The Weekly Music Thread Is Just SUPER!

Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here.

This week’s discussion prompt was suggested by The Avocado’s very own KingKat and The Avocado’s very own Pupshaw:

Supergroups: How often are they any good? More often than not, these projects end up being less than the sum of their parts. Which ones disappointed the most? And more importantly, which ones were surprisingly good?

Backbeat is a 1994 film chronicling the early days of the Beatles in Hamburg, focusing primarily on the relationship between Stuart Sutcliffe (played by Stephen Dorff) and John Lennon (Ian Hart) and also with Sutcliffe’s girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee). I remember the film being pretty good, although by far the best thing about it is the soundtrack!

In lieu of the original recordings (and those few that exist from the Pete Best era being of poor quality at best) it was decided that a band consisting of contemporary musicians be assembled to play the songs with the same level of energy and ferocity that the amphetamine-addled Liverpool lads might have played them back in the day. The band consisted of Greg Dulli (The Afghan Whigs) and Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) sharing lead vocal duties, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Don Fleming (Gumball) on guitars, Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass (plus lead vocals on “Roadrunner”!) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, pre-Foo Fighters) on drums. And they absolutely delivered!

Recorded by Don Was, the makeshift band recorded 15 songs in three days with virtually no overdubs and no more than two takes. This may well be considered sacrilege to some, but personally I think the versions of these early rock and roll classics recorded by “The Backbeat Band” (as they were later dubbed) beat1 the hell of the much more polite and restrained studio recordings laid down by the fab four several years after their early days in Hamburg.2

The entire soundtrack RULES! Even for non-Beatle fans I cannot recommend it enough (and at only 28 minutes long does not overstay its welcome either). It’s all-killer, no-filler, and this band is on FIRE! Dulli and Pirner’s vocal performances are incredible. Dave Grohl bashes the hell out of those drums (though I doubt many of you would have expected any less). And while the story may well be apocryphal, at the time it was claimed that the album marked the first time Thurston Moore was ever recorded playing a “properly”-tuned guitar!

The live performance in the header from the 1994 MTV Movie Awards (which is the one and only time this band would perform live) is definitely worth a listen as well (though unfortunately the band’s performance of “Helter Skelter”, which of course doesn’t appear in the film or on the soundtrack, is edited for time and partially buried in clips of the various celebrities at the award show, though at least it makes for a neat little time capsule).

As always, any and all music-related posts are welcome. Have fun, and rock out with yr guac out!