Wednesday, October 19, 2022

VA - Left of The Dial, Dispatches from the 80's Underground [2004]



VA - Left of The Dial, Dispatches from the 80's Underground [2004]

As a sequel to 2004's similarly packaged Rhino box No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion, this four-disc set tackles the punk/indie/modern rock of the 80s with equal panache. Subtitled "Dispatches from the 80s Underground," these 82 non-chronological tracks play like a great college station from the later part of the decade. Encompassing a dizzyingly diverse musical palate, styles range from the artsy Southern twang of R.E.M., to the sugary pop of Aztec Camera, the blistering hardcore of Black Flag, the ghostly techno of Japan and the chilly, noir dance floor attack of New Order. And that's just on disc one.  Sure, there are some omissions, but the box does a remarkable job balancing more popular acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymenwith cult faves like Green On Red and obscurities from the Lyres and the Three O'Clock . Even those who were radio fanatics during these years will likely find tracks they aren't familiar with, along with getting a flashback rush from those they are. There are no public service announcements or aspiring DJ's to interrupt the flow and the remastered sound brings the music to life with crispness low powered FM radio could never rival.

In his notes for this passionately compiled box, producer Gary Stewart writes, "the diversity from the late-70's punk/new wave scene turned into a full-blown, variety-fueled, genre-busting orgy in the 80's...The music became, in the best sense of the words, more complex, more literate, a bit more serious, and as a result, made astrong impact on mainsteam rock culture." From funk punk to revisionist roots rock to hard-core to smart-ass clever pop-and every musical nook and cranny in-between-Left of the Dial presents many of the 80's most important tracks. Savor the far more influential flip side of the "Where's the Beef?" decade's musical output! (Amazon)

A nice balance of offbeat and "Poppy" underground songs from the awesome 80's for all of us who didn't travel the hair band route.


Pt.1     Pt.2 


Track lists


01 R.E.M. Radio Free Europe 4:05

02 Jam Going Underground 2:56

03 Cure A Forest 4:54

04 Dead Kennedys Holiday In Cambodia 4:38

05 Passions I'm In Love With A German Film Star 4:01

06 Replacements I Will Dare 3:19

07 Mission Of Burma That's When I Reach For My Revolver 3:52

08 X Johny Hit And Run Paulene 2:49

09 Jesus And Mary Chain Just Like Honey 3:01

10 Depeche Mode Black Celebration 4:53

11 Dream Syndicate Tell Me When It's Over 3:33

12 Red Hot Chili Peppers Hollywood (Africa) 5:03

13 New Order Temptation 5:43

14 Japan Ghosts 4:32

15 Magazine A Song From Under The Floorboards 4:11

16 Aztec Camera Oblivious 3:11

17 Hüsker Dü Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely 3:32

18 Black Flag Rise Above 2:26

19 Wall Of Voodoo Back In Flesh 3:42

20 Go - Betweens Cattle And Cane 3:59


01 Pretenders Message Of Love 3:28

02 Ultravox Vienna 4:39

03 Dinosaur Jr. Freak Scene 3:37

04 Smiths This Charming Man 2:43

05 Ministry Stigmata 5:44

06 Lone Justice Ways To Be Wicked 3:25

07 Killing Joke Wardance 3:48

08 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark Enola Gay 3:30

09 Beat Mirror In The Bathroom 3:06

10 Raincoats Fairytale In The Supermarket 2:59

11 Smithereens Behind The Wall Of Sleep 3:22

12 Minutemen Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing 1:31

13 Dead Milkmen Punk Rock Girl 2:37

14 Concrete Blonde Still In Hollywood 3:45

15 Joy Division Love Will Tear Us Apart 3:27

16 Violent Femmes Blister In The Sun 2:24

17 Meat Puppets Lake Of Fire 1:57

18 Db's Amplifier 3:07

19 Prefab Sprout When Love Breaks Down 3:44

20 Cramps Goo Goo Muck 3:05

21 Sisters Of Mercy This Corrosion 4:29

22 XTC Senses Working Overtime 4:50


01 Echo & The Bunnymen The Cutter 3:53

02 Bad Brains Pay To Cum 1:26

03 Sugarcubes Birthday 3:59

04 Robyn Hitchcock And The Egyptians Madonna Of The Wasps 3:06

05 Faith No More We Care A Lot 4:03

06 Sonic Youth Teen Age Riot 6:57

07 Gang Of Four To Hell With Poverty 4:59

08 Feelies Fa Cé-La 2:01

09 They Might Be Giants Ana Ng 3:21

10 Chameleons Swamp Thing 5:56

11 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds The Mercy Seat 5:08

12 Rain Parade I Look Around 3:06

13 Psychedelic Furs All That Money Wants 3:47

14 Church Under The Milky Way 4:59

15 Public Image Ltd. Rise 6:18

16 Love And Rockets Kundalini Express 5:51

17 Green On Red Gravity Talks 2:37

18 Throbbing Gristle Adrenalin 3:55

19 Stone Roses She Bangs The Drums 3:43


01 Pixies Monkey Gone To Heaven 2:56

02 The The Uncertain Smile (Original 7" Version) 4:54

03 Bauhaus Bela Lugosi's Dead 9:34

04 Siouxsie And The Banshees Christine 2:59

05 Minor Threat Straight Edge 0:46

06 Lyres I Want To Help You Ann 2:30

07 Beat Happening Our Secret 2:48

08 Jane's Addiction Jane Says 4:53

09 Julian Cope World Shut Your Mouth 3:34

10 Kate Bush Running Up That Hill 5:00

11 Gun Club Sex Beat 2:48

12 Camper Van Beethoven Take The Skinheads Bowling 2:30

13 Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized 3:49

14 Cocteau Twins Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops 4:11

15 Happy Mondays 24 Hour Party People 4:38

16 Hoodoo Gurus I Want You Back 3:11

17 Descendents Suburban Home 1:42

18 Pogues A Pair Of Brown Eyes 4:53

19 Three O'clock Jet Fighter 3:27

20 Butthole Surfers Moving To Florida 4:32

21 Billy Bragg A New England 2:13




  1. Great collection. I remember when it came out. Had so many "hits"! Thanks!

    1. Hi Pol.
      Hope you are having fun revisiting this set.

  2. This was crap in the 80`s and it`s still crap today

    1. Hi Maren,
      Does this mean YOU don't like it...

  3. Maren, the sense of measure and weighting. Thank you BB for this superb compilation, intended precisely for those who claim "the 80s were shit".

    1. Thank Herve,
      It's a great set that has its appeal.

  4. Song(s) From Under The Floorboards that everyone should have!!!!
    Absolute "killers" all of these.......Fantastic


    1. Thanks, Stephen.
      I see this as a wonderful set of that era. So many tracks to love.

  5. I'm a child of the 60s/70s but I see a lot of great songs here! Thanks. BB!

  6. Replies
    1. You're welcome, FrankDee.
      Glad you like it.