After much burrowing around in the cardboard box and carrier bag breeding ground of our under-stairs cupboard, today I managed to haul out the second box of rattling plastic nostalgia cases that is my cassette collection.
Throwing caution to the wind, I blindly grabbed a trio of magnetic memory magnifiers and slotted the first one into the stereo before I’d even checked to see what it was.
So you can imagine my delight (or maybe you can’t, you might not be so easily pleased) when this next installment in the trip through my own personal musical heritage began with an album that gave us the best song from the soundtrack to a movie cult classic, the wantonly strange Donnie Darko (which, if you haven’t seen it, go find it and watch it).
The Church are not, in the UK at least, a hugely well-known band, hailing as they do from Sydney, Australia. But this song (as well as featuring one of the only acceptable uses of bagpipes in pop) is an instant earworm. It appears at a pivotal point in the movie and perfectly captures the dreamy and surreal tone of Donnie’s world.
Here it is then, from 1988, The Church and the sublime Under the Milky Way Tonight…
…plus, if you liked that and because I’m feeling generous, why not check out the full album, Starfish, while you’re at it.
From antipodean indie to U.S. political hip hop and rap/rock, the next stop on our eclectic journey brings us to a tape that was put together for me by an old friend from Sussex (hello Chris) and it tackles themes that are, somewhat depressingly, just as relevant today as they were in the early ’90s.
The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy were an astute and politically aware hip hop four-piece from San Francisco who, despite their short lifespan, (they split after only three years) provided us with one of the most memorable rap anthems of the era.
Their album, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, was one long rant on the state of America at the turn of the twentieth century’s final decade, and although it’s filled with angst, it sidestepped the “cop killer” attitude of many rappers by concentrating on social issues and generational injustices.
Of the two tracks I’ve chosen from that first blistering album, this is the one you’re most likely to remember, Television, the Drug of the Nation…
…and this, the album’s opener, is just as apposite in 2015, here is Satanic Reverses.
But if proper, eye-popping, vein-bulging anger is more your type of political poison, look no further than the other side of today’s tape two.
Because there you will find some truly furious men, the no-holds-barred riffing monster that is Rage Against the Machine and their ground-breaking eponymous debut album.
I could have picked a couple of the less well known tracks to play you, but there really is nothing that compares to their signature anthem from 1991, the musical steamroller they call Killing in the Name…
…and I’m going to follow that with a performance I was fortunate enough to witness, the apoplectic Bullet in the Head, live from Reading Festival in 1996.
Which brings us to the final selection in today’s trawl of the tapes, lightening things up a bit with some American new wave pop from The B52’s and their ’89 breakthrough album, Cosmic Thing.
I could go the really obvious route and play the massive worldwide smash hit, Love Shack, but instead I’m going for two of my favourites.
First of all, here’s Roam…
…and to complete this visit to the archives, let’s all join the Deadbeat Club.
Thank you for listening.
And as always, remember: Be kind, rewind.