Spider-Man While the only music really featured in the new movie Spider-Man is a brief performance by Macy Gray and the instrumental theme orchestration from Danny Elfman, Columbia has nevertheless issued a "Music From and Inspired By" soundtrack to Spider-Man. The disc features a track from Gray and Elfman's uncharacteristically unmemorable theme, as well as the TV series theme song and Sum 41's raucous rap-rock anthem "What We're All About"; the latter two are featured over the end credits. Aerosmith also takes an amusingly kitschy crack at updating the theme song from the original series. The rest of the disc is filled out by alternative rock tracks from critically acclaimed newcomers The Strokes, Pete Yorn and The Hives. There are also tracks from Nickelback's Chad Kroeger (featuring Saliva's Josey Scott), Black Lab, Bleu, Default, Corey Taylor, Greenwheel, Theory of a Dead Man and Jerry Cantrell (formerly of Alice in Chains).

NASCAR on Fox has put together a soundtrack disc for lovers of both hard rock and auto racing. Crank It Up, on MCA, features the NASCAR on FOX theme and 17 hard rock bands jamming to songs about cars. Many of the tracks are cover songs (hed)p.e. covers Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic," Buckcherry turns up the distortion on Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again," Dry Cell steps up the grind on Stone Temple Pilots' "Heaven & Hot Rods" and Fenix TX drowns Billy Ocean's "Get Out of My Dreams (Get Into My Car)" in guitars.

Epic's Legacy arm has released The Best of Edgar Winter, a 15-song collection covering Edgar Winter's output on seven albums released between 1970-1981. The CD leads off with "Frankenstein," the albino keyboard/saxophonist's most successful career single. That No. 1, 1973 hit instrumental jam remains one of the best tracks to test stereo speakers on with its range of guitar, horn, keyboard and drum solos. The disc also includes his first top 100 hit from 1971, the funky horn-drenched "Keep Playin' That Rock 'n' Roll," as well as his other top 20 hit "Free Ride." It also includes live versions of "Turn on Your Lovelight," and "Harlem Shuffle."

Three decades on from the start of his career, Winter is still touring the country with his fusion rock band Winter will play at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Altamont, Ill., June 29.

 

Jump, Little Children Jump, Little Children
Vertigo
(EZ Chief)
½


It's a strange name for a band, but Vertigo, the new CD from South Carolina-based Jump, Little Children is a great mix of experimental pop-rock that will appeal to fans of the melodic sensibility of Paul McCartney, David Mead and Radiohead. The album mixes lilting, sweet ballads that would make McCartney proud ("Words of Wisdom") with more intricate rock jams - sometimes offering touches of both in the same song. The title track, "Vertigo," is one of the brightest lights on the disc, a haunting jam of guitars, laidback drums, jazzy breaks and a powerchord fizzy chorus.

"Angeldust (Please Come Down)" works in the same dreamy, hook-filled ballad world that Mead excels at, as does the somber, marshal-drum augmented "Yearling." The urgent rhythm, melancholic strings and drawn-out, falsetto-reaching vocals of "Mother's Eyes" make this track sound like a Radiohead offering, as do the alt-guitars and falsetto pop vocals of the more rock-oriented "Come Around." If you're looking for quietly adventurous explorations with plenty of heart and harmony, seek this independent disc out (for more info try www.jumplittlechildren.com).

 

Mark Knopfler
A Shot at Glory
(Warner Bros.)
½


Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler has done several soundtracks over his career; his latest, for Robert Duvall's "A Shot at Glory," features 11 tracks, and is probably the guitarist's most varied soundtrack.

The music of A Shot at Glory ranges from light acoustic guitar themes to lounge jazz to a techno-backed highland jig. It leads off with a vaguely Gaelic-sounding acoustic guitar and quiet drumming on "Sons of Scotland," and then offers the more in-your-face sounds of Scotland with a bagpipe theme in "Hard Cases."

"Training" offers a fiddling reel for those with fast feet and "Four in a Row" features a bigger dance beat behind its jig-ready melody. While most of the disc is instrumental, "He's The Man" finds Knopfler contributing vocals to a shuffling Dire Straits-style rock track with a mild electric guitar riff and "All That I Have in the World" is a slower, minstrel ballad with whistles, gently strummed electric guitars and Knopfler's quietly melancholic vocals. The disc ends with its most dreamy offering, the gaelic-themed "Wild Mountain Thyme," which is reminiscient of the feel of Knopfler's early '80s soundtrack to Local Hero.