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I wouldn't say that any specific decade was better than any others music wise in the last 50 years of contemporary music. However apart from the current decade, the music I find myself listening to tends to come from the 80's. To me the 80's was the birth of post punk, the meshing of the avant garde noise with more (un)conventional rock elements. As well as the expansion of other genres such as hip hop or dance and how they all influenced each other.
The idea for this mix came from the Soul Jazz compilation New York Noise which is an amazing overview of New York underground music in the 80s ranging from dance punk (Liquid Liquid,Material) to hip hop (Rammellzee).
This Heat 24 Track Loop
this track sends chills up my spin. It feels like it should be the soundtrack for some post apocalyptic sci-fi film. This tracks eery, warped sound was created through heavy manipulation of tape loops. I think I first heard them on Hot Chip's recent DJ Kicks compilation. I only recently give them a proper listen. I think they are an acquired taste but they are well worth listening to.
Liquid Liquid Rubbermiro
Very much ahead of their time, their minimal punk funk sound can be most heard in contemporaries like The Rapture or !!! Recently they reformed and played a series of shows through out the United States, Canada and Europe and have been remixed by the DFA.
West Street Gang Break Dancin'
I first heard this song during an Avalanches DJ set. I haven't been able get enough of this track. It sounds like Kraftwerk going ghetto. This song has all the elements that I like about hip hop. The "wicky wicky" of early scratching, a great beat and catchy repetitive lyrics(both in the form of a sultry female vocalist and vocoder awesomeness).
Experimental funk, with a great groove to it. They have a cowbell.
A Certain Ratio (pictured) The Fox
Sharing the same label as Joy Division , Factory, comparisons are easy to make. However, rather than create electronic, synth heavy morose post punk that Joy Division created in Closer and then later as New Order, they took a funkier approach. Mixing elements of avant jazz, disco and punk to create a distinct and fresh sound.
The Chameleons Less Than Human
Another under appreciated band which influenced todays heaviest "indie" contenders such as Editors or Interpol. their sound can best be described as a mix between the heartfelt lyricism of The Smiths and the electronics of New Order and the dreamy texturing of My Bloody Valentine.