I’ve already given up on the ratings system I established in the previous entry. Just can’t start giving number ratings to movies on the blog. I have another, less specific idea, that I’ll unveil soon.
The Color of Noise (2015, Eric Robel)
Been listening to Boss Hog and Melvins lately, so here I am checking out another record label doc right after hating the K Records one. This is two hours on Amphetamine Reptile Records and its founder Tom Hazelmyer, which sounded like it’d be punishing, so I planned to watch it in pieces. But it turned out to be everything I’ve been looking for in a rock doc, full of great music and stories, giving valuable info on AmRep bands I’ve never listened to (and making me wish used CD stores still existed so I could go on a shopping spree). And it’s great looking – slickly designed, with a ton of great visual material (oh, those posters!) from the defunct label’s history. Watched on streaming then immediately bought the blu-ray to check out extra features. This is the movie I’ll be recommending as the apex rock doc. Bonus: the director is from Nebraska.
The guy from God Bullies, I think:
Sabbath In Paradise (1998, Claudia Heuermann)
I guess I’ve given rock docs a bad rap, because this was great also. Another John Zorn-and-gang doc, talking about their unique methods of making Jewish music. Got me thinking about how many of the musicians I love the most – Robbie Fulks, Ted Leo, Yo La Tengo, lately Zorn – are enthusiastic, omnivorous music fans themselves, curating specific music histories through their own performances (and references, collaborators, cover songs), but this thought feels like it requires a book-length exploration, so I’ll stop there.
This guy sits in a movie theater, reading from a holy book as if to narrate the action.
Shield Around The K (2000, Heather Rose Dominic)
Pretty amateur-looking… for a while I pretended that this was on purpose, intended to be charmingly lo-fi-looking to match the spirit of the music, but nah. Not as informative as I’d hoped either, spending the entire first hour discussing the origins and career of flagship band Beat Happening, which I’ve already covered in Our Band Could Be Your Life and the Crashing Through box set.
Halo Benders are seen but not mentioned. Dub Narcotic and the Disco Plate series: not mentioned. Cassette culture is covered, but there’s little about the twee-pop vs. riot-grrl mini-scenes. I look at a list of K artists and wonder who ARE these groups… and there are an interesting few that I’ve heard (The Make-Up, Microphones, Lync, that one Beck album) which seem to have little in common, so I was hoping for some kinda artistic overview of the roster, but maybe that’s not possible in 90 minutes. At least we got significant attention paid to the great Mecca Normal.
Musically decent, with some good concert footage and songs (usually music videos) played all the way through.
IMDB says the director played a crackhead in Schrader’s Light Sleeper.
Jammin’ the Blues (1944, Gjon Mili)
“This… is a jam session.”
Beautifully lit, with singer Marie Bryant.
Oscar-nominated, but a comedy short about talking animals took the prize.
JATP (1950, Gjon Mili)
This appears to be the movie called Improvisation on imdb. Lackadaisically spoken cast credits come five minutes in. Overall tinnier, compressed-sounding audio on my copy, and far less slickly produced than the 1944 short. On the other hand, this one I’d actually believe is a documentary of a jam session, simply recorded, gradually adding more players until Ella Fitzgerald caps it off. Not being a jazz follower I’m not getting the chills from seeing all these big names in person – Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Buddy Rich – just a pleasant 15 minutes of music.
Burn to Shine – Atlanta, GA – 7.29.2007
I remember reading in Stomp & Stammer that this was being filmed, and have been waiting the past decade to finally see it. A very nice time capsule of the Atlanta rock scene, from approx. the year I was paying the most attention, taping local bands and buying all their 7″ singles.
Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane – Santiago, Chile 2011
I love how sometimes, when Mike smiles, you can tell that he’s the devil.
Had to re-sync the audio a few times, but otherwise this show is the greatest.
Deerhunter at Coachella 2016
Tortoise at Primavera Sound 2016
Wolf Parade at Best Kept Secret Fest 2016
Animal Collective on KCRW 2016