“Second of two in a row from London Calling, the greatest rock and roll album ever (arguably). Released at the very end of the 1970s, that at least makes it the first indispensably great rock and roll album of the 1980s, maybe the last. Commercial radio, of course, only played two tracks but all four sides were nigh on brilliant – the power and rage of full-on punk tempered only enough to allow everything else to burst on through. With The Card Cheat, that meant widescreen rock all brassed up and gunning for the promised land, which is again miles beyond anything Bruce Springsteen could have hoped for at the time, who I’m only mentioning here because his 1980 double album The River had no problem getting played all over the radio. And it was at least two sides too long.” (Philip Random)
“Is there a bad track on London Calling? Is there an average track on London Calling? Brand New Cadillac is neither, of course. Brand New Cadillac is The Clash tearing through an old Vince Taylor b-side, unleashing the kind of old school rock and roll fervor that Bruce Springsteen could only dream of.” (Philip Random)
“It took me three albums before I finally got Talking Heads, the aptly named Fear of Music being one of those long players that absolutely does not have a weak moment (even the radio ad was a killer). From ballads to groovers to psyche outs to the powerhouse doom of Memories Can’t Wait, it was so good it was scary. But good luck hearing anything but the one song on the commercial rock radio of 1979 (and even that was mostly scarce). No doubt about it – the music industry was scared to f***ing death by stuff of the depth and quality of Fear of Music. So if you wanted to hear it, you had to go out and actually buy it, or tape a friend’s copy, kill the whole stupid industry. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it.” (Philip Random)
“I was just starting to take Bob Marley seriously when he died in 1981. So a comparatively obscure album cut like Babylon System didn’t find me until the 1990s sometime. Which was as good a time as any for an outside opinion on the evils inherent in the vampiric empire I was inextricably part of, by the very nature of where and when I was born, not to mention the pale shade of my skin. Sucking the blood of the children and the sufferers day by day.” (Philip Random)
“Premonition was the first Simple Minds track I ever heard, and it came via mixtape – the follow up to an argument I’d had with a friend about so-called New Wave music. Simplistic and annoying (my opinion) versus the cool sound of the future (his opinion). I was wrong. The proof was on that tape, Premonition sealing the deal with its big, dark groove. So much so that I was quick to grab the album, embrace the future, even if Simple Minds themselves would eventually come to truly, unironically earn their name, but that took at least five or six albums, so who’s really complaining?” (Philip Random)
In which The Melodic Energy Commission, Vancouver based pychedelicists hook up with a Hawkwind refugee, ignore all the punk rock and vitriol that’s raging around them at the time, go deep and high instead, and deliver an essential travelogue for those keen on exploring the great beyond within. The drugs in question? Most likely some of the local shrooms that are so prevalent every autumn once the big autumn rains start a-falling. The album in question? Stranger in Mystery. It’s a trip.
Dynamite pop nugget from Cowboys International, one of those so-called post-punk outfits out of England that came, blew hearts and minds, then went long before we even knew existed over here in the Americas. M[emorie] stands out because of the cool, old school analogue synth work, and guitars that truly ring like bells.
“The Undertones being one of the greatest singles bands ever, You’ve Got My Number (why don’t you use it?) being a darned fine single. Though I’ll be honest. I never really liked them that much at the time, for which I blame Edward. One of those obsessive fan-holes who can’t let a good thing speak for itself – has to evangelize it, until you come to hate it, even if you don’t, just to get under the guy’s skin.” (Philip Random)
In which Neil Young waxes sad and beautiful about leaving home and finding himself on an asphalt highway bending through libraries and museums, galaxies and stars. Originally found on the acoustic side of 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps, the album where Mr. Young faced the punk whirlwind, found it relevant, and thus ensured that, unlike most of his contemporaries, he would neither burn out nor fade away, but keep on keeping on.