Grumpy Old Man
James Iha - Look To The Sky
didn't know this was a Pumpkins guy before the listen
I like it like that
in fact I would prefer to listen to a new album not even knowing who it is
that includes even artists I know
no pre conceived opinion
anyway, this album sucks, but the clips not bad
1.2 from me and a converted 2.4 from the pros at allmusic
from the album - To Who Knows Where
released Sept 18th, 2012
Bio - from allmusic
Throughout their existence, the main focal point of the Smashing Pumpkins was undoubtedly singer/guitarist Billy
Corgan -- due to the fact that he was the group's main songwriter, as well as his penchant for colorful quotes in
interviews. But of course, there were other members of the band, and behind Corgan, the one who contributed the most
in the songwriting department was guitarist/co-founding member James Iha.
Born James Yoshinobu Iha in Chicago, Illinois, on March 26, 1968, he found himself playing in several obscure local
bands during the late '80s (including such names as the Feds and Snake Train), before meeting Corgan through a
mutual friend in 1988. Playing its first few shows without the aid of drummer (a drum machine kept the rhythm), the
duo eventually formed the Smashing Pumpkins, with D'Arcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlin filling the bass and drum
slots, respectively. Melding together psychedelia, alt-rock, and heavy metal, the group had a sound and look
(thrift-store clothing) that was completely different from its competition at the time.
The band eventually signed on with the indie label Caroline and issued its debut full-length, Gish, in 1991, which
included the Corgan/Iha co-penned highlight "I Am One." Touring alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam,
the Pumpkins were poised for a breakthrough with their next album, but inner-band turmoil almost split the band up.
Despite the fact that Corgan supposedly played nearly all the instruments on 1993's Siamese Dream, the album
catapulted the group to the top of the charts, and once more, Iha had co-penned some of the album's best tracks
along with Corgan -- "Soma," "Mayonaise," and "Spaceboy" -- in addition to singing lead on a European B-side, "Blew
Away" (the first song completely penned by Iha to appear on a Pumpkins release). Up next for Iha and his bandmates
was a bombastic double album, 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which made the band one of the biggest
rock acts on the planet, and included another tune sung and penned entirely by Iha, "Take Me Down." Iha and bandmate
D'Arcy formed their own record label the following year, Scratchie Records, which over the years issued recordings
by the likes of the Frogs, Fountains of Wayne, and the Sounds, among others.
In 1998, Iha found the time to issue his debut solo album, Let It Come Down. Somewhat of a departure from the alt-
rock of the Smashing Pumpkins, the album revealed Iha to be a fan of '60s-influenced melodic folk-rock and '70s soft
rock. Although it did not make a huge impact commercially, with its sweet romanticism and sunny melodies Let It Come
Down developed a cult following over the years and established the aesthetic direction for much of the work Iha
would involve himself in outside of the Pumpkins.
After releasing 1998's Adore and 2000's MACHINA/The Machines of God, the Pumpkins called it a day with Corgan and
the original members going their separate ways. (Corgan eventually re-formed the Pumpkins with Chamberlin and a new
lineup in 2005.) Subsequently, Iha kept a low profile, but appeared on albums by Brookville, Fountains of Wayne, the
Sounds, Whiskeytown, and in 2003, toured as a member for Maynard James Keenan's A Perfect Circle (however, he did
not play on the album they were supporting, Thirteenth Step).
In 2009, Iha, along with Hanson's Taylor Hanson, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, and Cheap Trick's Bun E.
Carlos, recorded and toured as the supergroup Tinted Windows. The band's debut album featured a melodic power pop
sound that fit well with Iha's long-avowed love of '60s and '70s guitar pop.
Finally, in 2012, Iha returned to his own work with his second solo album, Look to the Sky. Although Iha's singing
and songwriting were the album's focal point, Look to the Sky did feature a handful guest musicians, including
Schlesinger, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, and the Cardigans' Nina Persson, among others.
Album Review - from allmusic
James Iha's 2012 album Look to the Sky is the former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist's long-awaited follow-up to his
1998 debut, Let It Come Down. On his previous effort, Iha revealed a passion for '60s-influenced melodic folk and
'70s-sounding soft rock. While those aural touchstones are still the core of Iha's solo work, here he delves into
some light electronic flourishes that add a kind of low-key take on '80s new wave and goth. In that sense, Look to
the Sky has a bit more in common with his work with the Pumpkins, and feels like he is finally owning his legacy as
a '90s alt-rock pioneer. Iha himself has long championed his idols, even working with his soft rock forebears
America on their 2007 comeback album, Here & Now. On Look to the Sky, Iha's songwriting celebrates an earnest,
heart-on-his-sleeve quality, which is bolstered through appearances by other, similarly inclined artists, as
musicians like Tinted Windows bandmate Adam Schlesinger, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, and the Cardigans' Nina
Persson add their talents to the album's late-afternoon, introspective vibe. To these ends, tracks like the
plaintive "To Who Knows Where" and buoyantly melancholy "Summer Days" mix sparkling electric guitar riffs with soft
-focus synth lines that bring to mind Wish-era Cure. Elsewhere, Iha keeps things melodic and personal, with tracks
like the leadoff "Make Believe" and the languidly cinematic "A String of Words" drawing upon the more dreamy side of
the Velvet Underground. With Iha's sweet and gentle vocal style set against tiny little bells, arpeggiated guitar,
and percolating synthesizer, many of the songs here sound something like murmured lullabies sung in wistful
recollection of long-lost teenage loves. Ultimately, if Let It Come Down was Iha's sun-dappled West Coast folk-rock
break from the creative turmoil and personal squabbles of the Pumpkins, then Look to the Sky is his more austere, if
no less captivating, look back from the sun and toward the dark moon of his alt-rock '90s past.
1. Make Believe
2. To Who Knows Where
4. Speed Of Love
5. Till Next Tuseday
6. Summer Days
8. Dream Tonight
9. New Years Day
11. A String Of Words
12. 4th Of July
13. Dark Star