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‘Death’, III caps epic punk trilogy Spidey enhanced by Zimmer soundtrack

Death, “III” (Drag City)
Feverish and socially conscious, the final set of Death’s 1970s recordings affirms why they rose from the ashes and gained an audience after debuting in 2009. “III,” the Detroit-based sibling trio’s third album, is their grooviest collection yet. It comes after the label Drag City released the group’s stylistic hard rock album recorded in 1974, “...For the Whole World to See,” in 2009. “Spiritual, Mental, Physical” followed in 2011. On “III,” the Hackney brothers have mellowed the thrashing, though the hard and fast still dominates when they muse on the grimy “North Street.” But they have more funk, soul and psychedelic sounds on the latest effort, which includes songs recorded in 1975, 1976, 1980 and 1992.

Guitarist David — who died of lung cancer in 2000 — paces himself on the intro, an instrumental simply titled “Introduction by David” (vocalist Bobby and drummer Dannis round out the trio). David’s eerie, bewitching riffs begin steady, but after a lengthy pause, irrupt in a wash of lavish, hurried reverb. Leading with a line of spoken word, “We Are Only People” is a spaced out trip that slowly reaches a jamming rock climax. It’s the most satisfying moment next to the bluesy “Open Road,” which offers a funky bent rhythm chopped by pregnant pauses. Two of the nine songs were recorded at Groovesville studio in Detroit, while most of the others were cataloged at the trio’s home. Due to the poor recording quality, the vocals sound distant and muffled on a few tracks, but their tight progressions never falter.

Various Artists, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Soundtrack” (Columbia Records/Madison Gate Records)
Even Oscar-winning composers can use a little help once in a while. So it makes sense that Hans Zimmer created his own band of superhero hitmakers, including white-hot Pharrell, to work on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” soundtrack. The so-called Magnificent Six — which besides Pharrell includes Johnny Marr, Michael Einziger, Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynski and Steve Mazzaro — works magic with Zimmer and helps him weave a strong musical accompaniment to the plot. The score matches the hero’s character and journey — from the playful yet ominous “The Electro Suite” to the sinister orchestral-electro hybrid “My Enemy” to “We’re Best Friends,” which is highlighted by its unusual tempo.

The 20-track album’s crowning glory is the Pharrell co-penned “It’s On Again,” where Alicia Keys’ warm vocals provide a stark contrast to Kendrick Lamar’s growly tones. It’s an energetic tune that starts off with a hard electric guitar before getting enveloped by catchy pop beats. Phosphorescent’s ballad “Song for Zula” is aided by cascades of violins, while LIZ’s impish funk “That’s My Man” claps itself into a loop of joy. Pharrell’s earnest vocals on the slow groove “Here” lull you into a sense of emotional security — we all know Peter and Gwen break up in this film — while Czarina Russell brings a classic rock sound to the proceedings on “Within the Web (First Day Jam),” just enough to inject hard edge into the album’s overall pop feel. Zimmer and the Magnificent Six’s collaboration elevates the comic-book hero to heights he wouldn’t get to by relying on his superpowers alone.

Future thinks his new star-laden album, “Honest,” is a time capsule.
“Ten years from now we’re going to be able to look back and say these were the hottest rappers, these were the hottest artists of that time,” he said. It’s a pretty impressive list: Pharrell, Drake, Kanye West, Andre 3000, among others, as well as the Atlanta auto-crooner and producer himself, who’s got the Midas touch — if everything Midas touched turned to platinum. That enviable list made “Honest” one of the year’s most anticipated releases. He chose lead single “Move That Dope,” a Mike Will Made It track featuring Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino, because he felt it captured spring 2014. “This album isn’t even about the hits, it’s about the moments,” Future said in a recent interview. “The moment of having Skateboy P (Pharrell) do a verse in the same time that he’s doing songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Happy,’ he’s doing pop records and you get him to do a verse on ‘Move That Dope.’ I’m making moments and people don’t understand that. But in 10 years people are going to go, ‘Man, he had Skateboy P and Pusha T on the same record in the time when Pharrell was getting nominated for Oscars.’”

Future thinks the result is a very personal album, something he found easy to do despite the expectations. He mixes sometimes-inspirational songs like “Blood, Sweat and Tears” and “Special” with star turns that nonetheless show an aspect of his life or personality. Kanye West joins him on “I Won,” a song about the women in their lives (Future is engaged to Ciara; West to Kim Kardashian). Drake appears on “Never Satisfied,” a striving feeling the two hitmakers share. Old friend Andre 3000 sends up status climbers on the ATL-all-day “Benz Friendz.” Their presence shows just how hot the 30-year-old hitmaker has become. “I actually had to get another cellphone number because all the people from the past who had the number kind of used it and were blowing it up and passing it along to other people,” Future’s manager, Orlando McGhee, said with a laugh. Future says he doesn’t mind the calls. “I get excited about every call because every call I feel like I have to deliver,” he said. “Whoever calls, I want to be able to deliver and do something special. Everyone wants a hit.” (AP)

By Jessica Herndon

By: Jessica Herndon

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