It’s 1975 and if you’re Neil Young, you’re hanging out in sunny California, feeling a decade older than you were three years ago, but at least the drugs are good, and sometimes the smog ain’t so bad, particularly when Crazy Horse drops by. Just plug in and play so loud it actually cuts through the haze, and mystical birds of great danger are seen soaring high, fierce and beautiful.
“As the story goes, The Pretty Things never got around to Invading America properly and thus they stand as the one essential Brit band of the swinging 60s that never really made it into the so-called Classic Rock canon – the upside being that I never got remotely sick of them. Sickle Clowns comes from 1970, and as with many of the better records from that year, you can feel the change that must’ve been in the air, all the flower power well on the wane, the shadows growing. My English friend Jane says it reminds her of the youth riots of the times, even though she was too young to actually remember them.” (Philip Random)
“Love were already on their second album by 1966, and hitting their timeless stride. Of course, being only seven years old at the time, I was more into the Monkees, Herb Alpert and Peter Paul + Mary, so I’d have to wait thirty years before I could declare that 7 and 7 was a pretty much perfect chunk of garage psychedelia – short, sharp, smart, and with a nice explosion at the end.” (Philip Random)
Last week’s Randophonic radio was completely concerned with the music of Can and Jaki Leibezeit (who died recently). So much so that it requires three Mixcloud streams to do it all justice. The first two are a re-run of an old Randophonic show called Canned Goods, with the third a recent mix of material that Herr Lebezeit contributed to outside of Can (1977-2013).
A Led Zeppelin rocker from 1975’s Physical Graffiti, but for Philip Random, it was more of a 1988 record. “A pivotal year for me. At the time, it was just something to be endured, one of those phases where the winter winds never stopped howling, even in the middle of summer (figuratively speaking of course). The Winter of Hate we ended up calling it. Aliens with a hunger 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 raw noise as even punk/hardcore wasn’t really fierce enough anymore. Or maybe I was jonesing for some honest, raw, nasty blues – the kind of stuff Led Zeppelin had in ample supply on their biggest, longest, last truly great album. Man did it sound right!”
“A Kate Bush song (circa 1980) about nuclear horror apparently – even includes an eruption of heat and exterminating light toward the end. Close your eyes so you won’t go instantly blind, then brace for the shock wave that removes you from time and space altogether. That seems to be the intent. What happens on a metaphysical level when suddenly an entire planet’s worth of souls are cut loose from the mortal coil? What kind of turmoil is there in heaven, hell, purgatory, all the other way stations? At least that’s how Latetia explained it to me one long night of drinking tea and discussing apocalypse. She’d had these prophetic dreams, you see.” (Philip Random)
George Dekker (straight outa Jamaica) delivers a timeless anthem of rather uplifting despair, if such is possible. Because things are always getting worse, just turn on the news, no reason to stop moving. “I remember a work friend whose younger brother was dying of Hodgkin’s. She loved this song. It became kind of a joke. I’d ask her how things were. She’d raise a triumphant fist and declare, Things Are Getting Worse.” (Philip Random)
American punk-hard core (whatever you want to call it) bushwackers Black Flag unleash a profound anthem of insight and purpose unto the world. Because we’ve all done it, invested precious hours of our lives in smoking cheap dope, drinking swill, watching sh** on TV. Originally found on an EP of the same name, but most of us heard it first care of the Repo Man Soundtrack, which, it’s true, saved the western world, but first it had to destroy it.