Elizabeth's Reviews > Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991

Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad
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Jan 09, 2008

it was amazing

I loved this book. Azerad profiles bands like Black Flag, Minutemen, Mission of BUrma, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, Big BLack, Minor Threat, The Replacements, Fugazi, BEat Happening, Mudhoney, and Dinosaur Jr. It's the royaly of 80s underground music in America.

There are bands that could have been incouded, namely the Pixies, but Azerad wanted to focus on bands that made a big splash in America. And while the Pixies were an American band, they were on 4AD, an English label. They began to hit big in the US in the early 90s, about when this book was winding down.

Readers may wonder why he ignored the southern US scene, primarily the Athens, GA scene. REM signed with Warner Brothers earlier in their career--and Azerad follows each band until they signed with a major label. Same goes for The B52s. But other bands, primarily Pylon, may not have achieved the same notoriety as their Athens counterparts, but they are just as important to the overall music scene.

Azerad focuses on the band and their scenes. He starts the book with bands and at a time when British/LA/New York punk was dying down and the US hardcore/DIY scene was beginning to develop. Profiling bands like Black Flag and The Minutement, Minor Threat, the authors shows the development of an underground national network--a network that was developed by the people in the bands and their fans. With each band profile, Azerad deonstrates how the network grew and what each band and their followers did to contriute.

In some cases, like Mudhoney, he focuses more on SubPop than he does on the band. And some bands, like Dinosaur Jr, may have some people scratching their heads trying to figure out whay they are included.

Overall, the book is a non-nostalgic look (although some readers may get nostalgic after reading it) at what was happeneing below the surface of American music.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Devin Don't forget the Meat Puppets. Why were you wondering why he included Dinosaur Jr? Their 80s albums (not to mention their reunion releases) kicked ass and they were close friends with Sonic Youth.

Jason Even the pre-Warner REM albums were recorded for a label(IRS)with major label distribution. Oh and I second the above comment: Dinosaur Jr was and is awesome.

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