. & Rakim
I always loved early Hip Hop. There not anyone out there right now in Hip Hop or Rap that has taken nor even touched the crown of Rakim, a Hip hop master of word play with more layers than an onion skin. He’s an artist with a smooth flow … with a message in his story telling … a wordplay wizard with very deep metaphors and cyphers.
5.”Dreams” (1977, ‘Rumours’) Fleetwood Mac
I grew up with Fleetwood Mac and I still have them on my MP3 player today. “You Can Go Your Own Way” and “Dreams” are both epic tunes. A great band bursting with passion, with a sound that takes me back to my youth.
Here’s our final BAMM.tv team member playlist of 2012 (don’t worry – we’ve got lots more to come in the New Year). Let’s see out the year by asking Director, DoP and Editor Jason which tunes are currently taking command of his headphones …
Alt-J – Something Good
Deserved winners of the Mercury Prize. Great song from a great album with an uplifting yet vulnerable chorus breaking out of stilted, rhythmic verses.
The Jam – Town Called Malice
For me Weller is the best songwriter that Britain has ever produced and in this song he marries razor sharp lyrics to a fuller, horn driven sound. Just like the man himself, this track is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago.
The Libertines – Time for Heroes
Maybe I’m showing my age but this is the last time that British music felt truly exciting for me. With hindsight, nothing really changed and neither Doherty nor Barat lived up to the hype but for a brief moment they were the centre of my musical world. This track takes me right back to that point.
Braintax, Jehst & Yungun – XFM Freestyle
Not even an official track but a great example of the hidden depths of UK hip-hop – a scene, which has never really broken the mainstream but has bubbled strongly under the surface for years. You get the impression that these guys could go on forever – one whip smart line after another.
Bobby Darin – If I were a Carpenter
It’s so simple but there’s something in his voice here that makes me want to cry. Just an incredibly pure performance with Darin’s truly epic voice cutting through.
Friday rolls round once again, which means that it’s time for another musical mastermind from the BAMM crew to share their current recommendations. This time we ask Cam Op and Editor Diana what she is listening to at the moment …
1. Hot Knife – (The Idler Wheel… 2012) – Fiona Apple
The harmonies of the song are SICK! I had not been so excited about a song like this in a long time, it’s nothing but vocals (hers and her sister’s), piano and percussion. She just proves how good of a singer she is.
2. A Commotion (Metals, 2011) – Feist
A violent song that calls for revolution. I identify with this because of sociopolitical issues developing in Mexico right now… I just wish everyone would just cause A Commotion!
3. Declare Independence (Volta, 2007) – Bjork
The title explains everything. Very present with stuff happening in my country right now. Bjork herself is singing this song as an anthem to claim freedom of speech, as she dedicated this song to Pussy Riot in a concert she gave in Finland a few weeks ago. Such a great message, with intricate beats and electronic distortions.
4. R U Mine (R U Mine, 2012) – Arctic Monkeys
Awesome riffs, great vocals. I love the evolution of this band. Alex Turner went from being a shy and uncomfortable kid, to a rockstar. The dynamic between Turner and drummer Matt Helders is so strong, they remind me of a contemporary Jagger and Richards.
5. Sleep Alone (Two Suns, 2009) – Bat For Lashes
Great, dreamy tune. She’s such a visual musician, and evokes a lot of imagery. I love the chorus. Great sophomore album, looking forward to hear the new stuff.
Here’s another look at what the BAMM.tv team are listening to right now. This week, we asked BAMM Latino producer Sonia to share her current recommendations …
1. No Quise Mirar (Déjenme llorar, 2012) – Carla Morrison
The first time I heard this artist I wasn’t very into the tone of her voice, but after listening to a couple of songs, I realized that the tone only emphasized, for me, the melancholic nature of her music. This song, in particular, I enjoy because the lyrics speak about the moment of loss where we realize that things were falling apart but we were refusing to open our eyes, and see reality.
2. Love Created I (Challenges, 2008) – Tarrus Riley
I have many questions about religion and this song states very simply one of the many points I feel: “Don’t tell me, I was born in sin and shaped in inequity when love created I.” Also, I love that the inspiration for this songs come from words of Marcus Garvey.
3. Yo aprendí (Polvo de la Humedad, 2012) – Danay Suarez
Elegant clarity on a difficult issue. Cuban rappers are on the frontier of expressing social and political issues.
4. Resumen de los 90 (Haciendo Historia, 2009) – Habana D’ Primera
The first time I heard this song, there was no way I could ignore the power of the “new” band. Here was a new flavor but winning me over by having a song praising and quoting all the songs that make me miss my times back home.
5. Sina (Ao Vivo no Morro, 2009) – Grupo Revelacao
Short on recommendations for stuff to listen to? Don’t worry – it’s Friday, which means that its time for another crew member of the good ship BAMM to share their five favorite tunes of the moment. Let’s ask Executive Assistant Catherine Le Pape what she’s listening to right now …
1. “Stuck on the Puzzle” (Soundtrack for ‘Submarine’, 2011) – Alex Turner
A different sound for Alex Turner, who wrote the entire soundtrack for this movie. I like the simplicity of the song and the atmosphere it creates.
2. “Le Plus Beau du Quartier” (Quelqu’un m’a dit, 2003) – Carla Bruni
There’s more to Carla Bruni than just being Nicolas Sarkozy’s arm candy. With “Quelqu’un m’a dit”, she delivers a beautiful, folky first album, full of wordplays and literary references. This song – which samples the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Daydream’- remains my favorite.
3. “Right or Wrong” (Wan Santo Condo, 2004) – Wan Santo Condo
I still can’t believe this band, from Austin, TX, only got to release one (but great) album. Guitarist Jason Mozersky is now kicking ass with Ben Harper’s Relentless7.
4. “Swamp Song” – (13, 1999) – Blur
Since 1995, Blur has been and will remain my favorite band. I could have chosen just any song from them, but this one is a good “pick-me-up”.
5. “The Truth” – (So How’s Your Girl, 1999) – Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Roisin Murphy