By Zachary Swickey
Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has been busy in the studio working on his group’s latest album – with Outkast’s Big Boi producing some tracks – but the enigmatic singer has just tacked another project on to his to-do list: scoring a film.
Brock has signed on to provide the audio accompaniment to a western comedy film (don’t see those very often) called Queens of Country. The movie is to be directed by Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke – the same fellas who brought us Blood Into Wine, a wine documentary starring Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. Rather appropriate since the singer is set to appear in the film as the antagonist – a bigger role than the cameos he’s used to.
Meanwhile, the lead actors are Ron Livingston, Sex and the City’s Jack Berger and star of the cult classic Office Space, and Lizzy Caplan of my favorite canceled show, Party Down (which was produced by Paul Rudd). The movie focuses on Caplan’s character, Jolene, who finds a lost iPod that she believes belongs to her soulmate. With Maynard playing the bad guy and Ron Livingston (assumingly) as the inevitable love interest, it sounds like the film has potential, and is a perfect match for the quirky Brock.
Bands or music artists providing the score for films is nothing new. Take, for example, Queen’s emotional “Who Wants to Live Forever” specifically being written for Highlander – a film about a sword-wielding warrior who’s lived since the 1500s. Here are five recent collabs that caught our attention and show the trend has no sign of slowing down.
Tron: Legacy, scored by Daft Punk
I mean, could Disney really have gone with anyone else? The duo known as Daft Punk seem to hail from the digital world of the “Grid” already. Not as danceable as their past efforts considering it’s an official film score and all, but still many of the songs are more listenable than you might expect. “Derezzed” and “Arena” are both catchy tunes, but at only two minutes long, barely allow me to break a sweat. Plus, it’s an impressive feat anytime a score, rather than a soundtrack, can crack Billboard’s top ten list.
There Will Be Blood, scored by Johnny Greenwood (of Radiohead)
Johnny Greenwood got totally shafted when his score for There Will Be Blood was deemed ineligible for the Oscar due to its use of pre-existing material (it contained elements from some of his past compositions). Regardless, Greenwood’s score is about as good and original as they come. Rather than using earthy tones to mimic the hot landscape of the oil industry terrain, Greenwood created some piercing synth sounds that work as a metaphor for the madness inside the head of Daniel Plainview – Daniel Day-Lewis’s chilling and unpredictable character. Here’s to hoping Greenwood eventually gets that Oscar.
The Social Network, scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and his frequent collaborator, Atticus Ross, knocked one out of the park their first time out – winning the Academy Award for Best Original Score – and now the two are reteaming with director David Fincher on his upcoming project, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. At first, NIN fans were in uproar that their master was working on a movie about Facebook, of all things, but as soon as the first trailer was released, fans got excited about the direction the movie seemed to go. Reznor’s revamp of the classic 1800s song “In the Hall of the Mountain King” will have you clamoring for a album full of NIN-tinged Mozart works.
Jonah Hex, scored by Mastodon
While Jonah Hex didn’t exactly turn out the way anyone wanted it to (grossing about $11 million on a $50 million budget), it did provide us with a film score by the mighty metalheads in Mastodon. Unfortunately, the band’s excitement was lost along with fans when the movie went through lengthy reshoots and re-editing that eventually had the studio requesting Mastodon to scrap everything and start fresh. Nonetheless, the boys still managed to squeeze out a film score EP, Jonah Hex: Revenge Gets Ugly (sounds more like a sequel than a film score title), which is arguably the best part of the movie. Perhaps someday Mastodon will get a lengthier, more epic film to score.
Somewhere, scored by Phoenix
Sure, Phoenix probably got the scoring gig, because their frontman Thomas Mars is the future husband of director Sophia Coppola, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve it. Coppola was inspired by parts I and II of Phoenix’s instrumental songs, “Love Like a Sunset,” which are indeed standout tracks from their breakthrough album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The score for Somewhere takes that inspired sound and carries it throughout the course of the film, some of which was inspired by Coppola’s childhood upbringing in Hollywood. It makes sense that she used her fiancé and his chums to score such a personal film.