196. Alex Chilton

“Right sound, wrong timing. That was me and The Replacements, who were exactly what you needed in around 1987 if you were desperate for something/anything genuine in the realm of booze-soaked-truth-telling-poetry-infused rock and roll. Which I guess I wasn’t. I was more into noise and beats and psychedelics and other higher, more quantum concerns at the time. But five years later I was drinking again and finding it very easy to fall in love with Alex Chilton (the song not the man) – me and children by the millions. But seriously, all love to the man to for inspiring a song that could inspire such love, Alex Chilton being one of the guys from Big Star, still maybe the greatest band that hardly anybody’s heard (there’s none on this list because I’ve never found any affordable vinyl). And before Big Star (when Alex was still a teenager) there was a group called the Box Tops, who had a monster hit called The Letter. Love that song.” (Philip Random)

Replacements-1987(image source)

 

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197. bimbo

“Labelling Yello synth-pop is missing the point. True they had synths and even a few hot pop songs, but listen to their first album, the aptly named Solid Pleasure, and a different picture quickly gets painted. Sambas, ambience, outright strangeness, and yeah, in the case of the lead-off track, Bimbo, a nifty bit of synth pop, albeit with Swiss tongues deeply in cheek. Dedicated to a guy I used to know (friend of a friend, I forget his name now) who told me his idea of perfection was to stay at home, get drunk, put Solid Pleasure on and bash away to it on his drum kit. Over and over again. Last I saw him, he wasn’t drumming anymore, just passed out on a couch.” (Philip Random)

Yello-1980-promo

265. barstool blues

“Second of two in a row from Neil Young’s endlessly rich early mid-70s phase, though the album in question, Zuma, is not considered part of the Ditch series. Hard to say why really as, to my ears, it seems rather in line with the previous three albums’ grief and brooding and overall shambolic beauty. In the case of Barstool Blues that means an anthem for all the times you’ve just got to sit at the bar all night and drink, reconciling all the stupid shit you’ve perpetrated, and how its fallout got you there, sitting, drinking, reconciling, moaning those barstool blues … maybe somewhere near Zuma Beach, a thick haze of L.A. smog hanging over everything reminding you that every breath you take is a tiny piece of your inevitable death, but in a good way.” (Philip Random)

neilyoung-1975-zumabeach

477. yin and yang + the flowerpot man

“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)

Love+Rockets-expressCOLLAGE

554. too drunk to f***

“Nasty rip of Dead Kennedy genius from 1981, assholism not just on the rise in Ronald Reagan‘s America, boiling over. Fortunately, we had the best west coast hardcore to help us focus our rage, antipathy, spite. Not at anybody in particular – just the general, clean-cut crowd. The so-called good kids, all dressing the same, looking the same, drinking the same shitty beer, getting too drunk to stand, let alone f***, puking their repressed, conservative, neo-fascist guts.” (Philip Random)

DeadKennedys-1981-live

567. groovallegiance

“There’s not enough Funkadelic on this list. I’m sorry. It’s not my fault. Seriously, try to find any used Funkadelic vinyl in metro Vancouver that isn’t either hacked to shit or priced way out of my range. It doesn’t exist.  But I did finally steal a copy of One Nation Under A Groove from somebody whose name I can’t divulge (for obvious reasons), but trust me, he’s an asshole. Jesus even said it was okay, and alcohol. And anyway, if I do end up going to hell, it won’t be for that.” (Philip Random)

fundadelic-mothership

784. alcohol heart

54-40 have given us a lot of good albums over the years, but the only one I’d truly call great was their second, the one called simply 54-40. A mostly straight up rock record that was (a rarity for the 1980s) not a pile of dumb clichés, but rather a collection of smart, solid songs with Alcohol Heart a particular stand out because it never got overplayed (even on campus and community radio) and yes, as a matter of fact, it tells the truth. Drink enough (but not too much) and close your eyes, and you really can feel the whole damned world.” (Philip Random)

5440-1986