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Murder In The Front Row: Thrash-Metal Parking Lot

Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story is a new documentary by Adam Dubin telling the story of West Coast thrash metal.

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Like its hardcore punk sibling, thrash-metal was arguably metal’s best guise; a subgenre fueled by the need for speed (music), aggression, and an anti-establishment attitude.

My first introduction to thrash was picking up a copy of Kill ’em All on cassette. Not knowing anything about Metallica beforehand Kill ’em All was like a swift and brutal welcome to the genre. After that, there was no better metal than thrash.

Murder in the Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story is a new documentary by Adam Dubin (A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica) telling the story of thrash metal from the West Coast. It features a who’s who of the genre; members of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax all feature in the documentary. I can already tell that Lars is going to be annoying.

The blurb behind the flick;

In the early 1980’s, a small group of dedicated Bay Area headbangers shunned the hard rock of MTV and Hollywood hairspray bands in favor of a more dangerous brand of metal that became known as thrash! From the tape trading network to the clubs to the record stores and fanzines, director Adam Dubin reveals how the scene nurtured the music and the music spawned a movement.

Perhaps the reason why I love thrash metal is because of its connections to hardcore- DIY, tape trading, fanzines, club shows- all before most of these bands became huge, and ultimately as they grace towards senior citizenship; Dad metal. Ah well, at least we have the memories, the best band logos in the history of music and now, this documentary.

Check out the trailer above.

(As a kid I was particularly fond of the Exodus logo)

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Miles Davis and The Birth of the Cool

Can one distill cool into one documentary?

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If there is one thing that has been indisputable about the legacy of Miles Davis is that he was the personification of ‘cool’. And it seems like there was no decade where he was making music that he wasn’t ever cool. We once said about Miles Davis and his cool that “no matter how scrupulous your selection – one cannot distill cool into thirteen tracks, no matter how good“. Now the unenviable task of distilling that cool into a succinct document falls into the hands of Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a new documentary detailing the life, music, and legacy of Miles Davis.

Directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before hitting the festival circuit through the year. The film chronicles the rebellious nature of Miles Davis, detailing his desire to constantly break from the norm, with director Stanley Nelson saying;

“He was an extraordinary artist celebrated for his restless artistic aesthetic and his ceaseless innovation.  He changed the course of music five or six times.  By unpacking his upbringing, his methodology, his relationships, and his demons, we begin to understand the man who redefined the original American musical genre, jazz, and continues to influence generations of rock, funk, and hip-hop artists.”

Abramorama will screen the film today, August 23rd in New York with director Stanley Nelson taking part in a Q+A. Tickets for this screening, along with future screenings, can be found here.

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Bruce Springsteen gets cinematic with Western Stars

“Life’s mysteries remain and deepen, its answers unresolved”

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“We all have our broken pieces … nobody gets away unhurt. We’re always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges”

On the heels of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s nineteenth studio album Western Stars, Warner Bros Pictures has announced the release of the cinematic experience accompanying the album. The new film features Springsteen performing all 13 tracks from the new album, accompanied by a full orchestra in his 100-year-old barn. The film will also showcase old home footage as well as Springsteen’s life-earned ruminations we’ve seen through his career- brought to life recently with his stint on Broadway and on his Netflix special.

Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich has said about Western Stars and Springsteen;

“Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead.”

Western Stars will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, kicking off September 5th. The film was produced by Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, and George Travis with Springsteen executive producing it. Western Stars was co-directed by Springsteen and longtime collaborator Thom Zimny.

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