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12 Essential 1980s Alternative Rock Albums

PopMatters' '80s alt-rock primer spotlights the essential alternative rock albums from the broad genre's rich and diverse early years.

Recent
Music

The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead (Deluxe Edition)

The Rhino re-release of the indie rock icons' greatest album is carefully and beautifully presented. It provides a welcome opportunity to revisit a true classic.

Music

Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now

Singer-songwriter Jens Lekman returns with Life Will See You Now, possibly his finest record to date.

Music

The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '80s: Part 5: 20 - 1

Songs of anxiety, paranoia, freak-outs, chilling verses, feverish desire, harrowing lyrics -- they all make for damn good music.

Music

Five Observations About the 2015 Rock Hall of Fame Ballot

The just-unveiled ballot for next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class attempts to honor Generation X as well as continue to rectify past oversights.

Music

Knowing When to Indulge the Rock-Out Impulse

Making the big dumb rock gesture isn't always the cool thing to do. But a good musician always knows when it's best to do it anyway.

Music

Devon Williams: Gilding the Lily

LA-based tunesmith Devon Williams decides to join his peers and craft a musical exploration of that trendiest of decades, the 1980s.

Music

Bart Davenport: Physical World

In a world where originality is king, Physical World lays its classic rock inspiration bare. The result is a fine piece of throwback pop.

Music

Drowners: Drowners

Drowners are not quite "New Generation" nor "The Wild Ones" more "Lazy" or "Trash".

Books

Morrissey As the Sweet and Tender Hooligan

Morrissey cannot square his inner discontent with his mass appeal. He peers at himself as if a specimen.

Film

What James Bond Can’t Teach You About British Music History

If you want lessons in womanizing, dressing to the nines, or ordering martinis, James Bond is your man. If, however, you’re looking for a review of British music history over the last 50 years, the world’s favorite secret agent has no idea what he’s doing.

Music

Johnny Marr - "Upstarts" (video)

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr releases his new solo album 'The Messenger' on 26 February and here is the first single, "Upstarts".

Music

The Smiths: Complete

Even when compiling the band's entire catalog together, the same problems remain: too much overlap, not every song is actually represented. That said, Marr did a hell of a job on the remaster ...

Music

Counterbalance: Year One

In this special one-year anniversary edition of Counterbalance, Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn discuss their first year combing through the pop music canon (as determined by Acclaimed Music's calculations of every best-of list available), share a few favorites, and justify a couple items on their expense account.

Music

Still Ill: The Best 13 Songs by the Smiths

To celebrate the 25th birthday of the Smiths' masterful album The Queen Is Dead, PopMatters presents a list of the top 13 tracks by the legendary English quartet.

Music

Counterbalance No. 28: The Smiths’ 'The Queen Is Dead'

Some Smiths records are bigger than others -- The Queen Is Dead, for example, comes in at No. 28 on the Acclaimed Music list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. Bigmouths Klinger and Mendelsohn strike again with another edition of Counterbalance.

Music

Dum Dum Girls: He Gets Me High EP

While it's no secret that the retro-leaning indie popsters aren't exactly forward-thinking originators, all it takes is one well-chosen cover song to leave the Girls’ creative limitations exposed.

Music

Pete Yorn: musicforthemorningafter (10th Anniversary Edition)

Two-disc set commemorates Yorn's first studio album and shows what it plainly is: a collection of beautiful songs, nearly each one a small victory.

Music

Morrissey: Bona Drag (20th Anniversary Edition)

Morrissey -- is there any greater, more consistent talent to be found in the last 30 years? Bona Drag, remastered and reissued with bonus material, reminds us why Moz is still so beloved and so worthy of attention.

Music

Freebass: You Don’t Know This About Me - The Arthur Baker Remixes EP

Freebass: You Don’t Know This About Me presents five remixes of a song by a group featuring three bassists from some of Manchester's greatest bands.

AJ Ramirez
Books

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: Two Guys With a Shared History Engaging In Some Witty Bar Talk

There are moments that make me realize just how self-inflated my initial notion of engaging in "bar talk" may have been. I never would have been able to keep up.

Music

Northern Portrait: Criminal Art Lovers

Northern Portrait likes the Smiths.

Music

(500) Days of Summer -- The Music

Director Marc Webb's deft, nuanced use of pop music does more than just enhance an already great film.

Music

The Smiths: The Sound of the Smiths

The Smiths "re-package" themselves on this definitive single-disc encapsulation of one of the '80s best underground bands. A two-CD deluxe edition adds rarities, worthy b-sides, and some great album tracks.

Reviews

Queen Is Dead: Album Under Review

By Brown's seventh bloviating appearance, you just want to shake him and break his worn copy of the album across his head.

Andrew Winistorfer
Reviews

The Smiths: Inside The Smiths [DVD]

Two out of four The Smiths ain’t bad. But it certainly ain’t best.

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