Not a question but awesome article about the 80s revival sound!

Thanks so much. Glad to see some of you out there are actually reading!

- Eddie. 

The 80s Revival in Today’s Indie Music

There seems to be a trend happening right now in the world of alternative and indie music. This is a trend that carries an external façade which may seem familiar to a generation before my own. Generation X is walking around completely baffled by the emulation of a time they associate with their own youth. This “chrono-imitation” is being carried out by a large group of millennial hipsters and indie rockers, most of whom, by the way, were either learning how to crawl or had yet to be conceived at time they’ve chosen to reflect. Musical and cultural elements of the past are always recycled in one way or another, and right now taking inspiration from the 80s seems to be all the rage in today’s alternative music scene.

Bands like Brooklyn’s Black Marble have admitted to the fact that minimal synth and cold-wave bands of decades past have been really big influences in the burgeoning New York music scene. They go on to explain that this is due partly to the fact that “everything in New York is so expensive” and the ability to base a band around Moogs, Midis and the like is much more convenient for financially strained artists. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why this D.I.Y. attitude in indie music has seen quite an influx, not only in New York but all over the world, since the economic downturn of the past decade. Moreover, the fact that the 1980s is very much perceived as a time when post-rock/new-wave and synthpop were running rampant has embedded a notion deep in the minds of music critics everywhere. It is this notion and “synthesized” take on music production that lends itself to the categorization of a number of indie groups that have popped up in recent years as being a part of some sort of new new-wave revival.

With music bloggers and YouTube commentators alike pointing out the very obvious and sometimes not so obvious similarities between bands past and present it’s hard to ignore the ever growing anachronistic trend. And for those people who aren’t familiar with new-wave or its many different stylistic origins, ranging from disco, punk, art, and even glam rock, it may be hard to group certain acts together in this revival at first listen. But once those roots have been noted it’s easy to see how artists such as Cut Copy, Kisses, Black Marble, and even Wild Nothing, just to name a few, have been referred to as sounding from another decade.

After listening to the track “Pretender”, off Black Marble’s debut, A Different Arrangement, it’s easy to understand how comparisons with the long defunct Joy Division have been made. And for those of us familiar with the work of the late and great Ian Curtis and his cohorts, it’s not that crazy to say that “Pretender,” with its cold, shaky synth melody and detached, faraway vocals would have fit perfectly alongside tracks like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Disorder”. It’s also very important to note that similarities between the two acts can be drawn by Joy Division’s pioneering. The Manchester band lead the way in the then “low-tech” world of punk and post punk bands, in that they were one of the first acts to incorporate synthesizers into their music as well as “haunting melodies, emphasized by the isolated, tortured lyrics of its lead vocalist.”

Now that Joy Division parallels have been drawn it’s hard not to transition into New Order’s territory. Having come together in the aftermath of Ian Curtis’ death, New Order became known as one of the most iconic and influential acts of their respective decade. Having been considered influential in an entire era, it’s no wonder their aural footprint still lingers in the world of alternative music. This is apparent with the French pop/rock threesome Thieves Like Us, who are named after a song by the aforementioned band. Not only is Thieves Like Us’ name in tribute to the decade at hand, but their filtered disco-esque beats are heavily indebted to the minimal disco of the first wave of new wavers. This is especially apparent in the track “Drugs in My Body,” off their 2009 album Play Music. An album that, with its cold digital feel, would have made a fitting soundtrack to 1982’s TRON.

Not only did New Order lend itself to the naming of modern acts but their musical influence can be heard in the California band Craft Spells. With baritone vocals from the band’s lead, Justin Vallesteros, and supporting instrumentals to boot, tracks like “Party Talk” from their 2011 album Idle Labor, would have been rather fitting in the 1981 album Movement. Perhaps another little nod from the band in the direction of New Order comes in the form of Idle Labor’s album art, which features a bouquet of flowers strikingly similar to the one seen on the cover of 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies.


It should be stated that this revivalism isn’t only stemming from the likes of new-wave and post-rock bands, but dance-pop artists such as Debbie Deb and Lisa Lisa have left a lasting impression as well.  This can be heard in neo-disco and alternative dance acts such as Kisses and Classixx, especially in the former’s latest album, Kids in L.A. With the bass lines and auto tuned vocals, on the track “Huddle,” accompanied by a lightly energized back beat, one could swear that this track could have been produced by the likes of Afrika Bambaataa or that Debbie Deb’s 1984 hit, “When I Hear Music” was somehow being channeled in a more down tempo way.

As mentioned earlier, trends and influences from the past are always being reused and reshaped to fit a modern society. And it always seems to be the best of those trends that are adopted and passed down into the next generation of musicians and used to better their own work. Although the acts and tracks mentioned above are just a few examples, out of many, these are some of the instances that can easily lend themselves the notion or idea of this 1980s revival; a revival which has opened the ears of Generation Y and have allowed them to experience the musical styles and genres of the 1980s in their new and original forms.

- By Eddie.

"Outta My System" (Washed Out Remix) by My Morning Jacket

In celebration of My Morning Jacket beginning their Spontaneous Curation Series US tour tomorrow, we’re giving you a sneak peak of the Washed Out remix coming soon on the Outta My System: Remixez Y Friendz EP. The EP will be released digitally everywhere on Tuesday August 7th.

“Patient” by Twin Shadow.

The newest video off of Twin Shadows latest album, Confess. Order your copy now over at Twin Shadow’s site.

- Eddie.

Audio Stream: “Fineshrine” by Purity Ring.

Another glorious single from everyone’s favorite Canadian future pop duo. This track is off the duo’s debut album, Shrines. Set to release July 24 on 4AD. Pre-order the album, over at 4AD site. While you’re at it, download this track now.

- by Eddie.

"Five Seconds" by Twin Shadow.

Video premiere from Twin Shadows latest single, “Five Seconds”, off the upcoming album, Confess, out July 12 here in the States. Pre-order now over at Twin Shadow’s site.

- by Eddie.

"Belispeak" by Purity Ring.

The first official video from the Canadian future pop duo. Getting us more hyped for the release of their debut album, Shrines, out July 24 on 4AD.

- by Eddie.

"Same Mistakes" by The Echo Friendly. 

From the upcoming LP, “Love Panic”. As heard on tonight’s episode of HBO’s hit new series, Girls

- by Eddie.