Thursday, July 14, 2016

Soundtracks, rock and power pop releases prove to be required listening

Great soundtracks make the films for which they were created infinitely better, and are more than able to stand alone as rich musical works worthy of repeated listens. Such is the case with Nicholas Britell's Free State of Jones, and the Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser score for Independence Day: Resurgence. Other notable new releases include the latest album from Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart as well as the debut from Swedish power pop troupe Arvidson and Butterflies

Artist: Nicholas Britell
Title: Free State of Jones (Sony Classical)
You might like if you enjoy: Lucinda Williams, Nicholas Britell's soundtrack for the film "The Big Short," Americana music
Tell me more: The success of artists such as The Civil Wars, Dawes and the Avett Brothers have a kindred spirit in composer Nicholas Britell's extraordinary soundtrack for the film Free State of Jones. The music here ties in perfectly with the film's 19th century Civil War storyline, and the sparse soundscape layered with fiddle, fragmented keyboards, guitar, mandolin, cello and other acoustic instruments has a stirring and evocative arc even when listened to apart from the film. The weight of Newt Knight's armed rebellion against the Confederacy is captured on a majestic soundtrack, with singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams' own "I'm Crying" providing a wonderful finale on the 18-track soundtrack. Information:

Artists: Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser
Title: Independence Day: Resurgence (Sony Classical)
You might like if you enjoy: "The Day After Tomorrow," "10,000 BC" and "The Legend Of Tarzan" soundtracks
Tell me more: The orchestra is used with both force and nuance by Austrian composers Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser in their soundtrack for the science fiction film Independence Day: Resurgence. "Fear" stretches from a sweeping romantic opening to a dark close: "Welcome to the Moon" captures that otherworldly sentiment with a rousing symphonic expanse; the muscular "What Goes Up," tense "The Sphere" and ravishing "Worth Fighting For" also enchant. Information:

Artist: Heart
Title: Beautiful Broken (Concord Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Heart, Led Zeppelin
Tell me more: Classic rock audiences who embraced early Heart releases such as their 1976 debut  Dreamboat Annie and 1977's Little Queen might want to get a listen of the group's superb new album Beautiful Broken. Heart's sixteenth album Beautiful Broken has the feel of a late 1970s' recording blended with the power and maturity of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame veteran still moving forward 40 years into their stellar career. Not only do sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson still both possess incredible voices undiminished by time, but their spirit of sonic adventure shines through in the newly-penned material (this writer's fave is the symphonic Led Zep-flavored "Heaven"), artful reworkings of older songs (notably the hard-rocking title track featuring guest vocals from Metallica's James Hetfield, and the string section adorned "Sweet Darlin'") and a wonderful version of R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo's "Two." The Seattle-spawned rockers are currently on tour with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett; the three artists will perform at The Forum in Los Angeles on Aug. 23. Information:

Artist: Arvidson and Butterflies
Title: Arvidson and Butterflies (Kool Kat Musik)
You might like if you enjoy: Justin Currie, Crowded House, Paul Weller
Tell me more: Sweden-based Arvidson and Butterflies features singer-guitarist Roger Arvidson and a number of fine musicians from that nation's Gothenburg music scene who have their pulse solidly on power pop. The songs on Arvidson and Butterflies explode with melody, while artful arrangements and authentic performances tie the dozen songs together in a cohesive and stylistic mixture. The wistful "Will Follow," cascading "Changing All The Time" and longing "Want What I Can't Have" are among the many rousing tracks on the magnificent disc. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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