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leonard cohen

Jun 16 2010

Rock-Docs N’Roll

by Jnai W

Now that summer is upon us, what could be better than rocking out and allowing one’s self to be moved by the power of music? I can’ t think of a better way to spend the summer. But, alas, concert tickets can be pricey, your kids don’t like it when you drag them to dingy, smoky rock clubs (You guys really shouldn’t be doing that, though. Don’t they have VRP reading to do?) and your eardrums really can’t take loud speakers and squealing guitars like they used to. But don’t worry. You can still get your rock on—enough to get your rocks off, even—at the Library. Well, actually, we’ll let you take them home first before you rock out (it’s still a library, of course). Here are some of my favorite DVDs to borrow from our Library of Rock:

Anvil The Story of Anvil: I was immediately struck by the cover photo of this DVD: two middle-aged Long Hairs striking extreme rocker poses beneath a curious critic’s blurb, hailing this film as “the greatest movie ever made about rock and roll”. I couldn’t resist so I had to check it out. It just so happens that Anvil is a venerated Canadian heavy metal band with a small but rabid fan base, average-joe day jobs, long-suffering families and, from what I gathered, bad luck all around. Either way, Lips, Robb and the crew continue to rock out and strive for the top of the charts. Their tenacity, their heart and their musical chops are awe-inspiring.

This Is Spinal Tap: My brother, a rock n’ roll Yoda so to speak, introduced me to this, the rockingest and most hilarious faux-documentary about a fictitious metal band touring the world and generally living their rocker lifestyle “to eleven” (check it out if you don’t know what that means).

School of Rock: Okay, this one isn’t a documentary or a rockumentary (or even a mockumentary like the aforementioned Spinal Tap. But if you want to rock out while there are still kids in the room, this flick is still pretty awesome. You can watch as Jack Black introduces adorable prep schoolers to classic rock and introduces himself to Responsible Adulthood…in a roundabout, illegal field trip taking, identity thieving sort of way.

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man: If you prefer to mellow out a bit with one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, here’s a great film tribute to the one and only Leonard Cohen.  Not only does this film celebrate the music and influence of Cohen but it also features incredible performances from the likes of Rufus Wainwright, U2 and, another artist I really love, Antony Hegarty.

Jimi Hendrix: What’s a rock and roll marathon without the late, great Jimi Hendrix? I really enjoyed this documentary featuring interviews with family, friends and admirers plus outstanding performance footage. To me, there’s nothing like gaining insight into the music you love by learning about the person who created it.


Jul 1 2009

Your Library of Summer Sounds

by Jnai W

In Memory of Michael Jackson 1958-2009 (that was weird to write...)

In Memory of Michael Jackson 1958-2009 (that was weird to write...)

The Library offers all sorts of great summertime diversions including public use computers,  programs, book discussions and children’s activities–in addition to its vast collection of great books. Heck, the Library even offers a cool and welcoming respite from the blazing summer sun. But I, for one, continue to be amazed and excited by the eclectic and ever-expanding collection of great music here at DCPL.

Here are some of my favorite finds in the  “Wow, I didn’t know we had this!” category:

The Best of Eric B. and Rakim: The Millenium Collection:  Hip-Hop Hooray!I’ve noticed that the Library is steadily expanding its hip-hop repertoire (but rest easy, parents, the selections are still, for the most part, in the PG-13 arena).  As a kid, I missed out on alot of the quote-unquote “old skool rap” (my mom wasn’t having any of it!) so it’s great to explore some of the seminal artists of this musical genre.  Some of my favorite cuts include “Paid In Full”,  “I Ain’t No Joke”  and “Microphone Fiend”.

808’s and Heartbreak by Kanye West: Say what you will about a rapper who’s considered egotistical, even by hip hop standards, but he’s always been able to support his boasts with cutting-edge, exciting music. The Auto-Tuned warbling (tedious in other artists but somehow Mr.West makes it work)! The introspective lyrics! The taiko drums! This is my favorite Kanye album to date. Prime cuts: “Love Lockdown”, “Say You Will”  “Welcome to Heartbreak” and “Heartless”.

Anything Tori Amos:  It seems someone in Collection Management has a taste for Tori Amos. As a teen I found her work a bit esoteric but I’m definitely rediscovering the flame-haired chanteuse. Right now I’m tucking into her 2005 album The Beekeeper.  I’m enjoying the tracks “Parasol” and “Sweet The Sting” so far.  The Library is a great place for really learning more about an artist that fascinates you. But if Amos is already your cup of tea you may want to delve into some of DCPLs Tori-centric literature including her fascinating memoir Tori Amos: Piece By Piece (co-authored by Ann Powers) and Comic Book Tattoo, a collection of graphic novel works based on Amos’ songs.

Leonard Cohen: Live in London: Some cheesy manager ran off with Cohen’s earnings so he has come back to work. Sorry for his loss but it is indeed his fans’ gain. Here’s another artist I’ve been turned on to since I’ve been here at the Library. For people who love writers who happen to sing  look no further than this album. I’d tell you how I like it but since it’s brand new I have to wait in the request queue like everyone else. But you can check out the Library’s other Cohen albums until your turn with Live In London comes around.

I could do this all day long. Literally, I get goosebumpy thinking of all the wonderful music you can find at the Library. Thank you, DCPL, for being awesome!

P.S: If you know anyone who doesn’t remember how awesome Michael Jackson was (and who isn’t still a little heartbroken by his passing) please  direct them to these Jackson classics.