The music takes over and transports immediately, with "Django (Main Theme)" by Luis Bacalov and Rocky Roberts, a powerful, full-throated song that was also the title track to the 1966 Spaghetti Western, Django. The opening credits are startling enough, setting a vividly emotional tone, but the song adds the outlining whomp, the exclamation mark. The dusty plucking and Elvis-like vibrato of "Jane-gooo" just stick in your brain. While on "Little Steven's Underground Garage" show on Sirius Radio, Tarantino discussed his reasoning behind the music in the film. Of the theme he said, "When I came up with the idea to do Django Unchained, I knew it was imperative to open it with this song."
The soundtrack weaves through ominous and plucky original Spaghetti Western themes, Brother Dege's twangy stomper "Too Old To Die Young," John Legend's funky blacksploitation-style anthem "Who Did That To You" (which ended up on the soundtrack after Legend recorded it on cassette and mailed it to Tarantino), and pummeling hip-hop bangers, "Unchained (the Payback/Untouchable)" — a mashup of James Brown's "The Payback" and 2Pac's unreleased "Untouchable" — and "100 Black Coffins" by Rick Ross and Jamie Foxx.
Tarantino said on the radio show that this was the first time he'd included new music in one of his films, and it was thanks to the star and title character, Jaime Foxx, who ran into rapper Rick Ross at the BET Awards and invited him back to the set to work on a song together. The song is clearly influenced by the surroundings, with a Western whistle underneath a molasses beat and lyrics like "revenge is the sweetest." and "I need 100 black coffins for 100 bad men/...I need 100 black bibles while we send 'em all to hell."
There's also the deceivingly calmer moments thanks to songs like Jim Croce's "I Got a Name," as Django is given his freedom, which left another lump in my throat. That track also has the needle drop and minimal fuzz of the record collector nerd Tarantino is. He'll often use his own vinyl on the soundtracks. It's a "whole record experience," as he describes it. "Pops and crackles be damned."
NEVER SLOWING DOWN?
It's true, prolific garage rocker Ty Segall has yet another new band. This one's called Fuzz, and it includes Segall on drums and vocals (just like in his pre-Ty Segall Band band, Traditional Fools!) and longtime collaborator-pal Charlie Moothart on guitar. The dudes just released new single "This Time I Got a Reason," played Vacation last weekend, and will be a part of Noise Pop 2013: Feb. 28 at the Knockout ($8).
After a period of moody silence, underground Harlem rap duo Cannibal Ox has returned — to the stage, at least. Vast Aire and Vordul Mega announced a one-off reunion show in NY late last year, and that must have gone well, 'cause now they're heading our way on a full tour. Also noteworthy: Aire and Mega only put out one album as Cannibal Ox, 2001 indie hit The Cold Vein, produced by El-P. Now they're working on a 2013 followup on Iron Galaxy Records.
With Keith Masters, Double AB, Kenyattah Black, I Realz
Sun/13, 9pm, $15. Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission, SF. www.brickandmortarmusic.com.