West German hippie artist types Amon Duul weren’t even a band really, more committed to overthrowing the whole corrupt western system than something as bourgeois as “making it” in music. Which led to an inevitable split. Who knows what happened to the politicos? But the others renamed themselves Amon Duul II and unleashed an album called Phallus Dei (translating as God’s Phallus) upon the world. And big and virile and scary it was, particularly the side long title track.
“Back in the day, I was known to argue loudly that Pornography was the only Cure album the world ever needed, a singular masterpiece of darkness, doom and fecund seaminess. But I was wrong. Because the Cure have certainly conquered other peaks, and sometimes Pornography does get a little murky. But Hanging Garden definitely rises above, all pounding rhythms and bleak forward motion, redolent indeed of 1982. The sleet heavy rains of eternal winter were falling hard, but still we struggled for the light.” (Philip Random)
In which The Byrds lay it all out for eternity, man. Because it’s 1966 and something is most definitely happening, but what!?!? (note the question and exclamation marks), What’s Happening !?!? being notable as A. David Crosby‘s first solo songwriting credit for the Byrds, and B. succinct to say the least, the whole virulent, acid drenched confusion of the times laid out in fifty-seven words or less. Not that it was a bad historical moment — more just a state of spiritual, philosophical and emotional critical mass, a sustained chain reaction of apparently conflicting beliefs, ideas, demands and feelings that was demanding an entirely fresh and conceivably radical new point of reference, man.
Proof that underneath all the noise and provocation of their early gigs and releases, The Jesus And Mary Chain were first and foremost a damned good rock and roll band doing their bit to keep the western world from imploding. Or more to the point, encouraging the right kind of implosion. Stark and raw, bleak but beautiful, like those first hints of spring sunlight after a long, bitter winter, and even then you know there are some fierce winds yet to blow. Because the Winter of Hate was a long one, no question there. Ended up lasting more than a decade.
“Maybe I’d would’ve liked them more if they hadn’t call themselves the Psychedelic Furs. Or as a friend once put it – too much fur, not enough psychedelic. But that doesn’t apply to the first album, which was cool and dark and working more edges than any normal reality could offer. And a rare sound that was in 1980, the new decade dawning with all of its overblown and over-shiny colours and sounds and whatever else. In fact, you can do a pretty good job of tracking all that by just lining up the first three Psychedelic Furs album covers in chronological order. Not bad. Just not getting better.” (Philip Random)
“According to my friend Jason who knows everything, the Ventures lack credibility because they were never a proper surf band. They just ripped off the surf sound and, being top notch musicians with access to top notch studios, their stuff often killed the originals in recorded form. Jason, all I can say is, purity is boring, particularly when applied to something as impure, mongrel, fuzz and raunch infested as surf infused rock ‘n’ roll. And anyway, Raunchy shouldn’t even be on the list as it was released in 1964, a year before the cut-off. Clearly, surf music (even if it’s impure) is capable of transcending the laws of space and time.” (Philip Random)
“Another potent reminder of just how unbelievably f***ing good the Beatles were, and how dumb our commercialized culture continues to be — that a song this good (another one of George’s nuggets) could still somehow be under-exposed. Not that I’m really complaining.” (Philip Random)
“DOA, original Vancouver punks, deliver the theme song to the great general strike of the mid 1980s, wherein the people finally just got so disgusted, they all rose up simultaneously and shut the whole stupid system down. The asylums were emptied, the schools burned, the banks blown to smithereens, the various politicians, bureaucrats and business leaders strangled with each others intestines. Or maybe it was just a dream.” (Philip Random)
In which Johnny Rotten (aka Lydon) and the ever revolving crowd at Public Image Ltd remind us that the very idea of a love song was problematic come the 1980s, Ian Curtis having slain the beast with Love Will Tear Us Apart (and then he hung himself to emphasize his point). Which didn’t mean that love didn’t exist anymore. It had just become a heavier, more complex and dangerous thing. And take note. This is the original single version, vastly superior to overproduced mess that eventually showed up on album.