“Sound City. That’s it, man.” That’s Tom Petty, whose comment opens the all-star Sound City soundtrack, the audio supplement to Dave Grohl’s documentary that celebrates the little-known but once-vital (and now shuttered) San Fernando Valley studio where everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Nirvana recorded material. The 11-track, hour-long album is a who’s who of intertwined talent. Grohl enlists members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rage Against the Machine, the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age (and more), plus singers who have never shared space on a record.
This is mostly hard-rocking music with a sonic sting. Stevie Nicks adds mystery to ominous “You Can’t Fix This.” Punk icon Lee Ving brings raffish charisma to electro-punked “Your Wife Is Calling.” Eighties hit-maker Rick Springfield is surprisingly forceful on hard-hitting “The Man That Never Was.” However, the standout is the battering “Cut Me Some Slack,” where Paul McCartney and most of Nirvana construct an unpredictably gnarled aural barrage. Trent Reznor, though, seems miscast on the too-long closing “Mantra.”