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)



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)


546. Jesus + Tequila

“As the story goes, first the party ran out of wine. Jesus took care of that. And then he invented tequila, just to show off. But I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. But I was there for the Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime in particular. Have I raved enough about that? Probably not. Their best album, though who knows what might have been? Three guys with enough heart and soul and rage for a f***ing revolution, cranking out no less than forty-five tracks spread across four sides of vinyl. Jesus and Tequila was one of the longer ones.” (Philip Random)


550. ethnicolor

“In which Jean-Michel Jarre offers up an epic smorgasbord of what were then very “now” techno-possibilities. I personally had little time for his earlier stuff (cosmic lite, to put it bluntly, though millions seemed to disagree with me). But with hip names like Laurie Anderson and Adrian Belew on board for Zoolook, it was hard to ignore, and a darned good thing, because the whole album really goes places, lead off track Ethnicolor in particular. Samples before we called them that, great crescendos and unearthly howls. The future definitely sounded cool, and ambitious.” (Philip Random)


561. industry

As the story goes, Robert Fripp shut down the original King Crimson in 1974, claiming an overall disgust with the way the music industry world was going in those days. Of course, it could be argued that was version seven anyway, so many members having already come and gone from the Crimson court since 1969. But the intervening silence was inarguable. Nothing until 1981 when a fresh line-up kicked into gear with a whole new Discipline, which was maybe starting to lose some of its freshness come 1984’s Three of a Perfect Pair. But not on Side Two. Not Industry. That was what the world actually sounded like in 1984. Everything grinding, droning, hissing, giving off toxic vapors, finally erupting with savage urgency.


562. spot the difference

“If you think you ‘get’ the music of the mid-1980s but you don’t know Tupelo Chain Sex, you’re wrong. The cover of 1984’s Spot the Difference may suggest a hardcore outfit, but it’s not remotely as simple as that. Because what hardcore band includes fiddle (c/o Don Sugarcane Harris) and saxophone in its weaponry, not to mention reggae, jazz and other unbound tendencies? And man, did they kill it live! True, some of the lyrics were rather dumb (the stuff about the Jews roaming around murdering blacks – seriously?). Welcome to 1984, I guess. Passion and rage as big as the world, and about as rational.” (Philip Random)


618. black girls

“The second Violent Femmes album is the one for me, the serious one. Songs of doom and murder and apocalypse and madness and, in the case of Black Girls, f***ing. Which pissed some people off at the time. They called it sexist and racist, but nah, it was just Gordon Gano telling the truth about some of the crazy sh** he got up to when he was young and horny. And man, did they rock it live! Normally just a three piece (and scaled down at that), the Femmes dragged out some horns and things went wild, delirious even. Horny indeed.” (Philip Random)


619. the big music

“The Big Music is the first Waterboys song I ever heard and it didn’t do much for me. It felt too on the nose, and anyway, wasn’t Big Music U2’s thing? But a decade slipped past and I guess I found it serving a different purpose. More of a statement of intent (from Mike Scott in particular) than some half-baked U2 rip-off. Because the Waterboys had since proven themselves entirely their own unique beast, and pagan at that, like the wild crash of surf on a northern shore, at sunset, everything turning blood red. I actually saw that happen once, off Ireland, while listening to a different Waterboys track. Proof that gods exist, and here they were showing off at the edge of things. And they’re still at it, by the way. The Waterboys, that is. I can’t speak for the gods.” (Philip Random)


632. Kumbayah

“In which the band known as Guadalcanal Diary take a campfire singalong about God (or whoever), apply rock and roll thunder and voila! a glimpse of what might just be heaven (or whatever). From 1984’s Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, which is the first thing I ever heard from them, and the last thing I really needed to. The whole album’s a gem. Even the cover.” (Philip Random)