…And, who they influenced!
My first installment of Staff Picks! I finally get my chance to share my list of the three college rock bands that I think we owe the most thanks to. I’d had this list on my desk for weeks before our editor Jessica finally let me publish it – apparently all I had to do was “ask”.
College rock is one of the most important forces driving the evolution of music forward. Where would we be without the bands that met in the basements of dirty dorms to howl and screech instead of writing papers? That is not a world I want to live in, I can tell you that.
3) They Might Be Giants.
Sure they’re nerdy. Of course you don’t hear an accordion used in rock music often. But when it’s done well, people listen. They Might Be Giants came from humble beginnings, including recording some of their first songs on an answering machine as the greeting in order to spread the message about their songs. Their unique sound took them from gigs in front of an answering machine to one of the best-recognized rock bands of our time.
Allmusicguide said it best when they wrote, “R.E.M. mark the point when post-punk turned into alternative rock.” No other single band so clearly straddled the gap of turning a fringe movement of complicated vocals and carefully laid out guitar work. Everyone remembers Automatic For The People as one of the immortal albums.
While they weren’t a massive commercial success, the Pixies turned out to be one of the most important bands to sparking the grunge and alt rock revolution of the early 1990’s. Even Kurt Cobain of Nirvana attributed much of his own success and inspiration to listening the Pixies. In a 1994 interview, Cobain said:
“When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily I should have been in that band – or at least in a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”
These bands, in addition to shaping the future of modern rock music, have played a heavy hand in shaping alt rock on OurStage as well. Check out some of the below artists for a sample – they the cream of our crop, all with powerful influences from some of the bands mentioned above.