Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Countdown #1 - "dog breath + tao"

(podcast available here - original broadcast Nov-5-2011)  In which the good people at Randophonic finally get the All Vinyl Countdown + Apocalypse rolling with (theoretically) the twenty worst greatest records you've probably never heard.  These are a few highlights.  All comments are from Philip Random's notes.  

Paul Revere + The Raiders - eve of destruction
Why start here?  Because it's one of those eternal truths. The fan is being hit by shit.  Always has, always will. Even the Jordan river has bodies floating.  Paul Revere + co's sorta Vegas-schmaltz edge really sets Barry Maguire's 1965 fire and brimstone mega-hit free here, which means, disregard the release date of 1971 – this gem didn't collide with my worldview until at least 1992.  The grunge revolution was already tired.  We were drinking stronger, more complicated cocktails.  Folks were no longer denying the irony in pretty much everything.  That is, if you'd told us then that less than a decade later, we'd be celebrating some secret history of not just rock and roll but every-damned-thing-of-cultural-import-over-the-past-four-or-five-decades, and this record would be key in that telling – well, we'd probably believe you.  And a few minutes later, somebody'd be puking their guts.
Hunters + Collectors - talking to a stranger
It's the video that twigged me to this one, 1983 probably.  A remote station somewhere.  A stranger with a briefcase.  Lots of dust.  Bonfires in the distance.  Silhouettes and weird masks.  Heavy tribal feel.  These weren't all cliches yet. 

Yes - no opportunity necessary no experience required
The Time was Now.  The Word was Love.  From early days before the cool world had an opinion on them, Yes take a Richie Havens piece and run lordlike rings around it with jazz, psychedelia, ROCK, stolen TV themes.  Release date 1970 belies the fact that we didn't really hear any of this stuff until about five years later, the band having found the planet to be flat after all and fallen off the edge of it – and thus did the relevance of (so-called) Progressive Rock end, like midnight in Cinderella-Land.  The drugs ran down, it was a workboot after all.  But more on this later.

Neil Young - Cortez the Killer (live)
A sublime yet dumb song care of Neil and Crazy Horse at the very peak of their shambolic grandeur.  I blame and credit the Peruvian marching power that was all the rage at the time if you were a certain level of rock star or hip movie director or just the kind of person who hung with them.  This would be the LIVE version, from around 1978.  Elvis was dead and so were the Sex Pistols.  The movie had Jawas in it.

Fall - paint work
Some would throw every track from The Fall's over three dozen albums into a list such as this (and with a straight face), so taken are they with the unfriendly passion of main man Mark E. Smith.  I'm happy to drop in stuff like this 6.5 minute throwaway from the mid 80s that seems to have something to do with painting, and otherwise fucking around.  It doesn't have to sound difficult to be brilliant.

Tranquility Bass - The Bird
Nobody's ever going to care what happened in 1997 unless they were born that year, or maybe they lost their virginity, or they saw God on some acid trip.  But the rest of us, we were all fixed on the End by then.  The turning.  The millennium.  The future, if we had one.  Maybe that's why Tranquility Bass suddenly made so much sense.  Techno-hippie types getting lost in the music (and likely a whole lotta drugs) on some unnamed Gulf Island, mixing everything up, wondering what god must look like, deciding he was a bird.  Someone had to.  

Genesis - back in NYC
This one's just odd, and intense from beginning to end and particularly in the middle, nothing really sounding like you think it should – yet compulsively, explosively interesting throughout.  From maybe the one-third point of Genesis' notorious double album concept The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway concerning a Puerto Rican street punk named Rael who sees the world end one weird morning on Broadway, and finds himself in some purgatorial netherworld wherein …?  Well, even Peter Gabriel (the guy that wrote lyrics and sang the song), is still trying to figure it all out.

NoMeansNo - victory
Maybe the greatest Canadian rock based combo EVER in the history of ANYTHING, weighs in with an epic number from the mid-late 80s that can easily be dedicated to every sorry asshole that ever got his ass handed to him – in a poker game, on some sports field, in battle, in love.  And it's true, I think.  Defeat is inevitable, and humiliation.  Way more so than victory.  So eat it.  Then move on.  But if it's revenge you want, then fuck off.  That shit just eats your soul.  

Sonic Youth - Kotton Krown
Sister was the album where (still young) Sonic Youth seemed to extract themselves from the distortion unit and actually start liking what most people would call music.  Which is not entirely a bad thing.  Kotton Krown suggested it was time to take control of the chemistry again, to manifest the mystery again.  The underground 80s seldom sounded so eloquently psychedelic.

The full countdown list (so far) can be found here

1 comment:

  1. never heard most of this music the first, second, or third time around...