287. freak scene

“I kept hearing about Dinosaur Jr. back in the late 1980s but I never consciously heard them. Apparently, they were a throwback to the pre-punk days of big wild guitar solos, epic intentions … but in a good way, which sounded promising. Then I finally did heard Freak Scene some time in 1990 and hell yeah, truth in advertising. Except they were anything but a throwback — guitar so sheer and beaming with fractal light, it was carving gateways into the future. Or at least that’s what it felt like that time at the Commodore, the top of my head lysergically removed from the rest of my body. In a good way. Later, I drove home, still quite high, listening to classical music on the radio – some Shostokowich as I recall. And it all made perfect sense.” (Philip Random)

DinosaurJR-1988-studio

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381. the hands of the juggler

Fred Frith being one of those geniuses who pretty much always let his playing do the talking, Gravity being an album that dates back to 1980, but it was deep into the 1990s before I gave it a proper listen. Music that stood the test, no doubt about that. Or more to the point, music that had confidently showed the way to the cool future we were then having. Rock and jazz and folk and all manner of exotic elements all humming along very nicely together, not world music per say, but what the world actually sounded like, with Hands of the Juggler a delirious standout, particularly once it shifts gears around the three-minute point.” (Philip Random)

FredFrith-1980

456. the torture never stops

Apparently, Torture Never Stops was Frank Zappa’s response to Donna Summer’s monster disco hit Love To Love You Baby. “You want an orgasm on record? Here’s a proper orgasm.” Which doesn’t exactly explain the sado-masochism of the lyrics. But what does explain a Frank Zappa lyric past about 1969? The music on the other hand is its own justification – a prolonged exploration of a strange, dimly lit zone where the pleasure and pain seem indivisible, and we’re all consenting adults, right?

FrankZappa-1976-shades

913. big electric cat

Adrian Belew was the guitar phenom of the late 70s, early 80s – started with Zappa, got snagged by Bowie, moved through Talking Heads, then straight to the front of the great King Crimson resurgence of 1981. A solo album was inevitable but ultimately (inevitably) disappointing.  Which doesn’t mean he didn’t leave us with at least one monster party track, the Big Electric Cat that was the cool DJ’s best friend for a good long while. “Just slap it on and watch the room go off. Even the frat boys seemed to dig it.” (Philip Random)

adrianbelew-lonerhino