“Because it’s The Stranglers taking on Burt Bacharch’s Walk On By and proving my old buddy Carl right. He used to say there were no bad songs, only bad performances. Not that I really considered Walk On By a bad song, just sort of guilty by association, buried as it was in the EZ-listening-muzak background of my growing up (whatever that godawful Toronto radio station was that my parents had on all the time, 1,001 strings in full asphyxiating flower). But jump ahead a decade and things are different. The song may still be saying the same thing, but the music isn’t. The music snarls, this heartbreak is dangerous, and come the instrumental jam of the full length version, the Stranglers are soaring. Even the punks are running scared.” (Philip Random)
There’s nothing nice about The Stranglers, particularly through their earlier, better years before the heroin started slowing things down. With a song like Nice and Sleazy hitting like a crude, ugly throwback to at least the Dark Ages … except it’s just so damned good. Groovy, heavy and really just reminding us where rock and roll came from anyway. As sleazy as it needs to be.
“In which the Stranglers at the peak of their not-exactly-punk form dish one out in the name of a million dead heroes. Dedicated to all of those ponderous hard left politicos who tried to convert me back in my formative days. I was right all along, assholes. The Revolution died with Stalin, the supreme asshole. He killed all the real heroes, had icepicks rammed into their brains. So yeah, all hail the Stranglers for setting things straight in less than three and a half minutes.” (Philip Random)
Tracks available on this Youtube playlist (somewhat inaccurate).
The Final Countdown* is Randophonic’s longest, most random and (if we’re doing it right) relevant countdown yet – the end of result of a long and convoluted process that finally evolved into something halfway tangible in early 2018. The 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here, if that makes sense. And even if it doesn’t, we’re doing it anyway for as long as it takes, and it will take a while.
Installment #6 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
1191. Malcolm McLaren – do you like scratchin’
1190. Neil Young – Mr Soul [trans]
1189. Stranglers – just like nothing on earth
1188. Uberzone vs Martin Denny – hypnotique
1187. Stone Roses – one love [the jam part]
1186. Sigur Ros – Gobbledigook
1185. Pentangle – Light Flight
1184. Dali’s Car – his box
1183. Negativland – cara mia
1182. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Raleigh-Durham reel
1181. Salvador Santana – Under The Sun
1180. Screaming Eagles – doodoodoodoo
1179. Gabor Csupo – Hungarian Dance #1 (Pozsony)
1178. Grateful Dead – new speedway boogie
1177. Ultravox – Mr X
1176. Todd Rundgren – the spark of life
1175. Egg Head – I hate fluorescent lights
1174. Booker T & the MGs – she’s so heavy
1173. Eugene Chadbourne – wild horses
1172. Rolling Stones – let’s sing this all together [see what happens]
1171. Massive Professor Attack etc – bumper ball dub
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.
“Typically tough early Stranglers number about that most essential of human endeavors. Hanging around. Or maybe that’s a Jesus reference. I remember seeing these guys in the mid-80s when they were trying to soften their sound, less punk infused aggro, more aural sculpture. But the audience wasn’t having it, or better yet, the mob. Because the Stranglers had that effect. The aggression they inspired was intense, downright ugly, serious stomping going down at the slightest provocation. Good thing I was thwacked on MDA at the time (also known as Ecstasy, before marketing changed the name and quadrupled the price) and thus in love with all humanity, even hooligans.” (Philip Random)
It’s Britain, 1977, and if you’re not punk, you’re not worth knowing. Unless you’re the Stranglers, who were like punk’s mean older brother, more sophisticated, and tougher in a street fighting sort of way. Also, they had a sort of existential edge as a song like Get A Grip On Yourself makes clear. Yeah, society’s f***ed, the world’s going up in apocalyptic flames. No reason to lose your cool, man.
The Twelve Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do 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).
The mixes are in fact remnants of an unfinished project from a few years back that had something to do with compiling a playlist for an alternative to Alternative Rock (or whatever) radio station. To be honest, we’re not one hundred percent clear about any of it because somebody spilled (what we hope is) red wine on the official transcript, thus rendering key parts illegible.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from David Bowie to Bow Wow Wow to Tuxedomoon to Claudine Longet, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Captain Beefheart, Aphrodite’s Child, Tom Jones, Marilyn Manson, Ike + Tina Turner, anything and everything, as long as it’s good.