This is the story of the musical revolution that happened right under the nose of the Reagan Eighties—when a small but sprawling network of bands—including Black Flag, the Minutemen, Sonic Youth, and Beat Happening—along with labels, fanzines, radio stations, and other subversives, re-energized American rock with punk rock’s do-it-yourself credo and created music that was deeply personal, often brilliant, always challenging, and immensely influential. This sweeping chronicle of music, politics, drugs, fear, loathing, and faith has been recognized as an indie rock classic in its own right.
Among the bands profiled are Mission of Burma, Butthole Surfers, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Big Black, Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Mudhoney, The Replacements, Beat Happening, and Dinosaur Jr.
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“Azerrad crisscrosses the American landscape of nineteen-eighties ‘underground’ rock music…[and] profiles thirteen bands that came of age before Nirvana closed the gap between alternative rock and the mainstream market, and the best stories here are the most marginal…Azerrad does a fine job of demonstrating how the post-punk prime movers of the eighties echoed the original rock-and-rollers of the fifties—springing from a complacent political climate to reject the sentimental excesses of the music that preceded them.”