Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Countdown #2 - "concrete + gas"

(podcast available here – originally broadcast Nov-12-2011)  Some highlights from the program.  All comments are from Philip Random's notes.  The full countdown list can be found here.

Kraftwerk - Europe Endless
We drank cheap sweet wine that night, smoked spliffs with too much tobacco in them, not enough hash, and talked for many hours, various languages and variants.  A Canadian (me), a Northern Irishman, a Pole, a Croat.  We all agreed on one thing.  If you're European, the 20th Century has been a fucking disaster (the first half of it anyway).  Wars and atrocities that can't really be quantified.  Maybe just call it The Apocalypse – already played out.  With mass graves left in its wake, and slag heaps as big as mountains, poisonous, still killing us.  Life is a veil of tears or something like that.  The value of scars is they at least confirm that something has happened.  Europe is endless, or did I say that already?

Jethro Tull - beggars farm
Tull were a big deal in the early 70s, heavy duty underground stuff that couldn't be messed with, even if the main guy did play flute.  Beggars Farm goes back to their first album, This Was, when they were still mostly a blues outfit, though the cover suggested something deeper, the band all got up as old men.  Like they knew something we didn't.  All this youth flower power stuff – it really was kind of dumb.

Trisomie 21 - is anybody home?  [randoEDIT]
I don't even remember where this came from.  Except there was some very strong, clean LSD25 kicking around for a while in 1985 … and somewhere in the midst of it, this thing showed up in my collection. Hideous cover – some unformed monster gnawing on a female corpse.  Moloch perhaps.  And then you've got this singer trying to croon, not really pulling it off, but the mix is so out there it works anyway.  Proof that the 80s were stranger than anyone gives them credit for. 

Ventures - psychedelic venture
From 1967, of course.  Which means nobody seems to remember anything about it.  And yet we have this evidence.  Gatefold sleeve, crazy shapes and colours.  A few half-assed covers but it's the originals that stand out – titles like kandy koncoction, 1999 AD (about the future, man), endless dream, PSYCHED out, guitar psychedelics, and … 


Bongwater - ride my see-saw
More of that mid-80s lost decade, winter of hate, psychedelic stuff in which the boy-girl duo of Bongwater take on the Moody Blues classic and pay it no respect at all.  That was just the truth then.  The 60s were officially a bad trip and we (those who actually cared) were doing everything we could to bury them.  Not because we hated the memory, absolutely.  Nah, it just needed to be dead for a while, so it could be reborn.  Out of some caustic storm of superlative noise.  At least that's what it felt like. 

Terry Jacks - concrete sea
You've got to trust me on this.  There was a time when the most vilely sentimental fragments of POP poison the current world knew could cohabit (share album space) with oddly heartfelt little ditties about urban alienation, the mindless paving over of paradise, the sheer sadness inherent in being alone and alive in a world that was going poppily to hell.  What was it about 1972?   

Beatnigs - CIA
Before there was a Disposable Heroes of HipHopracy, before there was a Spearhead, there were The Beatnigs fronted by a guy named Michael Franti, and a mixed bag in every possible way.  White-Black-Asian, funk, industrial, punk, powertools, chunks of raw metal, genuine FIRE.  It all caught Jello Biafra's attention, and maybe the CIA's as well.  And man did they kick it live.  True grinding of steel.  Music that even smelled dangerous. 

Lieutenant Pigeon - moldy old dough
1972 again.  What is it about that year?  Monster hit in Britain where they still seem to remember it.  But not over here.  The song itself seems to be about a certain tendency in medieval times for folks to go mad after eating bread baked from mouldy old dough, research into which would eventually give us LSD.  This is true.

Jarvis Street Revue - Mr Oil Man
I can't even remember the guy's name.  Michael maybe?  He was a teenager, lived in the house behind mine, down some suburban dead end (it doesn't matter what town, all suburbs are the same, in memory anyway, in 1970 when you're ten years old).  Michael had a band and every now and then they'd jam in his basement.  We younger kids would hop the fence, sneak up and listen, smell the incense they had burning, no doubt to mask the POT smell.  But we weren't that hip yet, just trading Beatles bullshit, how they broke up because Paul was dead, killed by a Walrus while high on LSD.  Anyway, this The Jarvis Street Revue, straight outa Thunder Bay, reminding me of what Michael's band must've sounded like.  Except they were better.  The Jarvis Street Revue, that is.  And environmentally conscious.  

Dali's Car - Dali's Car
It made sense on paper.  Take Peter Murphy lead singer of recently disbanded Bauhaus and put him in a room with Mick Karn, instrumental genius from recently disbanded Japan – see what happens.  What happened was an album that didn't quite add up.  It just sounded like Peter Murphy and Mick Karn in the same room, but not really getting along.  But the lead off track was cool.

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