“It continues to amaze me that this hit in 1977, the year Punk truly erupted, tore the firmament asunder, tossed multi-dimensional hand grenades up and down the corridors of power and complacency. And Talking Heads were very much part of all that, playing all the relevant clubs, going to all the relevant parties. Except Don’t Worry About the Government isn’t really raucous at all, just a spry ditty about clouds and pine trees and peaches and civil servants and friends, and loved ones. Nothing at all to worry about.” (Philip Random)
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 entirety of Talking Heads’ third album Fear of Music is essential, but I Zimbra stands out for broad hint it offers of what would happen if Talking Heads (at the vigorous encouragement of their producer Brian Eno) were to maybe leave the whole punk/new wave thing behind, take a wild dive into the whole world, Africa in particular. Shrug it all off as cultural appropriation as some have over the years, but things were different then, the world was bigger, our maps magnitudes less complete. And anyway, things seem to be correcting of late.
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 #17 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
971. Frank Zappa – peaches in regalia
970. Cake – you turn the screws
969. Talking Heads – houses in motion
968. XTC – snowman
967. Badfinger – perfection
966. Police – voices inside my head
965. K-os – crabbuckit
964. Neil Young – human highway
963. Mary Clayton – Southern Man
962. J-Live – Satisfied
961. Primal Scream – stuka [ju-87]
960. Critical Point & Vikter Duplaix – messages
959. Lee Perry + Dub Syndicate – blinkers
958. Jun Togawa[戸川純] – Because the Night
957. Twilight Singers – Verti-Mart
956. Camel – song within a song
955. Klaatu – across the universe in eighty days
954. Autechre – Autriche
953. George Harrison – deep blue
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 Catherine Wheel was David Byrne‘s first solo album, recorded while the Talking Heads were officially on hiatus. The soundtrack for a Twyla Tharp ballet, it stands as exhibit three of Byrne’s 1980-81 hat trick of zeitgeist defining genius (something he still hasn’t topped). The first two were collaborations with Brian Eno (the Talking Heads album Remain In Light, and then My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts) but Catherine Wheel was Mr. Byrne going it alone in the production/writing department. Eggs In A Briar Patch (and really the whole sweep of Dinosaur, The Red House, Weezing, Eggs in a Briar Patch and Poison) gets the nod here because of how effectively the convoluted path between song and atmosphere gets traversed, and all the cool mysteries thus uncovered.
“Fear of Music is the Talking Heads album that finally turned me from outside appreciator to full-on fan, because holy sh**! what a great album! every second of it. With Heaven speaking of a bar where nothing ever happens, and passionately so. Call it ironic, I guess, though I’d be lying if I said I’ve never known the special hell inherent in non-stop fun and games.” (Philip Random)
“Remain In Light is one of those albums that changed me forever. Because here were the Talking Heads, a so-called New Wave band, embracing every sound (musical and otherwise) that the world had to offer and making it work, brilliantly, rearranging how my ears heard music. Listening Wind comes from toward the end of Side-B and speaks of wide open spaces, infinity even, all manner of mystery and imagination and reasons to live. I’ve watched a lot of suns set to this one, and even a few rise.” (Philip Random)