•The Entire Paisley Underground Scene--Probably the most glaring one. Azerrad was clearly attuned to a lot of what was going on in L.A., as the chapter about Black Flag (the book's first and longest) proves. But the Paisley Underground gets the short end of the stick. The scene, part of a transatlantic psychedelic resurgence, was strong throughout the 80's, in spite of its stupid name. It included, most notably, The Dream Syndicate, as well as the less-known but strongly Rockaliser-endorsed bands like The Rain Parade and Three O'Clock. They made some sweet jams, yet Azerrad's book never mentions the scene, and his only reference two the latter bands is a major put-down:
At the time, there was a slew of American bands--the Three O'Clock, the Bangles, Rain Parade et. al.--who were copping superficial aspects of the Byrds and other trippy Sixties bands but weren't actually psychedelic at all. This disgusted Hart, Mould and Norton just as much as the conformity of the avowedly nonconformist harcore scene did.*And while the next point he makes--that Husker Du's cover of "Eight Miles High" is fucking sick ("one of the most powerful pieces of rock music ever recorded"; a 7-inch of the track with a live version of "Masochism World" as a b-side is among my most treasured possessions)--I don't get the enmity he feels towards the Paisley scene. I suggest he dust off a copy of Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, a disc that would prove influential on the slowcore bands of the 90's.
I think the reason Azerrad omitted the Paisley scene from his re-telling of the 80's underground is twofold. First off, as far as I can tell, the man isn't a fan of traditionally psychedelic music (though I'd lay down money he likes Television). His book actually contains zero mentions of Robyn Hitchcock or the Soft Boys. Zero mentions! In a 522-page book about the 80's underground!
But his main beef with the Paisley Underground bands--and I'm just guessing here--would seem to be the generally apolitical stance of the scene. Mudhoney certain lose points for not being into the political aspect of indie. And that's fair--I sure wish The National or Iron and Wine seemed like they were a part of something larger than a 70's AOR rehash--but, damn Azerrad, Sixteen Tambourines is a really good album!
•More hardcore--Yeah, yeah, there are chapters about Black Flag and Minor Threat, and like half the OBCBYL bands (at least) started out playing hardcore. But, as hardcore punk was the basis for everything OBCBYL chronicles, a Bad Brains chapter seems like it would've been a cool addition. I'd happily read a 7 Seconds chapter, which could provide a nice a counter-argument to the frequent assertions that doctrinaire hardcore is evil.
•Meat Puppets--He mentions the band 16 times, and these guys are indie lifers (well, for the most part). They might make kid's fruit juice commerical songs these days, but the band really was exhaustingly good in their prime. Plus, they come from a region of indie America we don't read about in OBCBYL.
•R.E.M., Pixies--I mean, I know why they weren't included, but still.
•The Violent Femmes, Galaxie 500--Yup, there are others. Feel free to suggest your own, or provide OBCBYL exegesis in the comments. I should note that M.A. does offer his "humblest apologies to those [omitted] bands and their fans. There are plenty more books to be written about this subect; I invite you to write one of them." It's perhaps the best sentiment ever, further proof that Michael Azerrad is a sweet dude (as is this). Can't wait for the Bob Mould autobiography.
*Interestingly, while Azerrad sees Husker Du's music as something genuinely new, the afterword to Simon Reynold's Rip It Up And Start Again identifies the band's sound as part of a broad and regressive backward-looking trend that began in the 1980's and is, to my ears, really strong today