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Archive for March 12th, 2010

Back Tracks: The Stooges

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We continue our ongoing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pre-game coverage by looking back at another batch of reissue offerings from one of the inducted artists.

The Stooges were one of those bands that were in the right place at the wrong time. Their music was raucous and energetic, their antics were nothing short of ostentatious. But when they rolled onto the scene in 1969, they really had no place in the rock music landscape behaving the way they did. Sure, other big rock bands of the day were into mind-altering substances and disturbing the peace and challenging the status quo. But those bands were photogenic about it, if not glamorous per se. The Stooges – led by wild frontman Iggy Pop, a performer not above smearing himself with foodstuffs and mutilating himself onstage – lacked the kind of image that got their rock ‘n’ roll brethren on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Then a funny thing happened. Years after the band dissolved, punk music took the same sonic sensibilities and the same on-stage tropes that The Stooges adopted and presented them to a more receptive public. Early British punk bands, and later American hardcore bands, were happily paying a large debt to the Ann Arbor, Michigan band that sold next to nothing when they were together. Before long, Kurt Cobain was naming The Stooges’ Raw Power as his all-time favorite record, and Iggy Pop – still ragged but more sober – was appearing in television shows and video games aimed at kids.

Thanks to this resurgence, The Stooges have enjoyed a lot of catalogue action over the past 15 years or so – some more official than others – and the best is presented to you here for your learning pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 12, 2010 at 18:42

Posted in Box Sets, Features, Reissues, The Stooges

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Channel One

with 2 comments

There’s a lot of older music fans out there who would give anything to “bring things back” – whatever that might mean to them. Bring it back to the days of radio hits, record stores and so on. Optimistic though we may be, we’re pretty much resigned to the fact that most things aren’t going to revert back to the way they were.

One notable exception exists in the catalogue world, though: it’s a simple four-letter word that is quite literally changing the way we listen to our older music. It’s something that, in our rush for the best surround sound and audio fidelity, we may have forgotten about.

The subject, of course, is mono.

Listeners buying reissues at a steady pace may have noticed the rise of mono in recent years. These days, finding a dedicated mono mix of an album on CD is like finding part of the Rosetta Stone. Records by The Who, The Velvet Underground and others have been reissued in mono and stereo to vast acclaim. The Beatles remasters of course represented the peak of the trend with The Beatles in Mono box set from last year. Other mono releases are still sought after, including several of the albums in Jimi Hendrix’s catalogue (such a release may have increased excitement over the latest batch of reissues).

There’s something really interesting about seeing mono albums come back in a kind of big way. As someone who grew up in an age where most entertainment was already in stereo (where available) and FM radio was king, it’s a great trend to help new listeners gain a fresh, informed perspective on familiar music. Sometimes you miss a run of notes or a particular instrumental part if it’s buried in a stereo mix. And it’s little things like that which make listening to songs over and over again over time such a fun experience.

What are your mono memories? What one-channel sets would you like to see released on compact disc? Your thoughts are, as always, graciously observed below.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 12, 2010 at 01:36