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November 5, 2016 / bloggenstatt

I is for Iggy Pop, the Isley Brothers and Islands. I is not for I Break Horses.

It took several minutes of searching through the back end of this website to figure out what letter this project had stalled out on. When I saw it was I, there was an audible, “Blech”.There’s less than a dozen bands whose names start with I on my iPod, and most of them are not particularly great.

Still, I was able to identify two all-time great I acts and one rock solid contemporary band.

Since the last entry in this series, I’ve substantially re-jiggered the site’s format. Despite the bold new look, expect the same average content.

Iggy Pop

With The Stooges, the man born Jim Osterberg Jr. was the front man on a pair of absolute classics: the seminal Raw Power and the savagely unhinged Fun House.

As a solo act, his record was more spotty, and he was always better with some type of counter balance. His David Bowie collaborations, Lust for Life and The Idiot are both Hall of Very Good albums and contain some absolutely classic songs.

A Million in Prizes: The Anthology is maybe the best way to suss through Pop’s later solo work. I wouldn’t describe any of the albums as essential, but there’s always a worthwhile song or two.

Pop has had surprising longevity for a self-mutilating former heroin addict, and the relatively recently released Post Pop Depression, a collaboration with desert rock guru Josh Homme, is not only good, it’s very interesting.

The Isley Brothers

The Isley Brothers are a little bit out of my wheelhouse, which definitely skews toward rockist or contemporary hip-hop, but I’ve always loved them.

I mean, they wrote “Shout”. That’s probably a strong enough justification for including them in this entry, but that’s far from their only classic song.

“That Lady”, “It’s Your Thing”, “Pop That Thang” and their version of “Twist and Shout” are all instantly recognizable.

One of the remarkable things about The Isley Brothers is the variety in their music. There’s strands of R&B, funk, soul and rock in their oeuvre.

By virtue of the Isleys’ Jim Hendrix connection and the guitar heroics of Ernie Isely, they’re an excellent stepping stone from classic rock to soul, funk and R&B.

I specifically remember being a child and hearing the extended version of “That Lady” on the radio, and immediately asking my father, “Who was that!?” To this day, I still absolutely adore the funky pop R& B song-space guitar shredding combination.


While this band primarily makes the cut because there’s a dearth of quality I bands, it’s a forced choice I can get behind.

I love Islands.Nicholas Thorburn and Co. make interesting, well-crafted, slightly weird indie rock and there’s always a place close to my heart reserved for such efforts.

This band rose from the ashes of The Unicorns, but managed and continue to be great in a way that entirely escapes the shadows of Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?

And they did it right out of the gate.

Return to The Sea, their 2006 debut, is Islands’ most evered album and probably their most essential. It’s critical darling bona fides were definitely boosted by featured collaborations with members of Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade, but it deserves its reputation.

There was a middling stretch of good but not awe-inspiring releases, but I’ve been really on board with their recent work.

Both of the band’s 2016 albums are thoroughly enjoyable. Taste showed off a previously hinted at range encompassing electronic-tinged music, but of course I much preferred the rock-oriented Should I Remain Here, at Sea? 

“Back to It” might be my favorite side-one track-one of 2016. It’s perfect guitar pop and perfectly encapsulates how good this band is at it’s best.

I Break Horses

Not having many I bands on my iPod meant there weren’t many bad ones to choose from. It was either this or It Hugs Back.

They’re really not bad, just kind of boring for me. I think I got a hold of their album Hearts around the same time Dale Eernhardt Jr. Jr. was still a buzz band on the rise.

For what it’s worth, the infallible MetaCritic shows I Break Horses have a career score of 71 over a two-album career, so I’m probably wrong.


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