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Top '80s Indie Bands
Ah the '80s. A larger-than-life decade of big hair and bigger shoulder pads, spandex and Spandau Ballet. (That's the name of a band, in case you didn't know.)
I spent many happy hours (and happy hours, too) doing the club scene in Boston. I was lucky enough to see incredible bands in venues seating less than 500 people. That put me within fainting distance of name acts like Blondie, B-52s, Eurythmics, Pretenders, Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Ferry, Squeeze ... just recollecting those heady times gives me shivers.
Lesser Known 80s Stars
Looking back, though, the music that really defines the decade for me goes beyond these (and even bigger) internationally famous icons. Any discussion of '80s music, at least for me, has to include some lesser-known songs and artists that I eagerly turned onto (no innuendos about turning on -- but suffice to say they affected me deeply!)
The indie (actually more like "alternative" but that was too long to put in the title of the hub) bands below bring back joyous memories of my misspent young adulthood:-). I hope they do the same,or similar, for you!
Cowboy Junkies is a trio of siblings from Canada with an alternative country sound. Rumor has it their languid, hypnotic sound reminsicent of a heroin high.
"The Trinity Session" is perhaps their best known record, recorded live in a single day on a single microphone in a church in Toronto. The record includes a very cool version of Lou Reed's “Sweet Jane”. Reed reportedly liked the Junkies’ version of the song better than his own, and began performing their version in concert.
Official Cowboy Junkies Website
- Cowboy Junkies
Just another Latent Recordings weblog
Jesus and Mary Chain
When I first heard the jangly guitar of "Just Like Honey" and then heard the name of the band behind it, I said to myself, "Wow. This band is really different. And really ballsy." I actually wondered how such a seemingly sacreligious name could get through the FCC. Silly me!
JandMC is two Scottish brothers, Jimmy and William Reid. Their musical influences include Iggy and the Stooges, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and the Shangri-Las and Phil Spector. Apparently they told journalists that they had taken their name from a line in a Bing Crosby film, but later recanted. Other accounts suggest that the name derived from an offer on a breakfast cereal box, where customers could send off for a gold Jesus & Mary chain.
Jesus and Mary Chain website
- The Jesus and Mary Chain on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
MySpace Music profile for The Jesus and Mary Chain. Download The Jesus and Mary Chain Rock / Alternative / Psychedelic music singles, watch music videos, listen to free streaming mp3s, & read The Jesus and Mary Chain's blog.
- the jesus and the mary chain
- VIOLENT FEMMES
What I knew: From Milwaukee. Lead singer's name is Gordon Gano. Band is unique in that they often play with a bass fiddle (you don't see a lot of those on rock band stages). Violent Femmes music is technically called "folk-punk" a combination of American folk and punk rock.
I remember going to see them play in Boston with a gal pal and we were definitely in the minority. Actually, we could have been the only two females in the audience. Hmmm.
What I didn't know is that the Femmes were discovered in 1981 by James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders as they were playing outside the theater where the Pretenders were playing later that night. Chrissie Hynde invited them to play a brief acoustic set after the opening act...and the rest is musical history.
Femmes songs you've probably heard on the radio include "Bliser in the Sun" "Gone Daddy Gone" "Kiss Off" "Please Do Not Go" "American Music" and this one, "Add It Up."
Ok, so I didn't actually see The Pixies, as they arrived on the Boston music scene in 1986 (when I was settling down -- or trying to:-). But I loved their music anyway, and they are from Boston. Besides, any band whose lead singer calls himself "Black Francis" is intriguing in my book.
Accorcing to Wikipedia, "The Pixies' style of alternative rock music is heavily influenced by punk and surf rock, and while highly melodic, is capable of being tremendously abrasive at the same time. Francis has a distinctly desperate, yowling delivery. He has typically written cryptic songs about offbeat subjects including UFOs.. References to mental instability, violent Biblical imagery, physical injury, and even incest feature in the band's songs.
Perhaps it's no wonder that Kurt Cobain was a fan...
Fronted by Martha Davis, a singer with incredible range, The Motels is dubbed as a "new wave" "pop rock" and "alternative" rock band. Originally from Berkeley, the band moved to LA and that's where they got their start. Sources say The Motels shared rehearsal space in LA with the Go-Gos.
The songs "Only the Lonely" and "Suddenly, Last Summer" "Whose Problem" and "Days are Okay" got major radio play. My favorite is this one, "Total Control," with its sultry saxophone solo.
Willy "Mink" DeVille
Mink DeVille, Willy DeVille. Is it a band? Is it an artist? Yes. I knew him/them as Mink DeVille, (although these days he goes by Willy again) and saw him many many times in the early 1980s. How can I explain the dangerous undercurrent that emanated from him (without descending into unintended rascist language)? Luckily I found a perfect description already penned (ain't Wikipedia grand?): "With his pedantically trimmed pencil mustache he looked like a cross between a bullfighter and a Puerto Rican pimp. The tightest black suit clung to his thin frame*; he wore a purple shirt, a narrow black tie and shoes with six-inch points. A Pompadour jutted out above his forehead like the lacquered hull of a submarine."
Combining Blues, Latin, Cajun, Creole, R&B, and Doo-Wop, Mink DeVille's music is heartfelt, rhythmic and melodic.
Some of his better known songs include "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl," "Spanish Stroll," "This Must Be the Night," "Lipstick Traces," and "Slow Drain" as well as covers of "Cadillac Walk" "Hey Joe" and "Bad Boy." Yep, Bad Boy describes this unique singer-songwriter perfectly.
*Like so many others who came out of the NYC punk club CBGBs, Willy DeVille battled for 20 years with heroin addiction.
Willy DeVille Website
The word to describe St. Kitts-born British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading is prolific. She started penning music and lyrics at age 14 and since 1972 has put out 24 albums and compilations. Joan's style has evolved from primarily blues and folk to pop and rock.
Songs you may know include, "Love and Affection," "Willow," Me, Myself, I" "I'm Lucky" "Walk Under Ladders" and "Show Some Emotion" to name just afew.
Joan Armatrading Website
- Joan Armatrading - Homepage
Joan Armatrading singer songwriter who has written songs like Love and Affection and Willow.
Another Wisconsin band, the BoDeans entered the music scene in the late 1980s but didn't hit the the bigtime until 1993's "Closer to Free" got used as the theme song for the TV series "Party of Five."
But I liked them right away when I heard their songs "Only Love" "She's a Runaway" and "Fadeaway." Originally the band's name was Da BoDeans but in 1985 they "shortened" it to simply BoDeans.
Tom Tom Club Website
- • TOM TOM CLUB • The Official Tom Tom Club Website •
OFFICIAL TOM TOM CLUB WEBSITE, Complete Discography, Albums And Singles, Lyrics, Photogallery, Messages, Timeline, Downloads:wallpapers,screensavers,avatars,videos,music..., Links, Contact Tom Tom Club
Love and Rockets
Love and Rockets
Love and Rockets formed in 1985, featuring three former members of the goth rock band Bauhaus: Daniel Ash (guitars, saxophone and vocals), Kevin Haskins (Drums, synthesizers) and David J (bass, vocals).
The band's first hit was a remake of the Motown hit "Ball of Confusion." Other L&R songs you may recall from the '80s: "All in My Mind" "No New Tale to Tell" "Mirror People" "Lazy" and their 1989 hit "So Alive."
Prior to forming Love and Rockets Ash and Haskins were briefly involved in a musical project called Tones on Tail. The band's one hit claim to fame is a song called "Go!"