In the United States the new wave was replaced by the "no wave" of
the Sonic Youth, the Swans,
In the meantime, punk-rock evolved into "hardcore" and myriads of bands terrorized New York (Misfits), Boston (Mission Of Burma, Lemonheads), and above all Washington (Bad Brains, Pussy Galore, Fugazi). The West Coast had its share of hardcore violence, but somehow Los Angeles (Black Flag, X) and San Francisco (Dead Kennedys, Flipper, Camper Van Beethoven) managed to remain more experimental. So much so that Los Angeles saw the emergence of a generation of bands with roots in the "beach-punk" scene but whose sound was far more complex (Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, Universal Congress, fIREHOSE ), a school that culminated in the solo career of Henry Rollins . Australia boasted one of the most intense scenes, from the early days of the Saints and Radio Birdman to the later days of the Lubricated Goat.
The southeast became one of the cradles of a melodic genre that mixed folk-rock and pop (B52's, REM).
The whole national scene benefited from the emergence of independent music recording. Los Angeles nurtured the Paisley Underground and the cow-punk scene: the Dream Syndicate and the Gun Club emerged from that creative revival.
All sorts of neo-rock bands roamed New York, notably the Band Of Susans. Boston gave two of the most influential acts, Dinosaur Jr and the Pixies, that de facto invented "grunge" rock. Seattle saw the revival of hard-rock and the boom of grunge (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam). Chicago witnessed the birth of Steve Albini's evil genius with the Big Black. Minneapolis was the real catalyst: the Husker Du and the Replacements, and later the Soul Asylum, changed the whole notion of punk-rock and created the premises for a return to the rock song format with a new impetus. Kentucky was another surprising center of action: the Squirrel Bait started a dynasty of convoluted mainly instrumental punk-rock that would continue with the Slint and the Tortoise.
Psychedelia in the age of punks begat the Butthole Surfers in Texas, the Flaming Lips in Oklahoma, the Phish in New England and a whole legion of gurus in New York: Mark Kramer, Dogbowl, Jarboe, Lida Husik, Azalia Snail. And Mercury Rev, the whole band demented enough to compete with the Flaming Lips.
Roots-rock lived on the side, propelled by the occasional success of the Black Crowes, by the distinguished career of the Del-Lords and by the phenomenal energy of lesser known bands such as the Fetchin Bones.
Australia's rock school expanded dramatically and entered the charts, while preserving artistic merit with bands such as the Church.
Most of the impulse for what was happening actually came from tiny and far New Zealand, that had nurtured an independent scene since the days of the Tall Dwarfs, the Clean and the Chills, a school that would peak with Peter Jefferies's and Roy Montgomery's ambitious works.
In the meantime another street phenomenon of the ghettos, hip hop, revolutionized the music scene and bands such as Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy crossed over to the rock audience. Producers such as Tackhead were instrumental in redefining the concept of "composition".
Britain followed a different course, almost in the opposite direction, towards simpler and more commercial music. It all started with the modernist sounds of Ultravox, Wire and XTC, and their vaguely robotic melodies. Then Japan and Simple Minds turned that sound into pompous pop songs. And finally Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark and others created synth-pop, that typically was pop played on electronic instruments and sung by a female or gay singer (with a few notable exceptions). The Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys were probably the most artistically successful of the many that climbed the charts. The Irish U2 and the Smiths turned sharply towards melody.
Australia gave the 1980s two of the towering figures of rock music: Nick Cave, who bridged Jim Morrison, Tom Waits and gothic rock, and Foetus, who turned industrial music into the future of classical music.
The 1990's by genre outside the US | Genres of the 2000's outside the US
continues... | back...
UK & Austrialia: The New Wave of Pop
USA & UK: Psychedelic Revival
USA, UK, Europe: The Golden Age of Heavy Metal
USA & UK: Songwriters of the 1980s
USA & UK: Roots-rock of the 1980s
USA: DJs, rappers, cyberpunk
German noise: Einsturzende Neubaten
Hardcore: Mission Of Burma
California hardcore: Germs, Black Flag, X, Dead Kennedys, Flipper, Minutemen
Midwest: Husker Du, Replacements, Big Black, Laughing Hyenas
Brit-pop: U2, Smiths
British gothic: Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Sisters of Mercy
Dream-pop: Cocteau Twins
Rap: Beastie Boys, Public Enemy
Speedmetal: Metallica, Jane's Addiction, Guns And Roses
No wave: Lydia Lunch
Progressive: Bill Laswell, Anton Fier
Noise-rock: Sonic Youth, Swans, Band Of Susans, Jon Spencer, Royal Trux
Cow-punk: Dream Syndicate, Gun Club
British songwriters: Julian Cope, Enya
Canada songwriter: Jane Siberry
Psycho-delic: Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Red Temple Spirits, Medicine,
Australian masters: Nick Cave, Dead Can Dance, Jim Foetus
California: Camper Van Beethoven, Zoogz Rift, Savage Republic
Texas: Butthole Surfers, Pain Teens, Ed Hall
Shoegazer: Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine
New Zealand: Tall Dwarfs, Chills