“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.
In which the alien aka David Jones aka David Bowie comes clean and reveals he’s really human after all. “I remember hearing this a lot in 1980 – memories of Ronald Raygun running hard for the White House, the hostage thing ongoing in Iran, a clash of civilizations apparently … the realization of how utterly doomed and damned we all were if couldn’t find a common humanity beneath all our bullshit gods and politics. The supreme challenge of learning to live with someone else’s mental and spiritual health issues. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)
The Clash telling it like it was in 1979 (and now for that matter). Got a problem with the weight of the world? You’re just not thinking, grooving, acting fast enough. In fact, they were so prolific (and good) at the time that they dropped Groovy Times as a b-side. First band since the Beatles to be that hot. And probably the last.
Godley and Crème started out with 10cc and ended up as cutting edge rock video artists, but in the middle somewhere found time for a few albums of overtly strange and accomplished pop experimentation. And it never got stranger than I Pity Inanimate Objects (from 1979’s Freeze Frame) which employs all manner of studio trickery to accomplish a genuinely unexpected end – you actually feel pity for things that are not alive, except they are, of course, they’re comprised of atoms and neutrons and other insanely small actions and reactions, which are the fundament of all life, all matter, all everything. It’s true. Do some research. And be kind to your toaster.