1983: Post-Punk Has A New Best Friend
Of the more ’popular’ genres to remain represented in the 1980s at WNUR, post-punk, specifically the brand coming out of Northern England in the 1980s, maintains a steady place in the collection amid a more diverging experimental trend. Post-punk is a broad category, and generally refers to rock music created on the heels of the 1970s punk movement utilizing the ethos of punk music to varying musical means. Post-punk musicians were generally more technically skilled than their punk predecessors, but approached the music with a similar anti-establishment fervor. These feelings and choices were often directed at rock music convention itself and led to perhaps the most progressive decade in rock music’s short history. The Chameleons fit in to a popular brand of post-punk often identified as new wave popular in Manchester and Liverpool in the 1980s. Of all the varieties, the brand of post-punk “Don’t Fall” exemplifies the most popular strain, and the one which, along with artists like Echo and The Bunnymen, would go on to become some of the most popular and enduring college rock of the 1980s. With this rock positioned as the most popular sounding rock in the WNUR collection, we see just how left-field and underground the focuses of college radio were at the time.
Fitting many of the same categorizations of The Chameleons, Din represent the American strain of post-punk emulating the sounds coming out of Britain at the time. The notable difference between the two records, added in the same academic year, are the music director notes. Where The Chameleons receive overwhelmingly positive reviews, the cover of Great Tradition shows a sliver of cynicism and divisiveness within the station as someone writes “Who cares?” In response to the note on the “old CO4 guitar sound.” In some ways this relates to The Fall comment on the Arkansaw Man record we saw earlier with an overwhelming sense of leaving the past and any references to it behind. Like the musicians creating this forward looking post-punk, WNUR DJs and music directors seems to resist any mention of the implied past in an attempt to create their own musical present and future.