All of Fuzz Steilacoom’sbest qualities are revealed in “Alabama Movies” and “A Little Late,” the opening and closing tracks of the Oklahoma City duo’s third full-length. The relationship between them unveils the worst.
Parker Millsap’s debut album, Palisade (which we named the Best Oklahoma Record of 2012), wasn’t like most debuts, sounding more like the product of a grizzled 40-year-old folk hero than that of a 19-year-old kid just months removed from high school.
Oklahoma City emcee Mon is a rapper at heart, but there’s a singer-songwriter in there too. His self-aware Goodbye September plays like an open diary of slinky and saddened beats ready-made to emote over and pour into.
I don't know if there's a music fan alive who hasn't dreamed of being in a band. Unfortunately, this dream often goes unrequited. But for those struggling to keep the embers of a dream alive, "Todd P. Goes to Austin" is a can of gasoline.
Todd P is a do-it-yourself show promoter; he describes his job as making music louder and making sure someone's at the door taking money. He waxes philosophical about the meaning of music, verbally punishes anything related to the music industry, and generally loves indie rock with all his being. Instead of dropping all of that on you at once, brilliant director Jay Buim intersperses interview footage among the tales of several vans heading down to Austin for a subversive, unofficial showcase headed up by Todd P in the middle of South by Southwest.
The bands chosen by Todd P are what make this film so excellent: the hyperkinetic and über-enthusiastic Matt and Kim get substantial camera time, the manic and incredible The Death Set own a storyline, and the attitude-filled girl punks Mika Miko take up another chunk. The final storyline is Todd P's own van, which has all the gear for the show. Oh, yes, there will be breakdowns.
The documentary does an outstanding job of capturing the frenzy and freedom of being in an underground rock band; the whole affair is painted as dramatic, romantic and enthusiastic. If you have a pulse, you will want to quit your job and form a band about halfway through the documentary. You will want to repeat the documentary as soon as it's over. You will need someone to restrain you from jumping up and down during the final montage.
The documentary is perfectly paced, beautifully shot and masterfully edited. It sprints by your eyes, stirring up endorphins and adrenaline. The only thing that the documentary does poorly is show how boring a lot of being in a band actually is. But why fixate on that crap?
"Todd P Goes to Austin" is the most entertaining music documentary I've ever seen, and high on my list of favorite documentaries.