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Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

  • Published in Albums

From the wild and frightening young man who fronted The Stooges for a handful of peerless years, to the enigma who released three classic LPs in 1977 alone (albeit Kill City has an asterisk next to it), to the ageing lunatic and insurance salesman who spent three decades doing just about whatever the hell he wanted - Iggy Pop is in the “legendary” class. Since the lauded double-header of The Idiot and Lust for Life, Iggy has been a journeyman of the bizarre, earning 37 acting credits (ranging from Jim Jarmusch and John Waters films to the likes of The Crow: City of Angels, Tank Girl and Sharktopus vs Whalewolf) while issuing a further seventeen studio albums, without touching the UK Top 40 again. Iggy does what he wants.

The surprise announcement of Post Pop Depression, his seventeenth solo LP, has proven to be a bit of a story. The additional factors of the world losing David Bowie, Pop’s friend and collaborator and the news that the LP would be produced by QOTSA/Kyuss/EODM man Josh Homme seem to have got people talking. But the involvement of Homme is, in theory, by no means a game changer. Iggy has often utilised notable names in the past, not only did Bowie’s production span much of Pop’s early work and not only did Iggy reunite with Stooges’ guitarist James Williamson on multiple occasions, but over the decades, Iggy has utilised the likes of Glen Matlock and Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols), Ivan Kral (Patti Smith Group), Chris Stein and Clem Burke (Blondie), Slash and Duff McKagen (Guns N Roses), Green Day, Peaches and many others.

What this goes to show, is that the mere inclusion of gifted guests is by no means a new thing to Iggy and doesn’t promise greatness. What really justifies the intrigue that accompanies this LP is the gorgeously gloomy left and right hook of ‘Break Into Your Heart’ and ‘Gardenia’. These two leading singles promised something punchier than Après and Préliminaires but more refined than Ready To Die or Beat ‘Em Up, offering the possibility of a Pop LP that’s both sophisticated and satisfying.

Homme’s contributions are many and his influence runs deep throughout this LP. His effortless moody vocal helps to carry ‘Sunday’, while ‘Paraguay’ has more than a hint of the classic Queens Of The Stone Age sound to it. Homme introduces strings, keys, backing singers, he even brings QOTSA member Dean Ferita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders to the fold. But it’s not a bleaching of Iggy’s sound, ‘American Valhalla’ is somewhere between Iggy’s ‘China Girl’ and Gary Numan’s ‘Metal’, ‘German Days’ recalls his time in Berlin with Bowie, while the coarseness of ‘Chocolate Drops’ is, for better or worse, unmistakably Iggy.

While he hints that this could be his final album, everything sounds a little more loaded and blue than it was perhaps intended to be, but it really is a strong final chapter and about as good an album as you could hope to hear from a 68 year old Proto-Punk pioneer. If we’re preparing for a “Post-Pop” world, then Homme has done a lot to help provide a fitting finale.

The album is seemingly being marketed as a new Lust For Life, but it feels more like New Values - perhaps not a definitive album for the masses but a really really fun LP, one of his best and certainly not a work to be skipped over without consideration. With a wildcard artist like this, there’s a difference between the celebration of a vital and furious young creator and supporting a man with nothing left to prove, who continues to yell and dance topless into his 40s, 50s and 60s - but there’s a lyric in album-closer ‘Paraguay’ that I think sums up both Iggy and Post Pop Depression quite beautifully: “I just thought, well, fuck it man.” Fuck it man, indeed.

Post Pop Depression is available from iTunes and Amazon.


Mick Rock - Exposed

  • Published in Books

For over four decades Mick Rock has been photographing the great and good of the music industry, as well as those not so famous, and the best of these images are now available in his new book. 

Rock is known as "The Man Who Shot The Seventies" mainly for his work with David Bowie, in his Ziggy Stardust days, along with classic shots of the late Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

Many of these images are captured in Exposed and they paint a pretty graphic account of the hedonistic days when rock ’n’ roll was very much about doing everything to extremes. One image of Iggy Pop doing a backbend is, according to Rock, "the most rock and roll image".

However, Rock has included a number of images of models that show his ability to do straight-up studio work as well which disproves the claim made by some over the years that he was lucky and just in the right place at the right time. Not so - he clearly has an eye for a good image and happened to meet the right people, giving him access to some of the most recognisable faces in music history.

Muso’s Guide caught up with Rock at a book signing event for the paperback release of the book, which originally came out in 2010, in the Pretty Green store on London's Carnaby Street and times have definitely changed as Rock had nothing stronger than a large coffee from a well-known tax dodging outlet sitting next to him, "Yes things are different now, it's different times. I'm older but I still love it."

Asked how he settled on the selection of images in the book he said "I wanted a mixture showing the full range, a number of them are unseen before and, of course, there's the classics in there too." These days Rock has moved to digital as it's "easier" which means the modern images have lost some of that grainy and gritty appearance that is so typical of his older images.

Rock continues to expand his range of collaborations and his current one sees some of his most iconic images of Ziggy Stardust adorn a limited run of t-shirts produced by Pretty Green.

Palazzo Editions Ltd, ISBN-10: 0957148348, 256pp

Exposed is available from amazon.

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