Archive for the ‘Watch’ Category

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Watch local: Do It Again

April 19, 2010

Guest blogger Scott writes:

In an earlier post about Kickstarter, I gave the example of how the producers of a documentary about The Kinks were funding its editing through small donations. That movie, Do It Again, premiered in March at the Cleveland International Film Festival to positive reviews, and will be showing in Somerville at the Independent Film Festival Boston on Saturday, April 24th. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks to be less of a music documentary and more of a Nick Hornby/Studs Terkel mash-up, in that it isn’t so much about The Kinks as it is about how people (creator/star Geoff Edgers in particular, but also the people he enlists in his quest) think, or even obsess, about the band. And while the Hornbyish narrative story of a quest to reunite The Kinks is intimately tied a single band, it can be seen as a lens for thinking about the Terkel-ish question of why people love the bands they love and how that love shapes them. In that sense, it seems like a good pairing for The Heart is a Drum Machine — One asks “What is music?”; the other asks “What does music mean?”.

Previously on z=z: Watch: Music docs at IFF Boston, Apr 23-25

Image: Photo of Ray Davies from the Wikimedia Commons, used here under its Creative Commons license.

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Watch: Music docs at IFF Boston, Apr 23-25

April 19, 2010

Boston indie music and movie lovers, rejoice! There is a hat trick of music-related documentaries next weekend as part of Independent Film Festival Boston. All three screenings are at the Somerville Theatre at 7:30 pm. The italicized excerpts are from the IFF Boston site, and you can get more info and buy tickets there.

Searching for Elliott Smith:

Friday Monday, April 23rd 26th, 7:30 pm, Somerville Theatre

An icon defined by his music’s emotional accessibility and the detached enigma of his public persona, Smith is as quietly compelling in the accounts of his friends and fans as his life and lyrics were….Balancing his darkest depressions and greatest achievements, SEARCHING FOR ELLIOTT SMITH reveals its subject’s kindness, subtle humor, and reserved brilliance, as well as the perfect imperfections of his prolific output—and it testifies to the overwhelming effect his visceral truths had on his closest friends and anonymous admirers alike. [D. Barnum-Swett]

Do It Again

Saturday, April 24th, 8:00 pm, Somerville Theatre

Every real music fan has a favorite band—but it’s a very rare fan who single-handedly attempts to reunite them years after they’ve packed it in. In director Robert Patton Spruill’s DO IT AGAIN, that rare fan is Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe staff writer and dedicated follower of the Kinks. Edgers was driven to embark on a risky and time-consuming quest to get the Davies brothers and their old bandmates back in the same room to play some songs…. [B. Searles]

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

Sunday, April 25th, 7:30 pm, Brattle Theatre

…Directors Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara provide us with comfortable, homey access to Merritt and the most important, grounding influence in his life: his decades-long friendship with his chipper musical collaborator Claudia Gonson. On his home turf, in the apartment that has doubled as the studio for the lion’s share of his recordings, Merritt is anything but prickly or uncooperative. He is a reflective, passionate, and even playful artist who is producing many of the great songs of his generation. [SL Frey/K Aikens]

EDIT: Factcheck fail. Dates, times, and venues have been corrected. Thanks to Brad for the heads-up!

MP3: Elliott Smith – Waterloo Sunset (Kinks cover) [via Rawkblog]


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Watch: The Heart Is A Drum Machine

March 29, 2010

What is music?

That’s the central question behind The Heart is a Drum Machine, a feature-length documentary from Lightyear Entertainment (Moog). It’s addressed by a host of interviewees, mostly musicians, with a sound engineer, a couple of scientists, and an author thrown in for color. A discussion of the Voyager Golden Record project bookends the film, in which the creative director on the project, Ann Druyan, talks about the universality of music to humanity, and the hope that it would prove to be able to communicate beyond our species:  “Hey, that’s a cool planet – they’re making some good music.”

The musicians vary widely in how articulate they are about music, with Wayne Coyne, predictably, at the high end, and Isaac Brock at the low—to be fair, musicians have a whole other vocabulary that they use to answer that question every day. And I never, ever want to hear someone unironically use the word ‘synergize’ with reference to art (I’m looking at you, Juliette Lewis). But many of the interviewees are engaging, funny or thought-provoking. One of the more interesting segments in the film is on deaf musicians, who ‘hear’ the music through physical vibrations alone (the short discussion on how they can tell they’re in tune is fascinating).

As a film, it focuses on presenting multiple facets of the experience of music, so it doesn’t really strongly develop an overall theme. But the individual pieces are mostly intriguing, and at a very brief 73 minutes, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Amazon Netflix

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Watch: Stingray Sam

September 14, 2009
StingraySam poster

Filmmaker and musician Cory McAbee has created his second sci-fi Western musical, Stingray Sam, featuring his band, The Billy Nayer Show. In the film, Stingray Sam is reunited with his old accomplice, The Quasar Kid, and “the story follows these two space convicts as they earn their freedom in exchange for the rescue of a young girl who is being held captive by the genetically designed figurehead of a very wealthy planet.” David Hyde Pierce provides the deadpan narration, and it’s a decided homage to ‘singing cowboy’ movies and classic sci-fi, aiming for (and doing a pretty good job of hitting) that sweet spot between irony, nostalgia, and kitsch. You can watch the trailer and the first episode here. If this seems up your alley, you can also check out McAbee’s first sci-fi Western musical, The American Astronaut.

The film is ‘designed for screens of all sizes;’ to start, it’s a feature-length film that’s broken into six download-friendly episodes. There’s a screening in LA tomorrow (September 15th) at 7 pm PDT, followed by a Q&A with McAbee, and it’ll be streamed live at the film site. It’ll also be screening theatres around the country and the world, and as of tomorrow, it’ll be available for purchase in a variety of formats, ranging from phone-friendly to hi-def.

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Watch: Holy Fuck on City Sonic

July 17, 2009

The most recent entry in the City Sonic video project feature Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck on Toronto, and specifically about Sneaky Dee’s, the divey Mexican restaurant and indie music venue that is probably (or about to be) most famous to non-Torontonians as the backdrop to climactic scenes in the comic book Scott Pilgrim.

More Holy Fuck on z=z.

MP3: Holy Fuck – Super Inuit

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Watch: City Sonic

June 22, 2009

The City Sonic video project is a series of short films that focus on the relationship between a band and a venue. They premiered a half-dozen or so of the films at NXNE last week, and there’s several up on YouTube. One is an interview with Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart about the now-defunct Ultrasound on Queen Street W and their residency there.* And z=z fave director Bruce McDonald did one on punk band Cancer Bats at the Adrift Clubhouse. Check their YouTube channel for more videos.

If you happen to be an aspiring filmmaker (or know one), I would love, love, love to see something like this for all the great bands and venues in Boston or Seattle.

MP3: Barenaked Ladies – The Flag [buy]

*Outing myself as a total dork: When I was a young, geeky, music-loving engineering student (as opposed an old, geeky, music-loving prof), I saw BNL many times at the Ultrasound, frequently bringing my calculus problem sets with me to work on before or between sets. Incidentally, if you think of them as just a novelty band, check out this early and emotionally powerful track.

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Videos: Jeffrey Lewis and the News

June 11, 2009

jefflewisvidbg

Musician and illustrator Jeffrey Lewis, who did the great cartoon, “My 2008 in a Nutshell,”  has a new video project, Jeffrey Lewis and the News (if you are under 25, the allusion is to this). The first segment of each video is a short, illustrated recap of the news, and the second is a musical performance with Jeffrey Lewis and musical guests. Of the three episodes up so far, my favourite is the  second episode, which features what I can only describe as an acoustic mashup of “Louie, Louie” and Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair.” You can check out all the videos so far, and subscribe to them as a podcast, here.

MP3: Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard – Whistle Past the Graveyard [buy]