Sound City

The history of Sound City and their huge recording device; exploring how digital change has allowed 'people that have no place' in music to become stars. It follows former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter David Grohl as he attempts to resurrect the studio back to former glories.


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  • ★★★½ review by adrianbalboa on Letterboxd

    [footage of trent reznor composing something]

    me to my class: HEY HAVE YOU GUYS— turn the mov— TURN THE MOVIE DOWN. have you guys seen the social network (2010)

  • ★★★½ review by Jeff on Letterboxd

    A big, sloppy love letter to a big, sloppy recording studio and the records that were made there. And the mixing board that those albums were recorded through. And analog tape. And the creative process. And Rick Springfield. And Paul McCartney.

    This is definitely a documentary that music fans should check out. It is a very entertaining watch filled with good interviews and packed with great music from Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Dio and Johnny Cash to name a few.

    Unfortunately, being that I am an obsessive music fan, I had already heard many of the stories about the albums recorded at Sound City. And being a musician from nigh on birth, I've been hearing the complaints about the switch from analog to digital recording for decades. But I can't hold the film responsible for what I brought to it.

    I can hold the film responsible for being wildly unfocused and failing to have through-line for everything else to hang onto. I can also fault it for the embarrassingly awful opening narration. But those are ultimately small nitpicks when you are given footage of Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, and Josh Homme writing a song together. And I would have gladly sat through 70 minutes of a truly shitty documentary to watch Paul McCartney hash it out with the surviving members of Nirvana.

  • ★★★★½ review by Rod Sedgwick on Letterboxd

    “Music really isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s all about people relating to each other and doing something that’s really from the soul. It must come from the soul.”

    Tom Petty

    Dave Grohl (Nirvana, The Foo Fighters) proves once again what a true artist and inspiring talent he is, by offering up this testament to the roots of his lifeblood and soul - music. Many friends both old and new are invited along for the tour through 'Sound City studios' to offer passionate testimony to a time and a place, where true historical rock statements were given birth. The wealth of talent and passion brimming from this piece is truly infectious, and to the music lover it is just truly sublime, like taking a trip down memory lane with some of your truly favourite albums and artists. Sure the project could be seen as self-indulgent on Grohl's part, but I would rather offer up that it is a gift to all who see it, just like music itself is also a self-indulgent statement offered up as a gift to all who want to claim ownership of it, and what could possibly be wrong with that? To see the birth of Fleetwood Mac, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and Rick Springfield to name just a few is nostalgic bliss, but even in it's second half shift to a gathering of Grohl's heroes to record music in his personal studio with the sound desk that 'made' their albums what they became, is an absolute treasure. As soon as the credits rolled, I acquired a copy of the companion album 'Real to Reel' just to keep living the magic captured in this documentary with Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney and Trent Reznor to name just a few.

    ''For those about to rock, we salute you.''

  • ★★★½ review by Andy Summers on Letterboxd

    Film # 57 December Challenge 2017

    Sound City may not have meant much to anyone who doesn't know their music history, much like Muscle Shoals would for the uninitiated. Dave Grohl's documentary on the legendary Van Nuys Studio is a rose-tinted, anecdote-heavy, love letter to a recording studio responsible for many classic albums. There are plenty of talking heads moments, archive footage galore, and some great performances from stars old and new-ish, but Grohl's enthusiasm for that analog Neve recording console is the glue that holds this doc together. It's an interesting mix of musical history lesson and the onset of time which saw the likes of digital and Pro-tools making these huge recording studios redundant. Many great tunes soundtrack this, and seeing Grohl up close and personal on a drum stool in the studio did make for a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

  • ★★★★ review by Filmspotting on Letterboxd

    Self-indulgent in the grandest, most respectable sense... Dave Grohl searches for timeless/analog truths in a disposable/digital world... and gets to jam with his musical heroes.

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