124. just like heaven

I’ve never been one to buy many singles – something to do with coming of record buying age in the early 1970s, I guess, when albums were the thing. But every now and then, you’ve got to adjust your strategies. Like hearing Dinosaur Jr‘s planet killing version of the Cure’s Just Like Heaven on the radio one sublime summer day and immediately needing to own the record. But all I could find was a 7-inch. Which if I’d been truly cool would’ve triggered a whole new phase for me, 7-inches being all the rage as the 80s turned over into the 90s, particularly if you were into raw sort of proto-grunge indie-rock. But I’ve never really been into just one sound or attitude. It’s always been everything, if possible. Which to my mind (and heart) is what J Mascis and crew accomplish here, the kind of rapturous, all encompassing escape velocity that redefines reality forever … until it suddenly just has to stop.” (Philip Random)

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278. for the love of Ivey

In which The Gun Club kick out the sort of murky, raw LOUD-quiet-LOUD that would have shifted bucketloads of units to the grunge crowd … if they’d only released Fire of Love (the album) ten years later than they did. Because in 1981, the world just wasn’t ready for the likes of For the Love of Ivey or any number of other dangerous gems. Not the mobbed up geniuses who programmed radio anyway, ran the major record labels, shifted the units. Which in the end has got to be a good thing – The Gun Club still sounding fresh, still beautiful in their ugliness, like Elvis from hell.

GunClub-1981-backstage

649. gouge away

The Pixies were nothing if not fresh when I first heard them, which was pretty much as they hit. All the rage and bile of punk and hardcore applied to a smart, tight pop sense.  But I’d be lying if I said I was entirely blown away. Because there was something a little too obvious about it. Like, why had it taken so long for somebody to put this formula together? Also, you had all manner of other stuff erupting at the time, all kinds of cool futures getting invented. It was only maybe five years later, (after they’d broken up) that I realized just how strong and good a band they were, with Doolittle the album they’d never top.” (Philip Random)

Pixies-1989

684. Bad Man

“To be clear, the stuff that came to be known as Grunge was alive and raw for years before most of the world ever heard about it. Look no further than Slow, straight outa the mean streets of Vancouver’s plush west side, teenagers with an equal love of punk rock and the likes of Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, ACDC, The Rolling Stones (anything and everything as long as it howled). I remember seeing them one night in 1985 at a small club. Maybe thirty seconds into the opening number (a Temptations cover), the singer (a guy named Tom) was up on the front row tables, kicking everybody’s beers over, instigating rage and ecstasy, smashing atoms by the truckload. Bad boys indeed.” (Philip Random)

Slow-1986

963. toys in the attic

Aerosmith from when they were still a properly dangerous rawk band with sleaze spilling out of their eyeballs and no talk of re-hab or MTV, the title track from Toys in the Attic being about as grunge-infested as any commercial rock band ever got … before Punk.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard it once while wandering through some suburban living room, drunk, a house-destroying partying going on all around me, shards of glass everywhere, amazed that somehow nobody had messed with the record player.” (Philip Random)

aerosmith-1975