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Music On The Silver Screen: Three Rock Docs To Watch

Music On The Silver Screen: Three Rock Docs To Watch (photo)

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While some songs suggests they’d “like to teach the world to sing”, the sad truth is that much of the world is tone deaf. We couldn’t write hit songs if our lives depended on it. We may not be able to even hum “It’s A Grand Old Flag” in key, let alone sing karaoke without humiliating ourselves. So instead of damaging the eardrums of those around us, we buy records and idolize musicians. However, save for autograph signings, impersonal if awesome videos, and concerts, there aren’t that many opportunities to get up close and personal with our idols. Then every few years comes a great documentary that shows our favorite bands in a unique light and makes us want to go buy their entire discography. Again. Currently there are some great documentaries available that give a peek into the lives of the musicians we love. Here are three to watch:

“Take One: Swedish House Mafia”

The world of superstar DJs is not something to which most of us have access. Luckily there are documentaries to introduce us civilians to the wonderfully strange world of wildly successful DJs who travel the world in private planes with half-dressed female fans thrown in their paths, exotic car collections, and stadium gigs filled to the rafters with avid fist-pumping crowds. “Take One” follows a trio of Swedish DJs Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell– collectively known as the Swedish House Mafia — as they live the dance music dream. One of the most interesting parts of the film comes when the audience can see the DJs in action, creating the hook for their track with Pharrell, “One (Your Name)”. Directed by Christian Larson, who shot the doc in black and white, the 45-minute film is a fascinating look at a career that was definitely not mentioned in my version of “What Color Is Your Parachute.”

The film is available for purchase on iTunes.

“Color Me Obsessed”

Directed by Gorman Bechard this documentary looks at what the director considers the last best band, The Replacements. Bechard is not alone in this belief, and he gathered fans from near and far, including The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, Craig Finn from The Hold Steady, Dave Foley, Lori Barbero of Babes In Toyland, critic Robert Christgau, producer Steve Albini, Grant Hart and Greg Norton from Hüsker Dü, and even this writer (yeah, me) to prove his point that The Replacements are often overlooked, underappreciated, and wildly influential. While at first it seems odd (or infuriating) that the movie doesn’t interview any of the members of The Replacements or feature any of the band’s songs, you soon get swept into the world of the fans. It’s like you wandered into a bar filled with Mats devotees and proceed to have the most sincere conversation about music, fandom, and the most lovable rock and roll fuckups ever.

The movie is in the festival circuit right now (head to ColorMeObsessed.com for details). Fingers crossed that it gets a distributor soon.

“New Garage Explosion: In Love With These Times”

From the filmmakers at Vice comes a look at the gritty, grungy world of garage rock. The documentary, made by VBS directors Joseph Patel and Aaron Brown with producer/journalist Mike McGonigal, kicks off with a look at the humble beginnings of the genre among kids in Detroit in the 1960s. The film then does a quick survey of the lasting influence of garage rock on ’80s punk, but the main thrust is the modern day scene. And what a scene it is: Notable acts included in the film are the late Jay Reatard, Black Lips, The Gories, The Clean, The Dirtbombs, Magic Kids, Golden Triangle, Smith Westerns, Vivian Girls and more. The documentary offers up intimate profiles of the artists working their asses off to make the garage scene and is a must see for music fans of any genre.

While this look at garage rock has been out since November, and available on YouTube for at least a month, the show has hit the road and is doing screenings in actual movie theaters. A movie this good deserves better than watching concurrent parts on YouTube, so head here for screening info

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.