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Editor’s Pick #192: Our Band Could Be Your Life by 20watts
The Replacements

Bands like The Replacements (above), Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and The Minutemen are featured in Our Band Could Be Your Life

Will there ever be another era in independent music like the ’80s and early ’90s? I think not, and Michael Azerrad‘s Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 hopes to explain why. This book, published a decade later in 2001, attempts to explain and elaborate on the underground indie music scenes that defined the bands that today enjoy mainstream popularity.

Our Band Could Be Your Life focuses on thirteen disproportionately influential bands. None of them enjoyed any sort of mainstream success, but through constant touring, prolific recording, fanzine exposure and other methods of getting noticed, they all sired the bands that we today consider music gods (indie or mainstream).

Without Hüsker Dü, there could be no Pixies. Without Big Black, industrial rock wouldn’t be around. Without Black Flag, Green Day would probably have been a Cheap Trick cover band. Without The Replacements, The Decemberists literally wouldn’t exist. Without Sonic Youth and every other band mentioned in the book, Nirvana wouldn’t have changed the way we listen to music.

In The Replacements’ Let It Be‘s 33 1/3, Colin Meloy mentions listening to Let It Be incessantly to get over the self-consciousness over his extended sternum. Books like this one and the 33 1/3 series are both interesting and informative. Speaking from experience, having a working knowledge of a musical genre’s history adds a lot to any critique. We salute you, Mike Azerrad.

— Eric Vilas-Boas, Managing Editor

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