An up-to-date selection of music documentaries on Netflix (UK and Ireland) to delve into.


1.

David Bowie: Five Years’

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This 2013 BBC documentary looks at a five-specific years that were crucial to Bowie’s legacy. It begins in 1971 with his breakthrough, then onto 1975 with his Young Americans record, onto 1977 when he made Low and Heroes in Berlin then onto 1980’s Scary Monsters and 1983’s Let’s Dance, as produced by Nile Rodgers. There’s interviews, talking heads, archive footage, live footage and visual footage galore.


2.

Gaga: Five Foot Two

Gaga
A documentary that takes an in-depth look into the life of singer Stefani Germanotta or Lady Gaga during the production and release of her fifth album Joanne. In the documentary shes speaks openly about her struggles with pain and mental health following a diagnoses with fibromyalgia.


3.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

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It’s easy to dismiss dance DJs dunderhead like Steve Aoki right? Huge amounts of money amassed playing dumb stadium EDM shows and throwing cake. Dumb. This documentary gives some genuine insight (though it does feel at times, like Aoki commissioned it) into how a man like Aoki got to where he did. The short-hand: a lot of hard work, and a gruelling tour schedule that means 240 gigs a year or thereabouts (he played the Wright Venue just last week). Aoki started the label Dim Mak off the back off a Tuesday night club night where the likes of Bloc Party and Justice played for free. Aoki was in the right place at the right time – the start of electro-influenced indie-rock, or blog house and he went all in. It worked out pretty well for him and it’s hard to begrudge him after watching this documentary. His relationship with his distant father, a famous wrester and founder of restaurant Benihana, is explored as a main reason for all this and whether that’s true or not it does humanise Aoki as more than a cake-throwing partystarter. The tunes are still shit though.


4.

Janis: Little Girl Blue

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The tragic story of Janis Joplin, who was one of the first members of the 27 club. The raw blues singer died the same year as Jimi Hendrix in 1970 and Amy Berg’s documentary, despite the long time that has passed since her overdose, has a raw emotive quality to it. Berg talks to friends and family about her life and what might have been. There’s plenty of footage of Joplin performing and insights into her early troubled life at school in Texas (which she returns to 10 years later at her reunion with cameras). Joplin was a singer who never really found her place in the world. An existing interest in Joplin will help engage viewing. Cat Power narrates.


5.

The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane

Stones
Written and directed by Brett Morgen, this documentary traces the first 20 years of The Rolling Stones career, featuring interview audio in which no cameras were allowed mixed with archival footage. It discusses their relationship with Brian Jones, media comparisons with the Beatles and drug addictions that nearly cost them their career. If you like The Rolling Stones you have to see this documentary.


6.

Rubble Kings

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A 2015 documentary about gangs in New York in 1970s. Not a music film per se but hip-hop was a prominent reason for the reduction of violence when gang members swapped guns for breaking and music. The soundtrack also features Run The Jewels, Bun B and Ghostface Killah.


7.

The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir

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This film is the story of Weir, the second guitarist with the Grateful Dead. It tells the story of the band and Weir’s relationship with Jerry Garcia, his eventful life and his unique guitar technique. The Grateful Dead are an American curio, not as celebrated on this side of the Atlantic, so if you want to know what the fuss is about, this is a good place to start.


8.

Daft Punk Unchained

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The enigmatic stylish French dance duo explored in style via their closest friends and collaborators including Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, Giorgio Moroder, Kanye, Michel Gondry and Todd Edwards.


9.

Shot! The Spiritual Mantra of Rock


Following the career of the rock photographer Mick Rock, the man behind iconic photographs and album covers for the likes Lou Reed, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Queen and how the lifestyle that went with this career almost ended in an early death.


10.

Sound City


A film directed and produced by Dave Grohl looks at the recording studio Sound City Studios where various artists such as Nirvana, Kyuss, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty and Rage Against The Machine recorded their albums. The film explores the life of the studio from its opening in 1969 to its closure in 2011.


11.

What Happened, Miss Simone?

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A documentary exploring one of the best singers of all time Nina Simone. It takes in her life on stage, her involvement in activism (she was closely allied with Martin Luther King), her troubled marriage, her volatile personality and addictions. She was a rare talent and the film leaves you with a mixture of sadness and beauty. Crucial to the documentary is her involvement in the civil movement.


12.

Whitney: Can I Be Me?


A documentary that by filmmaker Nick Broomfield filmed four years after Whitney Houston’s tragic death that explores the life of the singer, the heartbreaking tale of what lead to her demise and the destructive warning signs of fame that shone through during her career. The film also shares interviews with her bodyguard and discusses her relationship with Bobby Brown and best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford that lead to the media questioning her sexuality.


13.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster


This documentary names after Metallica’s 2003 follows the band during the process of writing and recording their sixth studio album which saw the band seeking two years of group therapy with performance enhancement coach Phil Towle, bassist Jason Newsted leaving the band and frontman James Hetfield going to rehab for alcohol abuse and many other trials and tribulations, a period of time that eventually leads to the release of their St Anger album. This one is a must watch, the story is absolutely insane.


14.

The Story of Anvil


A documentary that follows the career of the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil as they still try to make it as a band despite selling millions of records with their 1982 album Metal on Metal influencing other bands such as Anthrax and Metallica. The movie follows Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner as they embark on a European tour that marks their last shot at achieving ultimate stardom.


15.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me


The story of Memphis rock band Big Star, a band that received major critical acclaim during the 70s and 80s from their debut album #1 Record and following three albums. The documentary features interviews with surviving drummer Jody Stephens, producer and Ardent Studios founder John Fry, and other bands such as The Flaming Lips and R.E.M exploring the triumphs and tragedies within the band that prevented them breaking through in their success.


16.

Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest


Directed by actor Michael Rapaport this documentary explores the career of legendary 90s hip-hop group a Tribe Called Quest, getting up close and personal with Q-Tip and Phife Dawg discussing their differences that lead to conflicts that drove them apart, yet how they still remain and retain the title of being one of the most influential groups in hip-hop’s history. The movie also features major faces within the hip-hop industry such as the Beastie Boys and Pharrell Williams.


Posted on March 22nd, 2018

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Electric Picnic tickets went on sale this morning and all of the tiers are already sold out. So if you were one of the lucky ones who got some tickets, here’s who is lined up to play in Stradbally from September 1st to 3rd this year, as was leaked via Twitter this morning, and it’s a pretty solid lineup for 2017. Pity this wasn’t revealed before it was sold out.

The headliners are The xx (Friday), A Tribe Called Quest (Saturday), Duran Duran (Sunday), with Pete Tong performing Ibiza Classics with an orchestra and the legendary Chaka Khan too.

It’s also been pointed out that tickets were already on Seatwave shortly after it officially sold out from €400 up (full  price was €240) .

Here’s the list in full:

  • The xx
  • A Tribe Called Quest
  • Duran Duran
  • Pete Tong performing Ibiza Classics with the 60-piece Heritage Orchestra
  • Chaka Khan
  • Interpol
  • Run The Jewels
  • London Grammar
  • Madness
  • Father John Misty
  • Soulwax
  • The Pretenders
  • Rag ‘n Bone Man
  • The Divine Comedy
  • Annie Mac
  • Band Of Horses
  • Michael Kiwanuka
  • Mano Le Tough
  • Floating Points (solo live)
  • Kiasmos
  • Vince Staples
  • Young Fathers
  • Krept & Kronan
  • Section Boyz
  • Perfume Genius
  • POND
  • Car Seat Headrest
  • Japandroids
  • Parquet Courts
  • Real Estate
  • Phantogram
  • All We Are
  • Hudson Taylor
  • Kelly Lee Owens
  • Goat Girl

Those are the main stages so far with Body&Soul, Other Voices, Mindfield, Salty Dog, Trailer Park, Casa Bacardi, Jerry Fish’s Electric Sideshow, The Hazel Wood, Theatre of Food, Trenchtown, Global Green, Anachronica and more to be fleshed out.

 

Tickets all gone

See link.

Posted on March 23rd, 2017

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The Grammys took place last night and the winners list is here, though it must be said, the Grammys have repeatedly shown themselves to be culturally irrelevant in the winners of the awards. Adele’s OK album winning over Beyoncé’s for album of the year continues the problem that a black artist has in winning one of the night’s major awards. Frank Ocean just refused to enter his work and explained why yesterday.

So the awards are establishment-lead trash but the live performances are what keeps people coming back. There were 16 performances last night and here are the most notable ones:


Chance The Rapper, Kirk Franklin & Tamela Mann

Chance The Rapper’s performance was a highly-charged medley from Coloring Book complete with choir, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. Chance won Best New Artist and this is how he accepted.


A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak, Consequence & Busta Rhymes

A Tribe Called Quest performed ‘We The People’ (with some bits from ‘Award Tour’ and ‘Can I Kick It?) with Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes and Consequence. Busta called Trump President Agent Orange, they brought American Muslims on-stage and Q-Tip called the crowd to ‘Resist!’.


Beyoncé

A heavily-pregnant-with twins Beyoncé delivered the most visually-arresting performance of the night with some slow Lemonade cuts.


Bruno Mars’ Prince Tribute with The Time

Bruno Mars’ did a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and The Time (a band that Prince played with and formed in school) – ‘Jungle Love’ was played too but isn’t in the video. Mars did ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ is a Purple Rain-era velvet suit and it turns out he can slay on guitar:


Adele’s underwhelming George Michael Tribute

The big winner of the night – Adele performed a tribute to George Michael that was she restarted as she was off-key. Performing ‘Fast Love’ she slowed the song down to a craic-less coma level cover that could have been so much more. She also performed ‘Hello’ at the start and acknowledged that Beyoncé should have won the album of the year trophy (the Grammys do not have a strong history of giving big awards to black artists).


The Weeknd performed with Daft Punk

DP dressed as Glam Darth Vaders. They are very good at standing around behind equipment (it’s unclear if they did anything).


Metallica and Lady Gaga – Why?

Gaga couldn’t have fallen from the top further with this shit show pairing. Hetfield’s mic doesn’t work for most of it, Gaga trips. Why?

Posted on February 13th, 2017

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Just in time for Christmas, the Loose Joints Podcast is back with a look at the best of 2016. The podcast features Nialler9 and Sally Cinnamon talking to a guest about the music they love: old and new.

On this episode, singer and TV presenter May Kay joins us to talk about what floated our boats this year. We also talk about Fight Like Apes, MayKay’s band who just played their last ever show last week along with her experiences at presenting Other Voices.

Subscribe in iTunes.

Also available in Stitcher, PocketCasts and TuneIn.

Download: Loose Joints Podcast #5: Best of 2016 – MayKay (120MB, 2hours 5mins)

Tracklisting

  1. Anderson .Paak – Am I Wrong?
  2. Kaytranada – Lite Spots
  3. Chance The Rapper – Ultralight Beam
  4. Frank Ocean / Andre 3000 – Solo (Reprise)
  5. All Tvvins – Resurrect Me
  6. A Tribe Called Quest – We The People
  7. Glass Animals – Life Itself
  8. Saint Sister – Blood Mountain
  9. Andrew Bird – Roma Fade
  10. Empress Of – Woman is a Word
  11. Beck – Wow
  12. PG Goes Dance – Kontrol
  13. Midland – Final Credits
  14. Rusangano Family – Soul Food

#4: Aisling Rogerson
#3: Emmet Kirwan.
#2: Oisin Davis.
#1: Aidan Kelly.

Special thanks to Sean Corcoran for facilitating recording.

Posted on December 23rd, 2016

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An old band comes together for a final statement after years of fighting and estrangement of its two most vocal members. It’s an age-old story that happened to A Tribe Called Quest in the 18 years since they released their fifth album The Love Movement.

As bitterly captured in the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg stopped speaking to each other. Despite occasional reunion shows, there was a rift, that took until a performance on The Tonight Show in 2015 to heal.

Reinvigorated once more, Phife, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White started making music again in Tip’s New Jersey home studio. During recording, Phife Dawg passed away. The rest of the group decided to finish it in his honour, as most of his parts were done.

So A Tribe Called Quest’s final album We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service is a result by any stretch, serving as a tribute, a full-stop, the end of a circle. What’s surprising about the album is how connected it is to Tribe’s best work.

When a band reforms, they often lose their youthful energy and spark but it never left Tribe. Here’s a rap group who sound as fresh and individual as they did the first time round – nostalgia doesn’t come into it. Q-Tip sounds 23 years of age, not double that. Jarobi raps more than he ever has since their debut People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Phife reaffirms his legacy as an MC.

Arriving the same week as Trump was elected to the US Presidency, We Got It From Here. is timely too with references to his upsetting rhetoric. Lead single ‘We The People’ addresses that head on the chorus “all you Black folks, you must go / All you Mexicans, you must go.” There’s a song called ‘The Donald’ and the opening track is about how black people can expect to go nowhere as we dream of Mars.

As is Tribe’s custom though, there’s a sense of playfulness and unity throughout. Old friends and cousins Busta Rhymes and Consequence add extra energy, Elton John’s ‘Benny And The Jets’ sample works wonders on ‘Solid Wall Of Sound’, man of the moment Anderson .Paak does his crooning R&B thing, Andre 3000 reminds us why we need more of him rapping on ‘Kids’ and Jack White, Kanye and Kendrick Lamar also pop in.

Musically, it’s as if a stockpile of Tribe songs were just waiting for the group to get it together. ‘Dis Generation’ has fire, ‘Melatonin’ recalls Tip’s solo album Kamaal The Abstract, ‘Enough’ is a smooth song with a callback sample to ‘Bonita Applebum’ and ‘Black Spasmodic’ has that essential album posse swing.

They all contribute, none of them swarm the cuts with their presence. The jazz samples, the interplay, the beat drops, the synergy between Phife and Tip is magically still there from the moment those keys come in the first song. Real masters of ceremonies have had years of practice and it’s heartening to hear they never lost the gift of craft, despite time and distance. They leave a heightened legacy and hope for the future.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service’s tracklist:

1. The Space Program
2. We The People….
3. Whateva Will Be
4. Solid Wall of Sound (feat. Busta Rhymes)
5. Dis Generation (feat. Busta Rhymes)
6. Kids… (feat. Andre 3000)
7. Melatonin
8. Enough!!

1. Mobius (feat. Consequence & Busta Rhymes)
2. Black Spasmodic
3. The Killing Season (feat. Kanye West & Talib Kweli)
4. Lost Somebody
5. Movin’ Backwards (feat. Anderson .Paak)
6. Conrad Tokyo (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
7. Ego
8. The Donald

Posted on November 18th, 2016

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A Tribe Called Quest released their final album We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service on Friday.

It’s a fine album, a fitting tribute to Phife Dawg and an album that holds its head up proud in the discography.

On Saturday night, the remaining trio appeared on Saturday Night Live to perform ‘We The People’ and ‘The Space Program’ where they were joined by old friends Consequence and Busta Rhymes. Watch ‘We The People’ above. A not great version of the latter is here.

Here’s Dave Chappelle’s monologue in his comeback to TV hosting the show:

He also sang Radiohead’s Creep at 5 in the morning at the afterparty.

The show was also opened by Kate Mckinnon in character as Hillary Clinton singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’

Posted on November 14th, 2016

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Q-Tip posted a note on Facebook earlier explaining that a final A Tribe Called Quest album will be released on November 11th.

The band performed together on The Tonight Show last year and encouraged by their experience, they went back into the studio to work on a new album.

Sadly, Phife Dawg passed away this year but Q-Tip says “he left us with the blueprint.” And no, “this isn’t filled with old Phife bars…This is that pure, unstepped on pure!”

The album was completed with help from Busta Rhymes and Consequence and comes out in two weeks. Billboard also reports that Tribe will feature on Saturday Night Live on November 12th.

Posted on October 28th, 2016

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2016 takes another one.  A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg has passed away at the age of 45. Cause of death is unconfirmed but Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg had Type 1 diabetes and ill health over the last number of years that included to a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008.

Malik Taylor was part of the seminal ’90s rap group A Tribe Called Quest along with Q-Tip, Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The New York group  released five albums from 1990 to 1998, most notably the 1991’s Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders.

Q-Tip and Phife Dawg’s relationship became turbulent and the group broke up and reunited a few times over the years. Much of that turbulence was documented in the 2011 film Beats, Rhymes & Life.

Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders remain two of my favourite rap albums.

Phife was one of my favourite rappers too. His hyperactive high-pitched flow was a perfect foil to Q-Tip’s smoother laidback delivery. Their juxtaposition made A Tribe Called Quest so important, so magnetic. I was introduced to Tribe through the Beastie Boys album Ill Communication, which Q-Tip featured on. The interplay between the two meant that they were/are my go-to pure rap group. Rest in peace Phife Dawg.

Phife Dawg Spotify playlist

Posted on March 23rd, 2016

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Check out the Irish Independent’s Insider Magazine today for this week’s Spotify playlist – Thursday’s is a Longitude special.


Listen to the Spotify playlist


A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Check The Rhime’

The sound of lazy summer days in the sunshine, Q-Tip and Phife Dogg go laidback to a simple beat. On point Phife.

Patrice Rushen – ‘Forget Me Nots’

Everyone knows this, not because of the original sadly but because Will Smith used the guts of the melody and arrangement for the theme tune from Men In Black.

Blackbyrds – ‘Rock Creek Park’

“Doing it in the park / doing it after dark / oh yeah.” Whatever the Washington funk band were doing in the park in 1975 it sounds fun.

Beach Boys – ‘Good Vibrations’

Brian Wilson and the boys take us to the Californian beach for excitations (Um bop bop).

Donovan – ‘Sunshine Superman’

“Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me.” Sixties psychedelic pop from the man who now lives in Mallow.

The Pharcyde – ‘Runnin’

This J Dilla-produced track by the LA nineties rap group is a true headnodder.

Little Eva – ‘The Locomotion’

“Everybody is doin’ a brand new dance now,” sang Eva in 1962. It’s still likely to incite a dance party 54 years later.

Lulu And The Luvvers – ‘Shout!’

Two years later, pop singer Lulu repeated a similar trick by covering The Isley Brothers hit for a British audience.

Daft Punk – ‘Fresh’

Forget Get Lucky, this track from their 97 debut screams summer with the actual sound of waves lapping the shore and a video of the Da Funk dog on the beach.

David Holmes – ‘My Mate Paul’

A standout from the Belfast’s man’s second album, which presaged his soundtrack work by mixing audio recorded on the streets of New York.

Posted on July 14th, 2014

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tip

The ‘We Fight We Love’ Q-Tip remix is another hot rework after the recent ‘Renaissance Rap’ remix.

Q-Tip – We Fight We Love remix (zShare)

Tip rocked the house at The Button Factory a few weeks ago. If you’re digging this or Q-Tip and Tribe in general, definitely get the Q-Tip approved free download mixtape J.Period Presents… The Best of Q-Tip, a mammoth 49-track retrospective done right with new rhymes and versions of loadsa Abstract-related classics. The mixtape also features the same woman’s voice from the Midnight Marauders intros. Limited time only so get it.

Check out ‘Excursions’ as retold by De La Soul and ‘Buggin’ Out’ redone by Consequence and Kid Cudi.

Q-Tip – Excursions with De La Soul

Q-Tip – Buggin’ Out feat. Consequence and Kid Cudi

Photo from Voss.

Posted on March 26th, 2009

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HOW good was Q-Tip last night? A masterful live band performance in The Button Factory. A lot of people have been waiting a lot of time to see him make his debut in Ireland. The Renaissance is so good I didn’t think about him playing Tribe songs but that he did – ‘Check The Rhime’, ‘Scenario’, ‘Find A Way’, ‘Award Tour’, ‘Sugga Nigga’, ‘Electric Relaxation’ – all present and correct. Check out Dolan’s photos in the more and thanks to Phil for the ticket.

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Posted on March 14th, 2009

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