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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The king stay the king, Dubpod #16 (Dec 2016)

Having just started reading a big Ian Penman Bowie appreciation in the London Review of Books, I'm doing the only thing a Bowie agnostic like me can sensibly do: taking a break and blasting out some reggae. 

Yeah, man. Because, regardless of what the Penmans, Morleys and Reynoldses of this world may say, the true geniuses of the 1970s were the dubmasters of Jamaica, not that pop star wannabe from Brixton. So forget Ziggy, Starman, the bloody Berlin recordings and the thin white whatsit. Instead, all bow down to reggae royalty. Because, as we know - and whatever other people may say - the king stay the king ...


1: Travellers/Prince Jammy's, Peace and rest version
2: Heptones & Joe Gibbs & New Generation, The road is rough
3: Horace Andy, Money dub
4: Big Youth, All nations bow
5: Winston Flames, In a armagideon
6: Peter Donaldson
7: Freddie McGregor, I'm a rasta man
8: Culture, Iron sharpening iron
9: Starkey Banton, I and I saw them coming (Radikal Guru remix)
10: General Levy/Wrongtom, Incredible
11: This is such nonsense
12: Ernest Wilson,I know myself (version)
13: The Pop Group, There are no spectators
14: Congos, Sodom and Gomorrah
15: Sena & Familyman, Children of the ghetto
16: Rumour and innuendo
17: Junior English, You are lying
18: Errol Alphanso, Chant Jah victory
19: Dennis Brown & The Crystalites, Concentration version two
20: Johnny Osbourne, Ready or not
21: The king stay the king
22: Yabby You, Undivided world (version)
23: King Tubby & The Aggrovators, African roots (dub)
24: Tenor Saw/Sugar Minott, Fever (version)
25: U Black, Jammy's a do it
26: 22 & Group, Early in the mornin'

Sunday, 25 December 2016

A year in music: eight random things

There's not a lot worse than a self-indulgent "Best albums of the year" list from a big-name music journalist who probably writes reviews of Wembley Arena concerts for the Daily Telegraph and appears on the Today programme to tell you how amazing Prince was and why David Bowie’s Blackstar is "hands down the best recording of 2016" … but hey, there are probably a few worse things. Including, some would say, my year in music eight random things list.

But hey, give it a chance. You haven't even read it yet! Anyway, here we go …

Bands I didn't see most times in 2016
The much-coveted Niluccio on noise anti-award goes equally to The Wharves and Monster Island, a pair of bands that in each case I made two attempts to see during the year and in each case (each of the four cases that is) completely failed to see. I won't bore you with the details, but these two bands can now be added to my extremely impressive list of Bands I Nearly Saw. I'm sure there'll be some other good artists I can add to the list during 2017.

Best on-stage comment
Not a vintage year for off-the-cuff humour or out-and-out oddness, but I did quite like The Hairs' singer's rambling anecdote about how, aged about eight, he once microwaved a meal complete with steel cutlery which caused some kind of explosion in the microwave. After regaling a stony-quiet Brooklyn audience with this riveting tale there was … profound silence. You could have heard a knife and fork drop. "Hey guys. Are we on the same wavelength?", he asked. Answer: apparently not.

Songs I played a lot
This completely meaningless category potentially comprises about 50 or 75 tunes, but as I write I can think of a handful of things I particularly enjoyed playing and replaying, so:

Dirtygirl's Never (emotion-packed grunge-pop)
Radical Boy's Milk Miracles (grunge again, though more up-tempo)
Special Request's Request The Style (superb contemporary drum and bass)
No Form's Side B (a juggernaut of drums, moaning and squealing feedback)
The Dynamic Four's Let's Make Love (beautiful roots reggae)
Sparkle Blood's Denim Convention (a dynamic shimmer of power-pop excellence)
Kode9 & The Spaceape's Nine Samurai (the majestic best track off the Memories Of The Future LP)
The Degs' Here They Come (a stomping garage rocker)
Dune Witch Trails' White Pickets (ominous downbeat weird rock sounds)

And … er, many others.

Shout out for classical
You wouldn't know it from perusing my blog, but one way or another I listen to quite a lot of classical music. This comes courtesy of my esteemed partner, who has a penchant for Mozart, Bach and all things early and baroque. During 2016 I must admit I went to only a handful of classical concerts, and though none of these made it into my extremely exclusive 20 Best Gigs Of 2016 list, this little bunch of classical experiences did include a storming concert at the Opéra Bastille in Paris (geddit?). My point (one that's quite commonly-asserted but maybe not that much followed through on): Mozart sits nicely alongside Magazine, just as Bach complements Beefheart. Ya dig me? In a nutshell: my year in music wouldn't have been as good without regular injections of classical stuff from 250 years ago.

Best comment from someone when I was DJing
Yes, I do dabble in a bit of DJing, strictly amateur stuff to fill the space between bands in a small pub venue, don't you know … Anyway, humble though it may be, I always like receiving small morsels of feedback on my carefully-chosen virtual crate of MP3s. It keeps you going. Makes you feel valued. And it certainly makes a change from hearing the next band due on stage tuning up all over your music. Anyway, the one I'll cherish from this year is a guy with a fascinated expression all over his face coming up to ask "Was that last tune you played by Yello? Sounded like them. Was it?" Er, no. That was in fact the first one of the evening I wasn't playing, I told him. It was from the compilation CD in the pub's CD machine that I switch over to at the end of the night. Great feedback though.

Venue I struggled most to find
This has to be Sound Savers in Hackney. For the second time in about 18 months I looked for this invisible venue, completely baffled over where the hell it is. Ducking down pitch-black alleyways at the back of car-repair places and African restaurants in deepest, baddest Homerton, I was … nonplussed. I did eventually find it this year (thanks to cigarette glows from the outdoor smokers), which is an improvement on 2015 when I looked for a full hour before giving up. It might be only five minutes' walk from where I actually live, but … er, I doubt I'll ever find it again.

Gigs my partner refused to go to
I recently referred to my partner's peerless ability to turn down the opportunity to accompany me on exciting nights out watching music. She's a past master. This year there weren't in fact many additions to the Great Refusal canon (it's usually understood she's not coming), but there was at least her non-attendance at the Sean Henry/Box Fan/Flea Bite gig at the Silent Barn in Brooklyn. This seemed to happen because I got us lost walking back to our hotel in the Bowery in Manhattan. There you go: one wrong turn and it's … a long subway ride out on your own for the evening.

Best second-hand record purchased
I only buy second-hand stuff these days (in fact it's all I’ve bought music-wise since er, 1987) and not much of it at that, but I did buy a four-CD Cleaners From Venus compilation (one disc missing) from Crocodisc in Paris. I still haven't listened to most of it but I do like Follow The Plough (track four from Living With Victoria Grey). Also, I bought (amongst other things) a 12" of Grandmaster & Melle Mel's amazing White Lines from Bleecker Street Records in New York. Seems the shop has since closed down. There you go! I should have spent less time fussing over the resident cat and er, splashed out rather more than my pathetic eight dollars at the counter.
You want what, mate?
The Velvet Underground & Nico? Nah, we ain't got it. 

And that's it. Eight random things. I should really come up with another two (ten sounds so much more considered) but I can't be bothered. That’s how I feel about music as well sometimes. I'm really keen on it most of the time. Then at others I can't even be bothered to turn on the hi-fi. Weird, eh?

But mostly I'm ridiculously enthused by it. Here’s to 2017 and lots more random music for random people. Now stop reading, step over to the music player and put it on shuffle mode …

Saturday, 24 December 2016

More prisons, more police, Noise #10 (Dec 2016)

Christmas can be a difficult time for some people. Not everyone can cope with hearing repeated plays of Wham!'s Last Christmas or Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? I know I can't.

Some people can be pushed over the edge if they're subjected to even one more exposure to Jona Lewie's Send In The Cavalry. Yet shops, the television, pubs - they're pumping this stuff out with no thought for the consequences.

It's atrocious. There could be fatalities. And it'll all be the fault of that idiot who decided we needed more from The Ronettes' Christmas album or (gulp) yet another listen to Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas.

But - and thank the lord for this - there's help at hand. The new Niluccio noise compilation might just provide a lifeline. In any well-organised world, tracks by Genocide Pact or Chamber Of Torture would already be receiving heavy rotation in John Lewis at this time of year (cheering the shoppers as they head for the kitchen department, second floor, going down), but at least they're available here.

So, yeah, happy fucking Christmas, and here's to a new year with more prisons, more police ...


1: Atropello, No retroceder
2: Enslaved Chaos, Spiral youth
3: G.L.O.S.S., Out from the desk
4: Congential Haemorrhoids, Nulcear winter
5: Death Pedals, Leaving here
6: Surf Nazis On Ecstasy, Masturbation vacation
7: Of Feather And Bone, Disbelief in the absolute
8: Venkman, Square peg
9: Amorous Dialogues, Be reasonable
10: No Form, Goddess of fire
11: Actual word in question
12: Flipper, Shed no tears
13: Eyehategod, New Orleans is the new Vietnam
14: Genocide Pact, Agnogenesis
15: Dispossessed, Blood and oil
16: What are their capabilities?
17: Shin To Shin, Shin to shin
18: Factorymen, Phoning the factory
19: Guilty Parents, Heatsick
20: Larvae, Sellebrities
21: White Christian Disaster, Shredded clothes ... body exposed
22: More prisons, more police
23: Territory, Blowback
24: Pick Your Side, Not a thought to spare
25: Woolf, Last woman
26: Elvis Deluxe, Search and destroy
27: If this brain was destroyed
28: The Velvet Underground, The black angel's death song
29: Chamber Of Torture, Awoken during autopsy
30: Acid Eater, Road of ecstasy
31: Hookworms, Radio Tokyo
32: Thurston Moore, Detonation
33: Soda Boys, Burgers and fries

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

My 20 best gigs of 2016

If you thought the dead hand of Christmas was bad, wait until you get a load of this - Niluccio's infamous 20 best gigs of the year list (earlier incarnations can be found here, here, here, here, here and even here).

Yes! The Niluccio top 20 is full of those ear-splittingly loud gigs with lots of drunk pushy people who think nothing of treading on your feet and knocking your drink all over you. Or, in some cases, gigs where there's ... er, really no crowd to speak of at all, just a rather empty space across which you're faced with the tricky problem of not making too much eye contact with the musicians.

Nevertheless, you have to suffer for art. So read on ...

Fickle Twin/No Form: Studio With No Name, Nottingham, 5 February
Turn the dial to 11. Enjoyable wall-of-noise squealing 'n' moaning' from No Form whose best moments came when they went into dark chug-drone mode. The guitarist was particularly animated, engaged in some kind of fight-to-the-death battle with his instrument. Meanwhile, Fickle Twin's bass-heavy noise also sounded good. I especially liked the growly singer's ironically amused air and the bassist's broody boarding-school-aristo-on-drugs demeanour. More musings on this gig here.

No Form, no focus

Fruit Bomb: Old Blue Last, London, 19 February
A slightly odd outfit, with an energetic puddin'-bowl-haircut'd guitarist-singer who seemed to be wearing baggy-Manc clothing of a kind I haven't seen since my 87-90 Moss Side days. Switching from Black Tambourines-like beat stuff, to psych-garage, with Spectorish melodo-garage sounds in between, they were ... well, varied. Meanwhile the bass drum was decorated with some kind of defaced Pope Francis print. As I say, slightly odd.

Radical Boy: Sebright Arms, London, 25 February
They've got a fuzzbox and they're gonna use it. Fuzzed-up grunge from a very watchable two-piece. A skinny young bloke throwing himself about a bit on guitar, and a not-so-skinny young bloke on drums providing some rather groovy rhythms. From afar (ie at the bar) I didn't much like the vocals; closer up they were fine. Keening and emotional. Not dissimilar to early Let's Wrestle. Cool.

Radical Boy

Birdskulls: Victoria, London, 21 March
More grunge-y stuff from Birdskulls, who hoarse-voice rocked like it was 1993. There were some nice tempo and chord changes, and the singer wasn't afraid to switch to soft-and-melodic on occasion. All pretty enjoyable. During proceedings a little knot of blokes in the audience fired off various would-be witticisms, the best of which was "You’re too ambiguous!" A compliment, I'd say.

Dignan Porch: Victoria, London, 31 March
Understated but quietly winning stuff from Dignan Porch, whose reverbed-d vocals and chiming-guitars-and-keyboards built to some impressive mini-crescendos. Pretty varied too. At one stage I was hearing Big Star somewhere in the mix, later it was classic C86 indie. All in all, groovy.

Sean Henry: Silent Barn, New York, 10 April
A loud-solo-guitar-and-vocals thing from Sean Henry in front of a whopping audience of 15 (counting me). Some nice lyrics ("I hit my head/When I woke up everyone was dead") and singing that ranged from big-lunged-but-tuneful stuff to Lou Reed-like whimsy pop. He ended with a 45-second song about going to a funeral home "In a coffin shiny and black/And never coming back." It's where we're all headed.

The Hairs: Shea Stadium SK, New York, 12 April
In a warehouse-type place in some godforsaken industrial zone in Brooklyn, this was super-tuneful punk-pop featuring a drole singer with a Pete Shelley-esque camp air. Mostly mid-paced songs, it was almost conventional guitar-based pop-ery, but somehow considerably better than that sounds.

The Hairs, doling out drole 

Bad Breeding: Old Blue Last, London, 4 May
Punk reboot #2,843! With a Crass-like bilious disgust at the state of things, Bad Breeding er, mean it man. Shouty, gesticulating vocals across a deliberately lobotomised punk thrash. We got snippets of German radio broadcasts (or something) between bursts of noise, and all the while a sign on stage read "Their Kind Of Freedom". The singer/ranter-in-chief also specialised in malevolent middle-distance stares, which added to the drama. Fun stuff.

Bad Breeding: their kind of freedom

Cold Boys: Victoria, London, 12 May
Groovy sounds from a band that were distinctly poppy but never bland. Hints of The Pastels or some such, these chilled males were at times daringly slow and/or downbeat for a band playing live (reminiscent of Kelman, I thought). Probably doomed to be overlooked, but ... er, not by me.

Shark Dentist: Windmill, London, 31 May
I'd either already seen these about five times or this was my first time (damned if I can remember). An enjoyably grunge-y rock band with the usual Dinosaur Jnr-esque strained melodies all present and correct. The addition of some electronic bleeps 'n' stuff from the guitarist's effects pedals was a nice touch, while I also liked some of their slower songs, especially one that featured an excellent grinding riff reminiscent of The Fall.

Nachthexen/Pale Kids/Dirty Girl: Audacious Art Experiment, Sheffield, 24 June
Super-intimate lyrics ("Not sure I want you to put it in ... it's my first time"), vacant-eyed defiance from a singer working an early Sinead O'Connor look, and a mix of shouty punk and harmonies - Dirty Girl were cool. Meanwhile, Pale Kids also hit the spot - infectious walls of Undertones-y melodo-punk for the post-millennial generation. I particularly liked the lyric "I'm crossing you off my prayer list". Finally, Nachthexen's Good Throb-like abrasiveness also er, scratched my itch.

Pale Kids in their Sheffield safe space

Kim Check, Kim Eun & drummer: Mu, Seoul, 23 July
Pretty intense vocal-less improv jazz-blues stuff, inflected with Afro sounds in places and played in two longish chunks with an intermission. Excellent throughout and played to an audience of exactly nine people. Impressively (though typical for hyper-efficient Seoul), Mr Kim introduced the music in both Korean and English, the latter apparently just for the benefit of me and my gig companion.

Hexis: Unicorn, London, 5 August
This gig will forever be seared into my memory because of the insanely over-powerful white lights with which Hexis assaulted the audience. We'd get a full-on barrage of grindcore power chords, furious drumming and snarled vocals, and then ... BLAM! 500-watt silver-white lights. I spent most of the gig looking at my shoes (shoegaze!). Other people around me were soaking it all in, wide-eyed and happy. Not sure how. Maybe they're all blind now ...

BiT: Windmill, London, 20 September 
Pleasantly grinding sludge stuff from a band wearing Halloween fright masks and dresses. I enjoyed the grunge-y vocals, more effective here than with plenty of other bands in this genre. I think BiT's way of varying the overall sonic intensity also payed off. And some pretty er, enthusiastic off-on lighting from the resident sound man also added to the overall effect.

Nightmare on BiT street

Isabelle: Pop In, Paris, 6 October
Featuring a low-key opening par excellence (the performance was already underway by several minutes before I actually cottoned on to it), Isabelle turned out to be one person (a man) operating a laptop and various effects units behind a semi-transparent curtain onto which a loop of images and a Super 8-style film was projected. The music: decaying chords, vocal fragments, hesitant beats occasionally marshalled into something almost propulsive. Enigmatic.

Bearfoot Beware: Old Blue Last, London, 23 October
Enjoyable math-noise band from Leeds, who featured a very energetic bass player (hopping from one foot to another) and a drummer who - a rare sight in this genre - felt able to do "jazzy" things like playing the rim of his snare and even use brushes at one point.

Ravioli Me Away/Chips For The Poor: Two Queens, Leicester, 5 November
A multimedia extravaganza! Well, if bands playing in front of a large video screen showing interesting loops (young couple and buggy in a park; oddball B&W close-ups of farmyard animals) counts as such. Plus: some theatre-type stuff with Chips For The Poor ranter-cum-singer doubling as a pompous Proms-style compere. The music? Both bands churned out a tunnel of drone-like sounds, the first bass-and-keyboard, the second bass-and-guitar. I especially enjoyed CFTP's VU-like rhythm guitar. Excellent stuff.

Chickens and Chips in Leicester

Schande: Sound Savers, London, 9 December
Sonic Youth-stylee in places, surging guitar/bass/drums songs from an understated band in an extremely small venue - probably one of the very smallest I've ever been in (and I’ve been in some pretty tiny ones). I could't quite pin down the guitar style: it was sometimes quite rhythmic and clangy, at others fast, scratchy and involving long fret scrapes. Kinda good. The cool (as in unemotional) vocals worked nicely as well.

Mush: Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 15 December
Intricate yet sometimes pretty furious guitar playing reminding me a little of Television from a band featuring two rather big-haired types who could have come from the Strokes. The main singer also had a nice line in snotty yelps and burbled semi-spoken stuff. Their generally long songs were good enough that they never really felt long. All in all, I was Mush taken with them. Ahem.

Mush examining their guitars

Goat Girl/Revenue: Windmill, London, 19 December
Spindly guitar chords and some grinding Fall-style bass lines, the four goat girls churned out some very pleasing jerky rhythms topped by often interesting singing. I heard them soundchecking for an eternity (longer than they actually played), and seems to me the vocals sometimes savoured of old English folk songs. Meanwhile, Revenue were also good, with a singer who seems to have borrowed his bandy-legged stage moves from the No Form singer (or is it the other way round?), while doing some shouty stuff over a neo-hardcore racket. Watchable.

Revenue's skinhead moonstomp

That's it. So what's my absolute favourite gig from 2016? It’s that one I dreamt I was at the other night. In fact, it turns out I was in the band but didn't actually know how to play the songs or what to sing. I could feel panic creeping up on me. Oh no, what can I do? We’re about to start. Aggggghhhh. And then I woke up ...

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The loneliness of the long-distance gig-goer

"So you go, and you stand on your own / And you leave on your own / And you go home, and you cry / And you want to die". Oh, poor lonely Morrissey, standing all alone at the nightclub. Looking down at his half of shandy as a lovely youth passes by on the stairs. Their eyes destined never to meet. The shame of it. The sheer heart-rending emptiness. The desperate, grinding sadness. Also ... the excellent opportunities for song-writing ...

But no, Morrissey's self-aggrandising melodramatics aren't really my topic here (an excellent one though it is). The going out on your own part, though, is. Specifically, going to gigs alone. Unless you happen to have a couple of especially like-minded - or pliable - friends always on tap, being prepared to go to gigs unaccompanied becomes an ever-increasing necessity if you're halfway serious about seeing a few bands.

Think that's a bit odd? Too anti-social? I suspect some people do. It's not exactly the talked-about thing to do, is it? The first gigs I can recall going to on my own were in my long-distant Manchester days, back in the first half of the 90s. Having done the usual gigs-with-friends thing during an earlier undergrad phase (late 80s), here I was stranded with a girlfriend who didn't care about the music I liked. What to do? Er, well I just had to face it: if I wanted to go to any live music I had to screw up my puny stock of 20-something courage and go to see bloody Billy Bragg or Half Man Half Biscuit. And do it on my own. It didn't come naturally though.

Now I think about, I may have gone to my first-ever solo gig in 1988 or 1989: Spacemen 3 at the Hacienda (of all places). This was to do a review - my first and last - for the student newspaper. It was "an assignment", though, so I had an excuse for being on my own.

Anyway, fascinating though I'm sure all this is to my many readers ("tell us about your earlier days, Niluccio" is one of the things people are always saying in their comments on this blog), what I'm getting at is the necessity of doing things alone if you want to do anything any good. Especially with gigs.

So forget the cosy trappings of the "gig mate", the person you think will be up for that gig on a Monday night. They won't. Or won't for many Mondays. And don't reach for the safety net of dragging your partner along. This won't work and will likely destroy what little affection the two of you have for each other. My own long-suffering partner (not the same one!) started her gig refusals with the Buff Medways in about 2002 and hasn't looked back since. The Great Decliner has turned down some of the most memorable gigs from arguably the best bands of the last 15 years. And I'd be a fool to ask her to go to any gigs these days (though I do occasionally - maybe it's for old time's sake).

No, you're on your own with all this. Which can be easier said than done. The places you've been to before are relatively easy. You know the ropes - just get down there, buy your miserable half of lager and stand around looking at your phone trying not to look overly-pathetic. New places are a bit more difficult. The slightly daunting business of trying to find somewhere and then make a go of it in unfamiliar surroundings: this might be the difference between going out or staying at home (so much easier after all).

So you just to have to brave it, heroically ignoring the possibility that other people at the gig may assume you're a friendless (gasp) "weirdo". Given that almost everyone who attends gigs is utterly oblivious to everything except their own precious concerns (next beer, where their friends are, overloud gossip-cum-banter) there's actually not much chance of that. And, if that is someone's attitude you rather think they shouldn't really be at a small gig in east London anyway (wouldn't they be more at home in some godawful VIP lounge of an "exclusive" bar somewhere?)

Naturally solo gig attendance presupposes you've absorbed a key gig-going rule I blogged about a few years ago: that you must NEVER chat to the bands. Observe this and you won't be trapped at gigs having to make conversation with a bass player with whom you have absolutely nothing in common (or not going to the gig in the first place for fear of this happening).

Solo gigs, solo films. The first film at the cinema I saw alone was François Truffaut's Les Quatre Cents Coups. This film's amazing atmosphere has never left me partly because I saw it one afternoon in an almost-completely-empty cinema. OK, it's easier in a dark cinema auditorium than in a lively bar or a basement club, but the principle's the same. If it's worth seeing it's worth seeing alone. And if you see it alone it will probably have a bigger impact anyway.



Like Tom Courtenay in his great borstal breakout film, you've got to endure the pain and loneliness that goes with it if you're a long-distance gig-goer. Anyway, if you see me standing around on my own at a gig any time in the future, don't say hello ...

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

For me to come home, Podcast #136 (Nov 2016)

Warning! Listening to this podcast could blow your arms clean out of their sockets. You'll never be the same again, you big dummy.

And then what will you do? It'll be all over. Time for us to depart. Time for me to come home ...


1: Twin Realities Dreamers, One miracle of life
2: Ignantz, My children
3: Battle with rebels
4: Siege, Dispossessed
5: почему коммутатор молчит, почему коммутатор молчит
6: Thee Mighty Caesars, Baby who mutilated everybody’s heart
7: Wild Worm Web, Black power to the people
8: Atropello, Porque conforma rnos contan poco?
9:  Playing In Tongues, Angeline the baker
10: A-Grav Lab, U and I
11: TOLE, DogBagDisorder
12: News providers will do it
13: Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons, Why do you hate me
14: Ensemble Cypriote De Musique Ancienne, Sarakinos: le dit du sarassin (extract)
15: Chamber Of Torture, Incarcerated
16: Robsongs, Persephone
17: Circus Marcus, Les accouplements répétitifs
18: The Dynamic Four, Let’s make love
19: Starless & Bible Black, Your majesty man
20: Half Cocked, Hitler’s cock
21: For me to come home
22: Lobo Loco, Goodbye Jonny
23: Sparkle Blood, Denim convention
24: Grievous Angel, All girlz

Friday, 2 December 2016

A Stooges dog is for life

"I don't want to be in the glam crowd. I don't want to be in the hip hop crowd. I don't want to be with the TV people. I don’t want to be a punk. I just want to be ...".

No, surely Iggy - you wanna be our dog. Iggy Pop, aka James Osterberg (aka everyone's favourite peanut butter-smeared real-wild rock-child) has the final word in Jim Jarmusch's new Stooges film Gimme Danger. And he just wants to be.

But he also wants to talk and talk (something he also apparently does at length for Jeff Gold's new Iggy photo-book). The loquacious Ig is everywhere all of a sudden.

Anyway, numerous segments from several long interviews are the backbone of Jarmusch's film. Mr Pop - seemingly relaxed, picking his bare feet and lip-curling into frequent leather-faced smiles - is, I must admit, a very likeable narrator of his own adventures in rock music. He never appears rock-star arrogant and seems quietly relaxed about his achievements. He's also articulate, self-aware and knowledgeable about music. All hail Iggy Pop.

But hang on a minute! What am I going on about here? Why's the old fool Niluccio rabbiting on about a Jim Jarmusch film in the first place? Good question. First, I'll admit I long ago gave up on Jarmusch's films, having liked the early stuff (Down By Law, Strangers In Paradise) but disliked his later works. (In something approaching Jarmusch overkill, by the way, the cinema where I saw Gimme Danger is also showing his rather corny-looking new film, Paterson). And, anyway, as I said about a film on Nirvana last year, going to the cinema to see concert footage and people talking about a bunch of musicians isn't necessarily my idea of an overly-thrilling experience in the first place. But ... OK, it can work. Brett Morgen's film about the Stooges-influenced Nirvana proved me wrong and - by and large - so does Jarmusch's little piece of music cinema. So yeah, I'm seeing this one through ...

Essentially, Gimme Danger is a conventional biography of a band. It traces the Stooges' Ann Arbor origins, tells us how they got together, who knew who, how the musical influences percolated into the mix and how they started to gain momentum. It sort of peaks with Iggy dementedly prancing about onstage or throwing himself into the audience, while the entire band are falling apart through over-indulgence in drink and drugs, as well as a lack of record company support.

Some of it looks like fun but probably wasn't. (Maybe not no fun, but certainly a period involving more than its fair share of disappointments, problems and outright disasters). One of the interesting things about Gimme Danger is how tragedy and sadness hover over it. When a fragile, stoned-looking Scott Asheton recalls Dave Alexander's death (aged 27) from drinking-related pneumonia, Asheton's startlingly blue eyes look like they're about to cry. Similarly, the super-phlegmatic Iggy appears momentarily moved as he recalls the band's "reunification" in 2003. At the end of the film there's a roll call of the fallen: Alexander, the two Asheton brothers, James Williamson. Iggy Pop, the great survivor, is the only one left. Never mind the three stooges, we're down to one. A member of the band comments on the Stooges" "decay" through heroin use during 1972-3. In this film, decline and death are always lurking.

Still, there's Iggy. The great iguana himself. Sun-baked, intelligent, amused, drawling away in his Michigan baritone. He's surprisingly interesting on music itself. He mentions learning about the blues first-hand in Chicago, about appreciating the value of "space" from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, absorbing stuff on drones from the Velvet Underground, and wanting to replicate the MC5's energy and showmanship. He was a fan of things like Sun Ra and reckons the Stooges' ten-minute We Will Fall showed they were a band "on a different path" to a lot of the other late-60s R'n'B-fuelled rock outfits. Meanwhile, with Raw Power, he says he had to take his voice a whole octave higher because Williamson's omnipresent guitar had completely captured that frequency range, which, when you listen again, is exactly right. My first proper exposure to Iggy Pop was the (excellent) Zombie Birdhouse LP, where he's virtually crooning. The whine of Raw Power was a shock when I first heard it.

What else is there to say about Gimme Danger? Actually, a lot but ... I'll try to spare you. On top of some pretty good live footage, Jarmusch throws in lots of film and TV clips for texture and ironic effect. There's maybe a bit too much kitsch television stuff, but mostly it works. Plus there are dozens of very evocative photos of the band in their 20s. And he also works in some nice animations of the band as gangly teens. It's quite a dense mix, and culminates in a rapid-fire sequence near the end where footage and images flash onto the screen as I Wanna Be Your Dog is pounding away. (A sequence where we hear Dog's intro playing over a nightime cityscape, by the way, is possibly the single most powerful moment in the film).


Two final quotes to bring this riveting blog to an end. One from their champion at Elektra Records, Danny Fields, which is him quoting what the record company boss Jac Holzman said after watching the band play the Raw Power demos: "I didn’t hear anything". In other words, he wasn't impressed and the band were summarily dropped. Fields, a true believer in the Stooges, is still incredulous to this day.

The second quote: from Iggy himself. In the Asheton brothers, he says, "I found primeval man". Their drums and guitar/bass fired and energised the Stooges. And he did the same for them. He mentions that when he went into a "monkey" crouch on stage the brothers stepped up a gear in their playing, feeding off his own out-there behaviour. Iggy Pop, eloquent, self-assured and worldly, understands that the Ashetons' almost thuggish qualities (monosyllabic, Nazi memorabilia-wearing) were his perfect complement.

Hmm. I haven't really spared you, have I? I'm still droning on. Iggy Pop probably wouldn't approve. He mentions developing a lyric-writing approach based on using no more than 25 words in a song (rather snidely contrasting it with Bob Dylan's garrulousness).

He also says that Andy Warhol once suggested he should just "read out the newspaper" instead of writing lyrics. Good idea! Let's see - right, the classified ads section. "Wanted: individual willing to be my personal pet". Ah, I know the very person. Someone who could even be their dog ...