Welcome to the DFL's new go to blog about music and movies! Here at the Duxbury Free Library we have a wide array of movies in all genres from Action and Adventure to Comedy and Horror. We also have a ton of television shows including new seasons of True Blood, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and of course Downton Abbey. So if anyone is like me and is saddened by the demise of movie rental stores, fear not! The DFL is the place for all your video rental needs. As if a great selection of DVD's wasn't enough, the DFL also has a fantastic selection of CD's covering all styles of music from all eras. Be sure to check in and see reviews and write ups on some of the best music and movies, new and old, that the DFL has just waiting for you to take out

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This Mornings Playlist

1. Moonlight in Vermont - Frank Sinatra
2. Toxicity - System of a Down
3. Alone Again - Dokken
4. Feel it All Around - Washed Out
5. Confetti - The Lemonheads

Andre 3000 Hits Nail on the Head with Jimi Hendrix Portrayal

I was incredibly excited to see the new Hendrix biopic Jimi: All is By My Side despite the fact that I’ve never really been a huge Jimi Hendrix fan.  The film takes on the musicians early years, from being discovered by Keith Richards girlfriend in a club to signing on with his manager, ex- Animals bassist Chas Chandler.  Taking place entirely between being discovered and when he departs for the Monterey Pop Festival, the film offers an intimate look at the controversial artists early days as he navigates the music world, forms his backing band The Experience, and straddles the stresses of new fame, success, and love.  Many have called the film fictitious largely because of its portrayal of Hendrix’s relationship with girlfriend Kathy Etchingham.  The film often shows Hendrix taking a violent turn and even brutally beating Etchingham in a jealous rage.  Etchingham insists however that their relationship was wonderful and without such incidents.  While the movie lacked any actual Hendrix tunes because of issues with the estate, I felt it almost worked to the films benefit.  We get to view the myth that is Jimi Hendrix before he was anything besides a great guitar player.  His improvisational, bluesy guitar solos and intricate fret work take center stage as Outkast’s Andre 3000 captures the quiet, introverted man in his element long before “Purple Haze” graced the world’s collective eardrums.  Andre’s performance stands out as the brightest part of the film.  Many of the scenes attempt to encapsulate a feeling showing only Hendrix and his guitar alone in a room together as if there is nothing and no one else in the world.  We delve deep into his psyche as the viewer experiences the struggle felt by Jimi as he tries to maintain his opinions of the world and his music while attempting to break into the mainstream; all without sacrificing his creative license.  Showcasing many early live performances, including one attended by Paul McCartney and George Harrison right after the release of Sgt. Pepper in which Hendrix decides to take a risk and play the title track, not two days after the album dropped.  It’s moments like this that the film hits its stride and truly displays the charisma and genius of one of rock’s greatest artists.  History tells us the rest.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Florence is Back!!!

Welsh indie-pop princess Florence Welch is back at it with her band the Machine as the group looks ahead at a new album and plenty of touring throughout 2015.  The new album, a follow up to 2011's "Ceremonials" is still very hush hush but Flo and Co. have recently released a music video for one of the new tracks entitled "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful".  The band is set to play several large festivals this summer before playing a group of shows in Europe.  Pay attention though because as soon as the album is officially named and announced, you know World Tour dates will pop up shortly after and since garnering so much attention over the last several years tickets will go fast.  For now, check out the video for the new song below.

New Song by Florence and the Machine

Today's Playlist

1. Super Vixen - Garbage
2. Pathetic - Blink 182
3. Dissolve - Classics of Love
4. Time to Pretend - MGMT
5. Yellow Ledbetter - Pearl Jam
6. Imitation of Life - R.E.M.
7. Every Day is a Winding Road - Sheryl Crow
8. Woman - Wolfmother
9. Mermaid - Swearin'
10. City's Full - Savages

Fury - More Character Study than War Film

The new Brad Pitt WWII drama Fury was underwhelming and not what I expected which left me feeling betrayed by its all-star cast.  The film centers on Staff Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier played by Brad Pitt who commands a Sherman tank crew of five members.  They are all hardened war veterans and have been fighting the Germans since the North African campaign.  Now the crew of Fury (the name of their tank) is pushing into Germany during the final days of WWII in 1945.  The beginning of the film sees the addition of a new member to Collier’s squad, a young typist named Norman Ellison who has never seen a tank, let alone a battle.  Ridiculed by the rest of the crew, young Norman faces an uphill battle to earn the respect and acceptance of the war weary soldiers.  This ends up being almost the entirety of the plot which was both surprising and disappointing.  While the realism that director David Ayer tries to achieve is successful, I found myself wanting a more decisive storyline.  The film does a great job showing the brutality and darkness of war.  The crew of Fury has faced so much hardship and yet still has a long way to go as the war winds down.    Their love of each other is matched only by their hatred of the SS.  The crew, particularly Sgt. Collier despises the SS and takes any opportunity afforded him to kill every last one, regardless of whether they have surrendered or not.  In fact one of the earliest lessons Norman is forced to learn is that you don’t hesitate when it comes to killing the Germans.  Hesitation leads to death because in war you either kill or be killed.  This is one of the largest overall themes that is explored throughout the course of the film and calls into question the morality of many of the crew member’s actions.  In a way, the viewer is Norman.  Thrown into this situation suddenly and forced to react.  We have the same feelings he does in the beginning and as the film progresses we start to not only understand why the crew’s actions are necessary, but also why they are the way they are.  After seeing so much death and destruction, it’s difficult to face your enemy and have any sympathy or remorse.  While the film acts as an interesting character study of each of the men, it doesn’t have a whole lot of substance otherwise.  With the exception of taking a small town, fighting an enemy German tank, and the final push to defend a strategic crossroads, the film didn’t have any big WOW moments.  The point is to focus on the men; to try and see through their eyes.  The best part of the film for me was the simple fact that it was about tanks.  You never see WWII movies on the subject.  It’s always airplanes, naval ships or individual soldiers.  Rarely do we have such a detailed look at the lives of tank crewman and that was without a doubt the most interesting aspect of the film. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Five New Artists To Watch This February

If you're ever looking for a fast way to find some brand new music by up and coming artists, SPIN does a great monthly list which gives you a quick snapshot of five new bands releasing new music.  The list offers a brief description of the band/artist and lets you know what they sound like.  It also lists similar artists/sounds/styles to give you a great idea as to how the music will sound.  Of course the best way to find out is to listen for yourself.  Each artist has a link to one of their songs right on the list.  This months choices include an electronic music DJ named Alison Wonderland (great name), an ex-Massachusetts DIY punk rocker who does a fabulous stripped down cover of Blink 182's "M+M's", and a one man folk band with more instruments than fingers.  Rounding out the list is a fuzzed out punk duo from LA with a new tape (that's right tape) out this month entitled "Almost Famous" and an experimental psych rock solo project by ex-Monotonix guitarist Yonatan Gat.  Give all the artists a listen and read more about them in the link below.

Five New Artists - February 2015

Oscar Noms are In!!

It's that time of year again folks.  The month where everyone anxiously awaits the decisions of the esteemed Motion Picture Academy of America as they decide who made the best films of 2014.  While the nominations this year have drawn criticism from many, the lineup is most definitely a strong set of films.  I'm thrilled that Wes Anderson is finally getting his rightful recognition as The Grand Budapest Hotel is tied with Birdman with nine total nominations, more than any other film.  The nods include Best Picture and Best Director.  Other notable films up for awards include The Imitation Game, Richard Linklater's masterpiece Boyhood and the the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything among many others.  Check out the full list of nominations in each category below.

2015 Oscar Nominations

Duxbury Native Juliana Hatfield Drops New Music This Month

Local alt-rock goddess Juliana Hatfield has recently reformed her early 90's alternative outfit The Juliana Hatfield Three and it's not just to cash in on a reunion tour.  Following in the footsteps of fellow early 90's rockers Sleater-Kinney, Hatfield and her bandmates Todd Philips and Dean Fisher are releasing a new album this month.  Already slated as one of the most anticipated albums of the first half of 2015, the group has released three songs from the upcoming LP.  Listen to the latest tune "Wood" below.

"Wood" by The Juliana Hatfield Three

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy Failed to Live Up to the Hype

Marvels latest film Guardians of the Galaxy was a jumbled overload of characters which when combined with a basic plotline left me wanting more.  After all the hype surrounding this film, I was anxious to finally see it.  Of the countless characters, worlds, gods, and ships that get tossed around my favorite character inronically ended up being the one I was most skeptical about from the first time I saw the trailer, the raccoon.  But we’ll get to that.  The film centers on Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord who is abducted in 1988 by a group of space pirates.  Years later we find Quill exploring an alien world and recovering a mysterious orb which he intends to sell.  The orb is sought after by the evil Ronan, a member of the Kree who is working with a galactic super being named Thanos in an attempt to destroy planets.  After Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora is sent to intercept Quill, the two end up colliding with a pair of bounty hunters, the genetically modified raccoon Rocket and his towering humanoid tree Groot.  The whole group is promptly arrested and imprisoned where after meeting the final member of their  band of misfit toys, they decide to work together in an attempt to sell the orb and take down Ronan in the process.  The film had plenty of laugh out loud moments as the viewer sympathizes with the awkward fish out of water character of Star Lord who is portrayed by Parks and Recreations Chris Pratt.  However, the movie couldn’t quite decide which demographic it wanted to cater to which was a detrement to the acting and story.  The visual effects were out of this world, not to be cliché and there was plently to keep your eyes busy between epic space battles, daring escapes, countless large explosions and plenty of different colored aliens.  Still, despite its successes I was looking for more from a film many hailed as the best Marvel movie yet.  As this was clearly just the start of a new franchise which will see this awkward gang going on more adventures, I’ll just have to wait and see if its follow up trumps this new addition to the Marvel family.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Today, More Than Any Other Day...Is the BEST Day to Listen to Ought

I realized recently that I never reviewed my #2 pick for the top albums of 2014 and that is something that needs rectifying because the release is one of a kind and sounds NOTHING like any other music coming out these years.  I say years and not days because it is truly one of the most unique musical experiences I’ve had in a long time.  More than Any Other Day by Canadian alt-punk band Ought is stunningly imaginative and incorporates a diverse range of vocal and instrumental influences to craft a musical style which defies categorization.  The albums eight tracks are almost all over five minutes long allowing for compositions which change tempo, volume, and style several times throughout while allowing for the disassembling of traditional song structure in favor of an artistic, often spoken and chunky aesthetic that devolves into captivating guitar solos and steady rhythm sections.  Lead in track “Pleasant Heart” starts things off with a steady guitar driven tune which crashes into atonal static and feedback at the 3 minute mark before picking up at the end.  Title track “Today, More Than Any Other Day” is my favorite on the album.  Starting off slow and steady with a simple drum beat and casually plucked discordant guitar strings, the songs breaks open with a burst of energy at the 2:00 mark as lead singer Tim Beeler repeats “We’re sinking deeper…” pulling in the listener before launching into a David Byrne style vocal explosion of clearly stated lyrics which state simple positive exclamations like “Today! More than any other day, I am excited to stare into the eyes of the old man sitting across from me on the train and say, everything is going to be ok”  With a chorus of “Today, together, today, together, today, together, we’re OK” its hard not to jump up and down and smile during this song as you’re filled with positive energy.  The chunky, base driven “Habit” comes next and sees more Byrne style vocals as the song starts out as more of a spoken word piece.  Matt May’s keyboards come through heavily on  “The Weather Song” which sounds the poppiest of all the tracks with a fantastic chorus of “I! Just wanna revel in your lies”.  Slow and haunting  “Forgiveness” sounds straight out of Sunday Mass and takes several minutes to build up slowly with discordant feedback  before the first word is even spoken.  The song ends up recalling Pavement with a slower temp.  “Around Again” brings the keyboards back into the rhythm section in a big way as a smooth baseline keeps everything on track before  the song closes it’s last few minutes with a sharply repeated set of chords and Beeler repeating “We have reached the intermission, we can ask him all our questions….like are we there yet? Or are we lost forever?”  You’re left with an uncomfortable feeling while accepting that that song just reached new levels of ingenuity and thought provoking lyricism.  “Clarity” follows the one aspect of form which can be said applies to most of Ought’s songs in which a slow beginning gives way to a loud and more traditional song structure towards the end with the singer yelling “Did you get what you wanted?!”  Closing track “Gemini” finishes with another spoken word style banger with Beeler stating “I retain the right…” followed by a series of feelings and actions accompanied by chaotic guitar and drums alongside Ben Stidworthy’s steady bass lines which drive Ought’s explosions of expression.  At the end, “Gemini” sounds like Beeler’s last breath as he finishes an already strong album with a powerful and pulse driving closer which ends so abruptly it leaves you begging for more.  Luckily, Ought responded to that feeling and delivered an equally impressive follow up months later with Once More With Feeling.  Check out both albums, I promise they’re unlike anything you’ve heard.