The Backbeat section of the Melbourne International Film Festival is known for highlighting a variety of fascinating films on various aspects of popular and un/non-popular music and music culture over the years.

One such film in this year’s festival was Taqwacore : the birth of punk Islam. Starting out as a fictional book about a collective of Muslim punks in Chicago, connections between real-life punk Islamists and the author soon lead to a strong network of bands and fans throughout the USA, Pakistan, and beyond. For further reading on recent use of protest music within the Muslim world, the book Heavy metal Islam, available on the shelves in the Redmond Barry Reading Room, will give you plenty more to consider.

Heavy metal Islam

Another intriguing spotlight this year is cast on renowned reclusive musician/songriter Stephin Merritt, lead member of the band The Magnetic Fields. Their most popular release, 69 love songs, is given a thorough yet light-hearted analysis by former member LD Beghtol in the 33 1/3 series mini-book on the triple-album, available on the shelves in the Arts Reading Room.

69 love songs

Beyond the Backbeat section of the Festival, within the MIFF sponsored Premiere Fund section, another highly regarded musical icon – pioneering rock journalist Lillian Roxon –  has been given a thorough bio-doco treatment. Author of the first encyclopedia of rock music, she sadly died of an asthma attack only two years after it’s release. For those who missed out the film at the Festival, the similarly titled biography Lillian Roxon : mother of rock gives a detailed unpacking of her life, from her early life in Brisbane, to her involvement in the Sydney Push of the 1950s, then to her ultimate move to New York in the 1960s. This book can be found on the shelves in the La Trobe Reading Room.

Lillian Roxon

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