1980s Music Part 2 (It Wasn't All Bad)

Here are some videos/music from some of the bands mentioned in the post about 80's music. The majority of these groups are from New Zealand. The others hail from Australia, Scotland, and England.













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holy crap that is so crazy I've added those Clean, Dolly Mixture, and Josef K videos to my YouTube favorites like within the past couple weeks.

Such an awesome list!!!

Sent by kevin! | 10:21 PM | 8-27-2008

This just bears out how amazing the 80s were in NZ. I've been listening to the Flying Nun 25th anniversary box set recently, which is a pretty incredible document. Each band is represented by just one song, which seems kind of absurd given how productive e.g. The Clean and The Chills, to take two examples from above, were of great songs. But the quality is remarkable, which shows the depth of the scene at that time. In addition to those you mention, one could easily add Straightjacket Fits, This Kind of Punishment, The Terminals, The Pin Group, Gordons, Joy Clarkson, etc. etc.

The scene, and label, certainly drop off a bit in the 90s and beyond: while I will always have a soft spot for The 3Ds, King Loser, The Renderers, Garageland and Bailterspace, not even their biggest fans could argue that these bands reach, collectively, the consistent heights that the Dunedin Sound scene gave rise to. The 80s really were a high point for music in NZ, whatever claims one might make for that decade elsewhere. (I think there is continuing vitality in NZ music, but that during the 90s a lot of it dispersed into the more experimental side of things--Xpressway/Dead C/Metonymic stuff--rather than keeping to the jangle-y pop NZ was famous for. One argument for brand reinforcement, I suppose.)

Something in the water? I think there is a great deal of interesting work that could be done on how musical scenes emerge, thrive, and evolve, and the relative isolation of NZ in the 80s would make it the ideal case study. I don't have too many thoughts on this, but I reckon it's significant that this was probably the first sustained scene where DIY lo-fi recording, and largely self-taught musicianship, were the norm rather than the exception. That, I think, makes for a enthusiastic and energetic scene with low barriers to entry. Maybe everyone who heard the VU formed a band, but everyone who heard 'Tally Ho' formed a band and then home-recorded an album on 4-track.

Sent by Antony | 10:14 AM | 8-28-2008

You should be charging for this stuff!

I can see a college course dedicated to this topic. In fact, there SHOULD be a college course dedicated to this topic.

Sent by Chad - Hungary for Turkey | 12:41 PM | 8-28-2008

ahh The CHurch!

Sent by Marissa | 3:09 PM | 8-28-2008

The 80's are now justly remembered for cheesy style,superstar rock acts,and elderly people eating dogfood. But the SRA were actually good then,just like in the two previous Me/Us decades that blended into and blurred each other.The 80's were the great decade of indie rock,hundreds of bands making exciting music,before "grunge" exploded and indie labels were absorbed.My favorite band is still The Clash,but they're really 70's,so here's the 80's: Replacements,Prince,Public Enemy, Mekons,Husker Du,Talking Heads,L.Reed,X,Sonic Youth,Gang of Four,Blasters,Beastie Boys,Marshall Crenshaw,Black Flag,Go-Betweens,CVB,Angry Samoans,BS,Ambitious lovers,Pogues,Pere Ubu
plus a lot of African music.

Sent by Martin Waechter | 3:11 AM | 8-31-2008

Ever notice these bands are popular and influential around the world? Sometimes more than in the US, an indicator of gravitas. Imagine what we would be listening to if it weren't for college radio and these envelope-pushing, genre bending bands in the '80's. On second thought don't!

Sent by Our Music | 12:12 AM | 9-1-2008

Several Months ago Dorothy Gambrell at catandgirl.com posted the cartoon entitled Trivia (http://catandgirl.com/view.php?loc=508) which sent me off on a furtive hunt for the song "How Come You're Such a Hit with the Boys, Jane?" This posting has once again sent me scrambling for an album long out of print (for the second time, though I understand a third printing of the Dolly Mixture - Demonstration Tapes may be in the works) resulting, 3 hours past my normal bedtime, in finding (with the help of the internet archive, allmusic guide, and http://www.overtheweather.com/dollymixture/ in no particular order) the solution to finally satisfying this particular itch. So, thanks are in order for conspiring with my inner obsessive-compulsive music collector.

Sent by James | 3:51 AM | 9-2-2008

I listened to the podcast this morning. The 80's weren't as bad as the segment made them out to be. Every era has it's time in place (literally). Great call on the Flying Nun label -- just dusted off my compilation 'In Love With These Times' Interesting nobody in the discussion brought up Neil Young and everything he put out through the 80's! Mr. Soul from Trans??? Electronic, country, rockabilly to 'This Note's for You' getting banned by MTV and at the same time awarded video of the year.

Sent by scottp | 11:36 AM | 9-3-2008

Look Blue Go Purple? CB, while it's always been clear that you know your stuff, you really, really know your stuff!

Sent by David G. | 11:55 AM | 9-3-2008

It is the curse of history to be condemned to the snipings of 2 decades to come in all our pursuits, I think. We look back on 80s hair and laugh, but I can't wait until 2020 to hear what we have to say about what's hot today.

Sent by Jim | 11:47 AM | 9-4-2008

Thanks so much for giving The Bats the credit they deserve. "Daddy's Highway" is just a superb album, easily on my all-time top ten list. The rest of their work is great, too. They still record and tour--with the same lineup! I saw them in San Francisco a couple of years ago with my 20-year-old daughter, which was a real musical high point for me.

Sent by Ken | 12:53 PM | 9-5-2008

Nice props in particular to the Clean (longtime faves - big fan of David Kilgour solo stuff too) and Josef K (recent convert w/ Etymology).

This was a pretty lame topic - are the 80s that bad?!? I mean, compared to what ? the 70s? the 90s? Even the revered 60s? Puhlease.

And just what are we comparing? Pop music? AOR? Indie? Everything? The panel focused on top selling music as their examples--well, I come up with equally bad examples from every other decade and maybe more. (C'mon, which makes your skin crawl more Brandy by Looking Glass or Wild Wild West? Or Hootie & the Blowfish or Huey Lewis?)

Now if we're talking about which decade had more classic lps (the medium of choice for making these distinctions for 40 years) then the 80s certainly rate as high if not higher.

Classic singles - same. And don't slam Hall & Oates - their hits were sheer perfect pop confections.

Kudos to your list, Carrie.

Sent by Ed | 3:56 PM | 9-8-2008

The 80's was a time just to lay back enjoy yourself dance tell you drop and laugh with your friends. It was time out for young Americans to take a breath and not to be afraid to be yourself.

Sent by Zane Fennelly | 7:17 AM | 9-23-2008