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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

best of 2013 by chris sutton

When I was thinking about my best ofs I started to realize that 2013 must have been the year of the music documentary. In fact, the last couple of years have produced so many amazing films attempting to shed a little light on artists or movements that would have otherwise disappeared into the ether of memory.  I feel lucky (or perhaps apprehensive) living in a time where technology can recreate these moments in history. Here are my top 10 favorite music documentaries that I saw last year (they may have come out before but I saw them this year).

1)Kill All Redneck Pricks-A lovingly made tribute to the mysterious Olympia band KARP. The live footage is unbeatable!!

2)Searching For Sugar Man -A movie documenting the rediscovery of underground folk hero Rodriguez and his subsequent rise to belated fame.

3)A Band Called Death- The amazing tale of obscure all-black proto punk band Death. 

4)20 Feet From Stardom-The background singers are sometimes more important than the pretty face in front.  These are some of those stories. This might be my favorite.

5)It Came From Detroit-This somewhat gossip-y movie attempts to document the  Detroit rock music scene during the height of The White Stripes fame, while tying in it's rich history and then subsequent hangover after public interest waned.

6)Nothing Can Hurt Me-A film about the mythical and influential band Big Star. Stunning music.

7)The Source Family-Advertised as a movie about the music of the Ya Ho Wa hippie cult from Los Angeles. Instead they focus more on the leaders polygamist relationships and volatile behavior.  The small info they offer on the musicians and records is interesting though.

8)Muscle Shoals-Probably the best made documentary on this list, incorporating dramatics and factual information seamlessly into great cinema. You see the music move and literally hear the vibrations of the swamp influence some of the most amazing soul music ever created.

9)The Punk Singer-Essentially a tribute to the art of Kathleen Hannah, but the importance of the Punk and Riot Grrrl communities that fuel her music almost take center stage and remain in discussion throughout the film.

10)Beware Of Mr. Baker-A film about the life of wildman and Cream drummer Ginger Baker and focusing mainly on said wildmans relationship with Africa, Fela Kuti, and his libertine lifestyle.

More documentaries in 2014!!! Happy Holidays!!

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