137. sex beat

“I believe that the sex beat the Gun Club are on about here is what the kids call rock and roll. Which is why all the preachers and the like wanted it banned back in the day which, of course, is the best thing that could ever have happened to rock and roll. And it continued to happen over the years. Tried to anyway – the cleaning up of that filthy sex beat. Which whenever even remotely successful, only forced it underground, the filthiest place of all. And thus it ran into the likes of Gun Club †in the late 70s, early 80s, drinking and drugging their way around the grungiest dives of LA, dysfunctional as f*** and thus one of the greatest bands† most decent folk have still never heard of, and thus still capable of shaking a few foundations. All hail the self righteous. They know not what they do, and they do it so well.” (Philip Random)

(photo: Edward Colver)

191. we did it again

Soft Machine released a pile of albums in their time, but for whatever reason, I never really got past the early ones, the first in particular. 1968 was the year and if you like your psychedelia wild, weird, noisy and more or less free of recognized form, well, let’s just say the revolution starts here (and possibly dissolves as well). Though in the case of We Did It Again, you get a nifty sort of drone driven garage pop that sounds as relevant (in a noisy sort of way) as pretty much anything new I’m currently hearing . All hail the eternal underground.” (Philip Random)

SoftMachine-1968

 

498. dancing with the moonlit knight

“It’s true. In 1973, Genesis were the definition of sophisticated, underground cool. Certainly too cool for local Vancouver radio which barely played them. But you heard about them anyway from various cool older brothers and sisters, or saw an occasional photo in something like Creem magazine. It was always about the live show, like Alice Cooper but completely different, not for teeny bops. And then I finally heard them and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. How could it be? It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. So delicate and then not. So powerful and strange. The album was Selling England by the Pound. The first song was Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. Like dropping the needle into a dense and beautiful dream that you probably weren’t ready for, but here it was anyway. Something to do with England being in big trouble. The Pound was falling, the empire was fading, it was the worst of times, it was the very best of music.” (Philip Random)

Genesis-1973-GabrielLiberty

650. tell me something good

3 Teens Kill 4 only ever released one album, but it was a good one, very much in synch with the temper of the increasingly nasty times. In the case of Tell Me Something Good, that meant grabbing some audio from the TV coverage of John Hinkley‘s attempted 1981 assassination of Ronald Reagan, laying it over some mutated funk and turning it into a cover of that Rufus song. And nobody complained really. Homeland Security were not called. Nobody got stuck on a no-fly list. Welcome to the 1980s when such a thing as an art underground actually existed, a dark and mysterious place that was genuinely hard to get to, and once there, get out of.

3teensKill4

857. kill for peace

“Motron was right. I was wrong. It turns out the Fugs were the first genuinely Underground American outfit, certainly of psychedelic 60s. I was arguing hard for the Mothers of Invention, but no, it turns out the Fugs beat them to it. They weren’t as good as the Mothers, but that’s a different argument. Kill For Peace (from the Fugs’ Second Album by which point the Mothers were in the game) certainly set things straight about what was going down over in Vietnam: if you don’t like foreigners and their strange habits and customs, then kill them, for peace, because if we don’t, the Chinese will. It stands to reason.” (Philip Random)

fuggs-1966

960. fly on a windshield + Broadway Melody of 1974

Two songs that more or less fuse into one from that oft forgotten era when the band known as Genesis weren’t just considered cool and relevant, they had the keys to the underground. In fact, they had a whole concept album about the place called The Lamb Dies Down on Broadway wherein a Puerto Rican street punk named Rael gets caught up in a local apocalypse (like a fly on a windshield) and next thing he knows, he’s trapped in dense labyrinthine depths that will take him the better part of four sides of vinyl to reconcile. In other words, it’s the early Genesis at the absolute peak of their ambitions (if not their attainments) and Peter Gabriel’s final album with the band. Though both would go off to achieve mega levels of success on their own, neither would ever again come close to the sheer weird edge cutting heights (depths?) they achieved here.

1089. beggars farm

If you considered yourself hip to what was cool in Britain 1968, Jethro Tull were the real deal – heavy duty underground stuff that couldn’t be messed with, even if the main guy did play flute. Beggars Farm goes back to their first album when they were still mostly a blues outfit, though the cover suggested something deeper was going on, the band all got up as old men.  Like they knew something we didn’t – that all the flower power youth stuff was just a passing fad.

(image source)