Not to be confused with the 1984 album of the same name, this Julian Cope world stomper spoke a truth that was rather impossible to ignore in 1986. Anger, bile, spite were all officially virtues now if you wanted to survive. It was the Winter of Hate after all. Everybody who was even half alert was shouting down the world, demanding it shut the f*** up. Not that the world was listening. But that just meant we could shout louder, louder, louder. No limit. Which made for some great music if nothing else.
“Vancouver’s fabled York Theatre, 1985. Husker Du are in town, the hot ticket of the season. The joint’s packed and wild, like some hack Hollywood screenwriter’s fever dream of a punk rock show gone horribly wrong (in a good way). I’m pretty sure this is the night that somebody actually dove off the balcony. Or maybe that’s just how the drugs remember it. I was definitely quite high, ripped on some of the best LSD of the decade. Anyway, the evening ends up being like high school sex. It peaks way early with warm up act NoMeansNo more or less destroying the headliners. Dad is the encore, the first time I’ve ever heard it. I remember it moving me to tears. The sheer horror of it, and empathy, I guess. I remember thinking, punk rock isn’t supposed to do this. I remember throwing myself off the balcony. Well, maybe not that part.” (Philip Random)
“It’s perhaps hard to imagine now, but come the mid-1980s, so called psychedelic rock was pretty much absent as a musical force, even as an underground item. Chalk it up, I guess, to being two decades on from your various Beatles, Hendrix, Byrds, Cream (and related) eruptions and seductions, and the culture maybe just needing a break for a while. And yet, Love + Rockets sounded just fine to my ears. They were Bauhaus basically, without the singer, which, of course, made a big difference, still conjuring cool moods and working powerful dynamics, but they’d left Dracula’s castle in the rearview, opted for a brighter, sweeter, more colourful set (and setting). Look no further than a title like Yin and Yang and The Flowerpot Man, though the song actually seems to be about the mystical-magical virtues of alcohol, strangely enough.” (Philip Random)
In which Keith Leblanc, straight outa Connecticut, and by way of outfits like Sugarhill Records, Tackhead, Little Axe (and a bunch more) reminds us of exactly what 1986 felt like – the best part anyway. Big beats (bigger than man had ever heard before), cool noise, strange new technologies alchemizing, boiling over, eager to smash the planet, change everything forever. And they would. Planet smashing was definitely what it was all about in the 80s. The planet needed smashing, musically speaking, that is.
“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)
“I gave up trying to figure out what Michael Stipe was on about very early on. The first few REM albums, he was mumbling, which made it easy. But then, come Life’s Rich Pageant, he was suddenly enunciating, you could now decipher words – they just weren’t adding up. Except maybe Cuyahoga. Because I’d read about the Cuyahoga as a little kid. The river that was so polluted with man made chemicals and whatever that it actually caught fire, Cleveland, Ohio, 1969. That’s the kind of fact that’s all too meaningful.” (Philip Random)
“Evol (the name of the album in question) is love spelled backward, which is pretty much what was going on in 1991, Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, as Sonic Youth warmed up Neil Young + Crazy Horse, choosing not to pander even slightly to all the aging hippies in the house, but rather to deliver unto them a profound and beautiful and sustained NOISE. The climax came with Expressway to Yr Skull, which actually starts out kind of nice, but then ‘We’re Gonna Kill – The California Girls – We’re gonna fire the exploding load in the milkmaid maidenhead.’ The hippies were very confused, angry even, but I just laughed. The times, they just kept a-changing.” (Philip Random)
“It’s maybe 1986 and the Commodore Ballroom is packed – some big deal band about to play. But first there’s a warm up act, a new British outfit nobody’s ever heard of called Wood-something. They open with a pumped acoustic thing that proceeds, over its three or four minutes, to amp up into something so extraordinary that we all know exactly who they are by the time it’s done. The Woodentops, who it’s sad to say, never really got any better, but man were they great that night! I don’t remember who the headliners were.” (Philip Random)
“A friend of mine caught Trouble Funk live around this time (1986) while on business in their hometown of Washington, DC (on a Saturday night, of course). I remember him trying to describe the show to me. Like rap, except not at all really because they weren’t rapping, and there was a full-on band. And Holy F***ing Sh** did did people go wild for it! Drop The Bomb indeed.” (Philip Random)