Category Archives: DVD Reviews

dvd review::Bob Mould:Circle of Friends

I have always thought of Bob Mould as not only one of the most influential guitar players out there, but in my mind he has often been the perfect guitarist and songwriter. There are few others that can even compare to Mould’s penchant for melody combined with very loud ferocious guitar. So, I was very excited to be able to sit down and watch Bob Mould:Circle of Friends, which comes out October 9th. The films was captured during an October 7th, 2005 performance at the 9:30 Club in D.C. Bob is assisted by Washington D.C.’s legendary drummer Brendan Canty(Rites of Spring, Fugazi), Richard Morel, and Jason Narducy. The group perform a variety of songs from Mould’s solo work, Husker Du, and Sugar.

The sound and video are impeccably captured on Circle of Friends, which is notably the first time Bob Mould has authorized a fully live concert release. There are several highlights and serving up of the old hits, and at least a few casual displays of guitar theatrics on the part of Mould. The majority of the songs are taken from 2005’s Body of Song, with 1992’s Copper Blue coming a near second. The standouts in my opinion come from the Husker Du songs, that for the most part have all been at least minorly reworked, with special attention being played to the slow impassioned performance of “Hardly Getting Over It” from Husker Du’s Candy Apple Grey. These new takes show that even when you strip the noise a little bit, you reveal more of the song. Another great moment is the “See A Little Light” performance, which is sadly the only song from Bob’s first two solo records. There is also a nice pre-show interview which introduces the band members and shows them and Bob discussing how they met and really gives off the sense that these guys enjoy playing with each other. I think a lot of folks have been waiting along time for this one.

video clip

dvd review::Bruce Springsteen:Under Review 1978 – 1982

On October 9th, MVD Entertainment Group will release Bruce Springsteen Under Review 1978 – 1982, Tales Of The Working Man. The dvd is an examination of the post Born To Run period and the three albums that followed – “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” “The River,” and “Nebraska.” The period is considered by many to be his most prolific and a time of growing creativity where Bruce starts to master the concept of character creation and bringing them to life in songs like “The River.” The albums are broken down and analyzed by early E Street Band member Vini Lopez; Rolling Stone magazine editor Anthony DeCurtis, Springsteen Biographers June Skinner Sayers and Eric Alterman, and many others.

Springsteen songs are full of sweeping romantic narratives and other tales where he steps into the shoes of a character and as a result forces the audience into wearing that characters’ shoes as well. For many, Springsteen’s music seems to capture the spirit of the age on albums like “Born To Run,” with its themes of sex, fun, grandiosity, and furthermore its’ validation of what rock n roll had meant for 25 years. In fact, “Born To Run” was a fist waving extavaganza that paid tribute to all of Springsteen’s early rnr influences. 1975 was the year Springsteen appeared on the covers of Time & Newsweek and by this time he had become an international star. The comparisons to Dylan and Van Morrison were rampant, and while they were well-intentioned, Bruce was offended because he was creating his own new language within his music and not merely mimicing the masters. Throughout this Under Review, we are reminded that much as people tried, Springsteen had his own vision, and was determined to go his own way and write his own songs.

All of this sets the stage for the three albums which are highlighted on the dvd. “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” is Bruce’s recognition of a rude awakening that the world is not man’s oyster, and a record where Bruce becomes much more consise in his storytelling. The double album “The River” was both ambitious and an album of self-indulgence where not only does it include the brooding narratives, but also pays tribute to the simple pop songs the band loves to play live. The final album in the trilogy is “Nebraska” his darkess album to date, filled once again with the pervading theme of characters who are stuck in their own lives with no recourse. Overall, this Under Review is entertaining and informative, and will certainly appeal to fans and serve as some great evidence as to why Springsteen is as important as he is.

dvd review::The Byrds Under Review

On the 18th of September, MVD Entertainment Group will be releasing The Byrds Under Review, a two dvd set which includes interviews with Van Dyke Parks, Gene Parsons, Johnny Rogan and many more. The dvd set covers The Byrds, one of the 60’s elite bands in terms of influence and the groups who have benefited from The Byrds range from R.E.M., The Pretenders, The Smiths, Teenage Fanclub and about a million other groups. In 1964, The Beatles arrived and uprooted everything that revolved around the musical status quo of the time. With their sharp lyrics and unavoidable melodies the Beatles challenged conventional wisdom and changed everything. The Byrds rose out of the commercial folk boom. The folk scene had always been at odds with the pop scene, as the folkies viewed pop as contrived and meaningless, whereas folk was seen as deep and meaningful. As a result of this drastic philosophical altering, folk rock had the volume and energy of rock n roll, while maintaining the lyrical intention of folk music. With the direction of manager Jim Dickson The Byrds recorded a cover of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” The song set the Byrds career in motion and defined the band’s sound despite the fact that Roger McGuinn was the only Byrd playing an instrument on the incredibly distinctive tune. McGuinn’s voice on the track is the bridge between the voices of Dylan and the Beatles. “Mr. Tambourine Man” defined The Byrds sound (at least for the first three years) along with their wonderful harmonies and of course the Rickenbacker twelve string which gave the music the trademark cathedral atmosphere.

The Byrds Under Review gives an in depth look into the above and much more as it follows the band from their debut through their last album Farther Along. Particularly interesting is the examination of Sweetheart of the Rodeo which goes into good depth about the circumstances surrounding this album (it is nice to hear some objective opinions on a good Byrds’ album, which is entirely overrated because of the Gram Parsons affiliation). Overall, this three hour plus set will be a treat for Byrds’ fans, and anyone else who finds an interest in learning about one of the greatest bands ever.

dvd review::All My Loving

On September 18, MVD Visual will release Tony Palmer’s masterpiece All My Loving, a film about the effects of pop culture in the late 60’s. The aesthetic value of pop music has always been challenged, as pop has generally been viewed as low art. With the prompting of John Lennon, Tony Palmer set out to film many of the sixties most vibrant groups, including Cream, Donovan, Paul McCartney, The Who, The Animals, Zappa and some others. The film seamless flows through the most magnificent music culture this world has ever seen, and at a time when many of these future legends were without real tv exposure. The idealism is rampant and exemplified by Donovan’s rant about a “merging of all art” including writers, film makers, musicians, painters… into one entity to control the market under one roof. These artists thought collectively that the power of music could change the world and All My Loving is Tony Palmer’s representation of those ideas.

All My Loving was filmed when these artists were at their creative peak and at a time when pop music was going through a lot of changes, becoming more complex and turning into rock. At the same time, the influence of LSD had changed music even more as “hard edged” symbolism had been exchanged for the imagery of flowers and such, but the hardness was making a quick return. The movie is a great document of this period and includes many highlights such as footage of Zappa and his war on apathy, Eric Burdon singing “When I think of all the good times that i’ve wasted having good times,” and the The Who and Pink Floyd stuff, which is just priceless on its own . All My Loving will be a treat for anyone who has an interest in sixties pop culture, but music fans especially will delight at much of Tony Palmer’s magnificent footage.

dvd review::You’re Gonna Miss Me:A Film About Roky Erickson

The 13th Floor Elevators had one of the wildest rock singers ever and have influenced everyone from Janis Joplin to Patti Smith. They were in fact so great that it was thought that there was no way they couldn’t make it. The raw coolness of the psychedelic 13th Floor Elevators separated the band by miles from their peers. Coming from a background of rhythm and blues, the band added in feedback and a craziness that made the Elevator’s music surely their own. No doubt, the main element of the music was that great voice of Roky Erickson’s, who was influenced by the banshee like screams of James Brown and Little Richard. At his creative peak with The Elevators, Erickson created in a Dylan stream of consciousness style, that at times exceeded what the band could keep up with. The Elevators transformed 60’s America music at a time when music hotspots like the Bay Area were still stuck on folk. Once The Elevators hit, the Bay Area music scene was never the same again.

The movie includes footage of Roky at home in Austin, Texas, in addition to interviews with his wives and brothers. Roky’s protective mom is also shown and given the opportunity to explain who she is, and how she has been misrepresented. Also of interest, is seeing the brief interview with Roky’s son who for years wasn’t allow to see his dad, because Roky’s mom deemed it to be a bad idea.

There is also discussion of Roky’s first acid trip and his experimentation with psychedelics and heroin. Roky was known to be stoned all the time by the Austin authorities. As the story goes he was charged and at trial his lawyer go him off by reason of insanity and he ended up in the loony bin with a disproportionate amount of time considering his charge. In an interview from 1975 Roky described the facility as akin to a concentration camp.By the end Roky is seen as a shell of his former self, which some say was caused by the 300 plus acid trips, while others contend it was the shock treatment, or maybe Roky really is an alien from another planet. One thing is for sure, somewhere along the way Roky lost his muse.

All in all, You’re Gonna Miss Me will be a treat for fans and newcomers alike, because it is such a rare tale. Much of the live band footage is just great to see, as is Roky’s solo performance in the company of his therapist and brother. Somewhere out there though, the question must be posed as to whether Roky was simply a genius, or if he was a man possessed by great powers, which is what he trademark howl seems to indicate. More importantly, …did Roky choose to go crazy? Finally, You’re Gonna Miss Me is a compelling look at one of rock’s greatest tragedies, but by the end we can at least know that Roky is doing the best he’s done in years.

dvd review::GG Allin – Hated special edition

Director Todd Phillips’( Road Trip, Old School and Starsky & Hutch) first film Hated:GG Allin & the Murder Junkies, has been re-released in special edition format with new footage and other bonuses. The film was originally a student project at NYU, that went on to become the highest grossest student film of all time. Like watching a horrific accident, you will be as compeled to watch as you will be repulsed. This dvd is stocked full of footage of GG attacking crowds and the crowds fighting back. Fans will also be treated to interviews with GG’s high school friends from his hometown of Concord, Vermont, and a new rare interview with GG’s mom.

GG Allin is one of those rock oddities that exist outside of the reign of normal purpose. The question that must be asked is “was there a purpose beyond pure sado-masochistic drive for destruction?” Undoubtedly, GG wanted to destroy himself and everyone around and the music was more or less a vehicle for his chaos. Things were so extreme, that according to GG’s brother and bandmate Merle, they never planned on finishing a tour, because of two things: prison or hospital. For the hardcore GG obsessive, GG was punk incarnate, having the courage for real social defiance. For the rest of us, GG’s legacy is that he goes down as rock n roll’s ultimate car crash, in that we didn’t want to look, but the voyeur inside wouldn’t let us take our eyes off the most grotesque and vile thing we ever witnessed.

Hated preview video
New Bonus Materials:Special poster offer – John Wayne Gacy’s GG portrait
GG Allin temporary tattoos
Exclusive interview with Merle Allin & Dino Sex
Art Gallery from cover contest
Ultra rare interview with GG’s mom
Three music videos
Commentary tracks by Todd Phillips, Merle Allin & Dino Sex

Featuring The Songs:
Die When You Die
Gypsy Motherfu*kers
Fu*k Authority
Suck My Ass It Smells
I Want To Kill You
Bite It You Scum
When I Die
Highest Power
I Kill Everything I Fu*k
(The Aids Song)
Look Into My Eyes & Hate Me

DVD review::The Jesus Lizard

The manic ferociousness of The Jesus Lizard and their crazed front man David Yow, made them by far one of the best bands of the nineties. In this dvd we are treated to a typically great Jesus Lizard show from the Venus De Milo club in Boston on October 4, 1994. The camera is so up close on the band that not only can you feel the heat inside the venue, but you can almost get a taste of the gross sweat falling off David Yow at the front of the stage. Was drummer Mac McNeilly the greatest rock drummer of the nineties? Well, he certainly makes a strong case with his pulsating and pounding stronghold on the drums. At one point in the video, Yow almost chokes himself with the microphone in the midst of one of his crazed stage churnings. It is easy to see the power Jesus Lizard have over the crowd as the audience moves, bumps, blasts, and careens into spiritual fits. Half the time Yow is somewhere between the stage and the crowd, not merely giving his all, but more so he is a man possessed on this night. Yow never ceases to amaze as he heckles someone who is wearing earplugs, but then again the Lizard were never known as sympathetic. During the dvd you get to witness a long haired guy being carried out while Yow screams at the guy like a raging banshee. All in all, enough quick stops and starts and cyclical riffs to make your head spin.

The dvd is really good, because it serves as not only a reminder to old fans of how great the band was, but also as a way to win over some new ones. The dvd also comes with an interview with David Yow before the show where he discusses everyting from major label battles to live albums.

Song List
Bloody Mary
One Evening, Killer McHann
Num, Mouthbreather
Puss, Boilermaker, Gladiator
Destroy before reading, Horse, The Associate, Mailman, Fly on the wall
If you had lips, My own urine
Then comes Dudley, Monkey trick
Wheelchair Epidemic

Boilermaker from the Jesus Lizard dvd
Live in Texas 1994
Wheelchair Epidemic Live 1996

buy the Jesus Lizard dvd

DVD Review::Tim Buckley-My Fleeting House

I was happy to find the Tim Buckley dvd My Fleeting House in my mailbox last week. My Fleeting House is a collection of Buckley performances coupled with commentary by Lee Underwood(Buckley’s guitarist), David Browne(author of Dream Brother), and Larry Beckett(who co-wrote many Buckley songs). As a long time fan of Tim, I have seen some of the footage, but never in such pristine condition.

My Fleeting House provides valuable insight into the life of Buckley, and his devotion and love for his art. There are few artists who have been as explorative with their music and voice as Buckley. He was one of the greatest innovators in pop music history. As Larry Beckett states in the video, the magic of Tim Buckley is found in realizing the conceptual evolutionary devolopment from stage to stage of his career. Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Tim was constantly challenging both himself and his audience, pushing against all sensibilities and conventions.
There is much to discover in the music of this rare artist, and My Fleeting House offers special treats for both the long time fan and the uninitiated. There are 3 partial performances and eleven full length songs. My favorite one is a rare solo performance of Pleasant Street from The Christian Licorice Store, a movie in which Buckley appeared. Overall, I have high regard for My Fleeting House. I’m sure i’ll be watching it again soon.
My Fleeting House:
01 No Man Can Find the War [from “Inside Pop”]
02 Happy Time” [from “Late Night Line Up”]
03 Morning Glory [from “Late Night Line Up”]
04 The Dolphins [from “The Old Grey Whistle Test”]
05 Song to the Siren [from “The Monkees Show”]
06 Who Do You Love [from “Greenwich Village”]
07 Happy Time [from “Dutch TV”]
08 Sing a Song for You [from “Dutch TV”]
09 Sally Go Round the Roses [from “Music Video Live”]
10 Blue Melody [from “Boboquivari”]
11 Venice Beach (Music Boats by the Bay) [from “Boboquivari”]
12 I Woke Up [from “The Show”]
13 Come Here Woman [from “The Show”]
14 Pleasant Street [from “The Christian Licorice Store”]
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