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The Dear Hunter Preview New DVD

The Dear Hunter have been steadily working on promoting their forthcoming album, but today’s story is actually about a release that is nearly a two years old.

Back in May 2012, The Dear Hunter performed a one night only show at the Somerville Theater in Somerville, MA that featured the group performing their entire Color Spectrum EP collection from front to back. The show last nearly three hours and starting this week is available to own on DVD from pretty much anyone who sells music related merchandise online.

It’s pretty well known that music DVDs can be hit and miss depending the creativity of the people in front of (and behind) the camera. The Color Spectrum is actually a very engaging release, and you can get a taste of the footage by clicking through the link below and watching a performance of “Lillian” taken from the release. (more…)

Bombshell Report: Flo Rida To Release Workout DVD

You might not have moves like Jagger, but you might be able to have abs like Flo Rida in the near future.

The Floridian rapper revealed that he had a workout DVD in the works while on the red carpet at the Teen Choice Awards this past Sunday. Addressing rumors of a potential reveal of the secret to his coveted physique, Flo Rida said, “I’m definitely going to do that. I have quite a workout regimen. I’ve always been about fitness and my fans can definitely appreciate that.” Credit Billboard for getting this incredible scoop.

In all seriousness though, Flo Rida, born Tramar Dillard, does have something to brag about. In the rap game, a genre that is cluttered with huge, beefy dudes, Flo Rida might be the strongest. A profile in a 2008 issue of Men’s Fitness had the 6′ 3” rapper at 210 lbs with a 400 lbs bench and a routine that incorporated 1000 daily crunches. Given his propensity for taking off his shirt/tank top during concerts and throwing it at the crowd, it’s safe to assume that he’s probably put on a bit more muscle since then.

Flo Rida has given some insight into what he does at the gym in the past. In an interview with Fuse from this past May Flo again demonstrated a deep commitment to fitness: a practitioner of circuit training, Flo will occasionally hit the gym as late as 3 am. He also mentioned that he brings his boxing trainer out on tour to train, a regimen that most of Flo’s fans probably won’t be able to replicate. But that’s what the workout DVD is for, people!

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Rock Doc Roundup

What do true rock & roll obsessive do in the extremely unlikely event that they get tired of listening to their favorite albums? Watch documentaries about them, of course! And even though 2012 is still young, the must-see DVDs for rock geeks are already starting to pile up, so before the stack starts to grow too unwieldy, let’s skim the top by taking a look at a few of the most memorable new rock-doc releases on video. Each of our flicks of choice for this week takes a different approach to framing music history, but they all manage to offer fresh insights and fascinating glimpses into some classic works.

Taking the straight-up band-biography approach, Days of Our Lives aims to be the definitive documentary on Queen, and succeeds through careful attention to the details of the band’s story, in-depth interviews with the primary parties and a wealth of fascinating footage. It was originally created as a two-part documentary for the BBC, aired in 2011 to commemorate Queen’s fortieth anniversary, and the DVD and Blu-Ray versions add extra material to sweeten the deal even further. We get a long view of Queen’s climb, digging into the details of guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor‘s pre-Queen band, Smile, and chronicling Zanzibar-born art student Farrokh Bulsara’s evolution into flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury. We get a worm’s-eye view of the group’s ascent to superstardom, via candid conversations with May and Taylor, as the story moves through each era of the band’s development, from the hard-edged art rock of the early albums to the unabashed eclecticism and commercial breakthrough of A Night at the Opera, to the incorporation of dance-music influences in the early ’80s with The Game and Hot Space. The most emotional moments, of course, come towards the end, as we watch Mercury slowly succumb to AIDS and hear the intimate recollection of his friends and bandmates about the final chapter in the singer’s life. Among the extras on the DVD, a wealth of British TV performances will be particularly tasty treats for hardcore Queen aficionados.

Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman takes on the legacy of a band just as iconic as Queen, but instead of trying to document The Doors‘ entire career it takes a tight focus on the final album by the original lineup (history has kindly forgotten the two albums the surviving members made without Jim Morrison in the early ’70s). Like the Queen documentary, this too was made to mark a fortieth anniversary”that of the  aforementioned album, L.A. Woman. Stories of notorious rock & roll enfant terrible Morrison’s antics are legend, but while this documentary doesn’t shy away from the singer’s talent for troublemaking, it only incorporates that aspect of the story as it pertains to the topic at hand”the music itself. Following 1969’s Soft Parade album, which was considered by many to be overreaching and overproduced, L.A. Woman brought the group back to basics”playing together in a room, with the blues as a musical foundation and Morrison’s evocative lyrics taking things further out. Today “Riders on the Storm” and the title track are ingrained in the collective consciousness as classic-rock radio staples, but in 1971, these dark, dreamy pieces combined the urban and the ethereal in an unprecedented way. For those who are intimately familiar with the album, it’s especially intriguing to hear, for instance, keyboardist Ray Manzarek reveal that his solo on “Hyacinth House” quotes a classical piece, and explain how “Riders” evolved from jamming on classic cowboy song “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” But for anyone with even a passing interest in the band, Mr. Mojo Risin’ helps illuminate exactly what made them special.

Of course, The Doors weren’t the only Southern Californians pushing the musical envelope in the early ’70s. From Straight to Bizarre stands apart from the Queen and Doors docs in that it shines a light on a little-heralded corner of rock history, but the story nevertheless involves some legendary figures, including Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper and Captain Beefheart. At the end of the ’60s, Zappa was bedeviled by label conflicts to the degree that he decided to start his own imprints, Straight and Bizarre. The latter would mainly release Zappa’s own work, while Straight would feature recordings by other artists. Bizarre boasted some of Zappa’s finest albums with and without The Mothers, including Hot Rats, Chunga’s Revenge and Just Another Band From L.A., but the focus of this film is in fact the dazzling array of artists and albums on Straight. Zappa’s intention was to provide an outlet for left-field music that might otherwise have gone unheard, and the Straight discography ultimately included such eccentric masterpieces as Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby and Tim Buckley’s Blue Afternoon and highly experimental Starsailor, as well as the first two”arguably freakiest”albums by Alice Cooper. You simply can’t half-ass a documentary about this kind of thing, and Straight to Bizarre goes all the way in, interviewing many of the principals and taking a comprehensive look at everything Zappa’s labels accomplished in the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s the sort of thing that gives music geekery a good name.

So whether you want to delve deeper into one of rock’s most revered albums, chart the development of an iconic band or peer into into an intriguing, esoteric corner of the musical universe, there’s a new DVD”or Blu-Ray if you’re so inclined”that will do the job for you. And by the time you read this, it’s likely that at least twice as many more new music flicks will be floating around out there for your edification, so we may have to reconvene for another roundup somewhere down the line.

Motörhead Rebels Against Greed

Outraged by the extravagant cost of their new 15 disc box set, Motí¶rhead has told their fans not to waste their money on the overpriced trinket. At $600, the box set’s coffin-like case houses each disc with a Motí¶rhead skull emblem fastened to its lid. Open it up and you’ll find several singles and eight earlier albums, from their self-titled to No Remorse. In addition, the package contains some posters and a photo book.

According to CNN, frontman Lemmy Kilmister stated, “Unfortunately greed once again rears its yapping head… I would advise against it even for the most rabid completists!”

The band claims, “Motí¶rhead has no control over what’s done with these early songs, and don’t want fans to think that the band is involved in putting out such a costly box set.”

If you’re simply too much of die-hard fanatic, the group recently put out a new (reasonably priced) album and DVD titled  “The Wí¶rld Is Yours” and “The Wí¶rld Is Ours – Vol 1 – Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else” late last year.

Click here to see images of the box set and its outrageous $644 price tag on Amazon.

Metal Monday: Metal DVDs 101

Though physical sales of music have been on a very steady decline in recent years, there are two genres of music that still really appreciate the physical item, and metal is one of those genres (country being the other). Metalheads might not be buying the most CDs out there, but you’d be hard pressed to find a metalhead that doesn’t own a fair amount of metal merch. T-shirts, posters, vinyl, stickers, patches, you name it, metalheads want it. One of the few physical mediums of music still selling pretty well are DVDs.

Metal DVDs usually fall into one of three different styles: bonus material, live sets or documentary-style. Many DVDs often have multiple discs, each disk featuring a different type of content. Given that so much emphasis is put on metal bands playing live, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to know that most DVDs have a strong emphasis on live footage of bands. Out of the most highly regarded metal DVDs out there, most feature some combination of truly interesting footage or include a very special performance. For example, Gojira‘s The Link Alive is a DVD that essentially features a live set, but that live set is of the band playing The Link from front to back (with a couple extra songs) in a very small, intimate, packed venue full of passionate fans.

As rated by the members of metalstorm.net, the highest rated DVD with more than twenty votes is Pain of Salvation‘s Ending Themes: On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation”a truly remarkable DVD. It is a two-disc set, the first DVD featuring a rather lengthy ten-part documentary on the band, the second featuring a sixteen song live set from Amsterdam (a great set, at that). In addition to the two main components, there are quite a few “bonus features” on each disk, including things such as deleted scenes, the making of, a quiz, etc. Pain of Salvation really got it right with Ending Themes. If you’re looking for another DVD that follows this general format, The Black Dahlia Murder‘s Majesty is a pretty great package, though their documentary is  filled with hilarious European tour antics.

Every now and then, a band comes along and absolutely shatters the current “metal DVD” mold. One of the more landmark releases that steps outside of the regular realm of metal DVDs is HORSE the Band‘s Earth Tour DVD. A monolithic seven-DVD set that chronicles the band’s legendary “Earth Tour” spanning forty-five countries in four different continents. The movie totals about ten and a half hours, boiled down from 134 hours of footage according to the band’s statistics. The physical package comes with the DVDs, a photo book and some sort of random keepsake from the band. Since those packages are pretty limited, you can get a torrent of the photobook and movie, straight from the band themselves and all they ask is for a modest donation. Certainly worth spending a few bucks for, even if you’re not a huge HORSE the Band fan.

What it really boils down to is that some of the best metal DVDs aren’t just bands playing live or doing some sort of menial things that all metal bands do. Instead, what makes a metal DVD great is when the content is truly special in some way, whether it’s a remarkable live performance (Gojira), tells a gripping story of band doing something totally unorthodox (HORSE the Band) or features a bunch of people having a great time clearly showing they love what they’re doing (The Black Dahlia Murder). So, readers, what are some of your favorite metal DVDs that you’ve seen, and why?

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Eno's Art Rock Era On DVD

Let’s face it, Brian Eno is the kind of guy who can make you feel bad about yourself. Now, don’t blame poor old Eno, it’s not really his fault. After all, he’s not setting out deliberately to undermine anyone’s self-confidence, it’s just that he seems to get more accomplished between breakfast and lunch than many people manage in a year. That’s the way it’s been from the beginning for the seemingly tireless, quite conceivably workaholic artist. After helping Roxy Music make rock history, he embarked on an endless flurry of projects that included not only a solo career, but a host of collaborative efforts, production jobs for other artists, and the inauguration his own label”and that’s just the ’70s. From the ’80s on, Eno worked at an even harder pace (if anything) breaking new ground in electronic-oriented music pretty much every time he blinked, but the new documentary Brian Eno 1971-1977: The Man Who Fell To Earth focuses exclusively on Eno’s ’70s “rock” period, presenting a fascinating portrait of an artist in perpetual motion.

As it’s title indicates, the documentary” which is set for a DVD release on May 17 through MVD Entertainment Group”begins with Eno the longhaired, cosmetically enhanced, outrageously attired glam-rock provocateur, presenting a striking figure behind his synthesizer as he electronically treated the sounds of the other musicians in the band and generated some groundbreaking tones of his own. Eno’s solo on Roxy’s “Editions of You,” to name just one, remains one of the greatest, most gloriously unhinged synthesizer solos in all of rock and roll. From there the in-depth, two-and-a-half-hour documentary does a laudable job of following the twists and turns of Eno’s mind-boggling mid-’70s evolution, incorporating commentary from critics, collaborators and in just a couple of instances, Eno himself.

Before turning his attention more exclusively to electronic music and ambient textures”though the groundwork he laid for that in his duo albums with Robert Fripp and his solo release Discreet Music is covered here as well”Eno released four solo albums that still stand apart from anything else ever to come under the umbrella of “rock.” If pressed, you’d be within your rights to label them art-rock, especially since they include contributions from members of King Crimson, Genesis, Matching Mole and of course Roxy Music, among others, but Eno’s blend of the conceptual and the instinctual was unprecedented and still sounds entirely sui generis today. The film sheds some light on the process behind these massively influential works, which have informed the output of everyone from LCD Soundsystem to Moby. It also examines Eno’s equally seminal contributions to Bowie‘s “Berlin trilogy” of Low, Heroes and Lodger, his championing of avant-garde music through the establishment of his trailblazing Obscure Records imprint, his work with krautrockers Harmonia and his production of albums by John Cale and Ultravox, to name just a few items on Eno’s ’70s CV.

It just so happens that The Man Who Fell To Earth arrives at a time when Eno is ramping up for a new release, Drums Between the Bells, set to drop in July on Warp Records, but then, it probably would have been difficult for the DVD to appear at a point when there wasn’t a new Eno project in the offing. Such is the continuing prolific nature of Eno’s output, with more accomplishments being added to the dossier all the time, but if you want a thoughtful, comprehensive look at the works that Eno’s legend was built on, look into this lovingly-detailed doc.

Lemmy Laughs Last: Heavy Metal Hero Revels In His Renaissance

The flurry of activity currently surrounding legendary Motí¶rhead frontman/rock & roll survivor Lemmy (Ian Kilmister if you’re writing him a check) has lately put the man with the most famous mole and muttonchops in the music biz under a white-hot spotlight. With a documentary, a new Motí¶rhead album (drops today!) and a tour all in the offing, the man who made metal cool” in the heyday of hardcore, punks nicknamed Motí¶rhead the only metal band that matters” is getting so much exposure one almost expects to find him helming his own reality show (HBO, are you listening?).

Photo by Robert John

Lest we forget, though, Lemmy traveled a long, hard road to the icon status he enjoys today. Like a lot of first-generation metal men, he started out in psychedelia”after a short stint humping gear for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in England, he worked with late-˜60s UK psych outfit Sam Gopal. His first taste of fame came in the early ˜70s with space-rock cult heroes Hawkwind, but when he formed Motí¶rhead” remember, it’s not metal without an umlaut”in 1975, his place in heavy-rock history was assured. The grizzled guardian of all things bone-crunching turned 65 on Christmas Eve, but the word retirement doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary.

The subtitle of the new documentary Lemmy ” 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch” says it all about the man whose attitude is as uncompromising as his face-melting music. The disparate cast of characters who pop up to chime in on the topic of Lemmy’s uncontested awesomeness is a testament to Motí¶rhead’s outsized appeal; everybody from Ozzy and Metallica to Clash axeman Mick Jones and New Order’s Peter Hook is part of the onscreen cheering section. The film, directed by Greg Oliver and Wes Orshoski “ will be wending its way around the country over the next couple of months, bringing some heavy metal heft to the art-house circuit, and the double-disc DVD version with a whopping three hours of extra features is unleashed on February 15.

But don’t let the historical perspective that comes with the rockumentary treatment lead you to believe that the Motí¶rhead story is a closed book. February 8th sees the unveiling of The World Is Yours, produced by Cameron Webb, who tellingly has overseen as many punk outings (Social Distortion, Pennywise) as heavy-rock recordings. Full of the blazing riffs and need-for-speed demon drumming that have become the band’s trademarks”not to mention Lemmy’s raw-throated roar and apocalyptic bass lines”the album shows that even after three-and-a-half decades of destruction, the Motí¶rhead machine grinds on relentlessly. If any further proof of that fact is required, Lemmy, Phil Campbell, and Mikkey Dee are storming stages from Austin to Asbury Park throughout January and February to hammer the point home. Of course, if you want to have a little Lemmy you can call your very own, you can always snap up a collectible action figure cast in Mr. Kilmister’s unmistakable image (Yes, for real).