Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Back to the Eighties

by Tom Bozzo

The creepiest record in my collection (by a wide margin*), which I submit would measure '[expletive]ing creepy' or better on the creepymeter, is Coil's 1987 EP of unreleased themes for Clive Barker's "Hellraiser", rejected by the studio for the soundtrack for being, presumably, too creepy. For "Hellraiser." Play it in a dim studio at 3 A.M. at the risk of your own wits.

I Googled "coil consequences discography" to verify the title of the record -- one site suggests that what I'd always taken as the title ("The Consequences of Raising Hell") is actually an alternate. OK, so long industrial music. The search results yield a hit or two for This Mortal Coil, a sort-of 4AD Records "supergroup" including, among others, members of Cocteau Twins.

This takes me back to one of my most vivid and formative college radio memories, from 1985, WXDR (now WVUD) DJ Tom Capodanno back-announcing Aikea-Guinea with "God, isn't that the greatest record you ever heard?!" No, actually, but I did spend the next four years as a serious indie rock junkie.

And, harking back to the days when the internet was relatively useless but cool (at least given that almost everyone online had .edu addresses or the foreign equivalent), the Cocteau Twins offer a little riff from "Carolyn's Fingers" [mp3] for use as a system startup sound, which sadly is not as useful in MacOS X as it would have been in System 7.x, for which I spent plenty of time fine-tuning the assignment of samples of various "D'Ohh!"-type utterances to various system events that could have been spent on my dissertation research. And there's a cheesy video [pop-up with QuickTime video], which I wouldn't have guessed existed (**), to Aikea-Guinea.

Meanwhile, their old label 4AD's homepage advertises, among other things, the vinyl rerelease of three Pixies albums from 1987-9. Amazingly, I can find the Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim CD despite the lack of rational order to the collection -- in the car for a 1988 moment or two on the way to work tomorrow. The pacing of the M|A|R|R|S "Pump Up the Volume" video (1987) is almost languid.

I also see that the indie backcatalogue at the iTunes music store is finally filling in (see, e.g., the iMix "lonely is an isight"), which is a potentially dangerous development (to the household budget) as this is an attractive substitute for trying to digitize a lot of old vinyls or tracking down rare CDs at collector shops.

But the most shocking thing of all was hearing Guns N' [sic] Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" at the gym earlier this evening, and thinking it's not such a bad song after all. I felt very old.

(*) I really don't have many creepy records. Weird ones, maybe, but not generally creepy.

(**) Though Factory Records (cf. 24 Hour Party People) was responsible for far cheesier videos in the early '80s.
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