September 17, 2006

Jamming Econo

To be honest, the Minutemen were a band I should have checked out "back in the day." They were always described in the same tones as Husker Du and The Replacements - guys who were taking music to a greater level. Of course, the former two bands had what I liked - music that was a few decibels below heavy metal and several IQ points above it. The Minutemen, however, seemed to be an anomaly - short songs, politically charged lyrics - not my cup of tea.

I would like to thank the producers of We Jam Econo for showing me the error of my ways. Culled from hours of home video, and done on a near-shoestring budget, this is one of the sharpest documentaries made about a band. The story may seem familiar, but the presentation is fresh in how it cuts from vintage footage to testimonials to present-day band members. It's a story that ends in tragedy, but there's a hard-working, no-nonsense spirit to the movie that's refreshing. As one of the band's lyrics pronounced, "this band could be your life."

(Luckily, this is a two-disc set, with disc one being the documentary - disc two contains several live concerts. Your mind will be blown - the band moves from neo-hardcore to a heady mix of other musical styles. It's also a great compliment to testimonials about the band's live power)

But again, thanks to this film, at the very least, I'll have to head out and purchase their masterpiece.

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