Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Reincarnated

Friday, April 26th, 2013

tn_reincarnated“Snoop gets Lionized”  –headline I predict Rolling Stone or somebody will use for their review

Like anybody, when I heard that one of my all time favorite but past his album recording prime rappers Snoop Dogg was changing his name to Snoop Lion and doing a reggae record, I shook my head and laughed. Ah, what will he think of next? But I saw the trailer for this Vice-produced documentary about Snoop going to Jamaica to record the album and suddenly I had to take the whole idea more seriously. The movie looked good enough that I would’ve gone to see it in a theater if it had played here. Instead here it is on DVD in time to promote the album of the same name, which came out Tuesday.

BTISLAnd holy shit you guys, this is a great documentary. I watched it last weekend and it overshadowed all the other things I’ve been watching lately, most of which I liked. I loved it so much I decided to invent this new medal just to make sure you guys will know I’m not fuckin around. This is an acclaimed documentary now, otherwise it wouldn’t have won a prestigious medal like this. If you love Snoop Dogg, or are even open to the idea of Snoop Dogg, you gotta see this. Regardless of how anybody feels about the album this is a great document of a man trying to find himself, of a historic bridging of musical cultures and generations, of the process of songwriting, of an awesome trip to Jamaica.

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Murder Was the Case: The Movie

Friday, September 28th, 2012

When I did my NATURAL BORN KILLERS retrospective a little while back there was one last piece I meant to write, which was about this short film directed by Dr. Dre. I could swear I read a long time ago that Oliver Stone wanted to play the short before NBK but the studio wouldn’t let him. I don’t know, I might’ve imagined it, because it’s not mentioned in the Killer Instinct book and all I can find on Google is references to Stone giving the short “props.”

MURDER WAS THE CASE comes form a song on Snoop’s first album Doggystyle, but it also spawned a hit soundtrack, and it’s on a DVD padded with other videos and various interview and performance clips, all poorly non-anamorphically transferred, but that seems to fit the material.
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Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

“The Art of Rap is the first Ice-T film.” –first line in Ice-T’s first film The Art of Rap

Some of you may know Ice-T as a kangaroo man from TANK GIRL, or a Lo-Tek in JOHNNY MNEMONIC. Some may know him for his appearances in whichever Law & Order crime drama it is. For others he’s the guy for some reason you always confuse with Ice Cube even though they look and sound totally different from each other. But you may have also heard that before all that he was a pioneering west coast rapper. I still bust out his albums Power and O.G. – Original Gangster every once in a while, and they hold up well.
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Tougher Than Leather

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

TOUGHER THAN LEATHER is a unique specimen – a time capsule movie vehicle for a musical act at their height, but a legit act with street credibility that they did not lose by being in a movie. This is not the Fat Boys or Meth and Red making a comedy. It’s Run DMC in a gritty action movie made independently by the same people they made their records with. Maybe a good comparison would be Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER or Jimmy Cliff in THE HARDER THEY COME, except they weren’t playing themselves.
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Thunder Soul

Monday, March 19th, 2012

tn_thundersoulTHUNDER SOUL is kind of like that movie WHEEDLE’S GROOVE, another documentary about a now-mostly-forgotten regional funk phenomenon of the ’70s, recounting the glory days through photo montage and vintage clips, with interviews of the musicians now that they’re all grown up and square with regular jobs and families but can use their rediscovery by young white record geeks as an excuse to reunite and prove to themselves that they’re still kinda cool. In my opinion that was a long sentence. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wheedle’s Groove

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

tn_wheedlesVisitors to Seattle, and people who talk about us on TV and stuff, have a certain stereotype of Seattle as white, latte drinking liberals, fish throwers and Space Needle polishers, Bill Gates personal assistants and sasquatch poachers standing in the rain talking about Nirvana doing a cover of Jimi Hendrix doing a song about Bruce Lee’s posse being on Broadway. All of it is true, but do they also know about our past as a hotbed of soul and funk music?

Alot of people didn’t until 2004 when the great local label Light in the Attic Records released Wheedle’s Groove, a compilation of songs by forgotten Seattle groups from 1965-1975, many of them with corny names like Black On White Affair, Robbie Hill’s Family Affair or Cold, Bold & Together. A cratedigging DJ named Mr. Supreme had discovered a few funk 45s with Seattle addresses on them, did some research and learned that a whole scene of talented musicians had thrived in Seattle’s Central District in the ’60s and ’70s, only to be forgotten because they never quite hit outside of our isolated encampment here. This documentary extends their story into a visual medium. (read the rest of this shit…)

Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

tn_terrordomeI never heard of this 2007 documentary about Public Enemy until I saw it in the new releases this week. Looks like it was made 3 years ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first album. I guess on DVD it must be celebrating the anniversary of their third album. But that’s Fear of a Black Planet, that’s a great album.

This is not the definitive hyper-detailed PE documentary I’d have dreamed about if it had ever occurred to me there could be a documentary about them. I’m sorry guys, I would’ve dreamed about it, but I was too distracted waiting for that Hank Shocklee Making of It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back book that never came out. This doesn’t quench my thirst for that one, but it’s not one of these amateurish hip hop documentaries they got either. It’s an enjoyable retrospective with alot of good moments, good photography and editing. Maybe the fonts could be improved, but for the most part it seems professional. (read the rest of this shit…)

Streets of Fire

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

tn_streetsoffireYou guys ever heard of this one?

Okay, you were right, STREETS OF FIRE is pretty cool. I was a little skeptical because the poster calls it “A Rock & Roll Fable,” which is not really one of my top kinds of fables. I’m more of a free jazz fable type of guy, I like SPACE IS THE PLACE. Also I got some prejudices against the ’80s rock and the retro ’50s style fetishes. Luckily the singer gets kidnapped for most of the movie, so the long onstage performances are only at the beginning and end. It’s not a rock musical or anything. (read the rest of this shit…)

Still Bill

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

tn_stillbillAfter all that EXPENDABLES business, how ’bout a musical interlude?

STILL BILL is a sweet, intimate reunion with Bill Withers, the great singer and songwriter known for songs like “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean On Me” and “Just the Two of Us.” Withers has a great voice soaked in emotion, but what I love most about his music is his honest and down to earth lyrics that cover topics dear to his heart that aren’t usually covered by other singers. Take for example “Grandma’s Hands,” about his love and gratitude for everything his grandma did for him and others when he was growing up, and ultimately how much he misses her. Or “I Can’t Write Left Handed,” about a wounded war veteran. He had more on his mind than “baby I love you” type of business. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ginger Baker in Africa

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

tn_gingerbakerWell, I’m feeling good, my new book is getting good reviews, I got the next two days off work. What should I do? How ’bout review something even more obscure than the other day’s comments-killer THE DEADLY ART OF SURVIVAL? I mean, if I had to guess I’d say this one was probly a little better known that that one, but I can’t even find it listed on IMDb. So everybody’s gonna think I made it up. They need documentation and records. But I swear to you, I watched GINGER BAKER IN AFRICA on an officially released DVD and everything.

Before you get too excited, I gotta tell you that GINGER BAKER IN AFRICA is not at all like SHAFT IN AFRICA. It’s much more experimental. It’s about how in 1971 Ginger Baker, the drummer from Cream, wanted to build a recording studio in Nigeria, so he flew to Marrakech and then drove across the desert. Although it’s real footage it’s not really what you would usually think of as a documentary. It doesn’t really explain much, but it also doesn’t linger on scenes long enough to be direct cinema. It’s pretty confusing. It doesn’t matter. (read the rest of this shit…)