CD review: Iggy Pop & James Williamson, Kill City Restored, Remixed & Remastered

Highlights include, well, the whole shebang, if you ask me. It's less than 35 minutes long and if you can't sit still for that, you have big problems. Put it up on some big speakers and enjoy the fine job Williamson has done with the brand new mix. Every sound is properly placed and authentically rendered here. It's not something that really went anywhere, so it reads like a truly anachronistic artifact. Did it influence anything? I doubt it. There were plenty of rock bands playing hard music at the time. What sets this apart is the involvement of Iggy Pop and James Williamson, who had their own, slightly skewed vision of what rock should be at that point in time. That makes it good!


I don't mind saying that to this day, I would eat up anything Iggy Pop put in front of me on a live stage. It is a stretch to appreciate him on this much more controlled recording. Still, it is worth a couple of spins to see if it gets under your skin. It got way under mine.


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If you only know Iggy Pop as the leader of the Stooges or as that guy who later graduated from the David Bowie school of pop/rock, Kill City will come as a revelation. It was recorded after the Stooges incarnations had fizzled and before Iggy was co-opted as the next whatever. Here, we find our skinny proto-punk crooner delivering his swarthy vocals atop backing tracks that his sideman James Williamson prepared in advance of the Igster's release on weekends from rehab. Not surprisingly, it sounds the way mid-1970s Detroit rock should — and luckily for us, this is before insanely dated drum sounds and stupid synthesizers commandeered the national soundscape for a decade or so.

Musically, this recording is advanced way beyond anything Iggy had done before. Williamson clearly took the time to invent interesting tracks for his boss to sing over. There are no original Stooges alumni present, and that is both good and bad. The sounds themselves are raw enough and they are augmented by a lot of saxophone and keyboards (more so than on Funhouse or Raw Power). I'd say that is to the positive, since what came later could sometimes be hard to love. But you're gonna have to get used to the architect of punk rock selling himself on a whole different level for his first foray into what could have been more commercial music, had the stars been properly aligned at the time.

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