If you were there at the time (1984) and paying attention, Repo Man (the movie) was pretty much perfect, nailing all the right targets, scoring all the right points, and it all started with Iggy Pop cutting loose over the opening credits. Welcome to the so-called Winter of Hate, with Repo Man (and its punk-hardcore-whatever-you-want-to-call-it soundtrack) giving this long weird season (it lasted years) a fierce and virulent focus. Not that there wasn’t any love in the mid-80s. Of course there was. But you couldn’t really make sense of the times and your place in them (in North America anyway) until you owned your hate. Until you knew what to hate. Otherwise, you were just going to get eaten by hungry robots like everybody else. Or nuked. Whichever came first.
Midnight Oil’s politics have gotten most of the attention over the years, which makes sense. It’s not as if they weren’t wearing them on their sleeves, with U.S. Forces as good an example as any. But the music should also be noted, because here was an outfit that could rock every bit as hard as the Clash, while also working the sort of pop precision you’d expect from an XTC. And with lyrics like, “Everyone too stoned to start a mission, People too scared to go to Prison,” you had a pretty rich and relevant package with 1982’s 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 as good a place to start as any.
As the story goes, Jah Wobble‘s dream was to somehow hook up with Can’s rhythm section (Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit) and make a record, which he finally pulled off for Full Circle. Except he took the record company’s advance money, blew it all on drugs, alcohol, other stupid stuff, and neglected to pay his heroes, who he then avoided for years out of shame. But the album still stands, one of the best of 1982, or any other year for that matter. How Much Are They? was the single.
ABC were white guys with a thing for big, sophisticated soul. Trevor Horn was an ex member of both Yes and the Buggles with a talent for big, sophisticated production. Together they made a beautiful monster called Lexicon of Love, with 4 Ever 2gether a weird gem about drugs and love and evil tucked away deep into side two.
“I got drunk once with Mark Stewart. Bristol, UK. It’s a long story and nothing to be proud of. But I do remember him saying there needed to a properly dystopic movie made, and soon. Rising oceans taking out entire countries, chemical plants taking out entire cities, global thermo-nuclear war taking out everything else. Have it all happen one Tuesday afternoon. But no zombies or mutants. No fantasy. Just fact. Because if someone didn’t make a proper movie, the real thing would happen. Soon. And These Things Happen (first heard on one of the great compilation albums of all time) would make for a perfect title track” (Philip Random)
“The Pogues were exactly what the mid 1980s needed. The original London punks had finally blown all their fuses, with the Clash’s inglorious meltdown being the most recent notable calamity. Enter a bunch of guys (and sometimes a girl) with way too much Irish blood in their veins, grabbing their parents old instruments off the wall (and a few of their tunes), and thrashing away like it truly f***ing meant something, which in the case of The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, it did. Because as the wise woman said, the universal soldier, he really is to blame.” (Philip Random)
Chilliwack being a band straight outa Chilliwack, BC, which also happened to be the name of not just their debut album, but also its sprawling double vinyl 1971 follow up, the second half of which spaces out in all manner of strange ways, the first half of which is not afraid to rock, with Eat being the sort of nugget that would still sound strong in pretty much any garage, the world over.
This latest Randophonic countdown concerns the 661 Greatest Records of the so-called Prog Rock era, our overlong yet incomplete history of whatever the hell happened between 1965 and 1979 – not in all music, not even in most of it, but definitely in a bunch of it, particularly via bands hailing from the United Kingdom.
What is Prog Rock, and does it somehow differ from Progressive Rock, or for that matter, rock that merely progresses? These may seem simple questions but they are in fact doors that open unto some of the most complex enigmas of this split-atomic age. And what better way to explore them than with a radio journey that shall likely take us a full year.
Part two of our journey went as follows:
Jethro Tull – the mouse police never sleeps.
Jethro Tull – Acres wild
Gentle Giant – cry for everyone
Barclay James Harvest – May Day
Genesis – deep in the motherlode
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – give me the good earth
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Earth the Circle [1+2]
Caravan – in the land of grey and pink
John Miles – you have it all
PFM – the mountain
Roy Harper – The Lord’s Prayer
Embryo – Spain yes, Franco finished
Part three of the Solid Time of Change airs Saturday, May-21, at 11pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9
Dali’s Car (the project) may have looked brilliant on paper. Take ex-Bauhaus lead singer Peter Murphy, put him in a room with Mick Karn, instrumental genius from recently disbanded Japan – see what happens. What happened was an album called The Waking Hour which didn’t quite add up, not for forty odd minutes. But Dali’s Car (the song ) — that was memorably odd, and nutritious.