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, April 15, 2015

Frank is a Quirky and Revealing Film About Music

Austin’s South by Southwest Music and Art Festival has long been a place where local, regional, and relatively unknown bands are given the chance to reach a wider audience.  Many see playing the event as a turning point in their careers.  With this year’s incarnation having recently come to a close, I figured it was an appropriate time to discuss a recent indie film I watched which deals with exactly this, among other things.  Frank directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Michael Fassbender is the story of a charismatic yet strange band called The Soronprfbs (the name is intentionally confusing).  After their keyboardist has a mental breakdown, the bands manager Don bumps into a young man named Jon who is in aspiring songwriter and performer.  Jon is invited to play with The Soronprfbs that night in town and jumps at the chance to play in a real band.  Lead by Frank, a mysterious yet determined man who always wears a large papermache mask, Jon has the time of his life and is thrilled when Frank invites him to join the band full time and come to Ireland to spend the next year recording their debut album.  Jon wants nothing more than to be famous and he can tell that Frank also wants to pursue fame despite the rest of the bands desire to remain anonymous and play the music that inspires them and only them.  Throughout the course of the year spent recording their album, Jon continually butts heads with band member Clara over the direction the band is taking.  After posting some of the songs online, The Soronprfbs are invited to play SXSW and Jon convinces Frank that this is exactly what they need to break into the mainstream and play music that everyone loves.  Despite Clara and the rest of the band insisting that Frank is not mentally stable enough to perform under such pressures.  Chaos ensues after many loud arguments, several mental breakdowns, and a stabbing which leads to disaster.  The film was an interesting take on the experience of independent bands.  The struggle between Jon’s aspirations of fame and Clara’s need to express herself free of outside influence is representative of the struggle many young bands face, particularly unsigned indie bands.  Frank encapsulates the pressures of pursuing that fame while maintaining your artistic integrity and you come to realize that the whole point of being in a band is to have fun and enjoy yourself.  If that isn’t the most important part, then you’re never going to last.  In this way, Frank ends up less of a character and more of a symbol of the freedom of doing and playing what you want.  Don tells Jon in the beginning that he shouldn’t try and be Frank.  Frank he explains, exists on a creative level that no one could ever hope to match and to try would be folly.  Jon comes to learn this lesson after many mistakes and both he and the viewer realize that self-expression is exactly that: SELF-expression.  It can’t be mimicked or faked.  It has to come from the heart, and Jon realizes in the end that that is exactly what made The Soronprfbs so inspiring in the first place. 

Today's Playlist

1. Suffragette City - David Bowie
2. Bargain - The Who
3. Sugarcrush - Joanna Gruesome
4. Confetti - The Lemonheads
5. Talking Trains - Quilt
6. Crimson Wave - Tacocat
7. That's Correct - Darkbuster
8. Tools and Chrome - Jawbox
9. Rush Hour - Miami Doritos
10. The Bends - Radiohead

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Episode Three of Music and Movies with Mike and Ted

Episode three of our podcast is up and running!  We discuss award shows, whether the Grammy's is a popularity contest, and our five favorite comedies of all time!  Give it a listen and stay tuned for more episodes to come!  Next week we plan on discussing movie franchises and how many only serve to destroy a once fabulous film.  We're looking at you Indiana Jones!

Music and Movies with Mike and Ted - Episode 3

The Homesman is a Powerful Western Drama

I’m not a huge western fan.  I’ve never been one for the whole cowboys and Indians storyline but I am a huge fan of period dramas and so I decided to give The Homesman a try.  Directed by Tommy Lee Jones and starring him alongside Hillary Swank, I figured the film had enough dramatic weight to be worth the watch and I was right.  The film was brilliantly acted and saw supporting roles by James Spader, John Lithgow, and Meryl Streep.  Taking place in the Nebraska territories in the mid-19th century, the film focuses on Mary Bee Cuddy (Hillary Swank), a single woman in her early 30’s who left her life in New York for a fresh start in the Western territories.  Though she has been successful monetarily, she has had no luck in securing a husband, something which begins to weigh heavily on her mind fueling a deep depression.  When three other women in their small frontier town go insane because of the daily stresses of their lives coupled with instances of tragedy, Mary Bee offers to take them back across the Ohio river to a church which has offered them sanctuary and care.  Along the way she saves a man named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) left for dead by men who found him using land that wasn’t his.  After saving his life, he agrees to help Miss Cuddy on her journey.  While the film lacked any significant action, its strong suit was its ability to convey the mental hardships of life on the frontier.  The quiet, vast solitude is something that deeply affects the human psyche and that was represented clearly through each and every character.  While Mary Bee and George help these three women who’ve snapped, it becomes ever clearer that the two of them are not far off from that same insanity.  In the end, you’re left with both a profound respect and fear for the life of these pioneers and the struggles they had to go through to push the boundaries of this country westward.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Second Podcast Talks How We Buy Music

Our second podcast is up and there's a link below to our Soundcloud!  We tackle everything from the vinyl resurgence, to the state of the music industry, to streaming, and how we buy our music.  Touching on illegal downloading and what constitutes a music snob, we hit so much in 16 minutes you'll be asking for more.  But don't fret!  Number three is on it's way next week where we'll switch it up and talk about movie award shows and our 5 favorite comedies of all time.  Look for it!!

Podcast #2: How Should We Buy Our Music?

Some Songs from Today's Playlist

1. Pig - Zip Tie Handcuffs
2. Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
3. Black Shuck - The Darkness
4. Sell Your Soul - Black Beach
5. Ponytail - Chastity Belt
6. Make the Fonz Bleed - Harris Hawk
7. Runner - Laura Stevenson
8. 1984 - Shellshag
9. Horses - Patti Smith
10. Blank Generation - Richard Hell and the Voidoids

As Above So Below Has Surprisingly Original Story

I’ve been on a total horror movie kick lately but as is the case with your average 90 minute fright flick, they are typically easily forgettable.  That being said, I was actually excited to see John Erick Dowdle’s As Above So Below strictly on the basis that its concept was unique.  The movie focuses on amateur alchemist Scarlett Marlowe as she continues the work of her deceased father scouring the globe for clues to the location of the mythical Philosophers Stone.  After obtaining a key whilst searching in Iran, she is led to the catacombs beneath Paris.  Along with a cameraman named Benji and her former lover George, the three ask around and find a guide who will take them beneath the city into the maze of tunnels that make up Paris’ underground.  I didn’t know what to expect when watching in that I wasn’t sure what exactly the “horror” element would be.  I wasn’t sure if the danger would be the tunnels themselves or some sort of supernatural/creature type threat.  In the end, it was kind of a combination which was both good and bad.  I enjoyed it because it kept you guessing.  You weren’t ever quite sure why you were freaked out, you just knew that you were inching closer to the edge of your seat (something any decent horror movie should induce).  The converse is that it can be confusing at times as you struggle to find out what exactly it is you should be afraid of.  After becoming trapped underground, the team is eventually confronted with the choice to either wait for rescue or go through a tunnel which their guide Papillon says is the gate to hell.  Which do you think they choose?  I enjoyed the story of the search for the alchemist’s stone and thought it was a unique way to approach the idea of doing a horror movie centered on the Paris catacombs.  The location is so iconic that the obvious route to go is either A: a group of students get lost and die of B: a group of students get lost and uncover an ancient group of subterranean creatures hungry for human flesh.  As such it was nice to see the film go a different route.  The acting, while subpar is fresh in that the actors are relatively unknown adding to the “found footage” style immensely.  Found footage films almost never work with mainstream actors because duh, you know who you’re watching!  In the end, of the 15+ horror films I’ve watching in the last month, As Above So Below stands out for its original storytelling and surprising ending but I won’t go in to that, you’ll have to watch for yourself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Music and Movie Podcast!!!

I've started a new podcast with a fellow music and movie lover here in Duxbury.  We'll bring fresh topics, interesting discussion, and all around good vibes to two subjects you could spend 10 lifetimes talking about.  Check back weekly for new additions.  Listen to the first iteration below.

Music and Movies with Mike and Ted

Screaming Females Deliver Powerful Smoothness on New LP

Following up with my recent post on DC’s explosive band PRIESTS, I figured I’d cover the other album I picked up at that show, Screaming Female’s latest full length Rose Mountain.  The Females have become without a doubt one of my favorite rock/punk bands EVER and most certainly one of the best guitar bands playing music today hands down.  Their sixth LP showcases not only continued growth but a self-assuredness which is both refreshing and exciting.  Marissa Paternoster’s guitar playing is unparalleled as the tiny shredder lays down riffs and solos that can stand up against any of the greats past or present.  Starting off with the steady, energizing “Empty Head” and “Ripe” you’re reassured that this new effort is still the hard hitting garage rock people have come to expect from the NJ basement trio.  However, it’s songs like “Wishing Well”, “Hopeless”, “Broken Neck” and the titular track “Rose Mountain” which show that Screaming Females have come a long way since 2006’s Baby Teeth.  Marissa’s voice is better than ever hitting a large range of notes while employing her iconic vibrato to punch the listener in the face with the sheer force of her lyrics and harsh squeal.  King Mike’s bass fills are increasingly present and offer chunky contrasts to Paternoster’s sharp solo’s and powerful hooks.  Jarret Dougherty’s drums are on point and push his bandmates to new heights while keeping them firmly grounded in unshakeable rhythms.  The band was concerned that their time may have come to an end last year when Marissa was diagnosed with mono and eventually fibromyalgia which saw them cancelling shows for the first time ever and returning home to take a break from their relentless touring schedule.  After bouncing back, the band is clearly at a point where they are happy with their music, their life, and each other and that comes out strongly in the tracks on Rose Mountain.  Having been a band for nearly 10 years, this violently cohesive, feel good power trio is here to stay and is committed to staying true to the DIY spirit that embodies their music, their label, and themselves.  I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

Today's Playlist

1. Rose Mountain - Screaming Females
2. Hadley, MA - California X
3. Runner - Laura Stevenson
4. Kind of Like Smitten - The Ergs!
5. Weirdoz Everywhere - The Prefab Messiahs
6. Mesmerize - Temples
7. Oliver Twisted - The Vaselines
8. Johnny Hit and Run Pauline - X
9. Design Within Reach - PRIESTS
10. In My Eyes - Minor Threat