Iggy Pop and various

Record Review

Phases and Stages

IGGY POP

Skull Ring (Virgin)

GIMME SKELTER

(Nettwerk/ Buddyhead)

Despite the fact that there's only one true Skull Ring in rock & roll, Iggy Pop's best album since 1990's Brick by Brick rules them all on twin glimmers: Iggy & the Stooges. Punk's reunited holy trinity -- Pop and brothers Ron and Scott Asheton -- prove their 2003 dirty work ain't done with opener "Little Electric Chair," Detroit post-R&B hard 'n' sharp enough to cut glass. Instant classic. More Stoogery stamps the title track's hot-rod swagger, and check Ron Asheton's pirate guitar on "Dead Rock Star." Pop's other band, the Trolls, wield their own thumping: punkgasm "Perverts in the Sun" ("perving everyone"), the titty bar Bowieisms of "Superbabe," and the terrifically Robbie Jacks "Whatever." Even the label-induced pairings work: Green Day's mad dwarf dance ("Private Hell") and Sum 41's ultrabubblegum "Little Know It All." A couple of duets with Peaches, the electro-spank "Rock Show," and the throbbing "Motor Inn" are absolutely X. At 62 minutes, Skull Ring is overlong by 20, though not the hellbent bonus track and its gratuitous Moby slap. That slap is the best thing about Buddyhead Records comp Gimme Skelter, whose "introduction, opening, interlude, intermission, and closing were performed by profoundly influential, inspiring, and well-hung Iggy Pop." The CBGB icon's "New York City Is Beating Its Chest ... Again" ("I'm sick of Moby") sets an aggressive NYC tone, expertly buttressed by Mudhoney's scabrous "Hard-on for War," Yeah Yeah Yeahs assault "Shot Down," and a number of often-exclusive tracks by Burning Brides, Primal Scream, Dead Meadow, Le Tigre, Wire, Weezer, and more. Pop's "Demon Trance" and an eight-minute bonus interview are tops. Iggy rules.

(Both) ***

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