Rock music underwent a revolution in the late 1970s. A new generation of acts arrived, often stripping their sound back with basic songs and simple arrangements. Some of these bands failed to make a huge dent commercially, despite critical acclaim. Others like U2 and Blondie rode their stripped-down sound to international success.
Punk and new wave were a vehicle for a new generation of musicians to gain record deals, but a lot of the new generation turned out to be extremely sophisticated writers – ambitious composers like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson and Andy Partridge didn’t stay punk for long, instead veering off into different genres.
Major acts that I’m planning to cover include Blondie, X, The Pretenders, and Joe Jackson. Some bands that are new-wave influenced but started their careers during the 1980s, like New Order and R.E.M., are covered on the 1980s Review page.
Boston quintet The Cars were arguably the quintessential New Wave band. They combined the back-to-basics approach of new wave, forward-thinking synthesiser textures, and bright power pop melodies. It’s not difficult...
It's difficult to explain the appeal of Australian indie band The Go-Betweens; Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are neither strikingly talented guitarists nor vocalists. But despite their limitations, they made...
IntroductionThe RaincoatsThe RaincoatsOdyshapeMovingLooking in the Shadows10 Best Raincoats Songs Introduction The punk and new wave movements lowered the barriers to entry to a musical career, promising a more egalitarian future....
IntroductionThe Soft Boys Album ReviewsA Can of BeesUnderwater MoonlightInvisible HitsNextdoorland10 Best Soft Boys Songs Introduction Robyn Hitchcock started his recording career with the psychedelic new wave band The Soft Boys....
The Talking Heads started out playing in legendary New York club CBGB, effectively the focal point for American New Wave; The Ramones, Television, Patti Smith Group, and Blondie also launched their careers...
Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person.
Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate both Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Based in Fleet Street (New Zealand), he's been writing this blog since around 2000. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.
Read about the discographies of musical acts from the 1960s to the present day. Browse this site's review archives or enjoy these random selections:
British collective Sault have eschewed all the usual rules of music-making in their brief and eventful career. They’ve veiled their identities, never played a live gig, never released a music video, and have produced material at a breakneck pace. They’ve released eleven albums between 2019 and 2022, as well as production […]
10,000 Maniacs have one of the most misleader monikers in popular music. From their name, you’d expect speed metal or punk, but instead, they’re a folk-rock band with socially conscious lyrics and Natalie Merchant’s oddly mannered vocals. The band were previously known as Burn Victims before deriving their name from […]
The son of novelist Raymond Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock has enjoyed an acclaimed career as an eccentric alt-rock and folk artist. He started his career with the new wave band The Soft Boys, best known for their 1980 album Underwater Moonlight. Introduction The title of the documentary Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Food, […]
It’s difficult to explain the appeal of Australian indie band The Go-Betweens; Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are neither strikingly talented guitarists nor vocalists. But despite their limitations, they made some great albums during the 1980s, eloquent, literate, melodic, and honest, with the focus on Forster and McLennan’s accomplished songwriting. […]
While his former Velvet Underground bandmate Lou Reed enjoyed a larger public profile, John Cale has always been like an invisible hand guiding the alternative music scene. Cale started his career in the early 1960s in the contemporary classical scene. He studied the viola, and worked alongside contemporary composers like […]
There were a plethora of musical acts that originated from the CBGBs club in New York in the mid-1970s; The Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, and Blondie all went on to achieve acclaim, while all occupying different niches in the punk and new wave spectrum. Television are the least well-known […]
I add new blog posts to this website every week. Browse the archives or enjoy these random selections:
The late Tom Petty was a great singles artist – tracks like ‘The Waiting’, ‘Refugee’, and ‘Free Fallin” sound terrific blasting from cars and on classic rock radio. Petty had so many enjoyable hits through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s that my list of favourite Tom Petty songs is largely […]
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at when bands peak – I’ve always enjoyed band’s later albums where they are more confident and more diverse. My graphs based on my ratings bore this out – this graph was based on 24 bands, where I’ve covered at least their first 6 […]
A quirky alternative rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, the Pixies effectively bridged two eras in guitar rock; the underground bands of the 1980s like Hüsker Dü and the mega-selling 1990s alt-rock bands like Nirvana and Radiohead. The four-piece guitar band is known for extreme dynamics, often juxtaposing quiet verses with […]
If you’re not from Australasia, chances are that you’re not familiar with Dave Dobbyn – he’s ubiquitous in New Zealand, but obscure everywhere else. When a panel selected the New Zealand’s best ever popular songs in 2001, five Dave Dobbyn songs were included in the top 30 (and ‘Outlook for […]
Formed in 1981, London’s Talk Talk enjoyed an unusual career trajectory. They started their record career as a passable synth-pop band, often compared to Duran Duran. Early hits like 1984’s ‘Such A Shame’ and ‘It’s My Life’ allowed them access to larger recording budgets. Their music became more experimental and […]
Jeff Tweedy was the junior partner in alt-country outfit Uncle Tupelo, playing bass and fronting the occasional song. When the group split, Tweedy formed Wilco with other Uncle Tupelo musicians – notably bassist John Stirratt, Wilco’s only other constant member. Their first release, 1995’s A.M. was pleasant, but the group […]