Indispensible 80s

J/B Blackrazor recently posted about the "Disposable 80s" --

Hey, put those rocks down!

The man's entitled to his opinion.

As a long-time fan of electronic music -- and I'm talking the full gamut here -- I tend to bristle when I see one of my favorite decades (artistically speaking) being dismissed off-hand. This "one hit wonder" thing is a popular music-related meme, but in most cases it just does not hold water. While it's true that many artists only spilled over into mainstream radio once or twice, a lot of them had some solid careers. A perfect example: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. They leaked over into pop with their track "If You Leave" which appeared on the soundtrack to John Hughes' Pretty in Pink (1986):

If you weren't in the know, you probably missed out on Dazzle Ships (1982) -- a weird foray into post-Industrial sound collages that has more in common with the studio noodlings of late-Beatles and Pink Floyd than you might imagine. In total the band has produced eleven albums -- the most recent of which was released in 2010! Here's "Electricity" which appeared on their s/t debut in 1979:

In fact, a lot of artists who hit their stride in the 80s are still quite prolific. Here's Robert Smith of The Cure providing vocals for a recent Crystal Castles track called "Not in Love":

I could go on forever, but I need to go rock out with my crypt cock out.


  1. Nice post. I might have to pull out those Skinny Puppy albums I just put back on the shelf.

  2. I have MUCH LOVE for Skinny Puppy and various other exponents of the electro/industrial 80s scene.

  3. Yep yep, right with ya fellas - Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Nitzer Ebb - the 80's were a great decade for the industrial.

    BTW Greg, love the new header. I usually read through the feed reader and I miss out on stuff like that if I don't stop by and post once in a while.

  4. Nostalgie Eternelle from Germany are my favs, but really the electronic/power electronics/industrial scene was in it's heyday during this time frame.

    If you only look at popular radio music the 80's sort of sucked (though I will admit I really, REALLY dig 80's hair metal). But the underground was thriving, moreso than in the 90's IMO. Punk/Hardcore, Noise, Dancehall, Rap, the beginnings of indie rock....and more!

  5. @Beedo: Thanx, man!

    @JJ: Thanks for the recommendation -- I'm dling some Nostalgie Eternelle right now. I really dig *Zoviet France*, COIL, Cabaret Voltaire, and Test Dept. That was THE era for electronic experimentation in music.

  6. I am very fond of Zoviet France and older SPK. Also Einsturzende Neubauten, Chrome (Helios Creed and Damon Edge), Throbbing Gristle, Current 93, Nurse with Wound, and Boredoms.

    If you like dark 80s pop and noise I'd recommend the relatively recent Blank Dogs...sounds kind of like lo fi Cure from the bottom of a metal trash can.

    Slightly more recent electronica...how about Autechre, Boards of Canada, Cex, Fuck Buttons?

    Off the industrial noise a bit and into the purely weird...I like Caroliner, Sun City Girls, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice and all those Finnish freak folk bands.

  7. The Housemartins!

    (A happy Brit-pop outer shell surrounded their "V for Vendetta"-like core...)

  8. @The Drune: I will def track down some Blink Dogs, thanks! RE: New Stuff -- I have embarrassingly vast scads of IDM. And I really dig all the artists you mention.

    On the crunchy end I tend to go for Autechre's earlier stuff (Amber, Tri Repetae, Chiastic Slide). Smoother-edged stuff like BOC, Milieu, Lackluster, Arovane (and on and on) also get a lot of listens here.

    Experimental-wise: COIL, Arthur Russell, 23 Skidoo. More recently: The Moglass, William Basinski, Library Tapes, Ultra Milkmaids.