In May of 1981 X released their sophomore album.
Fusing the high energy speed of punk w/ one foot still playing in the r&b, rockabilly, roots, and country sandbox, the resulting thirteen tracks are a Wild Gift, indeed.
Let’s talk X, Wild Gift!
(most humble apologies fro the crackle at the beginning of this podcast, it does go away.)
In December of 1981 Black Flag released their debut album.
Though largely ignored upon its release by critics, the album is now considered and absolute classic of American Hardcore and the band itself paved the way that future DIY and indie bands would tour for years to come.
Let’s talk Black Flag, Damaged!
In February of 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno released their first album as a collaborative duo.
Recorded before the Talking Heads, Remain in Light, it was shelved for a year on account of sample clearance issues.
On the cusp of sampling’s 80s revolution, Eno’s love of tape loops are taken to their logical next step, while Byrne’s Afrobeat and Funk Rock leanings keep butts shaking.
Let’s talk David Byrne & Brian Eno, My Life in The Bush of Ghosts!
In February of 1980 OMD released their third studio album.
Taking inspiration from religious music, the band made use of chorale samples, the Mellotron, melodica and variety of other instruments to create the record’s beautifully lush sound.
Let’s talk Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark, Architecture and Morality!
In November of 1981 Soft Cell released their debut album.
Made on a tight budget, the band purportedly recorded almost entirely on a ReVox tape recorder.
With a borrowed drum machine, a Korg bass synth, and producer Mike Thorne’s Synclavier, the band created a true synth pop classic.
Let’s talk Soft Cell, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret!
Intro music by Bullet Points
In June of 1981 Motörhead released the greatest live record of all time.
Seriously y’all, it’s the best.
Let’s talk Motörhead, No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith!
In July of 1981 The Go-Gos released their debut album.
Its a stunning first outing with songs that are pure pop perfection. The record would climb to the top of the Billboard Hot 200 in 8 months time and eventually go on to sell over two million copies.
Let’s talk The Go-Gos, Beauty and The Beat!
In September of 1981 Penthouse 17 released their debut album.
After jumping ship on Human League, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware chose their new band’s name from the fictional pop group mentioned in Anthony Burgesses’ A Clockwork Orange.
Let’s talk Heaven 17, Penthouse and Pavement!
In June of 1981 Siouxie and The Banshees released their 4th studio album.
It is widely considered to be one of the finest post-punk records ever made.
Let’s talk Siouxie and The Banshees, Juju!
In October of 1981 Einstürzende Neubauten released their first official LP on the ZickZack record label.
This is the sound of things not just falling apart but being intentionally destroyed. Industrial music taken at it’s most literal interpretation, melody be damned.
Let’s talk Einstürzende Neubauten, Kollaps!
In late December of 1979 Pretenders released their debut album.
Recording began with Nick Lowe producing Stop Your Sobbing, but being of the opinion that this band was “not going anywhere”, he jumped ship and Chris Thomas came in to pick up the slack.
The results? Pretenders debuted at #1 on the UK Album Charts, cracked the top 10 on the Billboard 200, certified platinum in 1982, and is considered one of the finest albums of all time.
Let’s talk Pretenders, Pretenders!
In late December of 1980, known multi-instrumentalist and Traffic aficionado, Steve Winwood, released his Platinum selling sophomore solo album.
Recorded at his own Netherturkdonic Studios in Gloucestershire, Winwood opted to play all the instruments, write all the music, and produce and engineer the entire record himself.
Let’s talk Steve Winwood, Arc of a Diver!
In October of 1980 The Specials released their sophomore album.
After six months on the road and utterly exhausted, the band went into the studio with musak on their minds.
“On that tour in America, I was listening to music in the hotel bars and elevators. Vibraphone music in elevators. Obviously this was classed as rubbish. I don’t know if it was my state of mind, because I was so zonked, but it struck me as a really weird, psychedelic music, which is now called lounge or exotica. It’s been rehabilitated, but at the time, to say you actually liked that music was mad. It completely freaked out some of the band.”
The results speak for themselves.
Let’s talk The Specials, More Specials!
In October of 1980 The Teardrop Explodes released their debut album.
Deriving influence from the 60s psyche movement and punk, these Liverpudlians made a significant contribution to post-punk and the future of rock music in Britain.
Let’s talk The Teardrop Explodes, Kilimanjaro!
In August of 1980 UB40 released their debut album.
Robert Christgau –
“Eight black-and-whites from Birmingham who named themselves after the dole card they know so well, they don’t play no ska–they’re songsmiths in a deep reggae groove. They take their time instead of pressing on to the next one, and more than one instrumental outwears its welcome.”
Let’s talk UB40, Signing Off!
In September of 1980 Tom Waits released his 7th studio album.
Why it’s in here when Swordfish Trombones is just three short years away, who knows?
Let’s talk Tom Waits, Heartattack and Vine!
In late November of 1980 The Jam released their 5th studio album.
Taking musical cues from many post-punk luminaries including Gang of Four, Joy Division, and Wire, with drummer Rick Buckler paying special attention to the drums on Off the Wall.
It is The Jam’s crowning achievement and truly one for the book.
Lets talk The Jam, Sound Affects!
In April of 1980, The Undertones released their second album.
Recorded at both Wisseloord Studios in The Netherlands and Eden Studios in London over the course of two months, the band cranked out more of the same material that endeared them so well to John Peel.
Lets talk The Undertones, Hypnotised!
In April of 1980 Iron Maiden released their debut studio album.
Recorded at Kingsway Studio the previous December, the album is a shot across the bow for heavy music. With breakneck speeds, ferocious riffs, anthemic melodies, and the dulcet tones of original singer Paul Di’Anno, the album heralded the arrival of The British New Wave of Heavy Metal.
Let’s talk Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden!
In July of 1980 Joy Division released their final studio album.
Once again produced by Martin Hannett but released two month after the tragic passing of lead singer, Ian Curtis, the album represents a high watermark of the post-punk genre.
Lets talk Joy Division, Closer!
In October of 1980 Talking Heads released their 4th studio album.
With Brian Eno back at the helm, the band continues their trajectory as the best group to come out of the CBGB’s scene, and the album deserves every accolade that has been thrown at it.
Lets talk Talking Heads, Remain in Light!
In October of 1980 Circle Jerks released their debut album.
With fourteen songs clocking in at just over fifteen minutes, the album is a true classic of the hardcore punk genre.
Let’s talk Circle Jerks, Group Sex!
In April of 1980, known hellbent for leather Turbo Lovers, Judas Priest, released their 6th studio album.
Taking lyrical cues from AC/DC this time around, the band dropped some of the darker themes featured on their earlier releases, opting for a more party time feel.
The record announced the arrival of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal and would help inspire the thrash metal genre of a few years later.
Lets talk Judas Priest, British Steel!
In October of 1980 Killing Joke released their debut album.
“Bass, lead, to tell the killing joke, we mean it man! Total exploitation, no information, anonymity” was the rallying cry posted in Melodie Maker Magazine by keyboardist/singer Jaz Coleman and drummer Paul Fergeson in 1979. With the addition of guitarist Geordie Walker and bassist Youth, the band headed into the studio in August of 1980.
Recorded at Marquee Studios in London and self-produced by the band, the album trail-blazed a sound that the Chicago indie scene of 5 years later would owe a true debt.
Lets talk Killing Joke, Killing Joke!