Days of the Lords: 1976-1997

Weekend Update: Saturday Afternoon Project

Born in ’81, I was just a few years too young for some of the best music of the 80s. This afternoon I dedicated some time to rectifying that issue.

I collected all of the genre-defining albums of the era from RateYourMusic.com and assembled a 175-hour playlist titled Days of the Lords: 1976-1997 comprising 55 artists from the period’s most prominent genres:

  • Ethereal Wave
  • New Wave
  • Dream Pop
  • Gothic Rock
  • Shoegaze
  • Post-Punk
  • Jangle Pop
  • & Noise Pop

All the major players are here.  Neoclassical darkwave and goth rock mainstays like The Cure, The Church, The Cult, Joy Division, The Smiths, Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins.  Plus post-punk artists like The Chameleons, Cabaret Voltaire, Chrome, Einstürzende Neubauten, Jesus & Mary Chain, Swervedriver, and Fad Gadget.

All the shoegaze giants made the list, from My Bloody Valentine to Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, Soda Stereo, The Boo Radleys, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Belly, and The Catherine Wheel.  I’ve really done my best to assemble all of the artistst discographies that defined their generation’s sound from 1976-1997.

Here’s a preview of the completed list in action.  I’ve got a lot of listening to do!

Days of the Lords

Hearkening Back to 4AD

This evening I found myself feeling emotionally and intellectually nostalgic for 1984-1994 ethereal wave / jangle-pop / neo-psychedelia / slowcore / art punk music which I’d only superficially explored in my college days.

This was music I emotionally-associate with the new-found independence and freedom (before the crushing reality of student loan debt sank in.)

As I’m never one to take on a task lightly, I charged full-speed to RYM, building custom charts of heroin-inspired jangle-pop and dreamy drone music of the late eighties and early nineties.

I consider these years sacred, before the industry latched on to the budding “alternative” rock scene and everything went to hell. These are the years before grunge hit full-swing, before megastars like Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, and Gavin Rossdale were featured every three songs on every commercial radio station in the US.

The free-form college rock scene was instead dominated by unlikely and reclusive rockers like J Spaceman and Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins.

Now armed with a roster of essential recordings, I’ll begin compiling the necessary albums for what will fill many evenings with the music from artists such as:

Spacemen 3
Spiritualized
Belly
Cocteau Twins
Curve
Galaxy 500
The Jesus & Mary Chain
Lush
Medicine
My Bloody Valentine
Sisters of Mercy
Slowdive
Sparklehorse
Suicide
The Church
Throwing Muses

…and a score of other essential artists of the dreamy early-alternative and pre-grunge scene.

I also count among these artists American Analog Set for their whisper-core indie music which came after the heyday of the shoegaze genre.

Spacemen 3 so adequately summarized the entire scene – “Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To.”

spiritualized_3