8/5 and 8/12: Relax, or Practice Meditation unto Death

frankie_says_relaxMaking a mix tape of good music from the 1980s is not particularly difficult. The real challenge is creating a mix that will fit on one CD and catching a significant chunk of the diversity to which those 10 years were witness. I’ve yet to put together any kind of comprehensive mix, but what you’ll find below is a sample of what I enjoy.

Someone from WZBC was caught re-handed claiming that the years 1980 to 1989 contained virtually zero good music, popular or otherwise. She admitted it was an exaggeration: there were at least a couple of good bands around back then. But I took it as a challenge. It was a good chance to see what records I had laying around from that time and what was missing from my collection that obviously needed to be in it. I was born in the 1980s. Many of my strongest memories begin right around 1986, but I wasn’t even a teenager when many of the records featured last week were first released. Still, many of my favorite records came out sometime in those ten years. Coil, Joy Division, New Order, Husker Du, Talking Heads, Tom Waits, and Talk Talk were all waiting for me, there to prove that the 1980s were so much better than the crappy new wave imitators and MTV cock rockers would have you believe. As I went through my list of essential 80s recordings, I came across a lot of music to which I’d never given much time, including records by Dinosaur Jr. and The Gun Club. I knew their names and maybe a song or two, but I had never heard Fire of Love or You’re Living All Over Me, nor had I gone back to The Perfect Prescription and heard the likes of “Come Down Easy” or “Things’ll Never Be the Same.” And while Loveless remains their undisputed masterpiece, going back to My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything reminded me that they rocked just as much as the droned, hypnotized, and gazed. I learned just as much as I thought I knew and realized that there’s still so much more about which I know exactly nothing.

So you get the idea; last week’s show was all about exploring the 80s, but from my perspective. I didn’t intend this to be a complete survey or anything ridiculous like that. It’d take more than just a few shows to cover everything worth covering. I won’t editorialize much longer, but I do want to point out all the stuff I missed or couldn’t include. It should be obvious, but maybe you were born in the 90s like my defeated challenger and really don’t know that much about the 80s. Heavy metal, punk, and especially rap are completely absent from the 5th’s show, mostly because I am unfamiliar with the music or because I wanted to avoid playing music that’d violate FCC regulations. Had I taken more time to organize it, you most certainly would’ve heard some N.W.A., Public Enemy, early Metallica, Sepultura, Life Sentence, Mekons, 45 Grave, and many others. Maybe some more mixes will show up, maybe I’ll just try and filter what went missing through various shows until the end of the year… maybe I’ll drop it in a few weeks. Who knows, but it was fun. I hope you enjoy listening to the show, posted below. It contains one new song from Dinosaur Jr. – I had intended on playing a song from You’re Living All Over Me, but forgot to bring it with me to the station. Thus the modern substitute.

I was also going to post some links to music videos this week, too, but my schedule has become busier than anticipated. Writing about Kant’s theories of space and time are currently more important. You know where to look to find them. I’ll only suggest one for you, both because it’s a great song and because the photography is beautiful. Check it out here… I’d post it right in the body of this article, but embedding has been DENIED.

In addition to the 80s extravaganza I’m posting the second hour of this week’s show. WZBC’s streams had some technical hiccups again and the first hour went missing once more. I may resort to recording my shows again for awhile until I know this issue has been resolved.

However that may resolve, this week’s show featured a lot of new music, including songs from Six Organs of Admittance, Om, Califone, Arbouretum, Micah Blue Smaldone, and Steven R. Smith, as well as more (new) music from Causa Sui and lengthy cut from Lichens, which appeared in various places throughout 2008. You can read a review of Smith’s new record below and you can count on hearing new music from Lichens next week.

I had the good fortune of seeing Om, Six Organs, and Lichens play at the ICA in Boston last night, too. I’ll post a little summary of that show in the near future, hopefully with some photographs.




01. The Stone Roses “I Wanna Be Adored” from The Stone Roses (1989) on Silvertone

02. Dinosaur Jr. “Friends” from Farm (2009) on Jagjaguwar

03. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “The Mercy Seat” from Tender Prey (1988) on Mute

04. 23 Skidoo “Coup” from Coup (1983) on Illuminated

05. A Certain Ratio “Do the Du (Casse)” from Do the Du (1981) on Factory

06. Joy Division “Isolation” from Closer (1980) on Factory

07. Kraftwerk “Computer Love” from Computer World (1981) on Elektra

08. Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark “Radio Waves” from Dazzle Ships (1983) on Virgin

09. New Order “Love Vigilantes” from Lowlife (1984) on Qwest

10. The Cramps “Garbageman” from Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980) on IRS

11. Bruce Springsteen “Johnny 99” from Nebraska (1982) on Columbia

12. Pixies “River Euphrates” from Surfer Rosa (1988) on 4AD


13. Big Black “Jordan, Minnesota” from A Rich Man’s Eight Track Tape (1987) on Touch and Go

14. The Gun Club “Ghost on the Highway” from Fire Of Love (1980) on Ruby

15. Husker Du “Books About UFOs” from New Day Rising (1984) on SST

16. Talking Heads “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” from Remain in Light (1980) on Sire

17. The Fall “L.A.” from This Nation’s Saving Grace (1985) on Beggars Banquet

18. Scraping Foetus off The Wheel “The Throne of Agony” from Nail (1985) on Self Immolation/Some Bizzare

19. Coil “Penetrailia” from Horse Rotorvator (1986) on Thershold House

20. This Heat “Cenotaph” from Deceit (1981) on Rough Trade

21. Mission of Burma “Trem Two” from Vs. (1982) on Ace Of Hearts

22. My Bloody Valentine “Feed Me With Your Kiss” from Isn’t Anything (1988) on Sire

23. Sonic Youth “Silver Rocket” from Daydream Nation (1988) on Blast First

24. Talk Talk “Desire” from Spirit of Eden (1988) on EMI

8/12 SHOW


01. Lichens “Time and Light (Version)” from Brainwaves 2008 (2008) on Brainwashed Recordings

02. Om “Meditation is the Practice of Death” from God is Good (2009) on Drag City

03. Six Organs of Admittance “The Ballad of Charley Harper” from Luminous Night (2009) on Drag City

04. Dinosaur Jr. “Pieces” from Farm (2009) on Jagjaguwar

05. Califone “1928” from all my friends are funeral singers (2009) on Dead Oceans

06. Amadou & Mariam “Je Te Kiffe” from Welcome to Mali (2008) on Nonesuch

07. The Church “Cortez the Killer” from A Box of Birds (1999) on Thirsty Ear


08. Causa Sui “The Open Road” from Summer Sessions Vol. 2 (2009) on Elektrohasch Schallplatten

09. The Durutti Column “Messidor” from LC (1981) on Factory

10. Steven R. Smith “The Road” from Cities (2009) on Immune Recordings

11. Palace Music “The Brute Choir” from Viva Last Blues (1995) on Palace/Drag City

12. Micah Blue Smaldone “Mortissa” from Open Strings (2009) on Honest Jons Records

13. Spacemen 3 “Come Down Easy” from The Perfect Perscription (1987) on Glass Records

14. Arbouretum “Tomorrow is a Long Time” from Song of the Pearl (2009) on Thrill Jockey — original by Bob Dylan, from Greatest Hits Volume II (1971)

15, Spiritualized “Take Your Time / Shine a Light” from Lazer Guided Melodies (1991) on Dedicated



  1. none of the playlist links work. do they expire in a week or two?

  2. Yes. The ZBC archives only keep shows for 2 weeks before deleting them. There’s a few ways to download the mp3 files from the site, though.

    I’ve started keeping copies for myself again recently. If enough people ask (or if enough people try to download the same show) I will re-upload shows so long as I have them. I’ve only done it once, mostly because I don’t want to have to deal with record labels and deleting links.

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