518. Maria’s place [Batoche]

“Why is this Connie Kaldor track from 1984 so forgotten, shrugged off, lost to the thrift stores of time? Why do Canadian school kids not know where Batoche is? How do we get past Grade 10 without fully grasping the tragedy of what happened there, May 1885, and how, in spite of our ignorance, it still colours our souls (and in very many cases our blood)? So yeah, I try to make sure I play this song every Canada Day. Because my French may suck utterly, but je me souviens anyway.” (Philip Random)



519. who says a funk band can’t play rock?!

“The title says it all, and the lyrics back it up with a solid vice versa, speaking as they do to the stupid notion that genres are in fact competing nations which, at best, should just avoid each other. F*** that sh**! Though it is worth noting, not every band is, was or shall ever be on the level of Funkadelic circa 1978. My point being, nobody says you can’t do whatever you want musically speaking (at least nobody from my end of things) but that doesn’t mean you get to just slap your bass guitar, dress like a pimp and call yourself funky. Not if you’re older than twelve. You’ve got to earn that.” (Philip Random)


520. safe European home

The Clash’s second album Give ‘Em Enough Rope may not be their best, but it sure delivers with Safe European Home, the-only-band-that-mattered captured at peak ferocity, moving beyond mere punk into a realm that is best thought of as superlative.  And the words aren’t entirely stupid either, though the same perhaps can’t be said of Rudy.


521. hanging around

“Typically tough early Stranglers number about that most essential of human endeavors. Hanging around. Or maybe that’s a Jesus reference. I remember seeing these guys in the mid-80s when they were trying to soften their sound, less punk infused aggro, more aural sculpture. But the audience wasn’t having it, or better yet, the mob. Because the Stranglers had that effect. The aggression they inspired was intense, downright ugly, serious stomping going down at the slightest provocation. Good thing I was thwacked on MDA at the time (also known as Ecstasy, before marketing changed the name and quadrupled the price) and thus in love with all humanity, even hooligans.” (Philip Random)


522. F*** You G.I.

23 Skidoo being one of those outfits who define the notion of hard to pin down. F*** You G.I. being a heavy slab of polyrhythmic funk driven by a key sample from the legendary Do-Long Bridge sequence from Apocalypse Now. 1984 being nine years on from the Vietnam War’s official conclusion, but you could still feel the darkness, heat, horror, even if you were just out walking the family dog through the suburban shadows, Sony Walkman on, of course.” (Philip Random)


523. Vitamin C

“A nifty little almost pop song from the group known as Can about who knows what? Including the singer, I’m pretty sure, Damo Suzuki from Japan, hanging out in Germany, trying to work in English, ending up inventing his own dadaesque language. A song about whatever you want it to be about, I guess, although I’ll go with my friend Thomas’s interpretation. It’s about that dissipated feeling you get when you’ve wasted all your precious vril energy on rich, yet pointless pleasures. But the music’s there to revive you, like the potion it is, alchemical and true.” (Philip Random)


524. the gates of delirium

“I remember hearing Gates of Delirium get played on commercial radio when it was new, all twenty-two minutes of it. I remember my fifteen year old jaw dropping. It would’ve been late 1974, maybe 1975. Little did I realize that an era was fast ending – that very soon the culture would have little use for bands like Yes spreading their vast and cosmic wings, unleashing dense and intense and impossibly beautiful side long epics about mystical warriors in mythical lands busting through great gates of delirium. Or whatever it was actually about. It was definitely about war, burning children’s laughter on to hell. I remember a few years later, a musician friend saying, ‘But it’s really about everything. That’s the problem with Yes. Their songs aren’t really about anything. Just everything. But f***, those guys can play.'” (Philip Random)



525. gravespit

“I saw Blurt warm up New Order way back when, just a two piece as I recall. Saxophone and drums, and driven by a nasty sort of good humour. They were way more fun than the headliners, and better. Which is worth considering when you hear Gravespit (a track that only ever showed up on an obscure compilation album as far as I know) — poisonous as it seems, there’s a smile underneath it all.” (Philip Random)


526. in the garden

1986, I think. I finally got to see Bob Dylan in concert. Which was hardly a high point career wise. And the venue didn’t help. Football stadium, bad sound, mid summer hot. Fortunately, he had Tom Petty and his crowd keeping things rock solid, and four powerful women singing gospel style back up. But even so, the life tended to suck out of things whenever Bob opened his mouth. Sad but true. Until one of the encores.  A song called In The Garden that I’d never heard before, obviously from his Christian phase, because it was clearly about Christ and his betrayal. And every word rang true, and glowed like burning coal. I guess he still believed. That night anyway. And I guess I did, too. In the music anyway. ” (Philip Random)