The best music documentaries are those that either tell a brand-new story or look at the past in a fresh, new way. The five films we've selected below, all of which are available right now on Red Bull TV, do just that, with DC's hardcore punk scene, '80s New York radio DJs, and desert rock all getting new narratives. Sit back and enjoy.
Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)
Named after a song by Ian MacKaye's hardcore instigators Minor Threat, this film by music writer Scott Crawford delves into the pivotal DC punk-rock movement that spawned an iconic record label (Dischord), a national music scene and encouraged kids across the world to Do It Yourself. Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl and Thurston Moore all pop up in an inspiring film that explores how anger became an energy for a disenfranchised youth and features footage of DC bands such as Bad Brains, Scream, Rites Of Spring and Fugazi.
Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era Of New York Radio 1980-88
When hip-hop culture began to catch on like wildfire in the early '80s, it was a bunch of maverick New York radio DJs that helped support and encourage the evolving sound being made by the scene's earliest rappers and producers. DJs such as Shep Pettibone, Tony Humphries, The Latin Rascals, Marley Marl and Kool DJ Red Alert would throw together mixes packed with the best new hip-hop, electro and house music, giving new scenes and sounds a platform. Accompained by a killer soundtrack, Revolutions On Air tells these fabled DJs' stories.
Lo Sound Desert
If you like your rock low-slung, swinging and sludgy, Lo Sound Desert is the film for you. Film-maker Jörg Steineck (Truckfighters) heads deep into the Coachella Valley to tell the story of the sand-blasted stoner rawk scene that birthed Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Queens Of The Stone Age. With acres of space to play in and ancient spirits to call upon, these bands had a rare opportunity to turn it up and lock into never-ending cycles of riff-heavy jams, spawning their own mighty sound. Josh Homme and others from the scene tell the story.
If you haven't seen Stefano Sollima's raw and compellingly bleak Mafia drama Gomorrah, set in the crime-stricken suburbs of Naples, then you should add that to your list of must-watch telly right now. And this documentary, about the series' specially curated soundtrack and how the makers of Gomorrah chose the right music to accompany its dark brand of crime and punishment, makes a fascinating accompaniment.
Jamaica Better Know
Shortly before Skepta became a Mercury Prize winning artist and festival headliner he joined his Red Bull Culture Clash 2012 winning Boy Better Know crew in Kingston, Jamaica, on a trip to explore its homegrown reggae and dancehall scenes and find fresh inspiration. Shorty, Jammer, Frisco, Solo 45, Lay-Z and DJ Maximum join Skepta on this crazy journey to the home of sound clash culture.
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