Perhaps no other decade saw such an explosion of new sounds, musical genres and sub-categories as the 1980s. Yet in pre-Internet Honolulu, your odds of finding a rad show or truly transcendent new jam were greatly diminished, considering scenesters often relied on word-of-mouth or pure chance in finding non-mainstream, under-the-radar offerings.

If you were lucky enough to live in a tiny pocket of the city where you might stumble upon college station KTUH’s then-modest reach, you might be OK. There was also Jelly’s, where you could always run into someone who knew what was up or browse through the latest 12″ Euro imports. Somehow, some way, the hip and in-the-know got it done.

Local music and art mag Novus is proof that 1980s Honolulu was quite a bit cooler than you think or remember. Here are three more artifacts uploaded for your perusal (search ‘Novus’ on this site to download other back issues).

Novus October 1983

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Novus’ first year of publishing was marked by its October 1983 Anniversary Issue, which features trailblazing flutist Tim Weisberg; indie film reviews; a Hitchhiker’s Guide to Alternative Radio in Hawaii; concert reviews of The Cure, Peter Tosh and The Animals; and record reviews of Altered Images, Stray Cats, Big Country, Herbie Hancock and more. Read it here.

Novus June 1984

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The June 1984 issue includes a one-on-one with Hawaii songbird Rachel Gonzales; Lesa Griffith explores the growing influence of androgyny on ‘80s pop culture; there are record reviews on the latest jams by R.E.M., Dream Syndicate, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Special AKA, Style Council, Human League, Pat Metheny and others as well as live reviews of The Motels and Steve Morse. Read the entire issue here.

Novus January/February 1985

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The headliner here is an exclusive interview with R.E.M., who had recently performed at Aloha Tower; reviews of nouveau offerings by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wynton Marsalis, Romeo Void, Sugar Minott and others; a sit-down with saxman Michael Paulo; plus a report on the Flock of Seagulls show at the University of Hawaii’s Campus Center Ballroom. This issue was a bit bigger than usual, so your download includes part one and part two.


Written by Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

I am a lifelong Honoluluan whose true calling is to tell the stories of others, whether through photos, film, video, audio or the written word. Here is a collection of my works – some previously published in periodicals like Billboard, the Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Weekly, though most of what you read or view here has never been seen before.

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