Iggy Pop and James Williamson - Kill City
It's a sad fact of life that many artist's back catalogues are a right old state; plagued by indifferent reissues and strangely sequenced 'hits' collections, it can be difficult to simply wander into a record shop and walk out with anything resembling a representative sampling of an act's output. The Stooges (and Iggy Pop) are no exception, with innumerable albums of poor quality live and demo recordings repackaged over and over to bewildering effect. As a result, Kill City has often been overlooked by all but hardcore Pop fans but hopefully this new version, sympathetically tweaked for modern ears, will see it reclaim its place as an integral part of his sometimes complicated early career.
In actuality, Kill City has barely been out of print since its original release in 1977, but its semi-official status has meant it fits awkwardly into Iggy's official canon of work. Compiled from post-Stooges demo recordings he and James Williamson made in the mid-70s prior to his Bowie-driven salvation, the tapes were pulled out of the archive to cash in on Pop's punk rehabilitation, with Williamson returning to the studio to add some extra guitar and polish the mixes. Pop recorded his vocal tracks while on day release from a heroin treatment centre - which doesn't bode well - but overall the tracks hang together extremely well, Williamson laying down a coherent mix of 70s Stones/Dolls-style groove rock (the title track, 'I Got Nuthin') and more experimental pieces like 'Master Charge' which effectively predicts the electro-influenced material Pop would explore in Berlin. The twisted romance of 'Johanna' ("I hate you baby 'cos you're the one I love!") stands as equal to anything else in the Iggy catalogue and the steady backup band (including the Sales brothers) provide a solid base around which John Harden's squealing sax offers a Fun House spin on the more grounded material.
This Williamson-supervised remix is a sonic upgrade from earlier versions (legend has it that CDs were mastered from vinyl copies due to missing tapes) but Pop scholars may wish to hold onto the original, with a few subtle differences in the instrumentation levels that go beyond the basic mastering. If your Iggy collection jumps from Raw Power to The Idiot, this is your chance to put that right.