The pounding, medieval-techno soundtrack to the new Frank Miller comicbook adaptation movie 300 is out from Warner Bros. The disc was written and produced by Chicago expatriot Tyler Bates, who in the early ‘90s played in local metal bands, including recording with Wee B Toyz, whose instrumental guitar cover of “Linus and Lucy” was a staple on local FM radio stations like WXRT at Christmastime for many years. Bates' “300” soundtrack is filled with haunting vocal chants and sighs over a driving mix of rhythms that are sometimes exotic, sometimes tribal and sometimes ancient-sounding. If you enjoyed the dramatic building soundtracks of the Lord of the Rings movies, you should give this a listen.
The Columbia Legacy label continues to reissue the Boz Scaggs catalogue, and their latest re-release is his classic breakthrough 1976 album Silk Degrees, which included the megahits “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” and now offers three live bonus tracks recorded that same year.
The Legacy label has also reissued a large chunk of Johnny Cash 's catalogue over the past few years, and the latest Cash disc is Cash: Ultimate Gospel, which collects some of the Man In Black's favorite religious songs. Cash's gravelly, world-weary vocals were perfect for digging into the soul of backporch spirituals, and this collection offers his attack on “It was Jesus,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “How Great Thou Art,” “(There'll Be) Peace in the Vally (For Me),” “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord),” “Amazing Grace,” and more.
Twelve Stops and Home
There's been a slew of albums over the past couple years that are, in some way, “rediscovering” the ‘70s. Whether it's Scissor Sisters or Killers, a number of bands lately have recognized the unabashed innocence of the tunesmithing of those pre-Reagan days. The Feeling is another band that coopts another age. In this case, they live somewhere between 1974 Paul McCartney & Wings and Gerry Rafferty's Stealer's Wheel, not to mention the ‘90s best harmony rock throwback band, Jellyfish.
Twelve Stops and Home opens with “Sewn,” its delectably sing-song “na-na-na-na” lead single where vocalist Dan Gillespie Sells sings “you've got my heart in a headlock.”
“Never Be Lonely” sounds like Gerry Rafferty circa 1978, with Sells complaining that “people in love get everything wrong” before recognizing that “at least they're not lonely.”
The band cites everyone from Karen Carpenter, Elton John, Queen, Ringo Starr and McCartney as influences, and there are bits of harmonic bliss on Twelve Stops and Home that hearken back to the best moments of all of those artists. This is a sweet mix of delectably melodic guitars, pounding electric piano and powerpop basslines that underscore Sells' elastic, emotive vocals. Whether he's sounding smooth as Rafferty or taut as a a hybrid of McCartney and Billy Joel (see “Rose”) he will take you on a seductive walk through a dozen lush, lazy bits of beautiful pop on Twelve Stops and Home.
McCartney & Wings fans need to buy this disc solely for the song “Same Old Stuff,” if nothing else, as its call-and-response backgrounds and lightly puncuating keyboards are blatant homages to that band – for a moment while listening to this I thought my office had a lava lamp and black light posters. But then I came back to the now and realized that the song was not a time machine…it just sounded really good!
This is an album for lovers of the slick sounds of ‘70s harmony rock as well as for those who know that powerpop is timeless (and sweet as candy!) Don't miss this one.
The Feeling will play Metro and House of Blues in Chicago at the end of the month on March 30 and 31. Check their website for more information and song samples – www.thefeeling.com.