Songs for Cassavetes (2001)




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In this documentary from director Justin Mitchell, the world of the U.S. indie-music scene of the 1980s and '90s is explored, specifically with regard to how it transcended clichés about where music was heading in that era. Taking its title from renowned independent cinema pioneer John Cassavetes, the black-and-white film takes a peek at several fringe bands of the period, including Sleater-Kinney, the Make-up, and the Hi-Fives, and their various attitudes toward the ever-changing business. Often revealed is the intense rivalry between bands considered to be "sell-outs" and those who remain true to the DIY spirit of indie rock. Cutting between interviews of various artists as well as performance segments, the film also explores the pioneering efforts of Calvin Johnson, the former Beat Happening frontman who is widely regarded as a founding father of the era's burgeoning underground scene, having founded one of the few independent labels (K-Records) that has thrived without the aid of major investments from a larger source. The film also features the acts Henry's Dress, Further, and Tullycraft.


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