First hour is a tribute to Athens/Atlanta, Georgia 1980-1989. This was inspired by “Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture” book by Grace Elizabeth Hale and partly informed by Susan Murphy’s “Athens Music – The First Five Years on WUOG, July 4, 1983” (https://soundcloud.com/susan-v-murphy). Between these two sources and several compilations on Discogs.com, I found over 60 bands not previously aired on Pulsebeat and whittled it down to 22 songs. The first 20 minutes features artists more closely related to the postpunk sound or bands like Pylon and Method Actors. The next 20 minute set is more of the mid-80s college, jangle rock sound that defined the city and college radio all over the USA. The last 20 minute set features side projects of the members of R.E.M.
Second hour is journey through the punk and new wave underground of North America from 1978-1989. We cover bands from Los Angeles, St. Louis, Seattle, North Carolina, Nashville, San Francisco, Hoboken, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, West Virginia, Florida and Toronto. It covers weird new wave, goth, cowpunk, experimental music made on toy instruments, garage rock, reverby western instrumentals, serial killer hardcore punk and lots of humor.
The End of the Deepest Dive
Pulsebeat began in February 2015 with the aim of playing UK-centric post-punk artists from the late 70s to mid 80s. I started with a list of approximately 100 bands from this era and after a couple weeks that list doubled. I decided not to repeat any artists until I finished airing every band on that list. But as I kept researching the list kept growing. Within a few months I had enough material to never repeat an artist for for the rest 2015. At this point, the show expanded to encapsulate every underground genre you would have heard on WZBC from 1977-1989 (our strict cut-off point). By the end of 2015, I was just over 1,000 songs and decided to keep this “no-repeated artists” approach going until I hit 10,000, which is where we finally find ourselves tonight over 7 years later.
Genre-wise, this show would reflect the zeitgeist of WZBC’s “Modern Rock” and “No Commercial Potential” programming that began in the late 70s. The show spans 1977-1989 and spins all manners of post-punk, new wave, industrial, experimental, new musick, art punk, goth, synth, EBM, punk, ska, jangle, mutant disco, dub, surf, hardcore, new romantic, avant-garde, new beat, deathrock, ethereal, mod, no wave, C86, NDW, early shoegaze & dreampop, rockabilly, garage, neo-psychedelia, new pop, etc. That being said, I mostly avoided punk and hardcore and electronic genres like acid house, electro, italo-disco, hip-hop, etc, Those genres were so distinct in sound and overly prolific in production that they really deserve their own retrospective programming.
While I was aware that UK/Australia/NZ, Netherlands and Germany had vibrant postpunk scenes, I never suspected the amount of material I would find from places like Greece, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Japan and Italy. Stateside, the city scenes you always read about – Boston, NYC, DC, Athens, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Dallas/Austin, LA, SF, Seattle, Vancouver – upheld their reputations as fertile ground for experimentation. But it was always more intriguing discovering bands from Iowa, West Virginia, South Dakota, Alabama, – places cut-off from record stores, college radio, zines or anything resembling a sub-culture.
You can view every Pulsebeat show here: https://spinitron.com/WZBC/show/735/Pulsebeat I saved recordings of every show and hope to archive these online in the near future.