Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Picks For Older Bands To Round Out the Music Collection (80s, 90s, 2000s) & Bands I Wish Were Still Here From Each Decade


Our CD collection after recent purge
The list of bands in the last post may have been mostly made up of current faves, but I did pad it with some extras outside my personal playlist.  For those looking to dig into the past, I offer three decades of bands with full catalogues worth a listen below.  I actually created this list for a friend's son, who wasn't exactly exposed to any of this rich history in what was new music in the 80s, 90s and 2000s.  After mentioning The Beatles and David Bowie as a foundation, I offered the following bands to provide some basic knowledge of exalted  past bands (at least to my ears!) Hopefully, it provided some inspiration as well.

I've included some videos for the bands I'd most like to resurrect from each decade, thankful for the musicians still active on the scene.  It seems fitting to start with the iconic 80s band Talking Heads, probably my most beloved band ever. Their show in Forest Hills during the 1983 tour, captured so brilliantly by Jonathan Demme in Stop Making Sense, will most likely remain as my top concert experience for all time. I was also able to walk over to the Ritz (now Webster Hall) to see the band introduce the film at the premiere and dance along to the music for a second time. Through the years I've run into David Byrne and seen almost every solo tour, as he continued on a personal music journey after eight albums with the group. "Life During Wartime" perfectly captures the mood of the day with references to Mudd Club and CBGB, along with the layered dance rhythms and a frazzled state of emotional confusion as conveyed by Byrne's song-speak. As he asks at the end of the video, "Does anyone have any questions?" Yes lots -- and thanks for bringing them up.

80s
Talking Heads
Pretenders
Roxy Music/Brian Ferry
Blondie
The Clash
The Replacements
The Police
The Smiths
The Jam
Gang of Four
Psychedelic Furs
The Cure
New Order


If there was a band I could bring back from the 90s, it would be Phantom Planet.  The group are best known for the theme song for television's O.C., "California," but they have a four albums worth of solid pop rock anthems and cooing sing along tunes.  Indie movie regular Jason Schwartzman was a member for the first decade, with songwriting credits for this hit and a similarly memorable "Lonely Day" in the video here. Alex Greenwald's vocals effortlessly bridge that gap between loud and soft, pulling the listener along that mystical musical space between power chords and passionate percussion.

90s
Phantom Planet
Weezer
Smashing Pumpkins
Everclear
Nirvana
Radiohead
CAKE
Blur
Beck
Breeders
Luscious Jackson
Soup Dragons
Stereo MCs
Jesus Jones



Since the sting of losing one of my all time faves LCD Soundsystem is still fresh in the early stages of grief, I'll dig a little deeper here. The Doves are officially "on hiatus" but I'd love to change that status.  This English indie rock band has that ever purposeful ingredient of brothers, Jez and Andy Williams, along with frontman Jimi Goodwin and a willingness to add lush string arrangements to make the heart soar.  I listened to all four albums countless times -- thankfully in a digital format that didn't wear out.  The promotional video here for 2010 best of compilation shows the band creating a fave song "Some Cities," that never ceases to send me into a visceral musical spiral.


2000s+

The Doves
Modest Mouse
Franz Ferdinand
Moby
The Dandy Warhols
Vampire Weekend
Hot Chip
Art Brut
Mew
Arcade Fire
Spoon
LCD Soundsystem
The Flaming Lips