373. the murder mystery

“The raw, reductive simplicity of the Velvet Underground is one of the foundation blocks of everything that has mattered since 1965, musically or otherwise. But their story is not remotely complete without a chapter or seven devoted to their more avant concerns, which Murder Mystery illustrates rather nicely, coming across like premeditated murder of all conventions, expectations, intentions. John Cale was gone by 1969, but you can’t help but feel that when he heard it, he thought, man, I wish I’d had a piece of that. Deadly and mysterious and not entirely unmusical.” (Philip Random)

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452. streets of Laredo

John Cale being one of those artists who has never felt compelled to repeat himself. This version of the old cowboy song comes from 1981’s Honi Soit, which may not be anyone’s definition a pop item but it was his biggest seller. Which means there are likely still many copies of it floating around, which makes me feel very good somehow. Curious young minds stumbling onto Streets of Laredo gone discordantly into the ditch, dumping all the sunshine and melodrama, leaving only drama and the stink of death. I’d love to see this movie.” (Philip Random)

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513. who loves the sun?

In which the Velvets indulge their inner Monkees for a bit and go full on pop, but they still can’t help dis-respecting the mighty and magnificent and beautiful sun which gives all life, inspires much of our religion and spirituality. Which is why we love it, of course (the song, that is), because the more bitter you can jam into a sweet, the better. Who cares if the teenybops can handle it?

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580. Venus in furs

In which the Velvet Underground remind us that in NYC, the so-called Summer of Love was more about coolness and shadows and shiny boots of leather than the hippie sh** that was so popular elsewhere. Music so driven, angular, dark that it made you want to grab a whip and get to cracking it in time. Based on a rather pivotal 1870 novella of the same name that explores themes of sadomasochism and dominance, it hits like a wrong door, the kind you open without really thinking about it, but once you have, whatever’s going on in there – it has you, it won’t let you go. Which perhaps begins to explain how it ended up being used to sell tires.

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873. dead or alive

John Cale, original underground Velvet, reminds us that when it comes to intelligent chunks of aural sculpture that also rock a pop groove, few can touch him. So why did he give the world so few of them?  You may as well ask, why did Lou Reed have to be such an asshole?

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23. The Solid Time Of Change

Part Twenty-Three of the Solid Time of Change aired Saturday November-26-2016 c/o CiTR.FM.101.9.

Podcast (Solid Time starts a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (incomplete and not entirely accurate).

This continues to be Randophonic’s main focus, our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era (presented in countdown form) – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.

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Part Twenty-Three of the journey went as follows:

  1. Steve Hackett – ace of wands
  2. Camel – lunar sea
  3. Yes – astral traveler
  4. Led Zeppelin – the rain song
  5. Donovan- roots of oak
  6. Gentle Giant – experience
  7. Gentle Giant – I lost my head
  8. Velvet Underground – the murder mystery
  9. Supertramp – hide in your shell
  10. Frank Zappa – the torture never stops
  11. Grateful Dead – Blues for Allah
  12. Grateful Dead – sand castles + glass camels
  13. Grateful Dead – unusual occurrences in the desert

Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook.

1024. beginning to see the light

The Velvet Underground deliver some straight up rock and roll circa 1969, of which there never seemed to be enough in a world full of too much everything, particularly the kind that might  have seen some hope at the end of that long dark tunnel. Or was it a train coming the other way?  Or maybe it was like that dream Lou Reed had where he met himself coming the other way … and everything was alright.

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St. Steven’s POP Apocalypse #15

The final installment (#15) of St. Steven’s POP Apocalypse aired November 22nd on CiTR.FM.101.9.

Here it is in two Mixcloud streams, each about an hour …

The podcast of the whole program is available for download here. 

This marks the climax of our programming since June.  So, if we got it absolutely right, it’s probably one of the greatest radio programs ever across all bands and frequencies. If not, we apologize. Because you certainly can’t blame the music, the twenty most singular records of all time, presented here in descending order.

20. Prince – let’s go crazy (1984)

It’s the mid-80s and it somehow makes perfect sense that the single most kickass dancefloor killer of the raging moment is an exhortation toward the love of God and going crazy.  Made it to the #1 in the USA, #2 in Canada, #7 in the UK, #10 in Australia.

No video available. Thanks, Prince.

19. My Bloody Valentine – When You Sleep (1991)

It’s arguably a sin to even listen to this in recorded form as it could never do sonic justice to the live experience. And yet, such is the My Bloody Magnificence of the thing — it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. There is only everything.

18. Velvet Underground – Sweet Jane (1970)

Of course it didn’t chart. It tells the truth. About everything. Children are not the only ones who blush. Villains don’t always blink their eyes. The best music scares the hell out of the powerful.

17. Alice Cooper – Schools Out (1972

Catches the mad punk delirium of the last day of school, reminds us that all the most important lessons happen outside the prison walls. And funny at that. Made it to #7 in the USA, #5 in Germany, # 2 in Ireland, #1 in the UK.

16. Jimi Hendrix – all along the watchtower (1968)

The Dylan cover so good it forever changed how Dylan himself performed the song. As to what it’s actually about. That’s pretty obvious. It’s about businessmen drinking the man’s wine, with riders approaching and the wind about to howl. Made it to #20 in the USA, #5 in the UK.

15. Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman (1968) 

Jimmy Webb wrote the song but Mr. Campbell nailed its sad and true centre. Yeah, he went on to perpetrate a mostly mediocre career, but these three minutes could redeem Richard Nixon. Made it to #3 in the USA, #1 in Canada, #7 in the UK.

14. Undertones – teenage kicks (1978)

Punk spins into pop, conjures a confection that manages to be both fierce and fun. Given Teenage Kicks overall lack of chart supremacy, you gotta figure it all happened just a little too soon for the world. Our gain. We’re not sick of it. Made it to #31 in the UK.

13. Clash – I fought the law (1979) 

Is it wrong that a band that wrote so many masterpieces of their own should have a cover register as their highest selection on this list? No. Because the Clash just weren’t that pure. That was the attraction. They were a raging guerrilla battle all the way, all the time. Name a tactic. They used it. Did the Law win in the end? Who said it was over? Made it to #24 in Ireland.

12. Johnny Cash – ring of fire (1963)

About as happy a song about going to hell as we know. Or maybe it’s about falling in love. Or something else. What it is, is the Man In Black whooping it up with mariachi horns, having a blast. Works at parties, weddings, anywhere really. Made it to #1 on the USA-Country chart, #17 on the pop chart, #12 in Australia.

11. David Bowie – life on Mars? (1973) 

A 1973 single release from a 1971 album which didn’t get heard in the Americas until at least 1972. In other words, Mr. Bowie (aka Mr. Jones) is messing with the fabric of reality yet again, and winning. A full-on Hollyweird epic in less than four minutes. Romance, regret, yearning, aliens. Made it to #3 in the UK, #39 in Germany, #4 in Ireland.

10. Nina Simone – I wish I knew how it would feel to be free (1967)

It didn’t seem to chart anywhere. It changed the world anyway. |How do we know this? Because everyone that hears it agrees with it … or they’re one of the jailers.

9. Stevie Wonder – superstition (1972) 

Because of what happens whenever this shows up in a party situation. The funk destroys all fascists. Goodness triumphs. That it’s also a rip-roaring condemnation of all the insane stuff people believe, well, welcome to inside of the Top Ten. Made it to #1 in the USA, #11 in the UK.

8. Pere Ubu – final solution (1976)

Wherein the atom heart of Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues getst split and full-on apocalypse unleashes. Deliberately kept off the charts by shady men dressed in black lest it immanetize the eschaton ahead of schedule. Such was the murky truth of 1976.

7. KLF – doctorin’ the Tardis (1988)

The Dr. Who theme and Rock And Roll Part 2 joined at the trans-dimensional hip. More fun than all the Star Wars and all the Star Treks (and their spinoffs) combined. And magnitudes smarter. Made it #1 in the UK, #2 in Australia, #4 in Ireland, #16 on the US dance charts.

6. Rolling Stones – paint it black (1966) 

It’s not even the Summer of Love yet but the Stones are unleashing the sitars and balalaikas, knocking the whole world on its side, even as they dump a tanker load of black paint over all those pretty psychedelic colours. Made it #1 in the US, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands, #2 in Finland. What the hell, Finland?

5. Stooges – I wanna be your dog (1969) 

Released in June of 1969, it didn’t chart anywhere, didn’t get them invited to Woodstock or Ed Sullivan. Yet it’s still at least the fifth greatest and/or most singular record of all time because entire universes have formed from the mad chaos of its wake.

4. Sex Pistols – pretty vacant (1977) 

The most Abba like of the Sex Pistols singles, probably because the main riff was more or less stolen from them. Yet such atrocities were unleashed upon it that nobody seemed to notice. This was going to be Anarchy in the UK except Motron started making allergy noises. Made it to #6 in the UK.

3. Beatles – revolution (1968)

Motron remembers Grade Four. “Mrs. Hackett would let us play records on Friday afternoons. And it always ended with The Beatles’ Hey Jude/Revolution. Hey Jude always got played first because it was the A-side and ladies first, the girls preferred it. Revolution always got played louder because after all that, the boys needed to tear shit up.” Made it to #1 absolutely everywhere.

2. Beatles – I am the walrus (1967)

Beatle John drops acid for maybe the thousandth day in a row, ends up watching TV and taking notes of great terror and epiphany while sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun to shine. Jack Kerouac once said that all he had to offer was his confusion. John Lennon took it even further. He was the walrus. Goo-goo-ga-joob. B-side to Hello Goodbye which made it #2 everywhere that it wasn’t #1.

1. Elvis Presley – if I can dream (1968)

The kid from Tupelo singing like he truly believes that a single song can not just redeem his own soul but everyone else’s as well, the world over, in 1968 on a TV special with the hard rain of assassinations and war and insurrection falling here there and everywhere. Seriously, what’s a King to do? Made it to #12 in the US, #6 in Canada.