“Call Transmission the song that finally got me around to loving Joy Division. Because at first, they mostly annoyed me. Not because of the music. Nah, it was the death cult, the ‘Ian died for our sins’ crowd. Which is overstating it, I don’t recall anyone actually saying that. But it sure felt like it at times. ‘You must take this song very, very seriously because the man who wrote and sang it killed himself – how serious is that?’ To which I’d counter, so what you’re saying is Joy Division are half a serious as Badfinger because two of those guys killed themselves. Which I’ll now apologize for. That’s asshole logic. Which isn’t to diminish Badfinger at all. Badfinger were a great f***ing band. But they were no Joy Division. They didn’t change everything forever.
Joy Division being one of those ground zero outfits, I think, there being a universe that existed before them with its own unique rules and peculiarities, and then they showed up and those rules and peculiarities changed. Forever. And no, it wasn’t the suicide. It got a lot of folks’ attention, for sure, but if there hadn’t been something uniquely sharp and fresh and yeah, deadly serious, in the actual music, well, we’d be talking about some other band. And anyway, despite appearances, I like to think there is at least a little actual joy to be found in the Joy Division discography. Maybe in Transmission, a love song that doesn’t tear anyone apart, because the focus isn’t on some other — just the right song at the right moment on the right radio station, and what it can do for a lonely human soul. It can set that soul to dancing. And when you’re dancing, you are not alone … even if you’re the only one in the room. Of course, I’ve heard the exact opposite argued – that Transmission is a condemnation of radio, of all the crap that people will listen to in order get their minds off all the troubles of the world. Guess we’ll just have to keep arguing, because the guy who wrote it checked out long ago.” (Philip Random)
“I had heard of Joy Division before the big deal suicide – I just hadn’t heard any of the music (sound traveling much slower before the internet). And meanwhile, I was dealing with a close personal suicide of my own, ex-friend James. So I was abundantly clear on one thing: suicide wasn’t cool, wasn’t romantic, wasn’t meaningful, wasn’t anything but a dire, miserable fact. So when word came down that the lead singer of this cool new band had offed himself, I just wasn’t interested, particularly as a sort of cult grew around him. ‘Badfinger had two suicides, so they’re twice as cool,’ I was guilty of saying. And guilt’s the word, because I was wrong. Not about the romanticizing of suicide, but about shrugging off the fierce grace of Joy Division‘s music. Nothing could negate that. Ever.” (Philip Random)
Second of two in a row from the Swans, 1988 being the year that they gave us not one but two covers of everybody’s favourite suicidal love song, both actually quite good. Jarboe‘s version gets the nod here, because she’s got the nicer voice, and it’s more gentle. And we definitely needed some gentle niceness by the time 1988 landed, Winter of Hate in full effect. Not that Love Will Tear Us Apart could ever be mistaken for a song bereft of cataclysm.
These 12 Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Randophonic’s other 12 Mixtapes of Christmas from two years ago, or even with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you). And they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).
There’s no particular genre, no particular theme or agenda being pursued, beyond all selections coming from Randophonic’s ever expanding collection of used vinyl, which continues to simultaneously draw us back and propel us forward (sonically speaking) — music and noise and whatever else the world famous Randophonic Jukebox deems (or perhaps dreams) necessary toward our long term goal of solving all the world’s problems.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from Roy Orbison to Curtis Mayfield to Can, Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Kraftwerk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and beyond (and that’s just from the first mix) — anything and everything, as long as it’s good.
The Final Countdown* is Randophonic’s longest and, if we’re doing it right, most relevant countdown yet – the end of result of a rather convoluted process that’s still evolving such is the existential nature of the project question: the 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here. Whatever that means. What it means is dozens of radio programs if all goes to plan, and when has that ever happened?
Installment #20 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
915. Del Mar vs South Park – it’s gone
914. Marilyn Manson – Golden Years
913. Neil Young – for the turnstiles
912. Deerhoof – There’s A Kind of Hush All over the World
911. Queen – the night comes down
910. Wall of Voodoo – the passenger
909. Free – I’m a mover
908. Jimmy Castor Bunch – LTD [life truth + death]
907. Joe Cocker – feelin’ alright
906. Joy Division – the eternal
905. Alan Parsons Project – dream within a dream
904. Alan Parsons Project – The Raven
903. Cars – moving in stereo
902. Laurie Anderson – let x=x/it tango
901. The Orb – A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain that …
900. Bob Dylan – you ain’t goin’ nowhere
899. Patti Smith – changing of the guards
898. Rickie Lee Jones – rebel rebel
897. Herbie Mann – push push
Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and/or download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
“The first thing I heard about Joy Division was that they were a cool new band out of Britain who were doing a sort of new wave meets The Doors thing. Which sounded cool. The next thing was that their lead singer had killed himself. But good luck getting to hear any of the actual music. Local rock radio wasn’t playing any of it and whatever few dozen of their records that may have made it to town as imports were quickly scooped up by people far cooler than me. So it was all just mystery for a long time until I finally heard Decades on a mixtape in some guy’s car – as suitable an epitaph as anyone ever wrote for themselves. And strangely, it’s almost exactly what I expected. Dark and strange and heavy with mood just like Jimbo the Lizard King and his crowd, except the edges were harder, the lines cut sharper. Like nothing I’d ever heard before really, except perhaps in my dreams. I guess I liked it. I’ve never really stopped listening to it.” (Philip Random)
In which we are reminded that way back when (1980-81 to be specific) U2 were still pretty much complete unknowns. But one listen to something like Another Time Another Place and you knew that wasn’t going to last. Because this outfit was like Joy Division with the doom removed, rhythm like runaway horses, guitar like great sheets of illuminating light, big voice, epiphanies by the minute.
“Spring 1980. I first hear of a band called Joy Divison. Apparently, they’re like a new wave Doors. Which is all I need to hear. I head down to Quintessence Records prepared to pay big bucks for an import. Except, ‘Sorry,’ says the guy at the counter, ‘we’re sold out since the main guy killed himself.’ Ouch. Less than a year later, we start to hear New Order, the band that rose from those ashes – cool and eerie and sounding exactly like the future.” (Philip Random)