Check it out! SPIN Earth picks the top 10 music docs of 2009, and EyeSteelFilm’s Omar Majeed and Brett Gaylor’s flicks come in at the top. Gnarly, dudes!
Are Punk and Islam a match made in heaven? It seems outrageous, but punk is in fact alive and well in many Islamic countries across the world, and it’s fueled by Michael Mohammed Knight’s seminal book “The Taqwacore”, a fictional manual for the movement. Islamic punk is passionate, political, all embracing, and highly controversial in their native lands. Watch these documented bands rail against society with guitars, amps and a never-say-die attitude.
Musical piracy is one of the biggest controversies of our age. As soon as Napster was born, piracy inspired countless lawsuits and impassioned social dialogue on what it means to be a consumer, but most importantly created some of the most exciting, riveting music of the past decade. RiP: A Remix Manifesto fascinatingly explores what artists are creating today by means of illegal downloading, remixing and sampling. The film is centered on Gregg Gillisâ€™ (Girl Talk) mashup techniques that have incited so much debate in the past few years, and advocates those who want to take further by making something new out of something old.
Fokofpolisiekar is a trailblazing South African punk band who play their brand of punk music at all costs, singing and commenting on one of the most complex and precarious political climates in the world. Their music enrages most but empowers many with its passionate questioning of society. Fly on the Wall tries to tell the band’s unique story that transformed and liberated a generation of young South Africans.
China’s government rules with an iron fist, but the Beijing punks don’t give a hoot. They wear spikes and play their music as hard and loud as possible causing the rest of society to view them as cannibals and sex fiends. Filmmaker Shaun Jefford has uncovered a fiery group of renegades who are constantly risking their lives to play the music they love in Communist China.
Set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Workingmen’s Blues documents the journey of unknown bands and their dreams of making it big as rock stars and navigating the business side of music. Craig Carpenter’s film spouts insight from industry insiders who have worked at all levels of the business. The film showcases two bands, Heavy Hand and Sinclair, who are living through the trials and tribulations of rising to the top in this new democratic, Myspace-driven era of music.
Record stores may be dying off, but fanatic record collectors are still everywhere. What happens when every last indie record store dies at the hands of big-box retailers during the death knell of the analog age? Indie music titans like Thurston Moore, Ian Mackaye and Mike Watt get sentimental over the cannibalistic state of the record industry, and the disappearance of every young music freak’s favorite past time of browsing through the racks and record hunting.
I Need That Record! chronicles the last days of the independently owned record store.
Blind Pilot’s Bicycle Tour
Blind Pilot is a band with a different vision than most. This documentary follows the eclectic, indie rock duo’s three-month bike fueled tour from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, California in 2008. Running on “human power”, Blind PilotBlind Pilot‘s Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski play shows along the way never knowing where they’re going to sleep, but that doesn’t stop them from embracing life on the highway. This band’s desire to do something new and different is as infectious as their music.
One Kansas City Room, 317,000+ Records
When the floor beneath the Marr Sound Archives in Kansas City’s Miller Nichols Library started to crack under the weight of its nearly 1 million vinyl records, they moved to the ground floor to accommodate their ever-growing assemblage, which is expanding thanks to donors who unload their personal libraries every year. This massive archive attempts to preserve the collective human experience through their meticulously-assembled collection, and this film highlights the men and women who curate this legendary room of sound.
The evolution of punk in Africa mirrors the continent’s tumultuous political and social history. Early punk was called “the soundtrack to a revolution,” and as whites and blacks clashed in the streets, they were also coming together to form punk bands and speak out against oppression and violence. Today, countries like South Africa and Kenya maintain healthy punk culture, which also contains traces of reggae, ska, dub and traditional music, as a cutting-edge source for the liberation of its people.
Los Aldeanos is a rap duo based in Havana, Cuba who strive to make music independently, without any help from labels. Their music is distributed through their friends and word of mouth on the streets for free or a small fee. Their most recent album, which was recorded in under a month, got its inspiration from their own experiences on the streets of Havana, and was made for the people of Cuba. Their music is truly some of the most organic out there in the world, and Los Aldeanos make no apologies to anyone for what they create.