|07-05-2007, 09:57 PM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2002
The 25 Most Influential Artists Since The Inception Of The College Music Journal
Found this and thought some might be interested in it:
This year marks the 25th anniversary of CMJ Music Marathon (or the College Radio Brainstorm, as it was called in 1981). The party is bigger, the hair is smaller, but the concept is the same: we celebrate that ineffable feeling we get when listening to some indescribable type of music that's almost impossible to pin down. It all used to be called rock, then punk, then college rock, then alternative, then people started putting "alternative" in quotation marks, or adding "post" in front of everything, which got just as confusing as calling certain bands on certain labels "indie rock." What we do know for sure from CMJ's close, continuous observation of this music monster is that in those 25 years there have been undeniable music pioneers that have not only shaped the course of college and non commercial radio but also changed the world from the ground floor up. This list is not a collection of the best records (sorry My Bloody Valentine, Company Flow, Jeff Buckley), or the highest charting college artists (sorry Pearl Jam, Modest Mouse and, um, Duran Duran) or even our favorite artists (sorry Elvis Costello, Spoon, Melvins). And since we're talking the last 25 years, we'll also have to apologize to those icons who came before the pioneers; artists who made their biggest impact before 1981 (if you can't hear Wire, Talking Heads, X and the Clash in today's music, you're tuned to the wrong station).
What is this list then? Simply put, it's the 25 artists who've made the biggest impact on college and non commercial radio since the first CMJ gathering of the community 25 years ago. The "Thank You" part of our list gives you an idea who shaped their sound, while the "You're Welcome" part shows their current impact. Stop by the CMJ booth in 2030 to debate our list of 50 artists from the last 50 years, and to see how this list held up.
Did the term "college rock" (or "college town" for that matter) even exist before these arty Athens, Georgia outsiders? In addition to spawning as many gloriously pretentious bands as the Velvets (whom they covered), R.E.M. also birthed a nation of great indie record stores (they palled around at Wuxtry), defined the term "jangle," and even got nihilistic Generation X kids involved in human rights and student radio. Artistically, their Grammy winning 1991 masterpiece Out Of Time (it edged out Nevermind) not only made the mandolin cool again but also officially marked the time when the music business began spelling Alternative with a capital A.
Thank You: Patti Smith, Television, Big Star
You're Welcome: Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Idlewild
In the 44 months between Nevermind and Silverchair, the whole world felt like college radio. Ridiculously inaccessible bands like the Boredoms and the Butthole Surfers had major label contracts, and even U2 and Los Lobos had to make more challenging records to keep up. OK, OK, there were supermodels rocking flannel, sipping Coke's alt.soda, OK Cola, but who can deny the impact of a slouching, introverted genius gushing about his favorite underground bands (Melvins, Raincoats, Scratch Acid, Half Japanese, Black Flag) like he was, well, one of us.
Thank You: Flipper, Pixies, Meat Puppets
You're Welcome: Any rock band signed to a major label after 1991
3. SONIC YOUTH
The elder statesmen of skree, the gatekeepers of kool; where Sonic Youth goes, your ass is bound to follow. The brainy pig****ers turned experimental jet setters have been turning microtones on tail for 25 years. They bought pedals with major label cash but remained closer to the underground than Xeroxed handbills, covering "Touch Me I'm Sick" before most people heard it, nabbing skateboard video director Spike Jonze for his first video and providing record label sanctuary for free scuzz freakazoids like Mouthus and Magik Markers.
Thank You: Steve Reich, Glenn Branca, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks
You're Welcome: Yo La Tengo, Deerhoof, Sigur Rós
Starting as a too specific classified ad in the Boston Phoenix, the Pixies formed in 1986 with the intentions of mashing up "Hüsker Dü and Peter, Paul And Mary." The only other stipulation: the prospective bassist must have "no chops." No one cared then (only Kim Deal replied), but by the end of the decade, they would draft a dissonant blueprint for Nirvana, "alternative rock" and (gasp!) screamo, pitting menacingly quiet verses about UFOs against choruses built from wild boar shrieks and uncontrollable feedback. They drove the car into the sea, and everyone with an itchy pedal foot is still riding the mutilated wave.
Thank You: Pere Ubu, Hüsker Dü, Ventures
You're Welcome: Nirvana, Thursday, Spoon
5. PUBLIC ENEMY
A group of Long Island imports gathered around Adelphi University's college radio station, with no interest in being anything to the music industry beyond DJs and PDs, ended up brewing the dissonant "antimusic" that established hip hop's always uneasy place in politics, music and race relations. P.E.'s steamroller mix of black militantism and white noise sired the most influential change to punk's rhythms since Tommy Ramone's subway tunnel pummel and the funkiest change to avant garde since, well, ever.
Thank You: James Brown, Gil Scott Heron, Run DMC
You're Welcome: Saul Williams, Rage Against The Machine
Pavement could've sounded like punk rock, but it was just too hot in California. A few songs written in a drunken stupor on Malkmus's parents' living room floor led to a watershed: some singles on an obscure little startup called Drag City, an epoch changing record or two and eventually a major label courtship. Rock's enchanters of disenchantment eventually opted to become kings of the margins instead of jesters in the mainstream ghettoa great idea given that "alternative" rock was beginning to flail into Better Than Ezra territory around that time. Like their heroes the Fall, Pavement blossomed from cutting edge to over referenced to seminal, without ever being "popular."
Thank You: The Fall, Echo And The Bunnymen, Swell Maps
You're Welcome: Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, the Shins
7. THE SMITHS
England's Stipe and Buck, Morrissey and Johnny Marr formed an odd pairing of androgynous crooning spiked with blithe wit and an American punk bent (prior to the Smiths, Morrissey was the president of England's New York Dolls fan club). Mopey as they say? Maybe, but who can miss the Wilde wit of lines like, "And if a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die." Explosive in Britain, while mostly a college radio phenomenon in the States, the Smiths managed to be incisive enough to pave the way for emo, shoegazer, goth punk and Franz Ferdinand's haircuts.
Thank You: New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Queen
You're Welcome: Radiohead, Pulp, the Decemberists
8. VIOLENT FEMMES
Combat Rock spent 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot. Pearl Jam's Ten skulked around CMJ's chart for 70 brooding weeks. But our money says no album has had more raw spins than the Femmes' debut. Certainly the best song cycle about not getting laid (recorded with $10k borrowed from drummer Victor DeLorezo's dad and a $0k advance from Slash Records), this naked, bittersweet acoustipunk ramble gets passed down from big sibling to little sibling like a set of bitter, angsty keys to a car you will never have sex in unless, of course, sis took you to see them with the Del Fuegos.
THANK You: EM <>Jonathan Richman, Elvis Costello, Robyn Hitchcock
You're Welcome: They Might Be Giants, the Decemberists, Ben Lee
9. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
Could any two guys better embody the college radio DJ zeitgeist circa 1986? Insufferably quirky, obsessed with minutiae, name checking the dB's and totally pumped to talk to Eugene Chadbourne on the phone, They Might Be Giants were so geeky they made you forget how unbelievably punk they were. Lo fi, high brow pop that embraced its technical limitations,with a distribution circle that needn't go beyond their (still working) answering machine...it's like Milo went to Design School. Plus, they had the McSweeney's crowd on lock when Eggers was just a 16 year old geeked on R.E.M.
Thank You: Modern Lovers, Talking Heads, the Residents
You're Welcome: Magnetic Fields, Ween, Dead Milkmen
Slayer's speedy, funkless dugga dugga made them the most important (and most un****withable) metal band of the last 20 yearsany suffix you can add before metal (death, grind, black) was kickstarted by Dave Lombardo's merciless feet. But these cultural blood letters became so much more indie rock touchstones, hip hop sample fodder, Tori Amos cover subjectsthanks to an attitude that wavered deftly between terrifying, politically astute and hilarious. In one hell swoop, cartoonishly sadistic tales of amputation, asphyxiation and abacination (that's getting blinded by a red hot metal plate) encompass metal's empowering spookiness, punk's confrontational shock, rap's hyperbole as politics rhetoric and indie rock's self aware irony.
Thank You: Motörhead, Black Flag, Minor Threat
You're Welcome: Morbid Angel, System Of A Down, Lamb Of God
11. BLACK FLAG
Anyone could have invented hardcore. Hell, the Germs almost did and they couldn't mount a stage without one of them vomiting or passing out. But Black Flag driving a freezing van across the country (Rollins sleeping in the dark with the equipment, natch), setting up the underground network one rec room at a time takes a rare breed of genius/selflessness/psychosis. Plus guitarist/whipmaster Greg Ginn's Nostradamus like foresight with his SST label goes beyond the Sonic Youth/Minutemen/Hüsker Dü/Meat Puppets/Descendents quintfecta: forgotten labelmates Tar Babies even featured a founding member of Tortoise!
Thank You: Black Sabbath, the Stooges, the Ramones
You're Welcome: Fugazi, Converge, Wolf Eyes
12. NEW ORDER
New Order were the mightiest holders of the glitter ball scepter in the 1980s, making sure disco rhythms still shook groove thangs long after skeletal minimalists like Run DMC stomped them flat. "Blue Monday" reportedly the best selling 12" of all time, and easily one the most bungleable covers everreeked of breathy desperation like a sexy Suicide, leaving a dance, pop and dance pop legacy that goes well beyond the current synths and eyeliner dance sulkers (although the Killers did nick their name from a fictional band in a New Order video). Postal Service's brooding over electronics schtick seems adorably quaint by comparison.
Thank You: Roxy Music, Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire
You're Welcome: Chemical Brothers, Radio 4, Interpol
13. JANE'S ADDICTION
A surfbrat fresh out of an art goth band, two metalheads from a hard rock band called Dizastre, a devotion to bloated dinos like Zep and the Doors how could the gateway drug for the alternative nation spring from such a dread locked fountain of uncool? Anyone who caught them in their heyday would agree that it was just magic, plain and simple. Jane's was the best argument against Guns N' Roses in 1988...only the GNR fans couldn't resist them after a while either. Thank you, boys.
Thank You: The Germs, X, Siouxsie And The Banshees
You're Welcome: Mars Volta, anyone who's stepped on a Lollapalooza stage
In 2000, The Edge told this magazine: "College radio is 10 steps ahead of commercial radio in introducing really important new things to the country, and we benefited greatly from it, and long may it continue." True, in 1980, commercial radio cared as much about these Dubliners as Casey Kasem, paving the way for college radio to champion its first superstars. Make fun of Bono all you want for being as much a part of the UN as U2, but 25 years later, no indie band or stadium band connects the dots between Johnny Cash, Johnny Ramone and John Lennon any better. Even in 2005 they're hip enough to keep the flame alive, bringing everyone from Arcade Fire to Zutons along on their iPod, er,Vertigo tour.
Thank You: The Clash, Psychedelic Furs, Ramones
You're Welcome: Doves, Sinead O'Connor, Killers
15. DE LA SOUL
Four divine anti stylers from Long Island, De La Soul flipped rap's braggadocio onto its bozack in 1989, helming the big bang for unfenced hiphop self expression (there's no way we're saying "alternative hip hop"), opening the ears of many reluctant punk purists. With 45s cribbed from Posdonous's pop, producer and handsome boy Prince Paul utilized everything and the kitchen sink: Steely Dan, Hall And Oates, yodels, jaw harp, some litigation inspiring Turtles soup and enough left over to start an Avalanche.
Thank You: Funkadelic, Run DMC, Afrika Bambaataa
You're Welcome: OutKast, Digable Planets, Blackalicious
16. APHEX TWIN
For someone who rides the line between fringe genres like ambient, experimental electronic, jungle, IDM and Twentieth century composition while falling neatly into none of them, there sure are a lot of fanatical rumours about British mouse pushing hermit Richard D. James. His 2 CD opus Drukqs was just **** leftover in his hard drive (not true), he chases sheep with a street legal tank (sort of true) and he creates ambient music in a lucid dream state (very true).His impact, however, is unquestionable, opening doors for daydreaming soundscapists and skittish ADD cases.
Thank You: Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Erik Satie
You're Welcome: Squarepusher, Kid 606
17. UNCLE TUPELO
Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were joined at the hip in their love of punk, pop and country (they were actually born the same year in the same hospital in Belleville, Illinois) and their urgent records wrested the "country rock" tag away from the Eagles and reignited an alt.country brushfire that spread from Nashville (Lambchop) to Vancouver (Neko Case). Ten years later, Farrar's heartland poems still resonate, and a restless Tweedy is still haunting us with amazing Ghost stories.
Thank You: Hüsker Dü, Mekons, Alan Lomax
You're Welcome: Old 97's, Gillian Welch, Lucero
Ian MacKaye is the most charismatic politician in DC since Kennedy (no not the VJ). Each Fugazi song serves as a steadfast sloganaffordable all ages shows, **** advertising, think for yourselfthat seems to spawn a new riot as soon as it hits the streets, paving the way for similarly minded folk to erect riot girl, queercore and peace punk. All punks' career decisions are prefaced by "What Would Fugazi Do?" Hell they're so DIY, they take their own clothes dryer on the road! With a love of all Capitol City rock, including rasta punks Bad Brains, doomsters the Obsessed and the addictive rhythms of go go, they even spearheaded the eclecto rock that permeates DC to this day. But you're not what records you own.
Thank You: Black Flag, Bad Brains, Lee "Scratch" Perry
You're Welcome: Ted Leo, Refused, Jimmy Eat World
19. MIKE WATT
Black Flag's Oregon Trail like path through the underground was forged on brave words and bloody knuckles, but Mike Watt jamming econo, playing dozens and dozens of shows in a row ("If you're not playing, you're paying") with leftist bouillabaisse punkers the Minutemen, cult thudders fIREHOSE and his various solo incarnations brought a level headed, working class attitude to tour doggery and DIYas well as making it incredibly cool to be a total sweetheart. His Fogertyesque flannel flag still flies proudly every time someone tries to make their band their life. "For a young person," Watt hoots, "a band is the most idealized form of a political state."
Thank You: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Television, Charles Mingus
You're Welcome: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fugazi, Against Me!
20. BIKINI KILL
Bikini Kill's eight year run was an attack on so much more than just punk rock phallocentricity. They gouged college radio's snobby shutout of punk that sounds like punk, took on subtlety in all forms and inspired countless females to not only pick up instruments, but book shows, write zines, own labels, become program directors and generally turn out way cooler than us. The "Revolution Girl Style Now" was not televised (much unlike, say, boy's clubbers Pearl Jam) but, thankfully, Kathleen Hanna's tireless motormouth kept if from being commodified too.
Thank You: Runaways, X Ray Spex, Pretenders
You're Welcome: Sleater Kinney, Peaches, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
21. HÜSKER DÜ
The Minutemen made hardcore an astonishing dance partner, the Replacements made it an old pal, but the Hüskers made it a totally enveloping lifemate. Zen Arcade had hooks to (and for) the high heavens with lyrics as blunt as punk's meathead best, but used to talk about, you know, feelings. New Day Rising was ground zero for athletic, fist to the skies pop hooks triumphantly bursting from monolithic walls of blood, sweat and smears hey, the three guys met at a Foreigner/Ramones gig in Minneapolis.
Thank You: The Byrds, the Buzzcocks, X
You're Welcome: Pixies, Soul Asylum
22. ANI DIFRANCO
In an exceptionally stable 15 year career, the righteous sultress of staccato has released just as many albums as Dylan in his first decade and a half, but without the benefit of one of the biggest record labels in the universe paying the bills. Hell, she didn't even have one of the smallest labels. Ani is proof positive that you can build a cottage industry out of tape-dubbing and CDR burning. Iconoclastic and recklessly driven people like her are far more dangerous to the recording industry than some straw man like "downloading." Plus her percussive petulance has been vocally rocking against Bush before it was trendy...and well before this Bush.
Thank You: Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, Billy Bragg
You're Welcome: Liz Phair, Cat Power, Sufjan Stevens
Two generations of mood swinging janglepunks remember the Replacements adoringly. The Replacements, however, probably don't remember anything at all. Between bouncer taunting on stage antics (kicking perfume into an unsuspecting crowd, passing out on stage on a major label's dime) and their even rowdier backstage antics (pissing all over their rented Winnebago, pissing in hotel ice machines), who knows where they found the time to invent an idiom where tender, mature introspection and brawny brat muscle meet in the parking lot to share a cig and listen to Alex Chilton.
Thank You: Big Star, New York Dolls, Kiss
You're Welcome: Wilco, Evan Dando, Ryan Adams
College radio embraced these Oxford technocracy dissenters when they were just some wormy blokes with an annoying novelty hit and a name copped from a Talking Heads song. Since then, they've made an incredibly lucrative career out of committing career suicide: releasing Faustian/Floydian scientist rock when the fans wanted pop, and rocking hard once the rest of the world learned to trace around their obtuse angles. Fine, they're responsible for every emo band going all "spacey," but they made it safe for Flaming Lips, Wilco and Modest Mouse to explore the outer limits without fear.
Thank You: U2, Can, Autechre
You're Welcome: The Verve, Clinic, Coldplay
Superchunk was working, but not for you. The year that punk broke had broken fast for the North Carolinian quartet, and they turned down every single major label pogoing across the dance flooreven ceasing their deal with Matador when that label joined up with Atlantic. They formed the homegrown Merge Records, which matched their homegrown sound: exuberant, ragged on the edges, just enough to get by. In the process, Superchunk took the DIY baton from Fugazi and handed it to the first collared shirt wearing hipster they saw, making way for more mainstream indie rock like Ted Leo, Archers Of Loaf and Spoon.
Thank You: Hüsker Dü, R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr.
You're Welcome: Cursive, Get Up Kids, Archers Of Loaf
|07-05-2007, 10:01 PM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Earth Division
Thanks for this. In regards to Pavement, the closest band I've ever seen live or heard similar to them are a group called Hockey Night out of Minneapolis. They've disbanded, but they're radical.
|07-07-2007, 01:35 AM||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2002
It's hard to argue with it really...although I was never much of a Sonic Youth, U2, New Order or Public Enemy fan. It's good to see Pavement so far up the list and I would add Teenage Fanclub to it....probably in New Order's #12 spot.
|07-07-2007, 12:58 PM||#6|
Billy=Semi Tough Big Guy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: between 5,000 and 10,000 feet elevation
Damn, I'm old. I have only heard of 3-4 of those bands.
|07-08-2007, 02:21 AM||#7|
Join Date: Nov 2002
|07-08-2007, 03:15 AM||#8|
Join Date: Aug 2005
REM, Pavement, U2 and Sonic Youth all rock ... and even though the article claims to appreciate and understand the roots of punk, no mention of Generation X or The Clash leaves me a bit cool on the whole article. I guess 'X' was more than 25 years ago, but so was U2.
Never even heard of Aphex Twin or Uncle Tupelo.
And Beard and Hogan, I've always though Monster was the Apex of REM's work - and there's not a cello on it. 'Tongue' - on Monster - is my favorite example of perfect blue-eyed soul. Hall & Oates, eat yer hearts out.
|07-08-2007, 05:23 AM||#9|
off season mode
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Awesome find Hogan, it's been years since I have listened to some of those bands, in the part of Colorado I grew up in I heard alot of these guys on the AM dial a station called Z-Rock. I just watched the Pixies on Austin City Limits tonight, first time together in ten years.
|07-08-2007, 10:38 AM||#10|
Join Date: Nov 2002
For me, the band's highlight was Reckoning...a personal fave. It's a beautiful piece of jangle pop that's totally solid from top to bottom. Actually, they ruled the world from Murmer to Fables Of The Reconstruction IMHO. You don't encounter any throwaways from this band till their fouth album in (Life's Rich Pagent). Pagent is where the band's sound starts going towards the big, bloated, arena sound that's so cliched of the 80's now. Document was a bit of a breakout sure, but by bringing Stipe's vocals out to the forfront (where you can actually hear what he was saying) what seemed commercially viable at the time ended up further robbing a lot of the music of it's mystery. When Stipe's poetic scat tracks fully disappear for good (The last of which are on New Adventures in Hi-Fi) and Berry left for health reasons (it appears a lot of the fire left with him...judging by subsequent releases anyway). they finally reached the nadir. They became ladened with fake strings, orchestration, synths to mostly slow tempos.........it has made them boring.
I loved the band, still do to some extent....but I really think it's time to hang it up. I can't see them returning to form now. It's over.
Last edited by Hogan11; 07-08-2007 at 10:57 AM..
|07-11-2007, 01:45 PM||#11|
Join Date: Apr 2001
I used to have my own radio show in H.S, so i read CMJ alot.
I like this list, it's pretty good. I have some of my own personal fav's - but for the most part other than my OWN perceptions - i'd say this is a solid list - much more open than R.S., Spin, Etc.
I grew up in the 90's (graduated HS in 97) - so this list i like.
|07-14-2007, 08:50 AM||#12|
Join Date: Nov 2002
I would've put Yo La Tengo on the list as well.