The most important rock bands of the 80s

You usually think of the “90s” when you think of indie music. And while the genre certainly exploded in that decade thanks to Oasis, Blur, and a whole host of other lesser-known artists (this list from NME is a great place to start if you want to dive in), the roots of massive success of the genre then can arguably be traced back to the previous decade.

One of the format’s pioneers, Sonic Youth formed in 1981. Decades later, they remain a criminally underrated act. In fact, chances are you know the member’s work best outside of the band. Phoenix New Times has the takings on everything from poetry books, record label management and appearances on “Gilmore Girls.” Plus, what quirky mid-’00s indie dramedy (looking at you, “Juno”) hasn’t featured at least one Sonic Youth song? But the influence of the group is powerful and important. Formed in the post-punk “No Wave” movement, à la Britannica, the avant-garde group did not even sign with a major until 1990, two years after their masterpiece, “Dream Nation”. What could be more underground and indie than that?

Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore’s marriage ended in 2011, dragging the band down with him. But everyone is beyond grateful for the groundbreaking music they’ve created throughout their nearly three-decade career. Plus, their legacy lives on in the form of every indie rock outfit that still rests on their shoulders.

Virginia F. Goins