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James is a guest editor for this week. Read his first two blurbs about pop songs and Christopher Hitchens.
by Hobart Rowland

For power-pop junkies, Tinted Windows' self-titled debut (on S-Curve) ought to feel like the smack addict's equivalent to China white. Gleefully combustible, intellectually uncomplicated and catchier than anything from Disney's adenoidal teen-pop brigade, its 37-minute insulin rush is perpetrated by a (sort of) supergroup whose multi-generational pedigree is less odd than it is oddly appealing. Tinted Windows' initial inspiration came from Fountain Of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, who, since befriending middle Hanson brother Taylor a ways back, had always wondered how his pal's malleable man-boy vocals would stand up to a withering wall of guitars. Smashing Pumpkins alum James Iha was happy to supply the latter, while Schlesinger strapped on the bass. They also managed to collar 57-year-old Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, whose inspired time-keeping on Tinted Windows indicates he may just be savoring this ramped-up nostalgia trip more than anyone else. So, with a frontman as disarmingly swell as the 26-year-old Hanson and a set of songs as driving and cohesive as anything on Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight, are Tinted Windows in this for the long haul? MAGNET asks Iha, who grapples with this and other questions through the congested haze of a nasty head cold.

MAGNET: My daughter loves the album; she's six years old. I love it, too, by the way.
James Iha: All right, so we're done then. Great album. [Laughs]

When talking about Tinted Windows, you've cited punk influences like the Buzzcocks, and yet the album is pretty refined.
Initially, we were more on the punk side of power pop-not that I'd call this album punk. We wanted to do our own version of power pop-no keyboards, no three-part harmonies ... We wanted it to be fun, but we definitely took the writing seriously.

Did you all pitch in on the writing?
Adam, Taylor and I wrote songs separately and brought them in. Adam and Taylor wrote one song together ("Take Me Back"). We had demos, and we bashed them out, with Taylor trying to find the right key. We all wanted to hear Taylor with the loud guitars while keeping everything pop. That served as kind of a template for what we wrote.

Well, the experiment worked. Taylor's vocals sound great with the guitars.
Definitely. More than any of us, this is Taylor's album.

Obviously, you had to scale back the more experimental side of your playing.
Yeah, with the Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle, I used a lot of effects for a hard-rock sound. But changing wasn't that hard. It was like, "How do we respect the song?"

Bun E.'s drumming sounds revitalized on this album. How's it been having him back there?
It's an honor. He definitely has ideas about what he does and doesn't like. We had him for two days; he just bashed through the whole record.

Were you surprised that he agreed to do it?
We talked about different drummers, and one of our reference points was always someone who played like Bun E. Carlos. After a while, we were like, "Let's just call him." His response was simple: "Send me the tape." He heard it, and he was into it.

How difficult has it been to corral everyone for the upcoming tour dates?
It's sort of like a four-headed hydra. Cheap Trick is opening up for Def Leppard on tour; Hanson is making a record; and Fountains is making a record and doing one-off shows-but it's cool. As long as we can get Bun E. and Taylor in one place, it's great. We had just two or three rehearsals for South By Southwest. It's been a little fast and loose, but it's been good so far.

Will there be a second Tinted Windows album?
We're already talking about that. I don't see why not.

As for this album, have you thought about targeting the teen market?
[Laughs] I'll bring it up with the label, but I don't think we're going to threaten t

In the years since he walked offstage at Metro on Dec. 2, 2000, at the end of what was billed as the Smashing Pumpkins' final show, Chicago-born guitarist James Iha has guested with other bands, including A Perfect Circle and the Blank Theory; co-owned an independent label, Scratchie Records, with Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, and tinkered with the long-awaited followup to his first solo album, "Let It Come Down" (1998).

Recently, on the same night former bandmate Billy Corgan announced the Smashing Pumpkins were down to one original member after the departure of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Iha returned to the spotlight for a high-profile gig at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference with his new band, the power-pop supergroup Tinted Windows, a collaboration with Schlesinger, Hanson member Taylor Hanson and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos that recently unleashed a delightful sugar buzz with its self-titled debut album.

I caught up with Iha as he prepared to bring Tinted Windows to Chicago next week.

Q: James, let's start with your version of how this unlikely band came together.

James Iha: Well, Adam [Schlesinger] and I are friends, and we have these various businesses together. We have our recording studio in Chelsea and we had the label together [Scratchie], but we lost the backing from New Line because everyone got fired there. I was talking to him one day and he was friends with Taylor Hanson; they've been friends since Fountains of Wayne's and Hanson's first records came out and the guy who signed Tinted Windows told Adam in the '90s, "You should write with these kids from Oklahoma."

We came up with this idea of Adam and Taylor singing over loud guitars and doing a power-pop record, trying to keep it down and dirty -- no keyboards, no three-part harmonies, with references like the Buzzcocks, the Knack and the Ramones -- just all things fun and loud. So the three of us all wrote songs that fit that concept. Then we figured, "Well, we have to get a drummer." We had a couple of ideas [and] one of the references I said was, "He has to play like Bun E. Carlos!" Then we went, "Hey, let's call Bun E. Carlos! All he can do is say no." We sent him the demos and he went, "I'm into it!" He came to New York and rocked like no one's business and we did the record in two days.

Q: So the first time you four played together was when you were making the record?

JI: Most of it was Adam and I or Taylor and Adam and I; Bun E. and Taylor actually didn't meet until we started rehearsing. [Laughs] It was a scheduling nightmare for a while. We didn't actually become a band until we started rehearsing to play live.

Q: The record doesn't have that feel; there's this this wonderful, spontaneous "We're playing in the basement!" kind of vibe.

JI: Cool! It's not a hard thing to do, but it is hard to make it good when you're trying to keep it from being overproduced or layering too many guitars -- just trying to keep the fun and the spontaneity without belaboring it.

Q: It's been almost 11 years since "Let It Come Down," and a lot of fans have been wondering, "When is James going to do another solo album and tour?"

JI: [Laughs] I have been working on my solo record for the last year and a half. For a while, I just kept writing the same kind of songs, and I wanted to progress. I guess just being in a band for 12 years ... I wanted to do different things, and it seemed like when you do a solo record, you are really putting yourself out there. It always has been easier for me to work on other people's music, so I have just been producing, writing and playing on other people's records. It is only in recent years where I felt like I should do another solo record, and now I am halfway through it.

Q: Do you see Tinted Windows continuing beyond the initial tour supporting this album?

JI: Yeah! I think in some ways it is such a new thing ... it was more a concept than an actual band
A few important dates for any burgeoning Tinted Windows fan:

April 21 - Late Show with David Letterman (CBS)
April 23 - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
1 comment
The folks at would like to wish James Iha a happy 41st birthday today. James Iha: Still rocking. ;)
The bloggers are out in force, Iha fans. The general reaction to Tinted Windows at SXSW is positive. Check it out: -- Some nice live shots here. 1 & 2

Village Voice blog -- Meet Tinted Windows Art Beats Blog -- Looking At Tinted Windows -- Of Headbangers and Hanson -- SXSW 2009 Reflections

Some pics @

Also check out youtube user mmmbop911 for some interviews with the band.
Check out James playing at the first Tinted Windows show on March 18 at the Cains Ballroom in Tulsa, OK!

Videos are here. Pictures are posted at the band's Twitter page and the forums.
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, Hanson's Taylor Hanson and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger have formed a new band, Tinted Windows.

The group has recorded its debut album at Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York, which Schlesinger and Iha co-own with Ivy's Andy Chase. A spring release is planned, on a label to be announced.
(Nettwerk) A Camp announce the release of their long awaited sophomore album and US debut Colonia, out April, 28th 2009 on Nettwerk.
Originally formed as a Swedish musical duo by The Cardigans front woman/lyricist Nina Persson and Atomic Swing musician Niclas Frisk, A Camp has since evolved into a trio with the addition of American film composer, Shudder to Think member, and Nina's husband, Nathan Larson. As the title Colonia suggests, the new album is a journey through a myriad of themes, events and ideas which have been prevalent throughout history and remain true today.

Colonia is the follow-up to A Camp's 2001 self-titled debut that was produced by indie superhero Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and earned them 4 Swedish Grammies. Linkous returns to the A Camp fold for Colonia to add some slide guitar touches.

The album, which features 12 new songs, was recorded in five different New York studios, including Stratosphere Sound, The Magic Shop, Mission Sound, LoHo and Nathan's own studio Metal garage, as well as Tambourine Studios in Malmo, Sweden. It was here that they recorded the entrancing duet between Nina and fellow Swede, Nicolai Dunger on "Golden Teeth and Silver Medals." The new album also features guest appearances by James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) on guitar as well as Kevin March (Dambuilders, Guided By Voices) on drums and Joan Wasser (Joan as Policewoman) on viola and violin - who also appeared on A Camp's debut. In addition, Colonia was mixed by Al Weatherhead (Sparklehorse, The Comas, Jennifer O'Connor) a! t Firehouse Studios in New Haven, CT.

A Camp's journey began many years ago at a different time and place. Now, they are continuing on the journey with the release of Colonia. It is an album that features an intricate amalgamation of strings, lighthearted pop and delicate melodies that are seamlessly blended with the sounds and electricity that are at the very heart of the urban places which the members have grown up and developed within.
Marilyn Manson, who reunited with original bassist Jeordie 'Twiggy Ramirez' White in January, has been busy working on new material.

The singer, who is clearly reeling after the commercial and critical failure that was 2007's Eat Me, Drink Me, says tracks for his eponymous band's seventh studio album are "very ruthless, very heavy, and very violent."

The Double M has also revealed that Slayer guitar god Kerry King and The Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha will be making guest appearances on the record.

The as yet untitled album is scheduled for a winter 2008 release.
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