If pop culture is primarily about escapism, one of the enduring mysteries of the music world must surely be how the sounds of cold, wet afternoons in mid-1980s Manchester came to capture the imaginations of artists around the world. From the sunny shores of California to the icy hillsides of Finland, there remain to this day little pockets of musicians where it is forever 1986.
The modern notion of indie music was formed to a large extent by the sounds of melodic guitar bands from declining industrial cities in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, many of which were collected by music weekly the NME on its iconic “C86” compilation album. Disaffected by the implosion of punk and inspired by the proto-psychedelic sounds of ’60s garage rock, bands such as The Wedding Present, The Pastels, Close Lobsters and others retained punk’s wariness of the commercial music industry but developed a more tuneful, occasionally whimsical musical style.
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