This is Husker Du as they broke through, defining that zeitgeistmoment when punk finally embraced the psychedelic, became eternal. But Pink Turns To Blue is also Husker Du hinting at their inevitable demise. Or more to the point, Grant Hart, the drummer, the guy who wrote and sang it. A song about heroin and what happens when that person you love is changing colour on you, turning the wrong shade of blue. F***ing junkies. They ruin everything.
“DOA saved my life any number of times in the 1980s, mainly through their live shows. From the back of auto body shops to abandoned youth clubs to at least one high school gym to the Arts Club on Seymour (still the best damned live venue the Terminal City has ever had) to at least two sold out Commodore Ballrooms, to some impromptu acoustic messing around off the edge of a movie set – it was never pretty, always somehow beautiful. And I’m pretty sure they did War In The East every time, their only reggae song, because it slowed things a touch, clarified a few key points. Fighting one another – killing for big brother. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)
American punk-hard core (whatever you want to call it) bushwackers Black Flag unleash a profound anthem of insight and purpose unto the world. Because we’ve all done it, invested precious hours of our lives in smoking cheap dope, drinking swill, watching sh** on TV. Originally found on an EP of the same name, but most of us heard it first care of the Repo Man Soundtrack, which, it’s true, saved the western world, but first it had to destroy it.
“Husker Du‘s 1984 double album Zen Arcade was one of those documents that changes everything forever. Here was a punk/hardcore/whatever that was simply, enormously MORE. Here was a band that was going to do whatever the f*** it wanted as long as the sound was sharp enough to cause bleeding at fifty yards. What’s Going On Inside My Head was my mantra for a while – less a question than a howl of purposeful confusionism. Don’t bow to the chaos of the age. Eat it. Let it nourish you.” (Philip Random)
You had to love the cover of Tupelo Chain Sex’s first album, 1984’s Spot the Difference. Little punk kid sporting a Ronald Reagan Adolph Hitler t-shirt, getting pulled two ways at once. But the real treasure was the music. Not just another hardcore band from LA, these guys were brilliantly all over the place. Reggae, dub, ska, jazz, rockabilly, hardcore – everything, with lead off track The Dream (an extrapolation on an old Cab Calloway hit) serving as a whip smart intro to what remains one of the great (mostly) forgotten albums of any era.
Second of two in a row from the Minutemen‘s Double Nickels on the Dime, a double album featuring forty-three mostly hard, mostly fast, mostly abrupt nuggets that manage to be unerringly smart, angry, political, and damned good. Themselves, at one-minute-eighteen seconds, doesn’t even feel rushed, just urgent, because all the men who work the land need to wake the f*** up and see beyond the rhetoric. True in 1984. True in 2016.
First of two in a row from the Minutemen‘s Double Nickels on the Dime, arguably the best double album of the 1980s. Because 1984 was supposed to be the year that we all finally found ourselves in George Orwell’s living hell, betrayers of love, loving only Big Brother. But if you were digging deep, steering clear of the sewage that was flooding the mainstream, you had punk-rock-hardcore-whatever-you-want-to-call-it getting ambitious (progressive even), swinging hard for the fences in all kinds of cool ways. And the Minutemen were leading that charge.