October 29, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it an A-

This may be the first boxed set inspired by a book?in this case, Michael Azerrad’s chronicle of ’80s underground rock, Our Band Could Be Your Life. But where Azerrad homed in on a handful of standard-bearers, this four-CD survey pulls in some questionable choices. Does Kate Bush rate as underground? No matter: Erring on the side of inclusion, Left of the Dial: Dispatches From the ’80s Underground is like the great college radio station that never was.

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