Friday, December 31, 2010

As I type, the Internet and old fashion media look at the year 2010. So let us return to the past. Let us return to 1980, but before we go there, I must admit I might have it all wrong. The turn-of-decade sea shift from “classic rock” to “new wave” could be about Glen Thrasher changing from child to something vaguely resembling a man: the changes not about everything or anything changing in music. A musical change I perceive obvious could be unfathomable to those not Glen Thrasher. During the period 1977 to 1980 Glen Thrasher changed from a high school boy living in the suburbs who never went anywhere after dark into some semblance of an adult. He became “a man” with an apartment in a dangerous major American city, a girlfriend, and a string of jobs. Nightlife consisted of going to bars to watch live music 2 to 7 nights per week for the next 20 years. (For those that doubt Atlanta was a dangerous city those years, remember, this was the era Atlanta was called Murder Capitol of the Nation. It was also the period of news cycle driven missing & murdered black children of Atlanta. Assumed to be the work of a serial killer, these headline-making crimes were attributed to my fellow Georgia State University alumni, Wayne Williams. At the time of his arrest I was working in the G.S.U. registrars office. I looked up his file and discovered his class schedule and determined we were enrolled in an introductory English composition class together. I cannot say if Wayne attended the class. I certainly do not remember him. A side note worth mentioning: his file was unusually slim. I assume the police had already been there to remove anything/everthing more interesting. Every other student file I ever saw contained an essay written by the student at the time of their application for admission. I would have enjoyed a look at Wayne’s essay.) I found something in the world outside of Glen Thrasher to parallel these changes within. It was inevitable. I imagined changes in the music. Also inevitable. Most of my new life revolved around music: buying records, spinning records at small radio stations, going to see bands at seedy bars, writing about music: live & recorded, and before long attempting to play in bands before audiences. I associate personal changes with musical changes, real or not. Sea change, or song remains the same, 1980 was another remarkable year for music. As with 3 years preceding there are many records good enough to be the best record of many a lesser year.

Best LPs of 1980

  1. Graham Lewis & B.C. Gilbert: Dome (Dome, UK)
  2. Half Japanese: Half Gentlemen/Not Beasts (Armageddon)
  3. Information/Blinding Headache/Mofungo: Tape #1 (cassette)
  4. The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (Stiff)
  5. Young Marble Giants: Colossal Youth (Rough Trade, UK)
  6. The Raincoats: The Raincoats (Rough Trade, UK)
  7. Swell Maps: In Jane From Occupied Europe (Rough Trade, UK)
  8. Joy Division: Closer (Factory)
  9. Borbetomagus: Sauter, Dietrich, & Miller (Agaric)
  10. Captain Beefheart: Doc At the Radar Station (Virgin)
  11. Martin Rev: Solo Album (Lust/Unlust)
  12. Graham Lewis & B.C. Gilbert: Dome 2 (Dome, UK)
  13. Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables (Alternative Tentacles)
  14. The Mekons: The Mekons (Red Rhino, UK)
  15. Caberet Voltaire: Voice of America (Rough Trade, UK)
  16. Magazine: Play (IRS)
  17. The Cure: Boys Don’t Cry (PVC)
  18. Glenn Branca: Lesson No. 1 (99 Mini-LP)
  19. Talking Heads: Remain In Light (Sire)
  20. The Fall: Grotesque (Rough Trade, UK)
  21. Elvis Costello: Get Happy (CBS)
  22. Durutti Column: Return of the Durutti Column (Factory)
  23. Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight (Armageddon)
  24. Colin Newman: A-Z (Beggars Banquet, UK)
  25. David Bowie: Scary Monsters (RCA)
  26. Pylon: Gyrate (Db)
  27. The Cure: 17 Seconds (Fiction, UK)
  28. X: Los Angeles (Slash)
  29. The Flesh Eaters: No Questions Asked (Upsetter)
  30. The Fall: Totale’s Turn (Rough Trade, UK)
  31. Siouxsie & the Banshees: Kaleidoscope (Polydor)
  32. The Boys Next Door: The Birthday Party (Missing Link, Aus.)
  33. The Jam: Sound Effects (Polydor)
  34. The Ex: Disturbing Domestic Peace (Verrecords)
  35. The Dicks/The Big Boys: Live at Raul’s (Rat Race)
  36. The Pop Group: For How Much Longer Can We Tolerate Mass Murder (Rough Trade, UK)
  37. John Fahey: Live in Tasmania (Sonet)
  38. Bill Dixon: In Italy Volume 1 (Soul Note, Italy)
  39. Magazine: The Correct Use of Soap (IRS)
  40. Art Ensemble of Chicago: Full Force (ECM)
  41. John Zorn: School (Parachute)
  42. LaDonna Smith & Davey Williams: Direct Waves (Trans Music)
  43. Tom Waits: Heartattack and Vine (Asylum)
  44. Elliott Sharp: Rhythms & Blues (Zoar)
  45. Kurtis Blow: Kurtis Blow (Mercury)
  46. 999: Biggest Prize In Sports (Polydor)
  47. The Clash: Black Market Clash (Epic)
  48. John Zorn: Pool/Hockey (Parachute)
  49. Various Artists: Wanna Buy a Bridge? (Rough Trade)
  50. Anthony Braxton: Seven Compositions 1978 (Moers)
  51. Bow Wow Wow: Your Cassette Pet (EMI cassette) 1st version
  52. Killing Joke: Killing Joke (Editions EG)
  53. Suicide: Alan Vega & Martin Rev (Ze)
  54. Lewis & Gilbert: 3r4 (4AD)
  55. Sam Rivers: Contrasts (ECM)
  56. The Undertones: Hypnotized (Sire)
  57. Elvis Costello: Taking Liberties (CBS)
  58. Steve Beresford: The Bath of Surprise (Piano)
  59. The Clash: Sandinista! (CBS)
  60. Fela Kuti: I.T.T. (Polygram)
  61. Psychedelic Furs: Psychedelic Furs (CBS)
  62. Circle Jerks: Group Sex (Frontier)
  63. Prince: Dirty Mind (Warner Brothers)
  64. Jim Carroll Band: Catholic Boy (Atco)
  65. ACDC: Back In Black (Atlantic)
  66. Jah Wooble: The Legend Lives On… Jah Wooble in “Betrayed” (Virgin, UK)
  67. Caberet Voltaire: Live at the YMCA (Restless)
  68. David Moss: Terrain (Cornpride)
  69. Robert Ashley: Perfect Lives (Private Parts) (Lovely)
  70. The Last Words: The Last Words (Armaggedeon)
  71. Harold Budd & Brain Eno: Plateaux of Mirrors (Editions EG)
  72. Various: Decline of Western Civilization (Slash)
  73. Van Morrison: Common One (Warner Brothers)
  74. Michael Hurley: Snockgrass (Rounder)
  75. The Teardrop Explodes: Kilamanjaro (Mercury)
  76. The Units: Digital Stimulation (415)
  77. Jon Hassell & Brian Eno: Fourth World Volume 1: Possible Musics (Editions EG)
  78. The Ramones: End of the Century (Sire)
  79. XTC: Black Sea (Virgin)
  80. The Cramps: Songs The Lord Taught Us
  81. Motorhead: Ace of Spades (Mercury)
  82. Vic Godard & the Subway Sect: What’s the Matter Boy? (MCA. UK)
  83. The Associates: The Affectionate Punch (Fiction)


Blogger loretdem said...

Great Post. I've got the Feelies and Half Japanese but your other two top 4 are new to me. Will check out. Thanks.
(did you ever get my email re:your blog and eighties Atlanta? Check your spam? If not I can resend if you'd like). Get my email address from my website

11:20 AM  
Blogger Glen said...

Carlos: Good luck finding "Tape #1"; there is a great photo of Blinding Headache in Mark Masters' No Wave book from Black Dog Publishing. The photo is the one thing I have found attempting to search Internet for this great band. I have not even bothered searching for the band called Information. My guess is the results would be much like googling: "communication" or "everything". Doubtless there are tons of Mofungo tracks available on-line. They released six LPs and one other cassette in the 1980s. All their records are excellent. Only 1983's "Out of Line" (Zoar) resembles the "no wave" band of the early days. Unfortunately "Out of Line" is also the most difficult of their vinyl to track down. Last I looked a copy at was $19.95. The two SST records "Work" and "Bugged" are readily available on CD through Amazon for cheap. The other records can probably be tracked down. I am certain someone has "Tape #1", but I don't have a clue where to look. My copy is somewhere in a box, but I have not seen or heard it lately. I used to play "Tape #1" tracks on WREK's "Destroy All Music" regularly (1984 through 1992). And I know some crazy loyal listeners recorded our show. If those recordings exist now I don't know about them, but I would love to find them. I don't think I received the email you mention. The best way to contact me is:

2:59 AM  
Blogger loretdem said...

Thanks for your great and through response.

As you know there are a lot of people looking for "Tape #1". If you find a source (Rick Brown is out there somewhere) or if Anthology Records ever comes back from hiding, please let us know on your blog.

I'll resend my previous email to your yahoo address.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

I actually know Rick Brown but have not talked to him in years. I cannot remember if he had copies of Tape #1 last time I talked to him: 1996. He is on facebook, if you want to toss him a message. He is a great guy, but he does not share that opinion of yours truly.

2:50 AM  
Blogger smibbo conspiracy said...

I recall 1980 was the year I decided I was completely DONE with commercial radio music and "discovered" an entirely new world of sound. Heavy Metal Magazine, college radio, NME and some late night video show (I don't remember the name) paved the way. After that, it was just plowing through the "imports" section at Wax'n'Facts and buying things based on album covers, associations and artwork. The whole world opened up.

I say all this because 1980 is the first list you've written I can say I actually listened to and bought quite a few of those albums on my own in 1980 rather than years later.

2:00 PM  

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