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REVIEW: Sound City Real to Reel

The Foo Fighter throws a very loud going-away party for a one-of-a-kind L.A. recording studio

Sound City: Real to Reel Various Artists (Roswell) * * *½

Dave Grohl’s great new documentary, Sound City, tells the story of the “dumpy” LA. recording studio where a stunning number of rock worthies — including Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine — made historic albums. It’s also a burnt offering to the pretty much dead religion of pre-digital record-crafting — what Grohl calls “the human element” in rock.

So is the soundtrack of original newsongs, recorded on the now-defunct studio’s be-loved Neve mixing console by the Sound City Players (including Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Krist Novoselic, Brad Wilk of Rage, Foo Fighters, Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, session drumming great Jim Keltner, etc.). Sometimes the songs seem like works in progress — “Heaven and All” is just Grohl and two members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club riding a screaming glam-punk riff, while “Cut Me Some Slack,” by Paul McCartney and the surviving members of Nirvana, isn’t much more than a Macca grunge-guitar blowout. But the sound of real rock created in real time is part of the appeal. Many tracks echo the film’s wistful attitude toward a vanishing ideal, from Springfield’s tough “The Man That Never Was” to Nicks’ Mac-tinged reflection on her partying past, ‘You Can’t Fix This.” Today, bands can fix anything by pushing a button. In the era, Sound City celebrates, you made it.

KEY TRACK: “You Can’t Fix This”

Jon Dolan / Rolling Stone / March 14, 2013



Stevie Nicks

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

European Tour

JUL 3, 2024
Dublin, Ireland

JUL 6, 2024
OVO Hydro
Glasgow, UK

JUL 9, 2024
Co-op Live
Manchester, UK

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, UK

JUL 16, 2024
Sportpaleis Antwerpen
Merksem (Antwerpen)

JUL 19, 2024
Ziggo Dome

SEP 24
Van Andel Arena
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SEP 28
Hersheypark Stadium
Philadelphia, PA

^ Non-Live Nation show