Archive for the Music Category

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by Parker Connell

Who likes to laugh? That’s right everyone does, according to this movie even Eddie Vedder likes to laugh.

I was convinced this guy had no idea what laughter felt like

Well laughter is the main side effect of watching Walk Hard, laughing from start to hilarious finish. We are told the tale of Dewey Cox from his beginnings as a young southern white kid who after killing his brother in a machete accident and losing his sense of smell learns to play guitar from two elderly black gentlemen in the back of a general store.

All convenience stores should have old bluesman in back

This event sets Dewey  on his path to be among the greats of rock n roll. So this movie is a spoof of music bio pics like Walk the Line and Ray but not a spoof like Meet the Spartans, because that was shitty, it’s more like Airplane, because that is great. It’s non stop jokes that are really well crafted and either further the story, or are totally within the character and story, it’s not just a  series of references with no context because it makes sense that Dewey Cox would play a show with Buddy Holly (Frankie Muniz), the Big Bopper (the guy who bronzes porcelain birds) and Elvis (Jack White).

Walk Hard works at full tilt when you really enjoy both early rock music as well as the bio pics it’s based upon, but it also works great if you like sex jokes, drug jokes, and Tim Meadows, and The Beatles because everyone likes The Beatles.

and if you are one of the 16 people who don't, you suck and are stupid.

Seek this flick out if you haven’t already and if you saw it once and didn’t like it check it out again, it’s totally great.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by Parker Connell

Three dudes, music dudes, can be defined as the Trifecta of Crazy Musicians. G.G. Allin, Wesley Willis, and Daniel Johnston. G.G. Allin was a psycho-country-punk musician who pooped on people and possibly raped some people and appeared on the Giraldo show once and said that raping was probably an okay thing, which I totally disagree with but still it’s a pretty ballsy thing to say, also he had one of the most hilarious/disgusting funerals on youtube. Allin’s music is pretty tough to listen to because it’s so uneven and the themes are so fucked up it’s hard to get into. I mean his most listenable song is called “Expose Yourself To Kids” and it’s 4 minutes of G.G. urging you to expose your johnson to toddlers, and I’m positive he wasn’t being ironic when he wrote it.

Also he looked like this so... kind of scary

Wesley Willis is even harder to listen to because there is no foot hold, or like rosetta stone for understanding his bizarre brand of weird casio keyboard, yelling, rambling, and whupping Batman’s ass. I’m all for Wesley but he tends to annoy the shit out of people.

You will never hear anything like this guys music

Daniel Johnston is most assuredly the most accessible of these three dudes musically, and like probably the easiest to meet as the other two guys are dead. His music is pretty pop influenced and contains totally normal themes of love, abandonment, depression, death, and happiness. Sure he isn’t the best musician but as a song writer he is pretty great.

Plus he looks like he would be your favorite uncle

These past few paragraphs have very little to do with the documentary I watched but I sometimes feel like it’s important to tell people about Wesley Willis, G.G. Allin, and Daniel Johnston, because not enough people know about these guys, especially the first two.

So The Devil and Daniel Johnston may very well be the best documentary not about LARPing that I have ever viewed.

I love this movie, because it's nerds fighting each other with foam.

Anyway Devil and Daniel Johnston tells the life story of musician and artist Daniel Johnston. From his beginning in West Virginia to his life in Houston and Austin, Texas, to his trips to insane asylums due to his depression and psychosis, and everything in between.

It’s incredibly interesting to see the complicated emotional stories behind Johnston’s almost impossibly simple songs. Johnston’s obsessive love with a girl which was never fulfilled and Johnston’s best friend says “it had to end that way” and it did without that lone lost love we wouldn’t have most of Johnston’s music, he probably would have written other songs but I can’t imagine they would be as good.

So I just re-read that paragraph and it sucks. I’m not deleting it so that you can read it and maybe it will make you realize why I can’t write about music, because I love music, I just can’t write in any sort of depth about it except on very special cases. My buddy can he has a blog check it out. mordecaiandfriendsblog it’s entertaining and stuff so yeah. I think I’m going to end my review here, I had more but it’s really poorly written so I’ll just leave you with this:

Dig!: The Story of Two Bands and One Man

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by Parker Connell

So I didn’t get all of my music docs in one weeks so maybe this section of My Take On Life will be known as the music doc fortnight. Or not. Whatever, I still have The Devil and Daniel Johnston, plus I’m thinking about watching the one about the James Brown Concert in Africa. Anyway on to the adventures of Anton Newcombe.

Dig! follows the careers of two bands, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, who were apparently set to work together to start a musical revolution that would utterly destroy rock music as we know it and form it into a totally orginal, creativity minded art form. Obviously they failed.

Look at this bullshit, why is this still popular?

In my opinion Brian Jonestown Massacre is the more successful band musically. Having had listened to both bands Brian Jonestown Massacre is far more original, interesting, and engaging, I mean shit their name is a combination of the name one of the Rolling Stones and a major cult that brainwashed a large group of people then killed them when shit started getting hairy. That takes balls, and it immediately gives you the impression that these guys don’t give a shit.

Look at them, they clearly don't give any kind of a shit

Then there’s the Dandy Warhols, named for that idiot who, for whatever reason, still gets recognition for painting cans, oh well at least The Dandys seem to be mocking that horses anus and not celebrating him, like so many art douches I see on campus.

Family Circus is more subversive than this guy

Anyone who watches Dig! comes away with one fact they can carry with them. Sure the film doesn’t give you anything more than the most basic feel for BJM’s actual music , or really any insight into the internal struggles of The Dandy Warhols, but one thing all people will come away with is that Anton Newcombe is a giant, conceited bag of douches. I think he may have dethroned the current Happygerbaloon’s Take on Live King of the Douche: Troy Duffy. I must deliberate with my crack team of entertainment experts. here is my favorite Brian Jonestown song while you wait.

Okay we are done and it seems that Troy Duffy is still reigning champion of douchebaggery (the art and practice of being a douche). The reasoning was that Newcombe actually created some stuff that warrants a little bit of his asshole attitude. Duffy, in the documentary “Overnight” is a dick for no reason from the start, and then even after he makes his awful, unoriginal piece of garbage he continues to act like he matters, even though he doesn’t. At all.

This isn't the first time I've said it, and it won't be the last but Boondock Saints sucks

Back to Anton. This guy is a hard drinkin’, hard druggin’, asshole music machine. He records music all the time and when he isn’t recording he breaks down and starts freaking out, which is probably why he made six albums over the course of one year. That isn’t to say when he is recording he is totally clean and nice, no he’s still an asshole, just not as bad.

This guy on the other hand seems to be on the same level of jerk all the time

So over the course of the documentary The Brian Jonestown Massacre guys take The Dandy Warhols sort of under their wing in San Francisco, then they kind of become equals, often playing together, then eventually Anton takes offense to The Dandy Warhols becoming “mainstream” and sort of creates this lame beef between them. Not as lame as Coolio’s beef with Weird Al but still pretty lame.

Not everyone can beef as successfully as Fiddy

The Dandy Warhols go on to tour pretty successfully in Europe while The Brian Jonestown Massacre flounder and fall and fall apart in California, well kind of in Georgia, but mainly in California.

In the end Dig! is little more than a really good episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, totally worth watching with some interesting things to talk about with other music fans, but if you don’t like either The Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Dandy Warhols you probably won’t enjoy this flick. But if you like either of these bands you’ve probably already seen Dig!.

It Might Get Loud

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by Parker Connell

Two Music docs in one week?! Well get used to it cause I plan to watch Dig! and The Devil and Daniel Johnston by the end of the week, so… here’s Jack White.

It Might Get Loud is about the electric guitar, but not like the history of the electric guitar because that would be boring, and It Might Get Loud is far from boring. No it’s about the love affair three very different but great musicians have for the electric guitar.

Jimmy Page- The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, apparently the soundtrack to Goldfinger

The Edge – U2

Jack White – The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and the Theme from Quantum of Solace

I love all three of these guitarists. I actually went through three main phases musically in high school, starting with Led Zeppelin, going into U2 (where I listened to Joshua Tree everyday), and finishing out with The White Stripes, and I continue to love and listen to them, so this documentary was kind of tailor-made for me.

Some of the best music ever made.

The connective chunk of this flick is a conversation and jam session between the three guitar gods, the majority of the film, however, takes the three men separately so they can tell their stories.

Page’s sections are the weakest, the stories about his early days learning guitar and playing in studio bands are really interesting but once he gets to Zeppelin about half way through it becomes a case of reverence from the filmmakers and me knowing all these stories and not giving enough of a shit to listen to them again.

The Edge’s stuff is pretty cool, because he really sticks to the early days when U2 was just a bunch of punk Irish kids trying to play music, and these stories intercut with concert footage of U2 being the biggest band in the damn world makes for an intriguing bit of visual storytelling. Also intriguing is the footage of teenaged U2 (or lil’ U2) with Lil’ Bono sounding and looking like the bastard offspring of David Bowie and Adam Ant, while Lil’ The Edge tries to glower at the camera and ends up just looking like he has to poo.

but as we all know The Edge never poops

Something I have a problem with, not withe the movie just in general, why is he called The Edge? Sub-question: Why is he called The Edge all the time? I don’t think it’s because he’s that edgy, he wears a beanie hat all the time and is in possibly the least edgy rock band of all time. Is it because he’s the edge that U2 has that makes them different? I don’t think so because to me the aspect that makes them different is making really catchy and memorable rock songs about human rights violations. Its it because he really liked that Alec Baldwin Anthony Hopkins flick?

Yeah, that must be it

Full disclosure: Jack White is my personal favorite guitarist, living or dead, so please forgive me if I seem biased because, well, I am. That being said everyone should agree that his stuff is the most interesting, Jack White is a notoriously tricky interview, often creating different identities and dodging questions when he doesn’t flat-out lie about the answers. I read an interview once, i think in Entertainment Weekly, where he said he’d never met his wife nor his 3-year-old son, it was odd, hilarious, and to me summed up the public attitude of the White Stripes, so to hear White give a candid, honest time line of his life was pretty cool.

It Might Get Loud also goes about showing the different styles, tricks, and philosophies that go into each of the three individuals relationship with the electric guitar. This is another area where Page’s segments flounder, he doesn’t really talk about his style or philosophy, there is a point where he talks about the necessity of the double neck guitar in order to play Stairway to Heaven, that was kind of cool but The Edge and White go way deeper into it.

The Edge is all about technology, towards the beginning of the film he says something along the lines of Technology pushes the music forward, or something like that, he uses effects and shit to creat really awesome sound, then there’s Jack White and the first thing he does is make a guitar out of a coke bottle, a two by four, and a shitty piece of wire, then after The Edge talks about his love of and constant use of technology White comes in and says technology kills creativity, and about ease is the death of music and struggle is the only real way to do things. Seeing these two totally different philosophical musical standpoints in the same documentary, and to see those guys sensibilities work together is really interesting.

One thing i feel I need to mention, kind of question I have, what’s with the Jack at age 9 thing? throughout It Might Get Loud Jack White plays music with and teaches music to his 9-year-old self, what’s the deal with this, am I to believe that Little Jack is a time traveller who came to 2009 and learned guitar from himself, because that would be rad.

All the parts where Page, The Edge, and White jam together are really fucking rad, I especially like the part where Jack teaches them Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground because it’s so totally different from what Jimmy Page and especially The Edge are known for playing.

I had a great time with It Might Get Loud, it was very different from any other music doc I’ve ever seen, it’s about the electric guitar but only three people are in it instead of a bunch of talking heads ramble on vaguely about the instrument, we get really great, in-depth stories from just three.

loudQUIETloud: A film about The Pixies

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by Parker Connell

The Pixies are one of those bands that when I discovered them (while rooting through my dad and step-mom’s CD case in the summer of 2004) I wondered how I lived all those years before. The Stooges are another band like that and Fiona Apple. The Pixies, however, is the band that stand out the most for me. I guess I heard “Where Is My Mind” at the end of Fight Club and I loved that but it worked so perfectly I must have figured it was the original theme from Fight Club or some shit.

Then I found Trompe Le Monde and I really liked it, so I dug some more in that CD case and found Doolittle, the first album that I had to listen to three or four times right in a row, non stop. You know, if I really traced it back Doolittle is probably the point where I went from a dude who digs music, to a dude who really fucking loves music, it was either Doolittle or Odelay that did it.

Over the years my love for The Pixies has increased but they were one of the bands that I never really did any research into the band members or their history, occasionally I would read a bit about the band and they just seemed like regular dudes and a chick, like totally average people, not ugly not attractive, they don’t look like the kind of people who would be in one of the best and most influential bands around, but that’s kind of what early alt. rock was about I guess. I mean R.E.M. has always kind of looked like a group of high school teachers who started a Police cover band, and the lead singer of Dinosaur Jr. looks like a burn out wizard.

Burn-Out Wizard makes good tunes

Well according to the really pretty good documentary loudQUIETloud The Pixies are exactly like that, a bunch of normal dudes and a normal chick who, as it turns out, are incredible musicians. You realize that fact when you see the lead singer Frank Black, or Black Francis or Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV or whatever the fuck his name is, when you see him running around with his step kids in a corn maze (or maize maze) you kind of realize this guy is just like you or me, he isn’t a big rock star and beyond that I don’t think he could be a Mick Jagger type even if he wanted to.

This dude has probably never even heard of a Corn Maze

The always kind of nervous looking guitarist Joey Santiago has a wife and kids and still does music but in coffee shops and stuff. At first you think this is going to be depressing, but the documentary crew kind of shows that he isn’t playing for baristas because he has to it’s because he wants to, he loves music and he loves playing jams with his wife.

We meet the drummer David Lovering and he is on the beach detecting metal, the way he does this is really odd, he’s like in this robotic trance swinging his arm back and forth really fast, but it looks efficient, maybe he’s on to something, in order to be good at metal detectors you have to act like a robot. Also he does magic.

Kim Deal, the bassist, seems to be the only one with any rock star cliché baggage. She went through rehab sometime after The Pixies broke up and she spends most of the movie worrying about alcohol. It’s actually pretty cool how the band works together and decide that no alcohol will be allowed backstage, they are really supportive about it, and Kim isn’t annoying about it, which made watching the doc so much easier, because if she was being really bitchy about it, it would have pissed me off.

loudQUIETloud follows The Pixies as they prepare their reunion tour and then tour together for the first time in over a decade. There is some really, really great concert footage, I especially loved the Caribou footage which is edited together from a bunch of shows all over Canada.

Over all loudQUIETloud is a pretty mellow documentary mostly just about middle-aged people getting together after a really long time and kicking musical ass, a bit of drama does rear it’s head towards the middle of the doc when James Lovering’s dad dies and James starts taking Valium and drinking heavily before shows. The band gets worried about him especially after James has a bit of a mental breakdown in the middle of a song, where he just started hitting the drums in this crazy fast beat continuing long after the rest of the band put down there instruments and got off stage to figure out what was going on.

The drug thing kind of reminded me of The Fearless Freaks, the 2005 documentary about The Flaming Lips. Throughout The Fearless Freaks Wayne Coyne keeps mentioning Flaming Lips guitarist Steven Drozd’s heroin addiction, he shows the same kind of concern for Drozd as The Pixies do for Lovering, although The Fearless Freaks confronts the problem more actively, going so far as to have Drozd talk about his drug problems while he prepares, cooks, and injects heroin, it’s some dark shit as well as being one of the best scenes I’ve ever scene in a documentary.

loudQUIETloud is a pretty straight forward reunion tour music doc, but the great concert footage and the mere fact that it’s about The Pixies makes it a must see for music fans.

Oh and here are some of my favorite Pixies songs for those of you people lame enough to not know about The Pixies.

Here Comes Your Man

Wave of Mutilation

and Debaser

Crazy Heart aka Lots of Country for Old Men

Posted in movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by Parker Connell

The town I live in doesn’t often get limited run movies, so when I saw Crazy Heart was playing at the theater I jumped out and saw it… a week later. I’d heard many things about Crazy Heart, mostly that Jeff Bridges was really good and that it was like The Wrestler (a film I loved and would say is the best movie that came out in 2008). Well after seeing it I can say that my preconceptions were slightly off, Jeff Bridges is really, really good, and it’s kind of like the The Wrestler.

Crazy Heart tells the story of an old country singer called Bad Blake. He’s a hard drinkin’, heavy smokin’, rough and tumble kind of guy. He drives around in an old truck going from bowling alley to bar playing the same songs he’s been playing for years. Bad Blake does not seem happy. He never out right says it but you can tell he thinks he deserves more.

Personally I do as well, having never really been a fan of country music outside of Johnny Cash and the occasional Hank Williams Jr. tune, I was genuinely surprised to find I really loved the music in this movie, it’s old school country the kind of stuff that’s more Son House then Garth Brooks. It made me consider rethinking my stance on country music then this song came on the radio in my bathroom and that feeling was washed away. However, if someone were to buy me the soundtrack to Crazy Heart I would totally listen to it frequently. As a cool aside I was crazy surprised to learn that Colin Farrell (who, by the way, gives his best performance since Minority Report) did all his own singing in this movie.

Who knew this guy would help me appreciate country music more

Earlier I mentioned Johnny Cash which is fitting because Crazy Heart made me think of Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, and the T-1000. Let us take a moment so I may explain my feelings on biopics. I tend to enjoy them, however, I feel they are less interesting than a fictional story about the same and in the case of Crazy Heart and Walk the Line, I think Crazy Heart has made Walk the Line obsolete. We don’t need Walk the Line anymore, Crazy Heart is the superior story of a country singer’s redemption.

Oh yeah, and Robert Duvall is in Crazy Heart, and not in Walk the Line, which is another reason Crazy Heart is better. I’ve said it before and I’ll definitely say it again, Duvall is the greatest actor who ever lived, I’ve proven it with science, I could show you the formula but it’s impossible to understand unless you have been watching nothing but The Godfather and drinking nothing but Bawls energy drink.

Crazy Heart blew me away, this is expert storytelling in my opinion ( I guess I don’t have to say that because duh I’m critiquing a film of course it’s my opinion) and should probably be seen by every person over the age of 15. Also it seemed like old people really dug this flick my friends and I were the youngest people in the theater by like 20 years.

This guy probably loved Crazy Heart

Oh yeah and of the Best Actor nominees I have seen (being Clooney, Renner, and Bridges) I think Bridges should probably get the award. He’s pretty damn good.

Understanding Dj Khaled

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by Parker Connell

There is a phenomenon in the rap community known as DJ Khaled. This guy doesn’t really make any rational sense. He really brings nothing to the table, he’s like the guy in your group of friends who brings nothing to the table but insists he tell people what to do. I’ve seen a few DJ Khaled videos in my day and they are all pretty ridiculous but this one Fed Up is off the chain balls to the wall fucking bananas.

Did you see that. Watch it again, I had to. It starts like a bad straight to DVD Steven Seagal flick about drug dealers in Chinatown. They make a big deal about Khaled (the fat dude with the glasses) carrying a bag with a camera attached, then apparently because the streets are fed up it’s time to rapidly leave. Did you see how he runs out, watch it again he fucking waddles, thats not hood DJ Khaled thats lame. Also what prompts this bizarre act of fed upness? He just all of a sudden starts banging his chubby fingers on the table of some chinese restaurant. Why does he ruin that window? Where the fuck did Khaled learn to speak chinese? So many questions will they be answered?

So then finally the song starts with Khaled in classic Khaledocity starts yelling his name and how he is fed up because he apparently represents the streets but who elected him nobody i know would choose him to represent them.

What the hell? It just turned to into a crappy Fast and Furious movie and Usher keeps saying things about hustling, that makes no sense he’s an R&B singer when has he ever hustled.

Oh snap it’s Drake. The newest Usher wannabe on the block. Apparently Drake attained money from the illegal activities Drake often perpetrates on the streets. Oh wait Drake has never been on the streets because he was a god damned child actor on Degrassi the Next Generation a popular Canadian soap-opera for teens (personally I love it but that doesn’t change that fact that it is in no way hood, street, gangsta, fresh, or fly)

Okay so they get off the boat and the song kind of stops and we see Khaled open the case… and they were trying to sell an mp3 player to Chinese triad guys.

At the end of this video we are no closer to answering these questions. The only thing we know for sure is that DJ Khaled is certifiably insane, and is also trying to murder rap music.

Seriously WTF?