A quick look back to some groups that got bunched into the “Nuevo Rock Americano”, at least in Spain. They had some things in common, at least the ones at the top of the list… but others were clearly misplaced (The Cramps).
A highlight of this period: a song that was a great success back then: The Long Ryders’ Looking for Lewis and Clark. I mean, it was the only decent song that played in the sorry places I used to visit when I was young. I still love the A–G–Em riff, really dramatic (due to the “m”, of course).
OK, in order to be NRA you have to be: New, Rock, American, and not punk/hardcore (but, see exceptions below), certainly not commercial (i.e., not AOR). Ideally, you should sound like Neil Young, the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, etc.
A list of groups I recall:
- The Long Ryders. They were good, if clearly not the best. The comply with all the requisites (see the “y” in the name!). A(nother) song: A want you bad.
- Green on Red. I own a vynil copy of their Gas, Food, Lodging. Very nice, straight rock. Song: Hair of the dog.
- The del Fuegos. Similar. A nice song: Nervous and shacky.
- REM. That’s right, their success has ecclipsed their initial placing in this bin. Their first LP, Murmur, was a bit too psychedelic, but their second, Fables from the Reconstruction, is quite folk-country and clearly NRA-ish. Song: Dedicated to the one I love.
- The Smithereens. OK, they are as power-pop as can be, but they were placed in there. Song: Blood and Roses. Also, don’t miss their tribute albums to The Beatles, available in Spotify (specially since there are no Beatles songs there).
- The Violent Femmes. Didn’t we say not punkish? But see, the guys used acoustic instruments, so there you go. Song, need I say this, Blister in the Sun. An anthem!
- The Cramps. Ditto. The guys used old influences (from the 50’s, actually), so there. Song: The human fly.
- The Dream Syndicate. Yet another project that was mainly punk. Placed here perhaps given the strong Velvet Underground/Lou Reed influence (and, they wore plain clothes). Song: Tell me when it’s over.
Sorry for the omisions!