Jangle Pop was a mostly American post-punk movement of the mid-'80s that marked a return to the chiming guitars and pop melodies of the '60s.
Jangle Pop was a short-lived but very welcome genre of mid-80's rock; a roots-rock subgenre, it was a reinvention of the 60's folk rock sound crossed with 80's pop sensibilities, often with a punky, brisk tempo. R.E.M., early in their career, could be considered the standard-bearer of jangle-pop, which emphasized ringing guitars and vocal harmonies, although the genre did not begin with them. Some bands added a Beatles/British invasion style harmonic element to the music, others took cues from country/rock. Still others bordered on punk. R.E.M. had the widest mix of these influences giving them an extra dimension and depth many of the other bands lacked, which gave them a longetivity and ultimately the sales nearly every jangle-pop band lacked.
The only other jangle-pop band to enjoy large sales in America were the Bangles, from Los Angeles. While better known for their glossy hits like "Manic Monday", their first album and EP were organic, real jangle-pop efforts in a Byrds/Big Star vein, spiced with a dash of psychedelia on their debut.
Jangle Pop was not the most popular music of its day; R.E.M.'s albums of the time never charted better than the lower reaches of the top-30, the Bangles only hit big after they sanded off most of the edges, and many of the other groups of the time are already largely forgotten, their albums and (especially) EP's hard to find, the dB's, Pylon, Let's Active, The Plimsouls, and Guadalcanal Diary among them.
Most of these bands often sounded very do-it-yourself in their approach, and their records had an appealing rawness to them that recalled some 60's garage bands. This was mostly due to the quality of the studios they worked in; many recorded for barely surviving indie labels, and had very limited budgets for recording. However, there was also an aesthetic at work. All of these bands could be considered "roots-rock"; they favored organic instrumentation as a conscious or coincidental reaction against the synth-based music that dominated the radio and MTV at the time. In the southeast, bands like R.E.M. and Let's Active had a southern, slightly country flavor to them, while the West Coast bands were more psychedelic; a sub-genre of jangle pop, known as paisley underground centered in Los Angeles. Heartland bands tended to lean towards cowpunk. The earliest ones had some wisps of punky residue; by the mid-80's a gentler, less angular sound was in favor.