166. perfect kiss

“I saw New Order twice in what was supposed to be their early 80s prime and they tanked both times. As near as I could tell, it was tech issues, all those drum machines and sequencers NOT synching up with the various human factors (the singer, the songs). But man, did they hit sublime heights in the recording studio! Proof, I guess, that sometimes a new form is best before it’s fully formed, the various clichés established – the form in question here being techno (or whatever you want to call it) when it was still allowed to have genuine human factors in the mix, pushing the machines in directions they might otherwise have chosen not to go. In terms of world breaking singles, Blue Monday‘s the obvious example but everybody’s already heard that a lot. Perfect Kiss on the other hand has remained comparatively obscure, mainly I suspect because it’s never in a rush, but rather plays a long cool game (exquisitely captured in its official video), saving most of its glory for its second half. A sudden break and then a slow build to that bass guitar, that profoundly beautiful bass guitar (speaking of genuine human factors). No wonder there’s a car crash at the end.” (Philip Random)

NewOrder-1985-live

(image source)

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178. celebrated summer

“The sorta punk thrash psychedelic power pop blast of Husker Du’s Celebrated Summer was exactly what my Universe needed in the mid-80s. One night in particular comes to mind. And it wasn’t even Husker Du playing, but an all all-girl band from California (wish I remembered their name) at the Arts Club on Seymour (best live venue this town ever had). 1986 I’m pretty sure, and summertime, which meant Expo was squatting in the near distance sucking all the light and love from things. And I’d just seen Skinny Puppy up at UBC, which was a terrorizing experience, because man, the acid was particularly FUN that night. So yeah, it all came around to the song not so much saving my soul (my soul was fairly intact in those days) as reigniting it with hope, fervour, blinding white light, which is to say, celebrated and wild, erupting with summer. And as soon as we got back to the car, New Day Rising got jammed into the cassette player. Once more unto eternity.” (Philip Random)

HuskerDu-1985-posing

213. dirty old town

“A Pogues song about London that isn’t actually a Pogues song or about London, but it might as well be. Because they certainly make it their own here and London’s a dump,  encrusted in grime that’s centuries old. I recall a jetlagged morning, first light and I can’t sleep so I’m wandering Camden Lock and rather bemused by all the filth floating in the still water. It gets worse when I realize there’s a dead swan in the middle of one particularly disgusting looking clump. Later, I’m back at my friend’s flat having breakfast and I mention what I saw. He shrugs, pulls out  the Pogues Rum Sodomy + the Lash and slaps it on.” (Philip Random)

Pogues-1985-promo

(photo source)

222. price of paradise

“Being a necessary missive from the final Minutemen album, main man D Boon weighing in on that so-called lucky generation of young Americans who didn’t have to go fight in Vietnam, but had older brothers (or cousins or next door neighbours) who did, and so saw all too closely the damage done. But then a pointless van accident can get you any time, as it did D Boon in December 1985, somewhere in the desert. Rest in peace, man. The Minutemen are still the best f***ing band most people have never even heard of.” (Philip Random)

Minutemen-1985-promo

(photo: Naomi Petersen)

 

249. E=mc2

“Speaking of Performance (the movie), it features prominently in Big Audio Dynamite‘s sample rich E=mc2, along with other bits and pieces from various films directed by Nicholas Roeg. And what a cool track it was (and still is), promising so much from Mick Jones in the wake of the Clash‘s rather ridiculous crash and burn, except they never really got any better, which can only mean they got worse. Not that Big Audio Dynamite were ever really bad (even if they were definitely B.A.D.) – just lacking Joe Strummer‘s overall sandpaper edge, I guess. Rather like Paul McCartney operating without John Lennon post-Beatles. At least B.A.D. never did a Christmas song.” (Philip Random)

bigaudiodynamite-1985-promo

252. haunted when the minutes drag

Love and Rockets may not seem so important now. Just another sort of post-new-wave outfit rediscovering the beauty and expansive power inherent in taking rock (and not just a little pop) to the psychedelic realm. But in 1985 when their first album hit, it was almost unprecedented (or certainly very long out of style) – a modern music that dared to be colourful, epic, BIG, and not looking back at all, just straight ahead into the haunted now, because that’s what 1985 was like … if you had the right kind of eyes.” (Philip Random)

love+rockets-1985-vid

 

272. burn the flames

“The mid 1980s were actually one of the coolest times ever on planet earth. It just didn’t make the papers much. You had to do some digging, listen to the right radio stations, go to the right movies. And few movies have ever got it more right than Return of the Living Dead – the one that doesn’t take anything remotely seriously and ends up being fiercer, wilder, better than than pretty much every other zombie movie ever made before or since. And the soundtrack album’s a definite keeper. Look no further than Roky Erickson‘s Burn The Flames, work of a certifiable madman, completely concerned with luxuriating in the very flames of hell. All for the love of brains.” (Philip Random)

RokyErickson-1986

277. Sick bed of old Cuchulainn

“The Pogues were actually from London but there was never any denying the Irish blood in their veins. Not to mention Guinness, Jamesons, all manner of other substances, particularly front man, Shane McGowan. But they made it all work, found the raw punk heart of all those jigs and reels and shanties and faerie stories, set them on fire and unleashed an Irish folk revival that none us realized we needed until we heard it and then f*** yeah! How had we ever lived without it?” (Philip Random)

Pogues-1985-live

294. The Big Gundown

“Wherein John Zorn, avant jazz classical jack master everything genius type, takes on a few of Ennio Morricone‘s soundtrack epics, succeeds in rearranging the molecules in my then psychedelicized brain, to entirely positive effect. Because it was 1985 and the world needed fracturing, eviscerating, disassembling, rearranging. And it got me seeing the movies again. The Big Gundown indeed.” (Philip Random)

JohnZorn-bigGundown