BY ALYSSA HOLCOMB
As if the rock doc itself wasn’t enough, Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” Players (and friends) banded together, literally and figuratively to make a record the old-fashioned way. That classic sound comes courtesy of the Neve 8028 soundboard, the very one that rocketed some of the Players to stardom beginning in the 1970s.
Director (and mega-rocker) Dave Grohl appears on every track, changing up his involvement in each song. He drums, he riffs, he sings – he is as much the heart and soul of this record as the console. His presence is an overlying combination of both musician and fan – working with not only his colleagues, but some of his idols (which is more discussed in the film) gives the soundtrack a more dynamic and, in a strange way, intimate feel. (Now, this is coming from someone who has seen the movie twice, so my connection of song to soundtrack may be different from someone who hasn’t seen the film yet. However, even if you haven’t seen the flick, the passion behind the performances is clear and tangible.)
A variety of rockers kick it on this record, starting with Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford on the opening track “Time Slowing Down.” The track is slow to start, but kicks in with a moderate tempo and a modern alternative feel. Seguing into Stevie Nicks’ contribution, “You Can’t Fix This,” the mood changes decades with a 70s spirit taking over. (Nicks’ career with Fleetwood Mac took off because of Sound City – her appearance on “Real to Reel” is like a mutual thanks, in a way.)
Other notable tracks include “From Can To Can’t,” featuring Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, and “Mantra,” a three-piece track with Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme, and Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor. The song is an interesting combination of talent, with Grohl’s gravelly voice combining with Reznor’s intricately dark, technology-infused music. This is a clear stand out on the record – it starts off soft, but by the end, it builds to a great crescendo.
If one track were to sum up the experience of both the film and accompanying soundtrack, it’s “Cut Me Some Slack,” featuring Paul McCartney. This track is not only part of the final sequence of the film, but is arguably the culmination of the artist’s involvement, interest, and passion for music. Part of the reason the Neve console was purchased was because of the desire to search for the next Beatles. Grohl and fellow Nirvana member Krist Novoselic play with McCartney on the rollicking, heavy track, and it’s one of the clear standouts on the entire record.
The Hippodrome is having a free screening of “Sound City” on Thursday, March 14th. Come out and check out the (admittedly awesome) documentary and win some cool prizes courtesy of Sony Music. There is a second free screening on Tuesday, March 19th at High Dive in downtown Gainesville. For more information on “Sound City,” check out its website: http://buy.soundcitymovie.com/