What always puzzles me is which bands hit it big and which ones didn't. There were some amazing bands that stayed unknown and are remembered only by the select few who followed them. There are times when I suddenly think of a band and realize how much I loved them back then, and of course I have to go searching YouTube and iTunes to see if I can find them. I am often pleased to discover that there are others in this great big world who also remember these bands, and think enough of them to put them out there on the web. I thought I'd share some of my fave obscure 80's bands with you, dear friends.
First up is a band from Montreal. They were amazing then, and I think still amazing now. The style is a bit dated, but the lyrics and the music are still as incredible as they were 20-some years ago. I'm actually going to show you two of their videos, because I think they are just that great.
Rational Youth - "City of Night"
Rational Youth - "In Your Eyes"
Slightly different musical genre, but I loved these guys back then. Very dark, very industrial, and pretty weird. Saw them live, and let's just say they were a touchy bunch (as in, we won't finish playing if you piss us off - and we did, and they didn't). From Vancouver.
Skinny Puppy - "Candle"
There are people who claim this next band are the ones who inspired Skinny Puppy (and those who say SP just stole their ideas, but I'm not getting into that argument - again!). Weirder than the Puppies and even more intriguing. From the Prairies - Edmonton, in fact. Who knew that city could produce such oddities?
Psyche - "The Brain Collapses"
Okay, I admit it. This next band probably isn't technically as obscure as the ones above but still never really achieved a lot of fame. Probably because they were dark as hell and scared off a lot of people. I loved 'em then and still listen to them now when I'm feeling moody. They did moody awfully well...
Sisters of Mercy - "First and Last and Always"
Finally one of my very favourite bands from that decade. I was stunned to find this video on YouTube as very few people will remember this group. Even more stunning is that the video was posted by someone in Spain. Why is that so amazing? Because this band only ever released one 45 in very limited numbers in Canada, and this means that 45 somehow made it's way across the ocean.
Sparrows on the Hood - "Homewhen"
In case you haven't guessed I have a personal connection to that last band. My husband was the bass player, and that band is really how we met. That band, and their music, was an integral part of my life for many years as I accompanied them as they played nightclubs across the country. The members of that band and I lived together in Toronto for a year, and what a ride that was! I will never forget any of their songs because, dear friends, they were the soundtrack of my life for many, many years.
So, there you go. That's what I've been up to on YouTube these past two days. There is nothing quite like ferreting out these hidden gems from obscure bands. I notice that several of the bands are Canadian, which pleases me and goes to prove we can produce obscure bands just as well as the rest of the world. Obscurity doesn't mean they weren't great - it just means not everyone recognized how great they were. I like to remember that on those days when I too am feeling obscure.