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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: "Southpaw" soundtrack, Prince Royce, Lamb of God, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Monday, July 27, 2015

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Various Artists

"Southpaw: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"


Grade: B

Most anything Eminem gets involved with merits some degree of excitement, and given the award-gobbling success of his last major soundtrack project -- for 2002`s "8 Mile" -- the new "Southpaw" comes out to some understandably high expectations. And they're mostly met by the 14-track set, which boasts the added notoriety of being one of the final scores by Academy Award winner James Horner before his death in a June plane crash. A couple of short Horner pieces bookend the album, with a dozen tracks -- or, if you prefer, rounds -- of roiling, hard-punching rap in between. Eminem lands some solid shots with the aggressive vocal weave of "Phenomenal" and the foreboding, defiant "Kings Never Die" collaboration with Gwen Stefani. He also reawakens his Bad Meets Evil tandem with fellow Detroit rapper Royce da 5'9" for the sex-drenched "Raw" and the arty but tiring "All I Think About." Royce, meanwhile, joins Slaughterhouse for the loping gang chants of "R.N.S." and scores a knockout with PRhyme (his collaboration with DJ Premier) on the soulful "Mode," while D12's Denaun Porter, "Southpaw" co-star 50 Cent and the Weeknd prove valuable corner men. Score it another convincing win on Eminem's well-decorated fight card.

New & Noteworthy:

Warren Haynes, "Ashes & Dust" (Concord): The Gov't Mule leader and former Allman Brothers Band guitarist taps into Americana with help from Railroad Earth and guests such as Grace Potter and Shawn Colvin, among others.

I Prevail, "Heart Vs. Mind" (Fearless): The debut album from the Detroit hard rockers whose cover of Taylor Swift`s "Blank Space" was a viral smash.

Lamb of God, "VII: Sturm Und Drang" (Nuclear Blast): The Virginia headbangers come out of frontman Randall Blythe's legal problems in the Czech Republic with their strongest and most accessible -- but still fierce -- album yet.

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Friends, "One More For the Fans" (Loud & Proud): A tribute concert to the Southern rockers held last November in Atlanta yields this CD/DVD set featuring homages by Gregg Allman, Peter Frampton, Charlie Daniels, Cheap Trick and many more.

Prince Royce, "Double Vision" (RCA): The Latin music chart-topper releases his first English language album, with guest appearances by Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Snoop Dogg and more.

Various Artists, "Muddy Waters 100" (Raisin's Music): A centennial celebration of all things Muddy, with contributions from Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Keb' Mo', the late Johnny Winter and many others.

Watkins Family Hour, "Steal Your Heart Away" (Family Hour): Nickel Creek sibs Sara an Sean Watkins are joined by a stellar group of musical friends on their latest Americana excursion.

We Came As Romans, "We Came As Romans" (Equal Vision): The Detroit heavy rock troupe stretches itself further on its fourth album thanks the prodding of producer David Bendeth.

Also Out: Anberlin: "Cities: Live in New York City" (Tooth & Nail); Albert Cummings, "Someone Like You" (Blind Pig); Death Angel, "Thrashumentary" (Nuclear Blast); Ducktails, "St. Catherine" (Domino); Dustbowl Revival, "With a Lampshade On" (Signature Sounds); Elephant Revival, "Sands of Now (Live at the Boulder Theater)" (United Interests); Fantastic Negrito, "Lost in a Crowd" (Blackball Universe); Gus G, "Brand New Revolution" (Dismantic); Amy Helm, "Didn't It Rain" (eOne); Hopsin, "Pound Syndrome" (Funk Volume); Eleni Mandell, "Dark Lights Up" (Yep Roc); Ashley Monroe, "The Blade" (Warner Music Nashville); Jon Pousette-Dart, "Talk" Little Big Deal); Public Enemy, "Man Plans God Laughs" (Spitdigital); Daniel Romano, "If I've Only One Time Askin' " (New West); Joe Satriani, "Shockwave Supernova" (Legacy); Jill Scott, "Woman" (Atlantic); Sleaford Mods, "Key Markets" (Harbinger Sounds); Styx, "Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas" (Eagle Rock); Symphony X, "Underworld" (Nuclear Blast)

From The Vaults: The Doobie Brothers, "The Warner Bros. Years 1971-1983" (Rhino); Joe Walsh, "So What? (Hybrid SACD)" (Audio Fidelity); Roger Waters, "Amused To Death" (Columbia/Legacy); Weather Report, "8:30 LIve" (Hi Hat)

Soundtracks: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "Absolute Treasures" (Ode)

New Music DVDs: "Revenge of the Mekons" (Music Box); Rolling Stones, "From The Vault: Hyde Park 1969" (Eagle Rock)

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