Timeless Freedom Songs of ‘Soundtrack for a Revolution’

If you haven’t seen the brilliantly-directed documentary “Soundtrack for a Revolution” by the duo Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman… then you should. It is essentially a skillfully assembled historical retelling of the role music played in the Civil Rights Movement of African American in the United States. Struggling against prejudice and inequality on superficial qualities of race, the African Americans found their strength through the soul power of music.

If you have seen the documentary, most likely, as we all may did, you were touched and inspired by the reinterpretations of the traditional Civil Rights-era freedom songs that was given a new breathe of new life by soul music’s biggest artist today. Unfortunately, despite the ‘power of music’ theme of the documentary, the screening was not followed immediately along with the release of an official soundtrack album. But three years later around February 2012 to be exact, Corey Smyth and talib Kweli’s Blacksmith label finally filled the void with a ten-track release that contains the performances of timeless tracks of civil rights revolution music heard throughout the documentary.

The album begins with Mary Mary, a duo known for their slick contemporary R&B Gospel, with their version of the hymnal “We Shall Not Be Moved” that praises the good fight to benefit for the greater good. Wyclef Jean covers a version of Phil Ochs’ “Here’s To The State of Mississippi” that tells the story of the ugly race war that took place in Mississippi, particularly, directly about the lynching of civil rights worker Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, in Neshoba County.

The Roots brings the heart and soul in a song that encourages peaceful protest despite fears of death, “A’int Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”, with a lucent lead vocal work by Black Thought. John Legend takes on the hymne mantra “Woke Up This Morning” that urged the spirit to take each day to fulfill a mission. Angie Stone strips down “Wade in the Water” with a simple drums, keyboards, and bass composition that gives the song a brand new touch of new school soul.

Along with other featuring artists such as Joss Stone, Anthony Hamilton, Soulive, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Richie Havens, the soundtrack album ends with one of the most powerful and world-known protest song written “We Shall Overcome” featuring all the artists singing together.

From a well-produced documentary that encourages the mind and soul to keep the good fight for civil rights, the soundtrack companion serves as a fuel for this new generation to continue the struggle.

1. We Shall Not Be Moved – Mary Mary
2. Here’s To The State of Mississippi – Wyclef Jean/Jerry Wonder
3. will The Circles Be Unbroken? – Richie Havens
4. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around – The Roots
5. Woke Up This Morning – John Legend
6. Eyes On The Prize – Joss Stone
7. Wade in the Water – Angie Stone
8. This May Be The Last Time – Anthony Hamilton/Soulive/The Blind Boys of Alabama
9. Oh Freedom – Vivian Green
10. We Shall Overcome – All Artist

Creepy “Another Bed” Music Video by The Twilight Sad

At first impression, it is easy to unintentionally mistaken The Twilight Sad’s sound character as an another band. Most likely, a popular one. But surely, it is impossible not to notice the thick Scottish accent of vocalist James Graham that makes this group a band of its own along with sonic noise of Andy MacFarlane’s shoegazing guitar. Despite their standard template of songs, the band manage to infuse a vigorous stylistic touch  of ecstasy into their sound.

Early February 2012, the band released their third studio album ‘No One Can Ever Know’ under Fat Cat Records, a label particularly known with rosters such as Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, and Vashti Bunyan. “Another Bed” is the second single to be taken from this album. Although there is a stylistic shift from their previous albums, the band remains to provide an amusing appeal with a more thick industrial influence with the band describes as “folk with layers of noise.” But what intrigues me the most from this album is actually the music video concept lavish with such eerie vibes solely credited by the brilliant disturbing performance from Stuart Warwick, a fellow musician as well.

Not much is to say other than get ready to be creeped out by this lovely music video.

“DoYaThing” by Gorillaz featuring Andre 3000 and James Murphy

The Gorillaz have done it again with an amazing music video concept that just makes your jaws drop in awe. Collaborating with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Andre 3000 of Outkast for the track “DoYaThing”, This Converse-commissioned video surely introduces a new dimension with such explicit detail of making these fiction band members as real life characters. Not only that, as usual the band always provides their fans with a labyrinth of eye-candy gimmicks and clues Gorillaz History that your keen eyes must pay extra attention. For example, their house address at 212 Wobble Street, London, SW21 JQJ must be a key code for a door that is not yet revealed. Other than that, guest artist Andre 3000 is restyled as a Rorschach-like character of Alan Moore’s “Watchmen.”

If you haven’t got a copy of the song, you can download it right here at the Official Converse website.

Mars Volta “The Malkin Jewel” From Upcoming Album

The sixth full-length studio album by the almighty latin-influenced progressive rock band The Mars Volta is scheduled for release 38 days from today (I literally counted) on March 27th, 2012. Titled ‘Noctourniquet’, practically most of  the instrumentation materials was actually already recorded in 2009, but ongoing arguments between vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zaval and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López halted the album from being completed for its initial release schedule.

To demonstrate a little taste of what’s to come, the band released the album’s first single “The Malkin Jewel” on February 14th.  Although the song does have quite an impressive eerie carnival-like reggae groove to it, but Cedric’s alternating sizzling croons and  raging snarls is moderately stale compared to his reputational vocal ability, and overall, the song progression is a bit repetitive. Fortunately, Omar’s spasmodic crunchy rhythm and drummer Deantoni Parks’s arcane percussion accommodates the grandeur edge it needs, and for a group like Mars Volta known for their explicit concept approach, one song can’t be used as a measurement of the real direction the band is taking for the album. Especially within this song, after minute 3:00 the song becomes fairly interesting with its psychotropic discord, a distinguished trait of this particular band.

38 days and counting down, we’ll see what ‘Noctourniquet’ is all about.

Chino Moreno’s †​†† second EP

Say what you will about Deftones frontman Chino Moreno – whether it be scrutinizing his vocals as whiny (say what?) or physically mocking his chubbiness (well, its true) – but the man and his band have served loyal fans by all their might and magic with a distinguished sound that cannot be imitated or simply generalized with a generic stylistic stereotype … other than “this is effin def-rock!

Despite his success with his core band, Moreno remains hard at work on songs for his side project ‘†​††’​( pronounced ‘Crosses’) with Far guitarist Shaun Lopez. Although their first EP released on mid-2011 did not receive much spectacle from the general music scene, but fans of his previous project ‘Team Sleep’ did appreciate and admire Chino’s alter passion for  a more laid back ambient with sophisticated sonic vibe. Late January 2012, Chino and Shaun issued their second EP dubbed ‘EP ††’.

For fans of Deftones, it is exactly the same as what you thought about the Team Sleep project; it’s very un-metal. It would be a waste of time comparing this side project with whatever idealistic idea you have about Chino Moreno in Deftones. But for those who can appreciate Moreno beyond the aggressive providence of Deftones piquancy – that is his fluidly resonating and soothing vocal work which is just too sexy and hypnotizing for metal in the first place –  the latest †​†† EP is definitely a remarkable gem worthy to be played and listened over and over and over.

Their first single ‘Prurien†’ is free to download in their
website or from the above soundcloud player (click the down arrow on the right side) . It’s an ethereal beat-centered trippy song with layers of dreamy nuances that feels just so celestial that it is unavoidable to easily lose yourself in this song.

Top 10 Disappointing Movies of 2011

The English poet Alexander Pope once said ““Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” His words are true and should be wisely conceived considerably. But unfortunately for us movie geeks, we just never learn. We are unable to restrain our passion for movies and repeatedly dissapointed by the end result of a promising trailer. We’ve all gone through that, and for 2011, this is my list of Top 10 Most Dissapointing Movies:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
    When the buzz came out that Captain America was in production, I was pessimistic of the idea itself at first. I mean Captain America as a movie… really? But with the photo leaks and viral marketing plus the quite promising trailer, I admit I became quite hyped with the release. Sadly, the movie was not released at the theaters in Indonesia, so I just had to hold myself until the DVD came out. The result? I hated Captain America as much I despise the country he represents. It was tacky, awfully executed, and just plain horrible.
  2. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
    I expected  Guillermo del Toro to  be the saviour of Horror with his remake of this TV movie classic. The trailer really made me believe that this movie was gonna be as good as Insidious despite the fact Katie Holmes’s horrible acting is in it. I was naive.  Furthermore, I’m beginning to question Del Toro’s integrity whereas in the past I’ve always defended his works. Come on Del Toro! You can do better than this!
  3.  The Bang Bang Club
    Promising trailer with quite a great cast. Was never really sure of the outcome, but usually a movie about the warfare conditions of Africa has always made it into my A-List movies, in addition, this movie is in the viewpoint of a photographer. Unfortunately, the movie did not meet its full potential, and instead of digging in deep to the real issues, it just ends up as another somewhat-action-movie.
  4. Hangover II
    Loved the first movie and really clicked with the humor it offers. The trailer of the second movie seems to offer even more hilarious situations for these party animals, but unsuccessfully, it just seem they didn’t try that hard to deliver something fresh, and instead just used the same formula as the first movie.
  5. Suckerpunch
    Hate me all you want for including this movie in this list. The CGI was amazing and mind-blowing, but I expected more from Zach Snyder, and through the whole movie I wasn’t sure if I was watching a featured film or a really long mixtape music video.
  6. Green Lantern
    The concept of making a Green Lantern movie threw me off and I was very excited that out of all the abundant choice of DC superheroes out there, they chose this green brother. After the movie was released, I understood why nobody attempted it before, especially without a clear and concrete adaptation ideas. Don’t rush yourself DC Comics… you still got Batman to kick Marvel’s ass.
  7. The Adjustment Bureau
    There was something quite appealing about the trailer that made me believe it was gonna be a great movie, regardless the uncertain plot the trailer tries to tease. Unfortunately, the movie itself was unclear, lack of substance, and horribly executed. For once Obama was right… this movie does suck.
  8. Immortals
    What’s the first thought come in mind when you watched the trailer of this movie? Of course, 300. It was nothing like it nor close enough to be considered as  a step sister or even the beguiling copy-cat bitch that’s always around. Fancy camera tricks and effects, but poor and thin plot.
  9. Cowboys and Aliens
    The movie industry has probably done almost every scenario they could with aliens from out of space, but aliens versus cowboys in a western setting? Brilliant idea!  The result? Not so brilliant.
  10. Priest
    Didn’t expect much at first especially with the outcome of a somewhat similar movie called ‘Legion.’ But the graphic novel was an awesome masterpiece, and maybe… just MAYBE… Paul Bettany was given another chance to play another kick-ass divine vigilante. Didn’t turn out so well, and its not really Bettany’s fault, but from now on he really needs to carefully pick his movies, because this one didn’t do justice to the original.

“The Devil’s Double” Potrayal of Madness

Most countries that have been – or are still – savagely tormented with the horrors of dictatorship would probably agree that other than the chief tyrant himself… the dictator’s son could be the first worst nightmare a country must endure. ‘The Devil’s Double’, directed by Lee Tamahori, tells the story of the perverse brutality in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime who has given full reign of unlimited power to the vile and deranged eldest son, Uday Hussein. Loosely adapted from a questionable autobiography of the same title, it is depicted from the viewpoint and experiences of Latif Yahia, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war who was chosen to be the Uday’s double for public appearances that is reckon as target for would-be assassins.

Although the movie itself does not really convey any new portrayal beyond that we know of about the conditions of Iraq under the control of Saddam, and there isn’t any original touch on the concept of doppelgangers, but the entirety of the movie is quite fairly entertaining, all due to the extraordinary and convincing dual performance by the British actor Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein dan Latif Yahia. Previously played mostly as second-string leading men, Dominic was able to portray in one frame scene as both the sadistic always-intoxicated rapist Uday and the reluctant Latif who is slowly enjoying the luxurious lifestyle of the Hussein heir.

Unfortunately, the movie was based on a book which the truth itself is questioned by many. In addition to that, director Tamahori and screenwriter Michael Thomas admit that many aspects of the movie was changed and fictionalized for the purpose of making a more interesting tale. Hence, the movie then only serves as a purpose of merely fictional entertaiment and not intended as a historical portrayal. Worst come to worst, it could also be interpreted as a propoganda to justify negative opinions towards Iraq. But overall, “The Devil’s Double” is quite an engaging movie of sadistic cruelty, violence, drugs, and sex taking  set in a contradicting place , but sadly, did  not fully executed to its full potential.