Our favorite things this week include Led Zeppelin live and the sci-fi comedy "The History of Future Folk."

Led Zeppelin photo
Led Zeppelin

Dazed and Calling: This week, Rhino Records announced that its Led Zeppelin reissue series will continue October 28 with the release of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy. I’ve always had an on-again/off-again relationship with Led Zep, a band that represented the dominant musical culture for as long as I can remember. That in itself was problematic, as was its ability to be indulgent on an absurd level. I conceptually appreciated the fuck you of 10 minutes of blues noodlings, but the reality of their epic musical flab didn’t speak to me. 

The first three Zep albums were released on June 3, and Led Zeppelin includes a live set from Paris in 1969 that is most valuable bonus material, though the extra material that accompanies III offers some insight into the band’s writing process. It’s every bit as indulgent as live sets like The Song Remain the Same with five songs that clock in at nine minutes or more, but none of the breaks sound routine. These are the jams that inspired later jams, and the band is clearly wide open to where the music will go. It helps that the moments that genuinely wander don’t last long because Page, Bonham and Jones clearly enjoy their sonic power and reassert it as often as possible. It also helps that the raw, bootleg-quality sounds adds a bit of distortion to everything, making the quiet moments electric and “Good Times Bad Times” and “Heartbreaker” startling in their intensity.

Weirdest moment? Hearing the “London Calling” chord progression played briefly during the “Dazed and Confused” jam 10 years before The Clash cut the song. (Alex Rawls)

The Future on Film: Since 2004, New York City musical comedy duo Future Folk has been bringing the genre of acoustical alien music to the world. Members Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klairz perform as two aliens, General Trius and The Mighty Kevin, who have come to earth from the distant planet Hondo. Their alien attire includes red and black jumpsuits and red buckets over their heads - a fashion statement that many of their fans have adopted themselves. Over the years they’ve developed quite a cult following, and on their Facebook page are tales of hardware stores running out of red buckets in the cities they’ve toured in. Some of this popularity may have come from the 2011 movie, The History of Future Folk, that tells their fictional story. In the film, General Trius has come to earth to release a disease that will kill everyone, allowing for the Hondonians—whose planet is about to be destroyed by a comet—to colonize there. However, when he hears earth’s music, he is so struck that he can’t go through with his mission. For years he lives as a regular human with a wife and daughter, but when Kevin is sent down to complete the original mission, things start to go a little crazy. The film—which despite being about aliens has few special effects beyond extensive makeup for an alien bounty hunter who shows up at one point—is probably one of the most purely enjoyable things I’ve watched in a while. A great little movie about the power of music as a tool for peace, The History of Future Folk is funny, emotional, and refreshingly different. (Lauren Keenan)