Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero

by Pete Crigler

brainiac_transmissionsdvd_150Brainiac, one of the most underrated alt rock bands of the ‘90s, came to a premature end in 1997 when leader/frontman Tim Taylor was killed in a car accident. The band’s legacy and musical reputation only began to grow after bands like The Mars Volta and others began citing them as key influences. This excellent documentary chronicles the band’s rise through the indie underground to their peak and ascension, which came to a premature end weeks before the band was going to sign to a major.

Interviewees including all surviving band members, Taylor’s family and numerous fans including Fred Armisen, members of the Mars Volta, Girls Against Boys and even Melissa Auf Der Maur of Hole manage to keep the story interesting and the stories told really showcase how close these guys were, not just as bandmates but friends as well. A different sort of take on the burgeoning ‘90s alt rock movement showcases how hard these indie-centric bands had to work in order to get to their highest peak.

Lovingly told and full of life and some really great music, not to mention stellar live footage, this is the type of documentary that most other music docs should strive to be. Not stuck in one era for too long, managing to tell the entire story, warts and all, and showcasing everything about this band you would have wanted to know, whether you were a diehard fan or just a novice. This is the perfect, linear way to tell a story like this and keeps the viewer happy throughout.

Not being all that familiar with the band, at least musically, I came away a fan and if you’re like me, you too will end up becoming a fan and find yourself wondering what could have been if things hadn’t ended so tragically and abruptly. One of the best rock documentaries to come out in quite some time.

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