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My Favorite Albums 1980-85

1980-85 were my teen years, and music was IMPORTANT, especially cause i was in a band (Mental Ward, and before that The Sniperz - egads!).   After spending far too much time on this, I present a bunch of my favorites (in some kind of rough order).  Some I loved then, some I have come to love since then.  And past the 150 mark, I may not have listened to the whole album (yet).  

GLENN’S FAVORITE ALBUMS (1980-85).  Favorite album by each artist listed first, albums that are in close running listed after

  1. PRINCE - Purple Rain (1984) / 1999 (1982) / Around The World In A Day (1985)

  2. TALKING HEADS - Remain In Light (1980)

  3. THE POLICE - Ghost In The Machine (1981) / Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)

  4. XTC - English Settlement (1982) / Black Sea (1980) / Mummer (1983) / The Big Express (1984)

  5. THE CLASH - Sandinista (1980)

  6. MINUTEMEN - Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat (1983) / Double Nickels On The Dime (1984)

  7. KATE BUSH - Hounds of Love (1985) / The Dreaming (1982)

  8. ARVO PART - Tabula Rasa (1984)

  9. ITURI PYGMIES - Polyphony of the Deep Rainforest (1983)

I love the entrancing and complex vocal interplay of all “pygmy” music.  This one “documents a song-and-dance ceremony by a group of Pygmies in Mambasa, Zaire in 1983. Mambasa is a town at the entry to the Ituri Rain Forest, where Pygmies continued to live off of the land and feed themselves by hunting with bows and spears.”  It’s a field recording, no frills - often acapella, sometimes accompanied by the likembe thumb piano.

  1. AMAMPONDO - Heartbeat of Africa “Uyandibiza” (1983)

Joyous and driving large ensemble from South Africa, with drums, marimbas, and mbiras plus unhinged vocals and other noisemakers to shake things up

  1. GREG BROWN- One Night (1981)

  2. HUSKER DU - Zen Arcade (1984) / New Day Rising (1985)

  3. STEVE TIBBETTS - Northern Song (1982)

  4. RITES OF SPRING - Rites Of Spring (1985)

  5. HUKWE ZAWOSE & THE MASTER MUSICIANS OF TANZANIA - Tanzania Yetu (1985)

A highly distinctive and hypnotic sound with spirited group vocals.  Never fails to delight

  1. TRANSLATOR - Heartbeats and Triggers (1982)

  2. GANG OF FOUR - Another Day / Another Dollar (1982) / Songs Of The Free (1982)

  3. BENGT BERGER & BITTER FUNERAL BEER BAND WITH DON CHERRY - Bitter Funeral Beer (1982)

  4. MISSION OF BURMA - Vs. (1982)

  5. SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES - Juju (1981)

  6. ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN - Ocean Rain (1984) / Crocodiles (1980) / Porcupine (1983) / Heaven Up Here (1982)

  7. SPLIT ENZ - Time And Tide (1982)

  8. TERRY RILEY & THE KRONOS QUARTET - Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984)

  9. URGH! A MUSIC WAR (VARIOUS ARTISTS) (1982)

A glorious cross-section of some of the better new music of the era, all recorded live for the film of the same name.  Mixing some well-known (The Police, XTC, DEVO, Echo & The Bunnymen, Gang of Four, X, Steel Pulse) with some more obscure gems (Skafish, Athletico Spizz 80, Pere Ubu, John Otway), this was a smorgasborg of 27 artists for new music fans in the early 80’s.  

  1. KLAUS WIESE - Baraka (1981)

The solo debut from this dreamscape master.  Lusciously sublime tones carry you into the next world ...

  1. SUN RA - Strange Celestial Road (1980)

  2. SONIC YOUTH - Bad Moon Rising (1985)

  3. DEAD KENNEDYS - Plastic Surgery Disasters (1982)

  4. U2 - War (1983) / The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

  5. THE JAM - The Gift (1982) / Sound Affects (1980)

  6. THOMAS DOLBY - The Golden Age of the Wireless (1982)

  7. CHAKA KHAN - Naughty (1980)

  8. PETER GABRIEL - Security (1982)

  9. DON CHERRY & ED BLACKWELL - El Corazon (1982)

Duo explorations crossing jazz and world terrain.  The Morrocan-ish groove of “Makondi” really gets down, while other tracks explore a softer palette.  Two masters just having fun and creating freely. Cherry plays a variety of instruments - pocket trumpet, piano, melodica, organ and the African stringed xalam, while Blackwell focuses on percussion.  

  1. CODONA - Codona 3 (1982)

3 masters (Don Cherry, Collin Walcott and Nana Vasconcellos) exploring a beautiful variety of textures.  From ambient to groove, all with a sweet improvisational flow and a wide variety of world instrumentation.  

  1. SHAHRAM NAZERI - Gol-e Sadbarg (1984)

  2. X - More Fun In The New World (1983) / Under The Big Black Sun (1982) / Los Angeles (1980) / Wild Gift (1981)

  3. THE FALL - This Nation’s Saving Grace (1985) / The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall (1984)

  4. JAMES BLOOD ULMER - Odyssey (1983)

A distinct sound which somehow merged rock, blues, funk, and free jazz.  Memorable songs with a uniquely choppy, “harmolodic” approach.

  1. SWINGERS - Counting the Beat (1981)

Insanely catchy and creative pop which ruled the Australian charts, but sadly never crossed over the seas.  Some of the most fun music of the early 80’s.

  1. ANDY SUMMERS & ROBERT FRIPP - I Advance Masked (1982)

Fantastically complex yet sublime at the same time.  2 guitar masters branch out

  1. KING SUNNY ADE AND HIS AFRICAN BEATS - - Juju Music (1982)

  2. KING CRIMSON - Discipline (1981)

  3. ELVIS COSTELLO - Trust (1981) / Get Happy!! (1980) / Imperial Bedroom (1982)

  4. SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK  - Good News (1981) / We All … Everyone of Us (1983)

  5. PHILIP AABERG - High Plains (1985)

Majestic solo piano reflecting the big sky and “high plains” of my home state, Montana, where Aaberg resides.   He manages to create music that is both creatively compelling and serenely soothing, a delicate balance.

  1. BIG BOYS - No Matter How Long The Line Is At The Cafeteria, There’s Always A Seat! (1984) / Lullabies Help The Brain Grow (1983)

One of the earliest and best funk-punk hybrids, from Texas no less.   You can tell that their live shows would have been a barrel of fun. From speedy punk workouts to jagged funky jams, this is from the days when punk was joyous and free of dogmatism.  

  1. PLUGZ - Better Luck (1981)

A tragically forgotten LA band that morphed into the much inferior Cruzados.  Raw and joyous rock with a punk edge.

  1. DANCE CRAZE (VARIOUS ARTISTS) (1981)

An amazing look at the 2 Tone ska explosion in England, which was an unusually racially-mixed movement of bands who amped up Jamaican ska with some punk energy.  This is the soundtrack to the film. The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, The Selecter, Bodysnatchers, and The Beat.

  1. MOHAMMAD-REZA SHAJARIAN - Bidad (1985)

  2. HANNIBAL - The Angels of Atlanta (1981)

  3. DOLLAR BRAND (ABDULLAH IBRAHIM) - African Marketplace (1980)

  4. DJELI MOUSSA DIAWARA - Yasimika (1982)

  5. BAD BRAINS - Rock For Light (1983)

  6. HAROLD BUDD AND BRIAN ENO - The Pearl (1984)

  7. RONALD SHANNON JACKSON AND THE DECODING SOCIETY - Barbeque Dog (1983)

  8. ZAZOU / BIKAYE / CY1 - Noir Et Blanc (1983)

An exhilarating collision of disparate worlds - electronica meets the Congo meets the avant-garde.  So far ahead of its time that nobody has caught up yet.

  1. SHANKAR - Who’s To Know (1981)

Pushing at the edges of Indian classical music, the electrified sound of the violin makes this sound like a much more modernist take, though rooted in tradition.  He was soon to take it much further out of tradition. A blazing swirl of strings.

  1. JOHN ADAMS - Shaker Loops / Phrygian Gates (1980)

Twisting, turning, sublime, epic.  Released in many forms over the years, this was possibly the earliest release.  

  1. SQUIRRELBAIT - Squirrelbait (1985)

  2. FELA KUTI - Coffin For Head of State (1981)

  3. KANDA BONGO MAN - Iyole (1981)

The guitars swirl and bubble over an infectious groove and sweet vocals.   Excellent Congolese soukous music to get your dance on!

  1. PRETENDERS - II (1981)

  2. KELS KOCH - Kochin (1984?)

Never heard of this one?  No surprise, since it was an extremely limited cassette-only release by my friend, who happened to be an amazing songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist, way back in high school!  Now in The Million Sellers by the way.

  1. ADAM AND THE ANTS - Kings Of The Wild Frontier (1980)

A guilty pleasure, this was my introduction to “new wave” and every song is etched in

my brain.   Quite a curious mix of styles, with plenty of catchy (and wacky) chants over jangly acoustic guitar and punk-edged electric guitar, with simple drum rhythms.

  1. SACCHARINE TRUST - Worldbroken (1985)

A rambling jazzy-punky hybrid which gets extra points for being a completely improvised live recording.  Roping in Mike Watt from the Minutemen, this is a slightly psychotic and mysterious journey. You either love or hate Jack Brewer’s spoken-sung vocals, I enjoy his unique delivery.  

  1. BOB MARLEY - Uprising (1980)

  2. THE INDESTRUCTIBLE BEAT OF SOWETO (VARIOUS ARTISTS) (1985)

Bringing South African music to the world’s attention, this is a great sampler of 12 groups playing different styles which all retain a joyous delivery.

  1. ORNETTE COLEMAN - Of Human Feelings (1982)

Joyous funky grooves, with a manic edge.   Suffers a bit from sameness, but what a groove it is!

  1. DAVID BYRNE & BRIAN ENO - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)

  2. THIS HEAT - Deceit (1981)

  3. ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO - Full Force (1980)

Ranging from abstract explorations on the quiet side to driving jazz and some nice melodic pieces, this is a great document of the varied terrain the Art Ensemble covers

  1. THE BIRTHDAY PARTY - Prayers On Fire (1981)

  2. DEVO - Freedom Of Choice (1980)

  3. BILL EVANS - Turn Out The Stars (1980)

  4. DAVID BYRNE - The Catherine Wheel (1981)

  5. MIDORI TAKADA - Through The Looking Glass (1983)

Little-known but excellent exploratory work from Japan.  From sparser ambient pieces to Steve Reich - style percussive pulse to a more noisy, edgy piece with a punk attitude

  1. CHRISTIAN VANDER - Alien Trio (Antibes 1983) (1983)

  2. CREATIVE ARTS ENSEMBLE - One Step Out (1981)

  3. MANUEL GOTTSCHING - E2-E4 (1981)

One of the earliest examples of what would become electronic dance music, and still better than most of what has come since

  1. REM - Murmur (1983)

  2. PSYCHEDELIC FURS - Talk Talk Talk (1981)

  3. SQUEEZE - East Side Story (1981)

  4. BRUCE COCKBURN - Stealing Fire (1984)

  5. SMITHS - Hatful Of Hollow (1984)

  6. MOEBIUS - PLANK - NEUMEIER - Zero Set (1983)

  7. SAMBA MAPANGALA & ORCHESTRE VIRUNGA  - Malako (1984)

Infectious and joyous grooves from this group with roots across Central Africa

  1. PAUL MCCARTNEY - MCCARTNEY II (1980)

A stint in Japanese jail left him Wings-less and in a wierd mood, evidenced by some wacky synth numbers and a claustrophobic sound unlike most of his catalog

  1. THE CURE - The Top (1984)

Some of their most aggressive and edgy material, along with the catchy pop leanings which would come to dominate in later years.  

  1. DADISI KOMOLAFE - Hassan’s Walk (1983)

  2. BIG BLACK - Bulldozer (1983)

  3. JOE JACKSON - Beat Crazy (1980)

  4. COMSAT ANGELS - Land (1983)

  5. BRIAN ENO - Ambient 4:  On Land (1982)

Some exquisitely beautiful pieces like “Lantern Marsh,” and some that are just kind of bleak.  But overall, more beauty than bleak.

  1. MCCOY TYNER - 4 X 4 (1980) / 13th House (1984)

  2. WALL OF VOODOO - Call Of The West (1982)

  3. PSYCHIC TV - Dreams Less Sweet (1983)

  4. STEVIE WONDER - Hotter Than July (1980)

  5. JANE SIBERRY - No Borders Here (1984)

  6. FRANCO & ROCHEREAU - Omona Wapi (1985)

  7. HUNTERS & COLLECTORS - Hunters & Collectors (1981)

  8. MEAT PUPPETS - Meat Puppets II (1982)

  9. OINGO BOINGO - Good For Your Soul (1983)

  10. WIPERS - Youth of America (1982)

  11. DUKES OF STRATOSPHERE - 25 O’Clock (1985)

  12. CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - Ice Cream For Crow (1982)

  13. GARETH WILLIAMS & MARY CURRIE - Flaming Tunes (1985)

  14. MICHAEL BROOK - Hybrid (1985)

Rhythmic ambient dreamscapes with guitar soaring in and out

  1. VIRGINIA ASTLEY - From Gardens Where We Feel Secure (1983)

Pastoral loveliness, quite a nice soundtrack for a summer stroll in the English countryside.  Piano, flute, some guitar and lots of chirping birds.

  1. JOHN MARTYN - Grace & Danger (1980)

  2. REPLACEMENTS - Let It Be (1984)

  3. EURYTHMICS - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983)

  4. TONY SCOTT - African Bird Come Back Mother Africa (1984)

  5. HERBIE HANCOCK & FODAY MUSA SUSO - Village Life (1985)

Fun to hear Herbie jamming with this Senegalese kora master here

  1. JON HASSELL - Aka/Darbari/Java - Magic Realism (1983)

  2. M’BILIA BEL - Eswi Yo Wapi (1983)

  3. MBARAKA MWINSHEHE - Ukumbusho Volume 2: Urafiki Mwisho Wa Mwezi (1983)

Tanzanian master of the bubbly dance groove, similar feel to soukous with great guitar lines and insistent groove

  1. SECTOR 27 - Sector 27 (1980)

After Tom Robinson’s band from the 70’s disbanded, he formed this short-lived group, which continued his impassioned songwriting craft and strong, punk-edged rock

  1. HAIRCUT 100 - Pelican West (1982)

  2. LIZZY MERCIER DESCLOUX - Mambo Nassau (1981)

  3. FEELIES - Crazy Rhythms (1980)

  4. VIOLENT FEMMES - Hallowed Ground (1984) / Violent Femmes

  5. LAURIE SPIEGEL - The Expanding Universe (1980)

Early synth pioneer with a roomful of large equipment at Bell Telephone Labs making some unusually evocative and warm sounds

  1. AU PAIRS - Playing With A Different Sex (1981)

Like Gang of 4, they infuse their (slightly less punky) rock with a good dose of funkiness, and their personal with their political, informed by the perspective of the two women in the band.

  1. RAT MUSIC FOR RAT PEOPLE (VARIOUS ARTISTS) (1982)

(Mostly) live recordings of many of the west coast’s finest punk of the early 80’s (DK’s, DOA, Flipper, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, T.S.O.L., Dils, Avengers) plus Bad Brains from the East!

  1. MASSACRE - Killing Time (1980)

  2. SLOVENLY - After The Original Style (1984)

I always loved this band’s off-kilter style, especially the unique guitar approach and interesting melodic sensibility. This is a great first album carving out their unique place in the post-punk musical spectrum.  

  1. THE WHO - It’s Hard (1982)

This was panned at the time, but mostly good songs, and one of Pete Townshend’s most unhinged guitar performances in “Cry If You Want” make it worth a listen

  1. ALI HASSAN KUBAN - From Nubia to Cairo (1980)

Serious dance music for exuberant souls.  The vocals are a little too upfront for me, but otherwise good stuff

  1. JOY DIVISION - Closer (1980)

  2. STEVE REICH - Tehillim (1981)

Another variation on Reich’s hypnotic pulse, here with strong vocal parts

  1. TONY ALLEN WITH AFROBEAT 2000 - Never Expect Power Always (1984)

  2. NICK HEYWARD - North of a Miracle (1983)

Another guilty pleasure, but so well done … so many memorable & sentimental songs

  1. STEWART COPELAND - The Rhythmatist (1985) / Rumble Fish (Soundtrack) (1983)

  2. STING - Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)

  3. THE TIME - What Time Is It?  (1982)

  4. KLARK KENT - Music Madness from the Kinetic Kid (1980)

  5. JON HASSELL & BRIAN ENO - Fourth World Vol. 1:  Possible Musics (1980)

  6. SPECIALS - More Specials (1980)

Not quite as exciting as their debut, but they continue to create dance music with a bit of a darker edge than their English two-tone contemporaries.

  1. NEIL YOUNG -  Re-ac-tor (1981)

Doesn’t get the props of some other NY + Crazy Horse albums, but all the songs are pretty good rockers, especially “Shots”

  1. BILLY HARPER - The Believer (1980)

  2. JOE HENDERSON - Relaxin’ At Camarillo (1981)

  3. THE EX - History Is What’s Happening (1982) / Pokkeherrie (1985)

Though these Dutch agitators would continue to evolve in many wonderful directions, their punk beginnings are certainly compelling in spite of their abrasive bleakness

  1. THE CHURCH - Of Skins And Heart (1981)

Jangly, dreamy rock with great songwriting and a bit of a punk edge

  1. GIL SCOTT HERON & BRIAN JACKSON - 1980 (1980)

  2. BAD RELIGION - How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (1981)

  3. MICHAEL JACKSON - Thriller (1982)

  4. STEVIE NICKS - Bella Donna (1981)

  5. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Born in the U.S.A. (1984) / Nebraska

  6. BRIAN ENO / DANIEL LANOIS / ROGER ENO - Apollo:  Atmospheres and Soundtracks (1983)

Deep-space textures give this a very floating feeling, appropriately enough.  The collaboration adds Lanois’ pedal-steel tones to Eno’s ambient explorations.

  1. BLACK FLAG - Damaged (1981)

  2. MX-80 SOUND - Out Of The Tunnel (1980)

  3. VAN MORRISON - Common One (1980)

  4. UB40 - Signing Off (1980)

  5. PENTANGLE - Open The Door (1985)

  6. BERT JANSCH CONUNDRUM - Thirteen Down (1980)

  7. THE DICKIES - Stukas Over Disneyland (1983)

  8. RUSH - Signals (1982)

  9. MATERIAL - Memory Serves (1981)

  10. ADRIAN BELEW - The Lone Rhino (1982)

  11. ROBERT WYATT - Nothing Can Stop Us (1982)

  12. SHRIEKBACK - Care (1983)

  13. JOAN ARMATRADING - Walk Under Ladders (1981)

  14. GEORGE CLINTON - Computer Games (1982)

  15. UNITS - Digital Stimulation (1980)

  16. JERRY HARRISON - The Red and The Black (1981)

  17. BOBBY MCFERRIN - Bobby McFerrin (1982)

  18. PROLETARIAT - Soma Holiday (1983)

A lesser-known but great punk band from Boston in the vein of Gang Of 4, The Ex and Wire.  Raw, edgy, and politically charged.

  1. J GEILS BAND - Freeze Frame (1981)

  2. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS - The Firstborn Is Dead (1985)

  3. PETE TOWNSHEND - Empty Glass (1980)

  4. MICHAEL HEDGES - Aerial Boundaries (1984)

  5. STEPHAN MICUS - Wings Over Water (1982)

  6. ANDY AND THE RATTLESNAKES - Last Summer To Dance (1981)

Little known but potent rock and roll revivalists who were kind of LA’s version of the E      Street Band, complete with passionate vocal delivery, and with a more dance-oriented focus and a bit of punk passion.  

  1. THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN - The League of Gentlemen (1981)

How could a band containing 2 members from some of my favorite bands (XTC and Gang of Four) have escaped my attention?  Robert Fripp here aims for a “dance band” and gets halfway there ...

  1. RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON - Shoot out the Lights (1982)

  2. TOM WAITS - Swordfishtrombones (1983)

  3. DAVID BOWIE - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)

  4. PHAROAH SANDERS - Journey to the One (1980)

Though certainly not as compelling as his early 70’s albums, which are amongst my favorites of all-time (esp. “Live at the East,”  “Elevation,” “Black Unity”), this is an enjoyable album of fairly smooth jazz with a little bit of his legendary fire in the mix, as well as some sublime beauty.

  1. 100 FLOWERS - 100 Flowers (1983)

  2. ENGLISH BEAT - Special Beat Service (1983)

  3. CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN - Telephone Free Landslide Victory (1985)

  4. FLIPPER - Gone Fishin’ (1984)

  5. BUTTHOLE SURFERS - Butthole Surfers (1983)

The first and perhaps most potent blast from the acid-trip punk contingent.  

  1. JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO - Double Fantasy (1980)

  2. RAIN PARADE - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip (1983)

  3. MEREDITH MONK - Dolmen Music (1981)

  4. POGUES - Run, Sodomy, and the Lash (1985)

  5. HEART - Bebe Le Strange (1980)

  6. BOOTSY COLLINS - Ultra Wave (1980)

  7. MANU DIBANGO - Electric Africa (1985)

  8. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS - Hard Promises (1981)

  9. THE UNKNOWNS - The Unknowns (1982)

Haunting songs with a retro-rockabilly meets new wave feel.  Little known LA band that i discovered on New Wave Theatre. A bit like the Cramps without the campy element.   “City of Angels” and “The Streets” are classics.

  1. E.W. WAINWRIGHT, JR. - African Roots of Jazz (1981)

A communal, spiritual vibe runs throughout these heavily rhythmic pieces, often with a group choir chiming in.   Latin-jazz influence, as much as African. PERE UBU - The Art Of Walking (1980)

  1. DEUTER - Silence Is the Answer (1980)

  2. WILL ACKERMAN - Passage (1981)

  3. COCTEAU TWINS - Treasure (1984)

  4. FABRIZIO DE ANDRE - Creuza De Ma (1984)

  5. LEO KOTTKE - Guitar Music (1981)

  6. ALICE COLTRANE - Turiya Sings (1982)

  7. EINSTURZENDE NEUBATEN - Halber Mensch (1985)

  8. ROEDELIUS – Wenn Der Sudwind Weht (1981)

A lovely melodic dreamscape fitting for a drive through the countryside.  A solo effort by this Cluster member, showing the potential for synthesizers as a thing of beauty.  

  1. GENESIS - Abacab (1981)

  2. POPOL VUH - Agape-Agape, Love-Love (1983)

While their early 70’s material remains my favorite, this showed they still had some new ideas and maintained the dreamy other-worldliness of old, from minimal sounds to majestic sweeping gestures, with some nice group neo-gregorian chanting

  1. CAMBERWELL NOW - Meridian (1983)

From the ashes of This Heat came this group exploring similarly unconventional terrain, but with less of an abrasive edge than This Heat.  This, their first release, is not nearly as potent as later releases, which upped the rhythmic intensity

  1. NAHAWA DOUMBIA - La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 (1982)

Hypnotically sweet grooves from the Wassoulou land of Mali

  1. DON CHERRY / LATIF KHAN - Music / Sangam (1981)

  2. MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS - Blues Forever (1982)

A sprawling jazz and beyond jazz work, from avant to straight up driving tunes, all with an 11-piece big band.

  1. HENRY THREADGILL SEXTET - Just The Facts and Pass The Bucket (1983)

  2. MINOR THREAT - Out of Step (1983)

One of the pioneers of hardcore punk.  Though I much prefer singer Ian MacKaye’s later work with Fugazi, the full-on onslaught here is impressive.

  1. FRANCIS BEBEY - African Moonlight (1984)

Bebey was one of the more experimental African artists of his time, combining influences in ways rarely heard before.  From Cameroon, he also lived in the U.S., France, and Ghana. Postmodern feel which sounds a little too sterile at times - and removed from its more primal origins.  

  1. DREAM SYNDICATE - Days of Wine & Roses (1982)

  2. THE GORDONS - The Gordons (1981)

Heavy churning throb from New Zealand.  They would later morph into Bailter Space, another fine band.

  1. YELLO - You Gotta Say Yes to Another Excess (1983)

  2. BOB DYLAN - Infidels (1983)

  3. RUN-DMC - Run-DMC (1984)

  4. SLITS - Return of the Giant Slits (1981)

  5. RAINCOATS - Odyshape (1981)

  6. DEAD CAN DANCE - Spleen and Ideal (1985)

  7. THIS KIND OF PUNISHMENT - Beard of Bees

  8. AC/DC - Back In Black (1980)

  9. TOM ROBINSON - North By Northwest (1982)

  10. THE CLEAN - Boodle, Boodle, Boodle (1981)

A slightly dark, dreamy sound with some driving oomph from one of New Zealand’s finest.  Reminds me of the Dream Syndicate from this period

  1. THE REIVERS - Translate Slowly (1985)

  2. ROBERT FRIPP - God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners (1980)

  3. JOHN FAHEY - Let Go (1984)

  4. DAVID MURRAY OCTET - Ming (1980)

Some fast-driving blowouts, some swingin jazz, some funky jams, some explorations

  1. SIMPLE MINDS - New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) (1982)

  2. TEARS FOR FEARS - Songs From the Big Chair (1985)

  3. DICKS - These People (1985)

  4. LOU REED - The Blue Mask (1982)

  5. LAURIE ANDERSON - Big Science (1982)

  6. NEW ORDER - Power, Corruption, & Lies (1983)

  7. BILLY JOEL - Glass Houses (1980)

  8. DANIEL JOHNSTON - Hi, How Are You:  The Unfinished Album (1983)

Lo-fi pioneer who wrote some dang catchy tunes (and some a little bizarre) in his bedroom most likely

  1. PHILIP GLASS - Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

  2. SAVAGE REPUBLIC - Ceremonial (1985)

  3. NO MEANS NO - You Kill Me (1985)

A taste of greater things to come.  Rhythmically heavy prog-punk grooves, with a maniacal lyrical edge.  Think Birthday Party, Saccharine Trust, Jesus Lizard

  1. GO-GO’S - Beauty and the Beat (1981)

  2. KATE WOLF - Give Yourself To Love (1983)

The sweetest of folksingers.  Music for a cozy singalong by the fire with friends.

  1. SADE - Diamond Life (1984)

  2. ZAPP - Zapp (1980)

  3. GEORGE WINSTON - Autumn (1980)

  4. MOTORHEAD - Ace of Spades (1980)

  5. KINKS - State of Confusion (1983)

  6. KNITTERS - Poor Little Critter On The Road (1985)

The band X under another name, getting their back-to-the-country fix on these rootsy jams

  1. CODE BLUE - Code Blue (1980)

  2. DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS - Too-Rye-Ay (1982)

  3. SCARS - Author!  Author! (1981)

  4. BILLY SQUIER - Don’t Say No (1981)

SINGLES:

TIME ZONE - World Destruction (1984)

Afrikka Bambaata teams up with Johnny Lydon for a whoppin’ good tune

 

NEW WAVE THEATRE

And I must mention the huge impact of the TV Show "New Wave Theatre" - a precious window for those of us stuck in Montana to check out some of the best (and the worst) of new underground music.  It was a bizarre 3-ring circus, with space-age philosophical musings by host Peter Ivers, plus bizarre little skits and fake ads, and the legendary band interviews, where Peter's question was always "What is the meaning of life?".  And the music - so many great bands and artists, some of whom barely got around to releasing any official recordings. Some of my favorites who appeared during the 3? years (1981-83) of the show:

 

BLASTERS, X, TOP JIMMY & THE RHYTHM PIGS, CIRCLE JERKS, RED WEDDING, MONITOR, RAYONICS, DEAD KENNEDYS, THE FIBONACCIS, STEPMOTHERS, 45 GRAVE, UXA, PLUGZ, UNKNOWNS, LEGAL WEAPON, THE GENERALS, LEVI DEXTER & THE TRIBE, SNAKEPIT & ZAM, ANGRY SAMOANS, BAD RELIGION, FEAR, ANDY & THE RATTLESNAKES, BRAINIACS, CIPHER