Tuesday, August 5, 2008

our band could be your life: scenes from the american indie underground,1981-1991

written in 2001 by michael azerrad (a journalist that has written pieces that have been published in rolling stone..spin..among other music magazines...and author of the book come as you are: the story of nirvana)

the title was taken from a song by the minutemen ("history lesson,pt.II")

it chronicles the uprising of indie music during the early 80's to early 90's...and concentrates on 13 "underground" bands from that time period (each getting a chapter)

this book should be required reading for anyone interested in indie/alternative music because the bands mentioned (as well as the bands name checked in the book) changed the face of "rock" music in the years to come...this was a time before radio play...and the only way to get found out was networking and doing it yourself

find out what "punk" really is

chapter 1: black flag - everything went black (released in 1983)

this is a compliation of then unreleased early black flag material put out before henry rollins took over as vocalist...it was released on a major label originally (MCA) because greg ginn wanted to get a wider audience...and due to the fact that it wasn't very "label friendly" MCA records took tnem to court over money issues and black flag were told they couldn't release anything under that moniker until everything was resolved...they released this album without the bands name on the cover...and in doing so...greg ginn and chuck dukowski (as co-owners of SST records) spent 5 days in jail

chapter 2: the minutemen - double nickles on the dime (released in 1984)

this will more than likely ever be the only thing the husker du album "zen arcade"...the pink floyd album "ummagumma"...and the sammy hagar song "i can't drive 55" have in common

chapter 3: mission of burma - vs (released in 1982)

this was the bands only full length release during the 1980's...they broke up soon after due to guitarist/vocalist roger miller's worsening tinnitus...they later reformed in 2002 and have since released 2 albums...pearl jam vocalist eddie vedder has said that they named their second album after this album as a tribute

chaper 4: minor threat - first demo tape (released in 2003)

originally recorded in 1981...the band (together for only roughly 4 months) had went into the studio and recorded what material that had...but ended up not being happy with the way it turned out and it was shelved and forgotten about...it was rediscovered as work on the "20 years of dischord" box set was being done...it was remixed and shelved once again until after the release of the box set

chapter 5: husker du - zen arcade (released in 1984)

called a punk "rock opera"...this was the reason the "double nickles on the dime" album was turned into a double album (the minutemen had planned for it to be just an album...and upong hearing that husker du were releasing this double album...they went back into the studio and wrote more material)...this album is considered an influence on the development of the "emo" genre

chapter 6: the replacements - let it be (released in 1984)

named as such as a joke on their manager who was a huge beatles fan...and was originally to be produced by REM guitarist peter buck (the band went to athens,ga...but they didn't have enough material written...he played on the song "i will dare")...this was the band taking a step away from their "fast and furious" side

chapter 7: sonic youth - goo (released in 1990)

originally went under the title "blowjob?"...this was the band's first major label album...it landed them a spot opening for neil young...they took a more streamlined approach to their music with this album

chapter 8: butthole surfers - locust abortion technician (released in 1987)

considered their darkest and heaviest album...this was the first album recorded in their own home studio...it's been called "the soundtrack to an acid trip"...the back cover is supposedly a picture of a baby jimi hendrix

chapter 9: big black - atomizer (released in 1986)

this was their debut full length (all other releases had been eps)...it tackles such topics as boredom ("kerosene")...sadism ("fists of love")...pedophilia ("jordan,minnesota")...and other postcards from the underbelly of society....it's been called "the musical equivalent of naked lunch and the texas chainsaw massacre"

chapter 10: dinosaur jr - bug (released in 1988)

this was the last album to have the original line up (bassist lou barlow was fired because of tensions between he and singer/guitar player j mascis...he then went and started the band sebadoh...though later returning for the 2007 album "beyond")...this was also the last album on an indie label (they signed to sire records after this)...it's been called a cross between neil young and the flaming lips

chapter 11: fugazi - 13 songs (released in 1989)

this could be considered the bands first full length...but it's a compilation of two previously released eps ("self-titled" released in 1988...and "margin walker" released in 1989)

chapter 12: mudhoney - superfuzz bigmuff plus early singles (released in 1990)

this is a compilation released on sub pop records consisting of their debut ep and some a and b sides from 2 singles along with 2 covers they did for splits they'd released with sonic youth (covering their song "halloween") and the dicks (covering their song "hate the police")

chapter 13: beat happening - self-titled (released in 1985)

this was their debut album...they were considered one of the pioneers of the lo-fi movment (they recorded most of their music with a tape recorder)...singer calvin johnson is founder of the olympia,wa based record label k records (as well as one of the organizers for the international pop underground festival...a 6 day music festival that was held in olympia,wa back in 1991)


1009 said...

thanks! weird nostalgia revisiting this stuff...

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


Manel said...

great post, loved the book!

ojbolt said...

Hey bro, first of all I want to thank you for all the good stuff you post, I want to know if you can upload the ebook "our life could be your life"? thanxs...

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