Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Countdown #8 - Fresh Garbage

(Broadcast Feb-4-2012 - podcast available here).   All comments are from Philip Random's notes.  The full countdown list (so far) can be found here.  Links are not necessarily to the exact same recordings that got played on-air, but we tried.

Wall of Voodoo - call of the west
The thing I remember about Wall of Voodoo live at the Luv Affair in 1982 was front man Stanard Ridgway making fun of all the weird haircuts in the crowd (it was the early 80s and the Luv Affair was definitely Vancouver's ground zero for fashion weirdness and extremity).  Needless to say, there was tension in the room.  Someone (probably venue staff) even started tossing ice cubes at the band.  But Wall of Voodoo rose to it with their sharp, raw, sort of film noir infected gothic industrial west coast surf RAWK sound (with a cowboy edge).  As I recall, the show ended with an epic charge through Call of the West, which forever diminished the album version for me.  Still pretty damned good, but nothing like actually being there. 

Public Image Limited – warrior [randoEDIT]
Pumped up remix of a track from a less than stellar latter day Johnny Rotten album. The sample from Little Big Man (the greatest movie ever of all time when I was eleven) definitely helps.  Old Lodge Skins, the old blind Cheyenne chief, just lays it all out for us:  "Thank you for making me a human being – Thank you for helping me to become a warrior – Thank you for my victories and my defeats – It is a good day to die".  I still haven't found a better prayer.

warrior [randoEDIT]

Jean-Michel Jarre - zoolookologie
In the early/mid 1980s, it seemed there were only two samplers in the world – the Fairlight and the Synclavier.  But they weren't called samplers then, they were just these hugely expensive digital synthesizers ($50,000 bucks sounds about right) that could feed a sound into, say the hum from your fridge or a baby crying, and then muck with it, play it back as music.  Strangely, when new age synth-noodler/sleep-inducer Jean-Michel Jarre got his hands on one, the results ended up being quite funky.

Executive Slacks - the bus
Another of those seminal industrial thrash outfits who did their bit for the greater evolution of all mankind in the mid-1980s, then disappeared (from my view anyway).  Specifically, they gave us this nasty little ditty about the horrors of riding a packed bus.  "Oh no – our legs are touching."

Aerosmith - toys in the attic
From way the hell back when they were still a properly dangerous rawk band, with needles in their veins, sleaze up to their eyeballs and no talk of Betty Ford or her clinic.  The title track from Toys in the Attic is about as raw as rawk got in 1975 – punk before punk.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I heard it for the first time while wandering through some girl's living room, drunk, a house-destroying partying going on all around me, shards of glass everywhere, amazed that somehow the record was still playing.

Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
Alan Parsons hadn't gone horribly wrong yet in 1977.  In fact, if you were halfway cool (but still not cool enough for punk) you were probably listening to I Robot, digging the smooth and spacey future it was suggesting.  Apparently it was a concept album, derived from the Isaac Asimov book.  I just dug it as a better than average stoner option.  But it never got better than the lead off, title track. 

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland 1945
In case you haven't noticed, though the cut-off date for this thing is officially August 2000, there's very little in the way of 1990s stuff on the list.  This is because it's an all vinyl apocalypse we're exploring here and I pretty much stopped buying new vinyl in 1989 (for various reasons, mostly related to the advent of CDs).  One album I did have to buy on vinyl was 1998's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel.  Because the cover's a damned fine work of art and because it just HAD to be heard in analogue form, with hisses and crackles, and other great fat imprecisions thundering up my ear canals.  And all that semen staining the mountaintops.

Peter Gabriel - [start] I don't remember
If I was putting together a list such as this in 1983, Peter Gabriel would've been all over it.  In Genesis, out of Genesis.  Obscure b-sides.  Anything and everything.  I was a FAN.  Which is short for fanatic, which is "… one who believes or behaves with uncritical zeal, particularly with regard to an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or some other obsessive enthusiasm."  This is not healthy.  I was not healthy.  I honestly half-believed that he (Peter Gabriel) was going to single-handedly save all humanity with his cool music and unblemished political and moral consciousness, and he'd do it without ever releasing a crap record, or otherwise being uncool in my fawning eyes.  But then he hooked up with Rosanna Arquette and started releasing preposterously popular songs that even horrible people loved – people who also loved Duran Duran, Power Station, Huey Lewis + The News.  I Don't Remember pre-dates all that.  

Residents - beyond the valley of a day in the life
Sampling, stealing, pirating, mashing the Beatles a good three decades before such things were hip.  The crazy thing is, I actually heard this when it was new, in 1976.   A friend's big brother heard me talking loud about how great progressive rock was, because it was so inventive, so ambitious, so strange.  So he got me high and set me straight that there were far, far stranger things out there, including this anti-group from California somewhere who were so mysterious nobody even knew who they were, maybe they weren't even human, they certainly didn't look human when they played live, with huge eyeballs on their heads.  And they didn't really sound human either.    

Kinks - celluoid heroes
I remember hearing  this as a kid and almost crying.  And that was before I'd seen any number of friends (and friends of friends) throw everything they had into some kind of showbiz career, and not just for the art of it, but also the glory, the big dream of being loved by everyone everywhere forever.  And none of them ever achieved it.  Nobody ever does really.  Those famous faces you do see – they're not really real, just hallucination monsters created by the great and hungry beast that runs the spectacle and needs to eat human souls to stay alive.    

Nektar - remember the future  [randoEDIT]
From the cover of Nektar Live, which is not the album this comes from:  "To produce for the eye what the ear heard, Brocket utilized six projectors, two strobelights, slides and liquid lights.  He has since added three screens supported by 64 sections of scaffolding and illuminated by eight slide projectors and a 16mm projector, with the entire visual show being housed in four giant lighting and control towers."  Yeah, that's exactly what Nektar sounded like to my cosmically deprived ears in the mid-70s.  This EDIT tidies up the first half of Remember The Future, a full album concept about a blind boy and an alien and how we should never forget the future, which is kind of paradoxical if you really think about it.

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