Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Countdown #13 - kill for peace

Broadcast March-10-2012 - podcast available here.  All comments are lifted from Philip Random's notes.  The full countdown list (so far) can be found here.  Links are not necessarily to the exact same recordings we played on-air, but we tried.

Led Zeppelin - custard pie
Important-Thing-I-didn't-realize-about-my-life-until-I-started-compiling-this-list #7.  1988 was a pivotal year for me.  At the time, it was just something to be endured – one of those years where it seemed the sleet never stopped falling even in the middle of summer.  The Winter of Hate we ended up calling it.  Aliens with a taste for human flesh had taken over all the world's governments and the only thing worth laughing about was that nothing was funny anymore.  Musically, this manifested in a lot of pure and superlative NOISE as even punk wasn't hard enough anymore.  Or maybe I was just jonesing for some honest, raw, nasty blues – the kind of stuff Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti had in ample supply.  It may have been thirteen years old at the time, but man did it suddenly sound exactly right!

Mott the Hoople - all the way to Memphis
A life-on-the-road's-a-drag raveup that makes it sound so damned fun you want to quit everything and join the first half-assed rock and roll band that crosses your path, and never return, just go-go-go – all the way to Memphis.  

Fugs - kill for peace
It would've been maybe 1998 and I was wrong.  I was arguing hard for the Mothers of Invention being the first genuinely underground American band.  But no, it turns out the Fugs beat them to it.  They weren't as good as the Mothers, but that's a different argument.  Kill For Peace certainly set things straight about Vietnam:  if you don't like foreigners and their strange habits and customs, then invade their country and kill them, for peace, because if we don't, the Chinese will.  It stands to reason.

April Wine - we can be more than we are
A nifty little jam from one of those quintessential Canadian middle ground rockers who got so much radio airplay through my uptight teenage 70s.  But they never played We Can Be More Than We Are.  No, you had to actually put the album on, side one, toward the end.  Cool groove, hot licks and then a phone call – some stoned guy on the line looking for an easy break in the biz, but all he gets is advice, the kind every young man needs:  "You can be more than you are."

Strawbs - the life auction
They started as a folk band in the 60s but somewhere along the line, things got all progressive, and nowhere so seriously, intensely, psychedelically as 1975's The Life Auction.  It's a grey afternoon, the middle of England somewhere (or maybe just some vague Canadian suburb) and the acid you dropped a couple of hours back is finally kicking in, and hard – the grim truth about everything revealed in the polluted haze of another diluted acid day.  

Gun Club - she's like heroin to me
Punk killed the blues, and a good thing too.  I remember someone shouting that in my ear in the late 70s sometime – a house party, everybody tearing shit apart (in a good way).  Knowing me, I probably agreed. Except good things never die, do they?  They just mutate, reinvent, re-engage.  So yeah, call the Gun Club the badasses who did the dirty work for the blues with 1981's Fire Of Love – fused the full-on rush of punk with the grunge of the bayou, the crossroads, the suburbs where the real shit never dies.  Then they put it all at the service of some poetry about a girl so heavy, she's like heroin – never misses the vein. 

Trio - ja ja ja
Not to be confused with da da da which you've definitely heard, maybe on the radio way back when in 1981 when it was a surprise international hit, maybe on some Volkswagen commercial in the meantime.  But the rest of that 1981 album was fun, too.  Simple straight up little riffs on just how simple shit could be and yet not be shit.  Ja Ja Ja was the punk number.

Tackhead - mind at the end of the tether
Before we ever heard Public Enemy, Tackhead was already delivering it.  The NOISE that is.  This is not the best version of Mind at the end of the Tether (that was on 12" as I recall, and rare as a thoughtful Republican), but it's good enough, it still brings its noise.  

Mind at the end of the Tether [randoEDIT]  

Mike Oldfield - five miles out
On one level, it's about flying your airplane in bad weather, trying to get to the other side of a monster storm, five long miles to go.  On another, it's about being lost in the maelstrom chaos of your fucked up life, with only one way out.  You've got to commit, be a man, fix a course and hold true, either get to the other side of the mess you're in or disintegrate trying.  At least that's how Charles put it to me, late 80s sometime, having emerged from a very low point in his young adult life.  But he's doing okay now.

Rolling Stones - love in vain
Skinny English suburban white boys all messed up on heroin, cocaine, super stardom, take an easy swing at one of Robert Johnson's original blues classics and knock it out of the solar system.  It's possible that Satan was involved.  

Stevie Wonder - big brother
1972 was rich with this kind of stuff – easy, soulful riffs on just how corrupt and fucked up everything was, particularly if you were stuck in the ghetto, and the whole world was a ghetto in 1972, even that quaint, dull as death suburb you called home.  And yet there was hope, there had to be, because the music was just so beautiful.

Vic Coppersmith-Heaven - pengosekan           
Mr. Coppersmith-Heaven (now there's a name) was a sound guy, producer, engineer, big in the early days of punk.  But somewhere along the line, he got his own thing going, tripping out some very earthbound grooves and sounds, including a certain monkey chant, indigenous to the Indonesian backwoods.  Needless to say, this track quickly became part of the essential acid mixtape, stick it in a ghetto blaster and drag it out into wilderness for a trip to both beyond and before time.

Spacemen 3 - walkin' with Jesus
An honest song about heroin, sticking a needle in your arm, finding heaven on earth, basking in the warm glow of eternity like Jesus' own son.  But don't be fooled, kids.  Heroin's a liar.  Ain't no heaven on earth.  

Leonard Cohen - please don't pass me by
Sometimes the grim signs are all there, lining up in front of us like letters in a word:  where we are is suddenly a far worse place than we imagined, worse than we ever could have imagined.  It's hell, and it's as simple as a man with his hand out on a dark winter street, cold, barely hanging on, and all he asks is that you not ignore his pain, that you not pass him by this one time.   

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