Top 10 music documentaries currently streaming on Netflix
Netflix's instant streaming service is quite possibly the most amazing service in the history of mankind. Combing through its offerings, however, is no easy task. Fortunately, we've spent an inordinate amount of time watching music documentaries (so you don't have to) and have narrowed down the ten best offerings. Click through to see our picks.
10. Scott Walker 30 Century Man
Scott Walker is the quintessential weirdo musician. Need proof? Watch this documentary that features a segment in which he's watching over someone punching a slab of pork for a sound effect. He's well known for being elusive and strange, but most people will probably just recognize the song "30 Century Man" from The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It's a little slow to start, but still worth digging into the full movie.
9. Buena Vista Social Club
Sure, we can all blame Buena Vista Social Club for our parents' weird interest in world music, but that doesn't stop this documentary from being one of the most insightful and interesting films on this list. Even if you're not a fan of the music, it's hard not to respect it.
8. You're Gonna Miss Me
It's no surprise that a few of these documentaries are about crazy musicians, but You're Gonna Miss Me pretty much takes the cake. It details the story of Roky Erickson, former frontman of the 13th Floor Elevators. Starting with his rise to rock-and-roll fame and the creation of psychedelic music, moving through his overuse of LSD and his schizophrenia, and culminating with his eventual arrest and commitment to an insane asylum, this is one of the greatest rock and roll stories out there.
7. The Flaming Lips: Fearless Freaks
Like all good rock documentaries, Fearless Freaks features a story about a no-name band's rise to fame, complete with drugs, bailing bandmembers and everything else. It's cliché at this point, but thankfully, the Flaming Lips are eccentric enough as people to keep it interesting.
6. LoudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies
It might be a bit strange for Pixies fans that this documentary picks up during the 2006 reunion, but let's be honest: Not many were fans of the Pixies when they first starting making music -- at least, not as many people as should have been. Thankfully, they managed to grab a whole bunch of new fans after they broke up.
5. The Freshest Kids: A History of B-Boy
Picking up in the '70s and moving up through more-or-less present day, The Freshest Kids is one of the better films to try to tackle hip-hop's history. Keeping itself grounded in the Bronx, the film manages to pull a lot of footage out of nowhere and adds some great interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, KRS-ONE, Fab Five Freddy and more.
4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco
If you're a Wilco fan, you already know the story that inspired I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but if you're not, here's a quick primer: Wilco gave Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to its record label, the label hated it, they parted ways. Nonesuch released the record, and the universe loved the record. This film shows it all while it was happening and includes tons of interviews, concert footage, studio footage and more.
Making a documentary about the guy who invented an instrument might not seem like the most interesting thing in the world, but Bob Moog was a quirky, adorable little man, and as such, he manages to make the film run on his charm alone. Sure, there is plenty of footage of bands using his instruments, including some quintessential Rick Wakeman-in-a-cape shots, but the real draw here is Moog himself.
2. Heavy Metal in Baghdad
There aren't a lot of heavy-metal bands in Baghdad -- or at least there weren't when this film was being shot between 2003 and 2006. What initially seems like a documentary about a heavy-metal band ends up being an up-close look at the lives affected by the war. It's surprisingly effective on all accounts.
1. We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen
Culled together from hours of home video and live concert footage, and including interviews with Ian MacKaye, Greg Norton, John Doe and many more, We Jam Econo is one of the most interesting band documentaries of all time. It not only manages to take a close look at the band, but it also spreads the net a little further to take in exactly what made them, who was involved, and why it worked so well.
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