Written by 7:16 am Audiophile Music

MC5 and Iggy Pop On 180-gram Vinyl

Mark Smotroff takes a look at two Motor City classics…



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As
a record collector, I often ask myself an important (and blindingly obvious)
question when buying both reissues and new albums on vinyl: do I
really need to own that LP, or will a CD
or download suffice? Here are two I vote in favor of the vinyl:
 

MC5:
Kick Out The Jams – Rhino Records’
180-gram reissue of the MC5’s explosive 1969 debut, a live recording, is
probably an essential one to have on vinyl if you are a fan of hard-hitting
rock and roll music. I’ve had it on CD for a while and I gotta say the LP packs
way more punch. I mean, its ultimately all about the music, but when you are
talking about tunes that arguably helped invent the driving sound of hard rock
and heavy metal to come years later, having a sweet analog version smooths the
harsh edges added by lower fidelity digital options (ie. CD, mp3, etc.). This
album is best played loud and on LP it just rips open your stereo. On the CD,
the music on my old CD became (relatively) harsh mush, even on bluesier
workouts like “Motor City Is Burning.”
Kick out the Jams buzzes and fuzzes and roars on LP while on CD its
reduced a fizz with not much in the way of low end. The album comes housed in a
thick cardboard cover with high quality original artwork, a plastic lined
sleeve and a nice thick perfectly pressed 180-gram jet black vinyl with
original period green-gold Elektra Records label. Arguably, this is probably a
better pressing than was put out back in the day. And certainly, finding a mint
original would be hard so if you want to get your Detroit rock city on, this is
ground zero.

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Iggy
& The Stooges:
Raw Power Live – I
came across this album on Record Store Day, being sold on discount and I’m glad
I picked it up.  Featuring the 21st
Century edition of The Stooges — with ex-Minutemen bassist Mike Watt — the
band is rocking like mad on this show, recorded on the first night of the
annual All Tomorrow’s Parties festival on September 3, 2010. But, again, do you
need it on vinyl? Well, sure! The bass and mid range are remarkably full for a
live steamroller of a band like this. When drummer Scott Ashton hits that snare
at the start of “Search and Destroy” you know you are in for an
assault. Believe it or not, its a remarkably warm recording and I attribute
that to the vinyl which is thick and quiet, and from what I have read on line,
180-gram weight. You audiophiles out there, don’t expect this to sound like The
Band’s
The Last Waltz or Allman
Brothers
Live at Fillmore East — its
a way more ambient flavored mix than that. But if you want a solid live Iggy
album, this sounds way better than any other live Iggy Pop recording I’ve heard
to date, especially with the Stooges.
 

When
they break out the acoustic guitar on “Gimme Danger,” the impact is
electrifying against the electric guitar. James Williamson’s slide work on
“I Need Somebody” snakes arond your speakers. This album is also
available on DVD and Blu-ray and a download (curiously, not on a CD).
“Shake Appeal” just smokes! 
This is completely wonderful Iggy and it sounds great. Get it! I’m
probably going to get the Blu-ray at some point as the full show is presented
there, and, well, doesn’t every home need a high definition document of Iggy
Pop at 63? I think so!
  

 

Mark Smotroff is a freelance writer and avid
music collector who has worked for many years in marketing communications for
the consumer electronics, pro audio and video games industries, serving clients
including DTS, Sega, Sony, Sharp, AT&T and many others. Mark has written
for EQ Magazine, Mix Magazine, Goldmine/DISCoveries Magazine,
BigPictureBigSound.com, Sound+Vision Magazine and HomeTechTell.com.  He is also a musician / composer who’s songs
have been used in TV shows such as Smallville and Men In Trees as well as films
and documentaries. Mark is currently rolling out a new musical he’s written.
www.smotroff.com

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