Anvil: The Story of Anvil is truly one of 2009’s treasures, a brilliant distillation of how the fleeting flicker of the limelight just can’t destroy the hard work and determination of two incredibly dedicated and legitimately likable guys. In Sacha Gervasi’s genius undertaking, we get to know these middle-aged men: Steve “Lips” Kudlow works for a Canadian caterer supplying meals to school children. Robb Reiner dabbles in construction while pursuing a personal passion for painting. Both have families that are supportive but specious. After three decades and 13 albums, they’d hope the boys would see more mainstream acceptance. Balancing these beliefs with other individual insights, we get a true, more telling Behind the Music portrait of greatness struggling to survive.
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Here’s a turn-based role-playing game that might actually appeal to those who feel as though we’ve outgrown such games.
Think about the prototypical protagonist of an RPG. This character is usually a teenage (or maybe early-20s) boy who sulks most of the way through the game even as women find him irresistible and important people whisper things about prophecies to him, taking him for some sort of hero. He’s utterly unlikable, yet we come to identify with him given that spending 40 hours with anyone will cause an attachment of some sort to take hold.
This takes the tropes of turn-based RPGing and mocks them mercilessly
Spiritual jazz was perhaps the ideological opposite of the self-destructive motions of free jazz. Rather than obliterate the self, it sought to link in body and spirit with others. Spiritual Jazz, which holds the surname Esoteric, Modal, and Deep Jazz From the Underground 1968-1977, stresses this globalism and represents it not only through Westerners looking outward, but outsiders looking in. Artists like Sengalese percussionist Mor Thiam, Egyptian military bandleader Salah Ragab, and South African Ndikho Xaba (whose group the Natives refers to the Americans in the band, flipping the Orientalist perspective on its head) found themselves more than willing to bridge cultural barriers by adapting a shared sonic language.
As a result of a DIY aesthetic, the musicians who made this incredible music seem nearly as interesting as the tunes themselves. The folkloric liner notes themselves are worth the price of the CD to learn about which artists met after one of them escaped from prison or which one played for Richard Nixon. With the odds against them, it’s frankly inspirational that we’re still listening to them today. It’s like they had some force, beyond archival and excavational ones, ushering them into the modern world. You could call it God or simply the power of some seriously groovy music. Perhaps they’re even the same thing. Either way, it’s us who are blessed for this music’s continued presence. Spiritual jazz isn’t for everyone, but this collection is the perfect fit for anyone who fancies the genre.
From 1998-2007 Joey, Pacey, Dawson and Jen shed light, and an impressive vocabulary, on teen angst during the turn of the millennium. This box set includes every heartbreaking decision Joey had to make (Pacey or Dawson? School or family?), every good-intentioned mess up by Pacey (remember when he slept with his teacher?) and every ode to Stephen Speilberg by Dawson. Along with the quick-witted teenage dialogue found in each episode, and bound in an anthology filled with photos and trivia, you’ll get a bonus disc with new DVD extras plus a CD with music from the series. Everyone knows someone who was a little too familiar with the happenings of Capeside – get this for them.
There’s no shortage of jazz histories on the shelves of university libraries or the more finely stocked book superstores, but Giddins and DeVeaux have come at their broad subject with something of a unique approach that blends musicology and historiography into a compelling book that will teach readers a bit of music theory while enhancing their listening pleasure of all styles of this American musical creation. The result is a unique blend of history and in-depth guided music appreciation that will shed new light on all genres of jazz, especially for the novice, but even the seasoned listener might discover new shades in their favorite musical form after digesting this tome.