Iggy Pop has debuted a new band and a new album at the South by Southwest music conference with a brace of songs that he's framing as something of a farewell.
Pop rocks and shocks on Post Pop Depression, which he previewed at SXSW, evoking his 1977 peak achieved with David Bowie but enhanced by all he's gone through since.
In Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, Pop has found a congenial songwriting partner and producer, the mature pupil who grasps both the power and subtlety of the master.
QOTSA's Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders skillfully complete the band.There are recurring shades of Bowie - credited by Pop with rescuing not only his post-Stooges career but his life - in various riffs and sonic details, but they are not empty homages.
Pop was there (Berlin) and did that (co-writing and recording his best albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, with Bowie).
The nine-track Post Pop Depression, his 17th solo studio album, also has some of Pop's best lyrics.
Chocolate Drops has unique insights about being in the pits: "When your love of life is an empty beach, don't cry, when your enemy has you in his reach, don't die."
On American Valhalla, Pop tackles mortality - "I have no plans, I have no debts ... I've nothing but my name" - and sees a chance that his life's work will get him in.
Closing track Paraguay starts idyllically, with intentions of living in "a compound under the trees, with servants and bodyguards who love me," but ends as ornery as Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, letting you know exactly how he feels about you and your "evil and poisonous intentions."
In the end, if this is really his last album, Pop goes out on top and just like he came in all those years ago - ranting, raving, misbehaving and throwing it back in our faces with a cantankerous grin.
Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista/Concord) is out now.