Friday, May 02, 2008

Article Note: On Underground Rock Sources

Citation for the article:

Wagner, Cassie and Elizabeth Stephan. "Left of the Dial: An Introduction to Underground Rock: 1980-2000." Music Reference Services Quarterly 9.4 (2005): 43-75.

Read via Interlibrary Loan (from the cover sheet, looks like Texas Christian U. sent it).

This article is a short history of the underground rock movement from 1980 to 2000. It basically gives a short overview, then it looks at specific acts of the era. In addition, the authors then recommend the best recordings for librarians to acquire for their libraries. In essence, this is a primer article. It is meant to help librarians who may not be as knowledgeable on this topic to get a sense of the topic and get a list of works. The authors state that they "examine what we consider 21 of the most influential and important American bands to record between 1980 and 2000" (45). Now this is significant, among other reasons, because in the groups, "we see the seeds of many of today's common genres--alternative rock, indie rock, twee pop, punk, emo, slowcore, alt country, and post punk" (45). The groups discussed are:

  • Bad Brains
  • Beat Happening
  • Big Black
  • Bikini Kill
  • Black Flag
  • Camper Van Beethoven
  • Dead Kennedys
  • Fugazi
  • Galaxie 500
  • Hüsker Dü
  • Melvins
  • Minor Threat
  • Minutemen
  • Mission to Burma
  • Pixies
  • R.E.M.
  • The Replacements
  • Sleater-Kinney
  • Sonic Youth
  • Throwing Muses
  • Uncle Tupelo
Depending on the artist, the authors recommend one to three recordings on average. Keep in mind that these were acts that did a lot of their own work, including the recordings. Also,

"Younger music fans listening to these bands may think they sound ordinary, that they sound like much of what is being played on the radio today, but what they do not realize is just how revolutionary they were. When they were playing for small audiences in tiny basement clubs, they were changing the musical landscape. The times have simply caught with them, sometimes more than 20 years after the bands' demises. Listening to these albums now resembles a trip back up an evolutionary path. From these records, a listener can discover where today's bands learned their trade" (73).

If you are looking to add some music from an era that influenced a lot of the music you hear now, then you want to keep this list handy.

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