Posts Tagged ‘Phil Lang’

New Videos: ‘Keychains’ and ‘Yosemite’, Phil Lang

Posted on: No Comments’s very own Phil Lang steps in front of the camera for this double-bill of musical magic from an accomplished singer-songwriter.

First up, there’s ‘Keychains’. Shot on the rooftop of’s San Francisco office, this tune locks in on one of those required moments of a relationship that’s coming to an end – the returning of apartment keys.

In ‘Yosemite’, Lang sings “Now I know who I was, now I know who I’m not”, a touching sentiment in this country-tinged tune about being caught between two chapters of life. In other words, a song about coming to terms with getting older.

Why I Love Music –’s Phil Lang

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This is the first in a new regular series in which we ask the 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 –

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.

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. How To: Mini Tours

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So you’re in an up-and-coming new band. How do you go about making the transition from small, intimate gigs (perhaps playing to a circle of friends) to expanding your horizons? In the latest of our bite-size ‘How To’ vids,’s Phil Lang offers up a couple of hints and tips about embarking on a ‘mini tour’.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE: How To: Wrapping Cables How To: Concert Etiquette How To: Working With Musicians

Music Mail: Jonathan Kirchner, Con Brio

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Music Mail is an occasional feature from BAMM’s very own Phil Lang. Phil exchanges thoughts with some of our favourite artists on the big issues affecting musicians right now.

I’ll just throw it out there from the get-go here: the subject of this blog post is tired. The whole ‘should music be free / how do musicians make money off of their work?’ conundrum will get an eye-roll at the bar because most of us forget one simple fact: 99% of the world just doesn’t care all that much.

So if it’s a tired subject, then why am I writing about it? Because I have an idea I want to run by you. An idea that highlights my belief that people will pay for music. They will pay if they know more about who and what their money is going towards. They will pay if we give them a little more respect and treat them more like what they are: angel investors in a small business.

The idea came up by way of an email from a musician friend of mine. Jonathan Kirchner plays in the band Con Brio (if you don’t know, now you know—check them out). The following is taken from an email exchange between the two of us. And if you think I’m being flat-out foolish, then, by all means, please let me know. Warning: Duke basketball is used to prove a point (Kirch went to Duke University). Seeing as everyone who didn’t go to Duke despises Duke, I felt a warning was necessary. Also, I’ve edited a bit to clarify points and to prevent this post from going on and on. Here we go:

Kirch: Got a quick question for you to ponder.

Con Brio are putting together a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for our 2nd album (recorded live at amnesia) and to buy a tour van.

As a fan, is there any rad experience that you wish you could have with the band?

Phil: Let me think about this with Con Brio in mind. It comes down to the following: Why are you so passionate about Duke basketball? A shared identity. A shared experience. Even a shared dream (how many of us wish we could be out there slapping the floor on a big defensive stand in the Final Four?)

What does Con Brio share with fans and potential fans? To a certain extent, I think it’s even a shared dream.

To me, one of the most admirable things, one of the ballsiest things about you guys is some of the band members have pushed all their chips into music. You said, Fuck it. I’m going for it. There aren’t many people out there who have the seeds to do that, but there are a ton of us out there who think about it every day.

Also, demonstrate to potential contributors that you are going about it with some small business sense. Hell, break down the expenses and revenue. I would be really interested getting updated numbers—a spreadsheet even—of the costs of a band trying to make an album, selling CDs, touring, lodging, etc. How many albums do you need to sell to break even on an album with touring? How does having 5,000 CDs printed (buying in bulk at a lower rate per CD, but obviously more up front $) change your approach? Do you skip the overhead of a physical product and just offer a digital album, or is this dumb because most people will make impulse purchases at shows? What is the correlation between college radio play and album sales? How does gas price alter tour routes?

And so on. I just think people are willing to spend money on music if they know where their cash is going and how it’s being spent. Call me a dork, but I find this really, really interesting at this point in music.

Kirch: …I think you’re on to something here!  Thanks.

So am I nuts? Is Kirch nuts for thinking I might have something here? I pose this to you as music consumers. Would you be more willing to buy recorded music or financially support a band in some way if artists were transparent about the financials of their small business (the band)? Would you be more likely to pay for the music if you identified with the artists? If you’ve read up until now, then you’re definitely not in the 99% who doesn’t give two shits – which means you’ve thought about this, too.