Thursday, September 23, 2010

180 South - Official Movie Trailer 2010 [HD]

180 Degrees South

I've had some time on my hands recently to scour Netflix and catch up on some documentaries I have been meaning to see. Among them are Scorsese's Dylan documentary, "No Direction Home," the new Doors documentary, "When You're Strange," as well as "It Might Get Loud," an homage to the electric guitar featuring Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge.

However, I find myself writing this post after watching "180 Degrees South," a documentary outside the musical genre that chronicles climber/surfer/adventurer Jeff Johnson's land and sea trek to Patagonia, following in the footsteps of legendary climber (and Patagonia outdoor company founder) Yvon Chouinard's epic 1968 trek to summit rare peak, Cerro Corcovado.

For all you outdoors enthusiasts, it's a must-see, as the film offers great climbing and surfing footage set in arguably the most breathtaking backdrops on earth. However, adventure aside, the film really hammers home the underlying message of conservation and the human race's duty to preserve wildlands and ecosystems.

For, As Johnson discovers in his travels, Chile's wild rivers are being dammed up and its coast being marred by pulp mills. In turn, the fisheries, which served as the lifeblood to generations of Chileans, are deteriorating.

What makes the film so captivating is not only the scenery and the genuine characters, but the great soundtrack that accompanies the film. It includes original music by Mason Jennings, James Mercer, Ugly Casanova and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, as well as songs by Vetiver, M. Ward, Jack Johnson, Andrew Bird, and a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Remember The Mountain Bed," performed by Wilco and Billy Bragg which I had never heard, but is my new favorite song.

It looks like I have a new favorite documentary as well.


A couple of the grassroots organizations promoted in the film worth checking out:

Conservacion Patagonia (preserving Patagonia's wildlands) and Sin Represas! (Patagonia without dams).

Buy the soundtrack here!

"If you love a place, you have a duty to protect it. And to love a place, you must know it first." - Jeff Johnson, 180 Degrees South

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Springsteen box set, documentary due out in November

When I was born in 1984, there were only a few artists carrying the Rock-n-Roll torch. One of them being Guns 'n Roses; the other being Jersey-born, working class hero Bruce Springsteen, whose songs about everyday life, teenage angst and romance won him generations of adoring fans -- myself included.

On Nov. 16, a special Bruce Springsteen box set will hit stores featuring a reissue of his 1978 record, Darkness On The Edge of Town, which, at the time, was being compared with Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone and Hendrix's Are You Experienced? and includes such classics as "Badlands," "Streets Of Fire," and "The Promised Land." But the thing that's got everyone talking is the documentary included in the box set, "The Promise: The Making of Darkness On The Edge of Town" (check out the trailer here). It is being billed as a raw look at Springsteen and the E-Street band as they harness the creative energy that reportedly produced enough material for four albums, but was eventually chiseled into the 10 songs that were released.

The box set also includes 21 outtakes (some of which Springsteen returned to the studio to finish), a three-hour 1978 concert filmed at Summit Arena in Houston, and an intimate performance of the E-Street band performing Darkness in its entirety to an empty Paramount Theater in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, last year.

I'm hoping the box set, documentary and all the attention being paid to Springsteen will introduce him to a new generation of fans. But, for the rest of us, he's always been there.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Dr. Dog tracks!

This, on Dr. Dog's site this morning:

"We recorded 4 songs this summer at our friend Brian McTear’s studio in Philadelphia and we’re real happy with how they came out. We of course just released an album a few months back and we’re not feeling particularly anxious to ask you for more money, so we’re just gonna give the songs up for FREE."

They will release the songs on a continual basis. Check out Dr. Dog's Facebook page (where you will be redirected to a sharing application) to download the songs as they become available.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mavis Staples + Jeff Tweedy - "You Are Not Alone" Acoustic

Chromeo, "Business Casual"

Hot off the success of their 2007 release "Fancy Footwork" -- which has been rocking dance floors, house parties and my car CD player for the past three years -- Montreal-based elctro-funk duo Chromeo have announced their new album "Business Casual" will be released Sept. 14.

Chromeo fans got a sneak peak of the new album when the singles "Don't Turn The Lights On" and "Night By Night" were released a few months back. The songs featured all the cheesy (in a good way) lyrics, heavy beats, 80's guitar riffs and vocoder you would expect from Chromeo. After a first listen of the album, it's apparent that Chromeo has stuck to the game plan, dishing out tight, danceable beats that feel oh so good. However, the duo puts on their serious face (relatively speaking) for a couple tracks ("When The Night Falls," "Don't Walk Away"). Word has it they have been taking song writing notes from Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates), with whom they performed this summer.

You can listen to "Business Casual" in its entirety, or individual tracks from the album, on NPR's First Listen until its Sept. 14 release. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to slip on my pastel suit and Italian leather shoes and blast it like it's 1984.

(Also notable on is Robert Plant's new album "Band of Joy," coming off his Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Kraus. The album spans many genres and eloquently features Plant's durable vocals along with some great guitar work. In addition, listen to Mavis Staples' new album, "You Are Not Alone," produced by Wilco's Jeff-Tweedy. They collaborated on many of the soul-full Gospel inspired songs, including the title track. Check out the video here. Also featured is Of Montreal's new album.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Kings of Leon

Courtesy Image

A new song/video from Kings of Leon was posted on Stereogum today, check it out here. The song "Radioactive," is a cut from KoL's upcoming album Come Around Sundown, due out Oct. 19. The song features a gritty, driving beat with some choppy guitar riffs like the old-school KoL. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

- J