The term " New Wave ".

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by WLL, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. SCOTT1234

    SCOTT1234 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    It doesn't really matter to anyone now, does it? And it's not as if you can say 'let's discuss our favourite new wave bands', because all that happens is people argue about what is or isn't new wave. A genre term can only be useful if most people get what it means without much confusion. Jazz, blues, reggae, disco, punk are relatively easy ones, but new wave?... forget it!
     
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  2. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort worth tx
    And now I see some record stores filing them in the Heavy Metal section......it seems AC/DC has caused confusion through the years.
     
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  3. GubGub

    GubGub Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sussex
    It is too reductive. There were plenty of UK acts who were New Wave (though fewer US acts who were truly punk apart from The Ramones.

    Yes, I was going to say it a different way. Whatever Wikipedia might think, it seems somewhat pointless to argue with people who were actually there. If Caroline Coon & Charles Shaar Murray were using the term, that would only have been visible to their readers in NME and it didn't pick up wider usage for a while.
     
  4. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Maybe it was a regional thing, but the term "new wave" was definitely in use well into the 80s where I was (Bay Area), though it had gradually been supplanted by terms like "alternative" by the late 80s. Locally the big "alternative" radio station here at the time tried to popularize the vague term "modern rock," but I'm not sure if that really caught on beyond the Bay Area, and no one I knew personally ever really used the term.

    The best independent record store in the East Bay in the mid-to-late 80s, which was Rasputin's in Berkeley, even had a sprawling aisle in their new vinyl section called "New Wave," which, in addition to containing stuff many people would agree was "new wave," also contained anything post punk or alternative, but not "out there" experimental. They also had a separate "Punk" section. But around '89 or so, they quietly changed the "New Wave" section to "Indie," and anything on a major label was moved to "Rock."

    I remember Tower Records' way of dealing with it in the 80s was to simply have a section labeled "Imports," which was overwhelmingly stocked with UK post-punk artists and any "new wave" artists whose albums weren't released here domestically.

    "College rock" was definitely in use here in the 80s, but it seemed to be used in different ways by different people. To some it was anything broadly defined as "alternative" but which would get played on college radio (so, basically anything from experimental noise to the Smiths or Love and Rockets), and to others it referred more specifically to American indie rock bands, like Husker Du, Replacements, IRS-era REM, or Sonic Youth. The latter usage seems to have been what ultimately prevailed.

    Interestingly (and somewhat strangely), I rarely, if ever, heard the term post punk in the 80s in the US. I wasn't really hearing that term here (in conversation) until much later, and more widely in the 00s, long after the fact. That would have been a nice term to have on hand back in the 80s to describe so many of the bands I like who were clearly not punk but also too dark/artsy and not really poppy enough to be considered new wave. But for some reason its use hadn't really become widespread here.

    However, the terms for the sub-genres goth/death rock and industrial were all widely in use and their meanings were pretty clear.
     
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  5. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York
    I think he preferred "avant garage".:)
     
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  6. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    I liked Neil Young’s circa 1981 line, “Every wave is new until it breaks.”

     
  7. ralphb

    ralphb "First they came for..."

    Location:
    Brooklyn, New York
    Indeed it was, especially the early days. But any of the first wave of CBGB bands (yes, that includes Blondie and Television) came under the heading of "punk", because once PUNK magazine and the rest of the media came along it became important for some reason to find a name for the scene, perhaps to make it easier for people to identify (and therefore narrow the definition of) the whole thing. Before then it was just a bunch of bands playing in a seedy bar.
     
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  8. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    it wasn't confusing at the time. I remember very well (in North America) that punk and new wave were used somewhat interchangeably for a brief period in 76-77.

    I would even argue that new wave was the more common term, because most of the important artists who emerged in 76-77, aside from the Ramones were not "punk" at all--Talking Heads, Television, Patti Smith, Blondie etc.

    At the time, in North America "punk rock" was seen as largely a UK phenom. There are no UK equivalents to Television, Talking Heads etc. The entire scene--Pistols, Clash, Damned, Gen X etc etc was dominated by one form of music.

    In North America it was much more heterogeneous, hence new wave was initially the more appropriate term. But this only lasted for a year or so...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  9. RudolphS

    RudolphS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro
    The Stranglers, like many of their contemporaries, started in the pub-rock circuit (bands playing small clubs and bars). Other punk/wave artists who have their roots firmly in pubrock are Elvis Costello, The Motors, Joe Strummer, Eddie & The Hotrods, Johnny Moped, Graham Parker & The Rumour, 999, Ian Dury, Slaughter & The Dogs and Nick Lowe (to name a few). Around the mid '70s they were frequently sharing the same venue line-ups and dressing rooms with the early punk groups. Due to a similar back-to-basics vision, sometimes nihilistic attitude and aversion to bombastic arena bands, the former pubrockers soon found themselves in the punk rock camp. The music press also played an important part. In the early days there were still very few "proper" punkrock bands to write about, so they were happy to drag along every other artist who could be considered at least remotely punk. Hence the inclusion of (then very fresh) acts like Dire Straits, Tom Petty, or even Motorhead.
    It goes too far saying punk never would've happened without pubrock, but the british pubrock circuit gave embryonic punk/wave a platform, so it at least served as a significant catalyst.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  10. TinMachine

    TinMachine Looking for the heart of Saturday night

    Location:
    Trondheim, Norway
    You are right. But I believe it's all a matter of geography /language. Post-punk suited bands like Wire, Magazine, Joy Division i.e. But I suspect that was par for the course in the UK. The term post-punk wasn't used in here in Scandinavia at all in the 70s and 80s. Not until the late 90s did it begin to pop up in the media.

    Let me rephrase my definition (from my geographical and pop-cultural POV).
    New Wave was synonymous with everything «synthy» (the new romantics movement, Visage, Blancmange, Ultravox...the whole «new European» thing). But because the term post-punk was never used by the media, everything and the kitchen sink became «New Wave». I remember being on Holiday in Germany in the mid-80s. There was this massive record store in Hamburg that had a wide selection of «New Wave». Here you could find everything from Dire Straits to Pere Ubu. Completely bonkers in hindsight, but there you go.

    UK (and the English language) had the benefit of a much more professional music press (NME, Melody Maker, Sounds etc.), thus a wider variety of terms to use on the different genres.

    I hereby stand corrected.

    Interestingly, the term goth-rock (Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Fields of the Nephilim etc.) was also categorized as «New Wave» over here, whereas Billy Idol was «gothic rock». Of course, with the internet, all these faulty labels have been rectified, and the term «New Wave» has more or less ceased to exist, being replaced with the more correct terms (post-punk, punk, industrial, goth, proto-goth, post-rock etc. etc).

    Anyway, it's an interesting discussion.
     
  11. Stuggy

    Stuggy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    There was a Deutsche Neue Welle or Neue Deutsche Welle that had a lot of interesting bands in it. I think Einsturzende neubauten even came out of it but definitely things like Palais Schaumburg, Der Plan, Die Todlichte Doris, D.A.F. and a number of other innovative semi avant bands. But different things mean different things in different contexts innit.
     
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  12. onionmaster

    onionmaster Tropical new waver from the future

    Personally, I think of new wave as energetic music with synths and guitars which usually involves some wild vocals and imagery. There's often a punky DIY aspect to it in comparison to the heavily produced mid 80s sound. It usually sounds like the musicians are having a good time making it, but that they're also not afraid to experiment. It's reasonably obvious that Devo was very influential on this sound, even with pre-fame mid 70s work like "Stop Look And Listen", they have it. It seems that its maximum popularity aligns with the use of MTV and a need for colourful imagery in the videos. Whilst it had mostly gone away by the late 80s, I've heard a fair bit of music from Eastern Europe that still sounds like it.

    I think of post-punk as music that's darker and consciously more avant-garde and unmelodic, yet a lot of bands considered post-punk have more melodic songs, which may be considered goth (although not always).
     
  13. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
  14. sami

    sami Mono Rules

    Location:
    Down The Shore
    Meaningless, bullschiit marketing term. Nothing more and nothing less.
     
  15. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Raleigh, N.C.
    Heartbreakers, Wayne County and especially the Ramones would certainly fall under "punk", though. And as has been discussed on these boards many times, all of the bands from the CBGB's scene were considered "punk" even if they didn't play loud, fast, guitar-based music.
     
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  16. Whizz Kid

    Whizz Kid Forum Resident

    The Rhino DIY comp CDs sort out all the genres fairly well, I think.

    These two were the "pop" side of UK stuff that was separate from proper punk, which had their own DIY comps.
    They are my go-to when I'm trying to explain "new wave" as a genre or whatever... mainly from a UK viewpoint.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And of course there were DIY comps for the American stuff too...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  17. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I always thought of it as an easy adumbration for a lot of very diverse music that was very hard to classify in the late 70's and early 80's. Bands like Oingo Boingo, The English Beat, Pere Ubu and X were all pretty unique but collectively they were very different than the corp rock that was so popular at the time. At some point, it became synonymous with skinny ties and anguished synth-pop ballads, but at least in the beginning, I think it was an attempt (however lame) to classify the unclassifiable. That's how I remember it anyway.
     
  18. SCOTT1234

    SCOTT1234 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    That's a great photo of Ralf and Florian. Never seen it before. Wonder if Anton Corbijn took it. Looks a bit Joy Division!
     
  19. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Raleigh, N.C.
    Pretty much.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    it does look like Corbjin's work! Apparently it was Caroline Coon though.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Location:
    Lotus Land
    From my experience, in the U.S. in the late 70s and early 80s, "new wave" was not so much a genre name as it was an umbrella differentiator for all new music that wasn't part of the corporate rock machine. It was originally inclusive of all kinds of stuff.

    I believe the meaning of the phrase began to change circa 1983 or 84, when MTV and that wave of British acts became a cultural force.
     
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  22. frightwigwam

    frightwigwam Talented Amateur

    Location:
    Oregon
    As a junior high kid, near Seattle, I heard people say "new wave" to refer to practically any synth pop, particularly British bands, through '84-85. Maybe even in '86. I probably wouldn't have blinked if someone had called bands on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack "new wave."

    By '85-86, I think I started to see "college rock" as a label for bands that were played mainly on college radio or stations at the end of the dial--like, Seattle had KJET 1600 AM that played R.E.M., The Replacements, Husker Du, The Smiths, The Cure, Robyn Hitchcock, and pretty much anything new coming from the UK aside from Phil Collins. By the late '80s, "alternative rock" had started to become the preferred label, for sure. When I went to college in 1989, the student-operated radio station where I hosted a show (90.7, KZUU!) billed itself as "Pullman's Only Alternative." We were allowed to play just about anything (FCC-compliant) that wasn't already all over Top 40 or Classic Rock stations--which became a heated debate after Nevermind broke open the doors for underground bands. What do you do when your mission is to feature music that is somewhat defined by its lack of mass popularity, and suddenly a lot of those artists become massively popular?

    Sometime in the late '80s, I think the local free music paper, The Rocket, also coined "grunge" to describe the mostly local bands that weren't heavy metal, but had a heavier, noisier sound than most alternative bands. Eventually, that got played out and people came to resent the term, of course. Kurt Cobain complained that it was limiting and would put an expiration date on artists stuck with the label. Once media moved on to The Next Big Thing, "grunge" would be brushed aside and dropped in the bin of history just like "new wave," he predicted.
     
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  23. SCOTT1234

    SCOTT1234 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Thanks for that. Sorry for going off topic, but the writer was talking rubbish there. No universities, venues or art galleries in Dusseldorf indeed!
     
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  24. peopleareleaving

    peopleareleaving Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I loved that Glory Boys record from the late 70's. Got to see'em at one of the Keystones (can't remember which) in the Bay Area a couple years later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  25. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam "...don't look so good no more"

    Location:
    France

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