SS10: Feedtime 05.21.11
I have to say that maybe it's because that's when I first started really listening to music, but I have a soft spot for a lot (not all) of mid to late '80s punk/hardcore etc. Some bands learned to play better and I think it was a good thing. Alternative Tentacles, Bluurg, Workers Playtime and some other labels had rosters of bands that I think were quite good and a bit of a change of pace from straight up thrash and hardcore.
In the '90s I think things really went downhill. That's when (thankfully) I started searching back in time for great music - and have I ever found it!
I am very skeptical of the idea that there are musical lulls - of one period being better than another. I think this notion has more to do with nostalgia than anything else. You site the late 80s being your high point for music, which is counter to the prevailing thought. The late 80s has a rep of being shitty, while the 90s is thought of as a period of musical rebirth, especially of punk rock. As stated in my post, people used to write off the 70s as a musical wasteland, at least until punk saved the day in 77. This claim is pure rubbish, perpetuated by the UK music press, to elevate the status of Brit rock & roll. Nowadays we know better. We have access to "proto-punk" and all kinds of post-psych hard rock, as well as Big Star style pop, Latin rock, and so on.
Really to claim one era of music is superior to another is as misguided as proposing one region makes the best music. One my prefer an era or region or genre but that does not make it "the best" or another era/region/genre worst.
What '90s bands/labels did you like?
By the mid-'90s I pretty much gave up on punk and "alternative" music because I was enjoying so little of it, but I'm open to suggestions.