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Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization Rises Again

Editor’s note: While these aren’t Independent Lens films of course, the Decline films are some of our very favorite music docs, make for perfect summertime viewing, and are finally all out together on DVD. Read on for critic Noel Murray’s exclusive take on them, and a few more of his own favorites. By Noel Murray Each of director … READ MORE

Hawaiian Music: More Than Just Hula (But Also Hula)

In tandem with the upcoming PBS premiere of Kumu Hina, we created this Spotify playlist compiling some of the greatest Hawaiian music, from Hula to slack guitar, ukulele, and beyond. And yes, we also couldn’t resist tossing in a standard at the end, while finding inspiration for some of the other choices via Hawaii Magazine, Honolulu Magazine, King’s Hawaiian, … READ MORE

Rest in Peace, Jimmy Scott

Jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott, the subject of the Independent Lens documentary (and 2004 IL Audience Award Winner) Jimmy Scott: If Only You Knew, passed away June 12 at the age of 88.  Scott’s life and career was a real rollercoaster, which started with him singing in the 1940s with Lionel Hampton’s band, falling out of sight until the … READ MORE

Freddy Camalier Finds FAME at Muscle Shoals

First-time filmmaker Greg ”Freddy” Camalier shines light on how he first discovered the musical mecca of Muscle Shoals and the remarkable story of FAME Studios founder Rick Hall, who helped produce some of greatest soul and rock tunes of the 20th century.

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Meet the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Enjoy this collection of additional videos and links from the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who are the center of Reuben Atlas‘s new Independent Lens documentary Brothers Hypnotic. Follow this horn-playing family as play everywhere from New York subways to a rainy Belgian concert, bringing the funk wherever they go.

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Reuben Atlas Gets Down to Brass Tacks with Brothers Hypnotic

New York-based producer, director, and “non-practicing lawyer” Reuben Atlas has filmmaking in the bloodlines and music frequently on his mind, so it’s no surprise he wanted to combine the two interests when running across the all-in-the-family Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The result is Brothers Hypnotic. Read our Q&A with Atlas about the film.

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Don’t Stop OVEE-ing: Online Screening of Everyman’s Journey

Few bands hold the same iconic stature in American music lore as Journey. Decades of chart-topping hits and performances played on stages across the world. Following on the heels of last night’s Independent Lens broadcast premiere of Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey on PBS, the iconic American band is being showcased tonight on a new type of … READ MORE

Throwback Thursday: “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes” Free Online

As part of Independent Lens‘s Throwback Thursdays series, and in honor of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop music, we’re offering the documentary Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes to watch online for free on PBS.org. The film will be available for one week, until August 14th, so take advantage while you can. Byron Hunt’s film drew acclaim for … READ MORE

#TGIM! Indie Lens Fans Generate EPIC Monday Music Playlist

We asked you for your favorite Monday music jams, and boy, did you come through! Turns out your tastes run from Wilco to NOFX, with some Mamas & the Papas and Bobby “Blue” Bland thrown in for good measure. Rock on, fans (or blues on, or jazz on, whatever gets your feet tapping). Now as … READ MORE

Playlist: Listen to a Sampling of Popular Haitian Music

“Septentrional is the Buena Vista Social Club of Haiti.” We keep hearing this comparison as we prepare for the premiere of When the Drum is Beating, premiering April 12, 2012 at 10 PM on Independent Lens (check your local listings). While it’s true that both bands are the musical identity of a country for some … READ MORE