Although you might know James Iha best from his guitar work as a founding member of Smashing Pumpkins, the songwriter has had plenty on his plate since leaving the band in 2000. Aside from opening his own studio in New York, Iha’s played with A Perfect Circle, Whiskeytown, Isobel Campbell and Fountains of Wayne. He’s also played with Tinted Windows, a group made up of Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, Hanson’s Taylor Hanson and Cheap Trick’s Bun. E. Carlos.
And now Iha’s back with his own album, a follow-up to 1998’s Let it Come Down. Although the last album was deeply rooted in acoustic music, Iha said he wanted to shift the sounds on Look to the Sky to fully showcase his wide musical talents, and it shows from the spread of instruments used on Look to the Sky, which sees Iha playing guitar, bass, piano, synth, ukulele and glockenspiel. The album was recorded over five years at his Stratosphere Sound studio.
“When I first started writing, I felt like a lot of the songs were similar to my previous solo album, and I really wanted the new one to be different and more reflective of my musical tastes,” Iha said. “I wanted it to be more electric so I changed the sonic palette.”
Today we’ve got a preview of the new album, “Speed of Love.” The track’s synth parts and hooky choruses showcases a poppier side of Iha, but the wiry, effect-soaked guitar solo proves it’s very much the same songwriter behind many ‘90s favorites.
Iha’s Look to the Sky is set for release on Sept. 18. Take a listen to the song premiere in the streaming player below.