Archive for April, 2007

The Godfather: Part 2

April 24, 2007

Iggy Pop

 

Teddybears (feat. Iggy Pop) – Punkrocker (Squeak E. Kleen Remix)

 

So Iggy Pop is all the rage recently and I figured since I just got back from seeing the Stooges at The Wiltern, now would be a good time to do the follow-up post to the profile I did of The Stooges a while back. Of course it may be more apropos to have the posts reversed… but whatever.

 

So after the Stooges disbanded following Raw Power (actually the second time that Iggy called it quits with his band mates), he then went on to develop quite the relationship with David Bowie, who had been one of the first admirers of Iggy as a musician. Drug addiction actually caused the duo to lay low for a few years, but eventually Iggy went out to accompany Bowie on his Station to Station tour.

 

Afterwards the two would collaborate on Iggy’s solo debut The Idiot. Quite the departure from his sound with the Stooges, this album went on to become a major influence on bands such as Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor manipulated a sample from Nightclubbing for his hit “Closer” and when Ian Curtis was found after his suicide there was a copy of The Idiot still spinning on his turntable.

 

If nothing else, Grace Jones knows what’s up:

 

 

Nightclubbing

 

Iggy Pop – Nightclubbing

 

Iggy and Bowie would follow up The Idiot that same year with Lust for Life, which would become Iggy’s most commercially successful solo work. These days it’s hard to find someone completely unfamiliar with the riff from the title track.

Also “The Passenger” has been covered numerous times by the likes of Nick Cave, Michael Hutchence, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie Sioux.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – The Passenger

Personally my favorite tracks from the album however are “Some Weird Sin” and “Neighborhood Threat”.

Iggy Pop – Some Weird Sin

 

Iggy Pop – Neighborhood Threat

After this Iggy switched labels and recorded the album New Values with a pseudo-reunited Stooges line-up.

Iggy Pop – New Values

During the recording of the next album Soldier Iggy would fight with producer John Williamson over the general sound of the album. Eventually Williamson was fired. If you ask me, Perry Pharell of Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyro’s owes quite a bit to the album that resulted.

Iggy Pop – Knocking ’em Down (In the City)

 

The next album would be the largely unsuccessful Party which would result in Iggy being dropped from his label.

Iggy Pop – Pumpin’ For Jill

Iggy’s career would be rejuvenated when Bowie decided to cover some of the songs they wrote together earlier in the early 80’s. Throughout the next 2 decades he would collaborate with numerous different people on different albums to varying degrees of success.

In 2000 Iggy would appear with the pre-Mars Volta/Sparta band “At The Drive-In” on their song “Rolodex Propoganda”. Admittedly this is as much an excuse to post some hardcore as it is to talk about Iggy Pop.

At The Drive-In – Rolodex Propoganda

In 2003 Iggy’s last solo album Skull Ring, in addition to featuring tracks with the original Stooges, also featured multiple collaborations with both Green Day, Peaches, The Trolls and several other single song contributions from others.

Iggy Pop (feat. Green Day) – Private Hell

Iggy Pop – Til Wrong Feels Right

 

NOW FOR THE FUN PART!!!!

Last nights show at the Wiltern was great. As a native of the Detroit area it’s pretty mandatory that I see Iggy do his thing with the guys that started it all, and they did little to disappoint. Strictly a Stooges show, there was none of Iggy’s solo material represented. In fact they didn’t even play any of the material from Raw Power which was recorded with an altered line-up.

Stooges Live

Get rid of that fuckin’ feedback!!!!” says the guy who later proceeded to bang the head of the microphone into the grill of the front of house subs

 

There were two openers last night, the first of which I completely missed due to trying to find my friends outside in the lobby of the Wiltern. I have to take a second to plug the second act though. I only caught 3/4 of their set, but despite multiple technical difficulties, “Sistas In Tha Pit” made me notice enough to want to check out some more of their stuff later on. Click on the link to stream some of their tunes through MySpace. I gather from some recurring themes in Iggy’s lyrics that he has a bit of a thing for black women, so I thought they were and interesting choice for tour mates. Regardless of any of that though, these ladies did their best to rock the house with their raw punk-funk (yes I just created a genre). I’d love to see how much more damage they could do without the technical complications.

Then it was time for the main event. Before the show I had a little wager going as to how many stage-dives Iggy would do throughout the show. I went with 3, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Shirtless from the get go Iggy will rearrange every preconceived notion you have about energy diminishing with old age. Several times throughout the show I had to say to myself “this guy is in his 60’s!!!!” To be quite honest I feel sorry for the stagehands who had a general look of frustration on their face the whole night as they tried to keep the havoc orchestrated by Mr. Pop to a manageable level.

The Stooges @ The Wiltern 04/23/07

 

 

Iggy easily carried the show, but it was fun to watch Mike Watt before the beginning of each song leaning forward and head up as if he were about to take off in a race. There were a handful of songs played from the new album and a couple of tracks from Skull Ring as well, but the band new that everyone wanted to hear the classic material and they went through all of my favorites from the first two albums. I’m wondering how that discussion went while they were picking the set list for the tour. I’d like to think it got interesting when Iggy’s idea of playing songs such as “Dum Dum Boys” got shot down.

Iggy Pop – Dum Dum Boys

Now here’s a tally of the damage done last night”

  • Mic stands thrown across stage – 4(?)
  • Mic stands destroyed – 1 1/2
  • Amps climbed, mounted, and humped by Iggy – 1
  • Amps humped by Mike Watt – 1
  • Times Iggy lost his pants – 1/2
  • Stage dives by Iggy – 3
  • Times Iggy found himself in the crowd by method other than stage dive – 6(?)
  • On-stage riots – 1
  • Times Iggy was accosted by audience members on stage – 3 (that were visible anyway)

 

Iggy Pop IS rock and roll. Today’s bonus is a track that I probably wouldn’t have any other excuse to post anytime soon. Iggy’s no stranger to his songs being used for commercials. Lust for Life = Royal Caribbean and Punkrocker = Cadillac. Well Squeak E. Clean, who did the remix I posted at the beginning of this post, works on a lot of commercial music. He was behind that Adidas commercial that aired a few years ago featuring music from Karen O. of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. I’ll see you guys after Coachella.

Karen O. featuring Squeak E. Clean – Hello Tomorrow

The IdiotLust For LifeNew ValuesSoldierPartySkull RingTwice Upon a TimeRelationship of Command

Alternakids Summer Schedule

April 17, 2007

Summer Concerts

April 23 – Iggy and The Stooges @ The Wiltern

The Stooges – T.V. Eye

 

April 27-29 – Coachella Valley Independent Music Festival

Rage Against The Machine – How I Could Just Kill A Man (Live Cypress Hill cover feat. B-Real)

 

 

 

June 23 – The Police w/Foo Fighters @ Dodger Stadium

The Police – Message In A Bottle

 

June 28 – Deftones @ Gibson Ampitheater

Deftones -Kimdracula

 

July 20 – Sonic Youth (Daydream Nation Performance) @ The Greek Theater Los Angeles

Sonic Youth – Candle

 

July 21 – Daft Punk @ Los Angeles Sports Arena

Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

 

 

August 11 – Rock The Bells Festival @ San Bernadino NOS Events Center

Wu-Tang Clan (feat. Tom Morello and Chad Smith) – Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing Ta Fuck Wit

 

 

Obviously my schedule is kind of hectic these days. I promise better updates once I get a minute to breathe.

FunhouseRenegadesEvery Breath You TakeSaturday night wristDaydream NationDiscoveryLoud Rocks

Welcome to Memphis

April 9, 2007

 

Memphis Industries

So… the other day I got an international package in my mailbox from Memphis Industries. You see, I’m a big fan of Tokyo Police Club and a while ago I got word that they’d affiliated themselves with Memphis Industries out of London. I sent a friendly email and next thing I know I’ve got parcels with handwritten notes and customs declarations sitting in my PO Box. Maybe this will be the start of a beautiful relationship… who knows.

Anyway, contained in the package was a sampler of MI artist of which TPC was not included in, but there was some other interesting stuff represented. These are what I’ve deemed as the highlights.

The Go! Team

I have to say… when I first heard about The Go! Team I didn’t quite get it. I meant the whole concept of cheer squad as rock band just screamed gimmick to me from the start. It was hearing the RJD2 remix for “Huddle Formation” though that made me start to warm up to the idea. I still have only heard a handful of songs from the group, but I’ve learned to quit being so pretentious and just have fun when it comes to these jams. I’m still thinking the idea of a parody band called “The Stop! Team” would be hilarious though.

The Go! Team – We Just Won’t Be Defeated

 

Dungen

I knew nothing of these guys previously, but that intro to this song alone got my attention. From there it’s all Swedish to me, so I’ll assume he’s singing about something cool. I mean I like Pandas, so I guess I’ll just have to go with that. After a little research I found out that Dungen really consists of one guy in the studio and a few rotating players for tours. I’m definitely interested to see what else he can do.

Dungen – Panda

 

Pippettes

The first thing I thought when I heard this track was… “they sound a lot like blogosphere darlings CSS”. Then a little over 30 seconds into it an actual melody breaks out and thoughts of a Spektor era girl band come to mind. Apparently they already have quite a following so I don’t have very much to add to the information that’s already out there in that regard. This is definitely a good song though.

The Pipettes – Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me

Also included on the sampler were tracks from The Russian Futurists, The Squire of Somerton, Absentee, Field Music, The Black Neon, and El Perro Del Mar. I would be remiss though if I were to do this post and not include a track from Tokyo Police club… so here’s your bonus for the day.

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club – Be Good

 

Right now there’s a sale going on where you can get a grab bag sampling of 5 full albums from a random selection out of Memphis Industries back catalog for under $20 USD. Quite the deal if you ask me considering the cost of CD’s these days. So why not take a chance and get hooked up?

 

Thunder, Lightning, StrikeTa Det LugntWe Are The PipettesA Lesson In Crime

 

Katharine McPhee – Not Just Another Idol

April 7, 2007

– by David Schatanoff, Jr.

So last year… on every Wednesday… I would get home from work and my wife would throw me a cell phone, and my bluetooth headset and yell, “START VOTING”!!! For the next two hours, we would hit the redial button on home phones, cell phones, internet phones, satellite phones, smoke signals, aldis lamps and semaphore flags… all in an effort to vote for our pick to win the American Idol singing competition. Personally, I love the first month or so when they wade through the hundereds of screen hungry people who couldn’t sing their way out of wet paper bags. But there are some contestants that are worth the investment.

Kat Album

There’s a good list of winners that the Idol machine has exposed to the world. Season one was Kelly Clarkson all the way, and her upcoming album is going to be good… I can feel it. She’s working with Punk Rock icon and Minuetmen bassist, Mike Watt, so it’s bound to be a sonically appealing collaboration. Season two gave us Ruben Studdard The Velvet Teddybear, season three – Fantasia Barrino, and season four – Carrie Underwood.

Now… winning American Idol does not equate success. The most successful of all Idol winners is Kelly Clarkson. In fact, there seems to be a mild simmer for every winner since season one. In my opinion, this is because if you win, you are instantly part of the Idol Machine. This of course means that Idol has control of your image, your sound, your production and marketing team… all the essentials that will get your career as an artist going. So it was with a sigh of relief when Taylor Hicks won Idol and is now nowhere to be seen or heard. At least he’s looking healthy and happy; but Taylor’s music is the kind of music I would listen to at a college frat kegger (no offense Phi Delts). I sound like Simon Cowell saying that, but it’s the truth. Ok, he’s not bad, but if I want to listen to Michael McDonald, I’ll listen to Michael McDonald.

Kimmel 1

So what makes Katharine McPhee stand out? How is her voice, her album and the Katharine McPhee brand so different from everything else out there? Well, the truth is: It’s not original. Nothing has been all that original since the western tonal scale was invented. So things are either appealing and interesting, or completely ‘been there-done that’. So when Katharine finally released her solo debut album, I was interested to see if she could break free from her Idol persona and really show us something about herself as an artist.

Kimmel 2

There were a total of four label leaked samples and they all got me interested; the most memorable one for me was “Open Toes.” It was completely different from anything she had done on Idol, and it got me thinking about what the rest of the album was going to be like. The following samples are not only my favorites, but they also best represent Katharine as a non-AI Machine product.

“Not Ur Gir”l is a total throw-back song. It’s got that old-time, smooth-sounding groove going on and Katharine’s voice just compliments the lyrics perfectly. There is something very natural about her voice and it’s just not the little giggle they left in around 3:30 into the song. I like that her producers and the rest of her team really put together a lot of great tonal layers for her to work in. The harmonies are solid and Katharine has a developed pop-sensibility that translates really well in all the songs on the album. It’s kind of “old meets new,” which is always interesting to me. In an age of samples, 70s disco meets techno and punk-rock meets alt-rock bands, it’s great to hear a vocalist that does it so seemlessly. The music is clearly something new, but still feels like it has a place in time that is distinctly seasoned and beyond its years in wisdom.

Katharine McPhee – Not Ur Girl

Ahhh, slow songs. The cornerstone of any good high-school dance. I don’t think you will ever hear “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at a high school dance… and I am happy that we will never hear Katharine sing that song again… at least not for a LONG time. It did kind of break her free from some of the vocally restricting songs she was singing on Idol and Simon knows how to bring out the best in artist he feels has the “zed” factor. So “Each Other” is the song that will replace “Rainbow,” not because she should be surrounded by a Lion, Tin Man, Scarecrow and her little dog too; but because there are going to be a lot of puppy-love, first kiss pre-teens out there who will be listening to this one. I love her phrasing in this song and my favorite lyric: “You’re like a pillow I can hold on to, ’cause we got each other.” Enjoy the sample!

Katharine McPhee – Each Other

Now we touched on the high school ballad. But what about the Disney “tragic-hero courting the tourtured damsel being held in the tower” ballad? I think that was one of the best descriptions I’ve heard for the song “Ordinary World.” (Thanks to Kat fan Liz for the observation.) And it’s not a bad thing. This song will not be a single. There is not an outlet for it. But it is in no means “Album Filler.” Katharine fans around the country will be purchasing the piano sheet music for this one. It’s really poignant and touching, and Katharine has such control over her voice that is sounds like she is whispering the intro of the song to you in confidence. She opens up a little in the second verse and then lets it rip for the second chorus. So listen up all you “music soops” out there… I want to hear this song in a Sony Imageworks, Pixar, Disney, (studio formerly known as) Fox Animation, and a Warner Brothers Animation feature film by years end! Now get to work! The rest of you, enjoy the sample.

Katharine McPhee – Ordinary World

So what about the fun? The amount of flack Katharine took on the cover art (seen at the top of the post) was laughable. She’s young, she’s good looking and she’s an emerging artist. So as far as I’m concerned, the cover is perfect. It got people talking that didn’t care for it. It got people interested in her who thought she was “plain Jane”. But Katharine isn’t just the GIRL guys want for a girlfriend, she’s the FRIEND guys want that happens to be a girl. The footage of her in the studio listening to the playback of “Do What You Do” sums it up for me. She’s a goof, she’s playful, she’s got talent and she likes to have fun. This song and “Open Toes” are what I expected the entire album to be like. Check this track out–hang in past the intro and pay attention to how the vocal tracks are assembled in this one. People often talk about how electronic things sound nowadays, but these people are the ones who listen to hippies with Martin Backpacker guitars and dirty guys playing Cajons recorded on 4-track tape. The reality of it is that some artists need help to sound good…not great, just good. This is where the pitch correction plug-in for the Protools HD system works overtime. The other reality is that the other artists do not need help to sound good, but use the “robotic-electro-Sher-o-matic” sound of the pitch corrector as a production tool. Give this track a listen and hear how it sounds when it’s used as a production choice.

Katharine McPhee – Do What You Do

I had the chance to see Katharine a couple times in person. The first was at the Grove Holiday Tree Lighting at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. She sounded great in person covering the Christmas Song. We also had the chance to see her at Kimmel Live and she sounded great. But I love the covers… all the non-Idol covers. I do admit that “Black Horse and Cherry Tree” was the turning point for me but I can’t wait to see her do more covers in a live setting. Here’s the most recent offering: Katharine singing Paul Cole’s “Me” from the Pepsi Smash studios.

Katharine McPhee – Me

Here’s some video we got of “Love Story” from Kimmel Live. Sorry for the 8-bit crappy audio…

And “Home” from the same evening.

So over all, I really like the album. It’s fun, it shows a musicality that is found in seasoned professionals, there’s room to grow and improve but it’s not starting off on the ground floor reaching for the stars. I know all the tracks on here are not all tracks that Kat wanted on there. So her sophomore album could theoretically be spectacular. The topics she covers reflect her youth and struggle between social acceptance and isolation. Too deep? Well, listen to “Better Off Alone” for some Greg Bissonette action on the drums. I like that she is a somewhat learned artist and has a formal and informal knowledge of her craft. I see her talking quietly before performances, never screaming and yelling before shows, taking care of the instruments that she has taken the time to develop. I’m really happy with the production and this album has found a home in my car changer for over a month now (which is amazing given the number of albums I am listening to and potentially reviewing). Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I have and will find a home for it in your collection too.

Katharine McPhee was recently in Italy promoting Sexy Hair as their Spokesperson and has upcoming performances in Uniondale, NY; Atlanta, GA and Kansas City, MO. She is currently signed with RCA Records. Check her website or Myspace page for details.

Purchase “Not Ur Girl
Purchase “Each Other
Purchase “Ordinary World
Purchase “Do What You Do

Purchase the self titled album “Katharine McPhee

Visit the official website – www.katharinemcphee.com

– David Schatanoff, Jr.