Despite the fact that recording studios and record labels have long served to showcase a variety of musical talents, recent music documentaries on such subjects have framed their histories in largely genre-specific terms. Though Rick Springfield was one the studio’s biggest names, Dave Grohl’s Sound City was steadfast in its thesis that L.A.’s Sound City was the home of uncompromising, authentic rock. Danny O’Connor’s Upside Down similarly saw Creation Records’ promotion of both punk and New Wave as fitting a consistent definition of British rebellion.
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, Jeff Broadway’s history of Los Angeles-based Stones Throw Records, refuses to make a false, simplified equivalence between label and genre. The documentary instead makes the case that a good label produces interesting work and develops talented, envelope-pushing artists by encouraging creative change and throwing caution to the wind. Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton decisively rejects genre borders by arguing that Stones Throw accomplished the same. The end result isn’t always convincing, but it’s an engaging and ambitious documentary that laudably seeks original ways of stylizing movies about music.