April 25th, 2009

spliff mon

a guided tour of influencial bands

written fri night i.e., 1:am
 

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i played morrisey's last with depeche mode a lot.  first, depeche mode: i now see how influencial they were, on new order, the eighties, art of noise, eno/heads, and of course into today's club music.  i also see how they would be great with exstacy - because i listened while having a non-cfs high, and heard the music a lot more positively - otherwise, they can sound sort of wimpy-heavy and droll or something.  it occured to me that if they had morrissey as the singer, they would be geometrically better.  even though he's droney too - he has a much better, nuanced voice.

morrisey and his original band, the smiths, emerged from the same punk days of england which gave rise to the cure - and somehow they both ended up defining early goth.  i don't know where depeche mode came out of.  but, odd that these three goth bands didn't sound similar at all - though they were all VERY influencial.  i never understood how the smiths derived their sound - it was an emulation of U.S. country-folk, with some punk and beatles and soul added - but who were the actual artists they were immitating?  i don't know - johnny cash, the band, big star?  yet morrisey has always had his own unique style, which confuses me even more.  how was this monster created?  now, here's a fascinating tour...

i have always suspected that the smiths were a strong influence on R.E.M.  tonight, and after being so into morrissey for a good while, i now see that R.E.M. was cleary, deliberately emulating the smiths - and michael stipe was totally trying to BE morrissey, fgs.  it's just that R.E.M., from Georgia, was better at country, and evolved more into positive american pop (i think they might also have been influenced by C.S.N.& neil young (the monkeys), fleetwood mac, and bluegrass); and stipe's voice was completely different and less dynamic.  but his groans and yaps, and his angst and drones, and his good attempt at variation, were all based on morrissey.  and R.E.M. was clearly going for the same BIG and plush yet STARK sound so well forged by the smiths.  so, the big music scene of Manchester, england, (the smiths), found it's way to the next big music scene, Athens, georgia, (R.E.M.).  R.E.M turned out to be ANOTHER extremely influencial band, and it clearly seems, to me, that R.E.M. was a major influence on Nirvana, and the grunge scene way over in the NEXT big music scene, Seattle, washington.  isn't this cool?  well, the grunge scene would never have made it out of the northwest if it hadn't been for two music producers in Madison, wisconsin, who later formed the band GARBAGE.  and, for a garbage lead singer, these two guys went all the way to Manchester, england, and got the cool gothy-punk-courtney-love-looking eye-candy singer, shirley manson, not to be confused with her sister, marilyn.  so, i think this is cool.  many a minute i have whiled away, comparing her accent to morrissey's, and i always wondered what was the deeper CONNECTION - i knew it was there, and now i have found it!  the Manchester-Man influenced american R.E.M., who influenced nirvana, who begot garbage, who went full-circle to Manchester for a singer.  what i am saying can't be said - it's IN THE MUSIC.

garbage was also influencial, on metalic goth or industrial - but, at heart, garbage isn't much different to a lot of where morrissey is now.  (i'm listening to garbage & kittie & system of a down pillow right now - sat. 1:30pm, rainy - and remember that i used to be cool once).

it is my opinion that R.E.M.'s "don't go back to rocksville" is pretty much a perfect song, (in the same way as gabriel's "salisbury steak").  i think "rocksville" is a fine evolution of their earlier "radio free europe" (comparable to the smith's "panic in the streets", etc.), and inspired by the monkeys', "last train to clarkesville".  it's interesting how some genius bands succeed so well that people tend to neglect them, even though they rock forever.  people look at R.E.M. the same way as they do the beatles, as too pop to matter, when in fact they were not only musically radical, but their genius remains fresh.  (influence is NOT a bad thing!)  but this pseudo-hip public regard is not true towards Morrissey in the U.S., he's still an unusual here.  and this is also not so much true regarding george harrison, who wasn't the ULTIMATE pop icon, but who's extensive influence is mindboggling.  and, while the beatles and lennon have been thoroughly petty-fied, post-beatles mccartney has maintained some value, partly because his songs were so melodically tight, and his genius was so strong, that most people COULDN'T approximate him, thus limitting his influence, ironically.  but, apparently he hasn't done shit in years ha ha.

i noticed some lines in a recent morrissey song, which are very immitative of some in a song by robyn hitchcock - and i've also noticed that morrissey seems to have many of the same studio musicians as hitchcock.  hitchcock seems to be england's robbie robinson - he has vast influence amongst musicians, on the inside, but is only a lesser pop-icon.  his protogees, the decemberists, are more popular than he is.

who else did i listen to?  cure, blue nile, coldplay, sweet/penn, liz phair, DANCE, blackeye peas, ska, sublime, no doubt, bosstones/smashmouth, dropkick murphy's, throwing muses, belly, cowboy junkies, lucinda williams, iris dement, natily macmasters, david grey, kurska goes yap.

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