Recordings

There are more big names on the roster. Smashing Pumpkins start off midtempo alt.rocky and try to finish funky on the thoroughly forgettable "Eye" (the track accompanies a dance scene in a bowling alley in the film). And Marilyn Manson--who has a bit part in the movie with bandmate Twiggy Ramirez--puts in his two songs' worth with the ready-for-radio "Apple of Sodom" and a God-awful remake of Screaming Jay Hawkins' gloriously insane scream fest "I Put a Spell on You." Finally, Lou Reed takes us back to the '70s for an early Reed, solo-period, pedestrian rock reading of the 1960 oldie "This Magic Moment."

Lost Highway is not a total loss, however. The instrumental, "incidental" music scattered throughout this soundtrack makes the save. First there's British composer (and former bassist for Nick Cave's Bad Seeds) Barry Adamson. You wanna go to lounge nation in style, but with an off-kilter, Lynchian twist? Groove on "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Only the bits of turntable scratching at the end will shake you out of thinking you're in 1965, giving it up for hot, juicy organ jazz in some noirish smoky dive. Interested parties should check out Adamson's last album, Oedipus Schmoedipus, for more of the same.

Last but not least, longtime Lynch stalwart Angelo Badalamenti shows he can still dish out the sultry, ethereal dream music that made Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet so eerily beautiful. But here, Badalamenti's got a full orchestra instead of merely a synthesizer bank, and rather than just floating by in an electric haze, his minor-key melodies hover deliciously with an organic richness they previously lacked. Check out "Fred's World" and "Haunting and Heartbreaking" in particular.

--Frank Smith

Jonny Lang
Lie to Me
(A&M)

Jonny Lang missed the rediscovery heyday of the blues in the '80s--he started off that decade as an embryo, but quickly grew into a bluesman of the first water. Listen to Lie to Me's title track and you'll hear a 15-year-old prodigy with the burning belly of a weary Delta drifter. Lang's chops draw favorable comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan; he growls with Joe Cockeresque intensity and interprets weighty torch songs like "Darker Side" and "Still Wonder" with startlingly heartfelt dejection. Plus, he adds an unintentional new wrinkle to Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl." Unlike Williamson, Lang could actually help that schoolgirl with algebra! On this assignment, he scores a B-plus.

--Serene Dominic

Jonny Lang is scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 1, at the Hard Rock Cafe. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. (free).

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