For those too young...a brief history...before indie and alternative rock...there was college rock...an 80s genre that was simply named after what college radio stations were playing at the time...as a former college DJ...I have a soft spot for the genre...it was a fun time...and a simpler time... with a laid back vibe and a diversity of artists ranging from the Smiths, Bad brains, to Love tractor...U2,.Rem, and the cure all got their start during thus era...and were the few bands that broke out and penetrated the mainstream...a few like Sonic Youth and the Flaming Lips flirted with the big time...but most like Lets Active, Dumptruck, and Christmas had minor careers which is not a knock...just facts...MTV also played a role with their show 120 mins...the genre included seminal artists like Husker Du, Replacements, the Church, the Fall, Echo and the Bunnymen, Jesus and Mary Chain, Wedding Present, Meat Puppets,etc...anybody have any faves or college radio stories to share?
Atlanta is blessed with WRAS from Ga. ST. J.B. Fuqua endowed this college station years ago. Consequently, WRAS has a 100,000 watt transmitter and can compete with the commercial stations only they could play anything they wanted. They helped break many of the artists you mention including REM,B-52's, Guadalcanal Diary, Love Tractor,Pylon, Let's Active, the Connells, and others. My favorite story was back in the day I was listening to WRAS and they played "Freebird" 14 times in a row. Finally you heard this SCRATCH and the DJ said "Never call and ask for that song again. This next song is by the Sex Pistols." It was an exciting time for music as the new bands were interesting, fun, and the death knell for corporate commoditized hair bands.
Ah.....I remember that time. Plenty of good memories, for instance:
It's 1980 ish and I'm a recent college grad, living in an apartment with a roommate in North Jersey. Of course, we haunt the NYC club scene and listen to the NYU radio station religiously. One night they play a new band that neither of us has ever heard of. My roommate is instantly smitten by the singer's sultry voice and her rather suggestive lyrics. The music is a ferocious blend of funk and punk and they immediately move to the top of my must see list. Plus, my roommate is in love with the chick singer and now we both have to see this band (if for somewhat different reasons).
Good News! They're coming to the Mudd Club (IIRC). We head in for the (weekday) early show at 11:00 PM, despite the implications for work the next morning. Bad News! The show is sold out. We head back to New Jersey, but my roommate will not be denied. He heads back into NYC for the late show.
The band in question was Romeo Void and the singer's name is Debra Iyall. If you don't know this band (and they were IMHO one of the best of the era), suffice it to say that Debra Iyall sounds a fair bit sexier than she looks. If you want to know the dictionary definition of "disappointed look on your face", you had to see my (bleary eyed) roommate at 6:00 AM the next morning.
Fortunately for him, he reported that the show was great.
Agreed. Popular music in the 80s led me to discover the talent in country music; was living in Nashville then, was a snob about it, but quickly saw the value. So I owe 80s pop a thanks for broadening my appreciation of other genres.
Before everyone maligns the 80s it also spawned hip-hop, house, acid jazz, and world beat movements...fwiw..."Mickey"is a somwhat loose interpretation of a 60s tune...by Chinn/Chapeman...pro writers of Sweet fame...its a great cover
80's were mostly a musical recession for me once I graduated from college in '81.
I have higher opinion of many things from that era these days though.
THe local Jack FM radio station plays complete reruns of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 shows from the 80's SUndays at 8:00 pm. I get to catch part of these most Sunday evenings in the car.
Its a good reminder that pop music has always been a pretty mixed bag. A lot of "hits" from then are mostly forgotten these days but a fair number continue to get airplay and keep my attention still these days.
Have seen The Church twice in recent years in excellent small venue. Gotta hear them live to really appreciate their music fully. True of many acts I suppose.
Wasn't it the same British guy who sang in all those 80's "New Wave" groups? :^)
The Church and Steve Kilbey are from Australia.
There are some very good CDs and artists from the 80's, but few artists from then and newer tend to stand out for me. My favorite ones these days tend to be Various Artist compilations. I think its mostly just me leaning more towards good music and less towards individual acts or artists as I get older.
Qdrone- I agree with you about Guadalcanal Diary. I think that they deserve the "deluxe edition" treatment or a box set including selections from their albums, out takes, and perhaps a live recording. Love Tractor is another unique under appreciated band. Both were very original compared to today's offerings.
marty, i apologize for missing your post, which nails the essence of romeo void--had the singer been conventionally beautiful they'd have been huge. the great sf singer barbara manning was another one who fell victim to that syndrome
Frank Allison and the Odd Sox and the Junk Monkeys were very popular local college(Detroit/AA area) bands during the mid-late 80's. FWIW I was much more interested in Mozart, Marsalis and Metallica at that time.
House of large sizes played Fargo frequently...one of my favorite Midwest regional bands of this era was Mile One...their Direction Lp is an 80s classic...great live band as well...word us they cut some demoes for A&M back in the day...nothing came of it unfortunately....others include the Phones, the Wallets, Run Westy Run, Trip Shakespeare
Unfortunately college radio for money peaked in the 80s...and was one of the few positives of an at tims shallow decade... The good news... It was underground then and still underground now...most stations stream...and the programming...for better or worse...is very esoteric...I remember the Program Director at my small state school in the Midwest in the 80s attempted to "modernize" our college station by playing redundant playlists over and over...totally killed the vibe...thanks Gary!
Recently discovered a fun website dedicated to the 80's college music phase- www.slicingupeyeballs.com. Goofy url, but the site contains some great archival footage of bands from that era including the Cure, Talking Heads, etc. Good fun if you like the 80's alternative genre.
Anybody have the 2010 Disintegration remaster?...man, not sure went wrong here... Poor clarity, congested sound, little separation of instruments... Very dense recording...HOTD and Kiss Me x 3 sound very good...any thoughts?
glad this thread is revived--these 80s bands are what turned me from an admirer to a fanatic. sonic youth, meat puppets, husker du, windbreakers, thin white rope, lets active, comsat angels, lyres, neighborhoods, murmur-era rem, rain parade, and so on and so forth....
joy division was awesome--they influenced essentially every gothy/angsty/postpunky band in existence. they only had two real records, as i recall, but they still sound fantastic after thousands of listenings
The Chameleons are one of the most overlooked bands of the 80's. I have all of their discs. They are touring the U.S. this spring under the latest name "Chameleons Vox". Joy Division/New Order are both great and I am a huge Simple Minds fan as well which should make Schubert giggle a little bit.