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Legend has it that Jim Morrison’s performance in 1967 at the University of Michigan made one hell of an impression on a young-ish Iggy Pop. Fittingly, he looked more like a Lizard King than Morrison at his most malnourished ever did. While he reinvented punk rock with The Stooges, I am of the opinion that Iggy never sounded better than he did on his solo albums. Ever his debut The Idiot in 1977, Iggy Pop has consistently released solo albums that have defied the artistic consciousness of their respective generations.

Iggy-PopFor instance, as the rock fraternity celebrated the Glam and Synth wave during the early Eighties, he dropped a bucketload of mid-tempo garage noise anthems through Party, Zombie Birdhouse and Blah Blah Blah – three albums that quietly refused to conform to the tune that everyone else were dancing to. During the early to mid Nineties when everyone and their mothers were listening to radio-friendly alternative rock and squeaky-clean polished grunge, the Godfather of Punk released the frenzied and crude throwback to Seventies – American Caesar and subsequently, Naughty Little Doggie.

I am not entirely sure what genre of music the current generation is salivating over, but I sure as hell know that it has nothing to do with jazz or bossanova. Needles to say, Iggy Pop’s 15th solo album – Préliminaires – is a collection of just that. Inspired by the French novel The Possibility Of An Island (Michel Houellebecq), Préliminaires, I hear, has Iggy in a jazz-like trance with a sea of delicate Dixieland-flavoured rhythm sections for him to drown himself into. Also included is a fantastic cover (hearsay) of the 1940s French classic Les Feuilles Mortes.

IggyKing Of The Dogs” is fucking splendid. One of his finest tracks, I think. It starts off with a swinging-as-Tarzan-on-crack cabaret beat that leads to Iggy telling us, “I’ve got a smelly rear, I’ve got a dirty nose, I don’t want no shoes, and I don’t want no clothes…I’m living like a king of the dogs”. I swear, if Frank Sinatra was cryogenically frozen and then unleashed at a Tom Waits concert, he’d sound just like this.

So that’s Iggy Pop for you. The deranged disco remix of what one would expect of an elder statesman of popular culture. The antithesis of Bernardo Bertolucci’s Conformist. The shaman of artistic hedonism. A crazy, lean, old man who won’t stop till the audience can conceptualize just how crazy he really is.

Watch

Iggy Pop – King Of The Dogs

Iggy Pop – I Wanna Be Your Dog (Live)

Buy

Iggy Pop – Préliminaires

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For the past six months, I had given up on music that involved guitars. After surviving a brief affair with Indie rock and pop sometime last summer, I got heavy into hip-hop and neo soul, and since then my ears have been stuck to the turntable with my head nodding along to pre-programmed beats and urban poetry. Thankfully, force of habit has kicked right in. At least once in a year, my mp3 player re-digests its contents fully and spits out the remains. Like the energizer bunny drunk on caffeine, it devours a shitload of new sounds.

monster magnet 2This time around, rock and roll has caught on (I still despise thee, heavy metal). The sweet virus has spread like wildfire over the last three days. It all began with curious glimpse of a Monster Magnet song on Youtube that I had never heard before. Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

After a couple of listens, it came to me like a sugar rush…the whimsical silliness of rock and roll. The loud telling of tales of maniacal fun and timid emotional disasters. The sound of rhythm sections gnashing against solo passages like mad beavers fondling cleavers with nasty intentions. The complete obliteration of the double-bass pedal for the sake of music.

Monster MagnetTake Negasonic Teenage Warhead, for instance. I mean, what the fuck is Negasonic Teenage Warnhead? (my inner child says that it actually is a Marvel Comics’ mutant character with telepathic powers) And 12 seconds into the song when the almighty Dave Wyndorf whispers, “Saw your face last night on the tube, strong fine snake in a sucker’s vacuum”, you actually end up knowing less about the song. The thing is 10 seconds later when Ed Mundell guitar tears through the oblivion and gets into a locomotive groove, you only care about the blistering noise it makes. In fact when Wyndorf screams, “Like a subatomic genius who just invented pain, I will deny you, I WILL DENY YOU”, you feel like beating yourself up for giving a shit about what Negasonic Teenage Warhead actually meant.

That’s rock and roll, I guess. Pure, unadulterated escapism. I guess that’s why many opine that it works so wonderfully with alcohol and drugs. That’s like eating a chocolate pastry and washing it down with maple syrup when the heart aches for a bit of candy. What a rush, indeed.

Cat RocksI delved further and revisited a couple of old favourites. I have since gone mad. Wishbone Ash, Kyuss, The Cult, Henry Rollins, Nebula, The Stooges, Black Crowes, Yardbirds, and a few tremendous others. It’s all been rather overwhelming.

Yes yes…this is one of those “there is so much beauty in the world” moments. My only fear is that six months may come and go too soon. At least for now, I rest easy knowing that Jefferson Airplane’s Rock Me Baby is next on the playlist. Anyone has the Devil’s number? I need to re-sell my soul on the altar of rock and roll.

Download

Monster Magnet – Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Monster Magnet – 19 Witches

James Gang – The Bomber

Buy a CD or two

Here, here and definitely here

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