The NME recently ran a list of the most influential artists. A list that doesn’t include The Beatles or Bob Dylan can be clearly filed in the trying too hard to make a point drawer, but who are the less obvious artists they excluded?
How about The Ronettes? They sang the greatest pop song of all time for starters. Not only is Be My Baby unfathomably brilliant, it also contains surely the most borrowed drum beat of all time, plus it was produced by Phil Spector, and if you’re going to talk about influential people in the music industry you don’t look much further than Phil Spector. For all his controversies, his work as an innovator in music production remains unquestionable, just ask Jason Pierce, or The Jesus & Mary Chain or Brian Wilson…or anyone who knows about these things really.
No Belle & Sebastian? No Orange Juice? No Robert Johnson? The thing here is that it’s just our opinion, influence is entirely subjective and dependent on what you’re listening to now.
To be fair to the NME list, it’s a lot more interesting than you’d expect, acknowledging the influence of the likes of riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers and The Chills, on the various scenes and sub-genres of today, which is both surprising and shows that contrary to popular opinion, some people at what is still the countries largest selling music publication, do have ears. They also managed to make it not an entirely retro-gazing snooze fest, including some newer artists, because whilst many people would believe everything is average nowadays, new music does influence other new music, so including the likes of Burial, The Knife and Kanye West in the list makes a lot of sense.
Essentially a good musician is influenced by everything they’ve ever heard, borrowing component parts, and incorporating them with a unique splash of inspiration. All of this probably makes Adele the most influential artist in the world because according to the charts she’s sold more records than there are people in the world: all hail queen Adele the most influential artist in the world.
The Wharves are singing bassist, Gemma Fleet, singing guitarist, Dearbhla Minogue and non-singing drummer, Marion Andrau. They’ve also made the excellent decision to get ex-Test Icicle, turned super-producer Rory Atwell in on production duties.
To quote the band themselves “They invoke the reverberated spook of 60’s girl groups, the mid-fi guitar crunch of Kim Deal’s The Amps, the vocal flavours of The Roches and the narrative and structural panache of 70’s progressive folk.” Which is a bold claim, but not entirely inaccurate. Certainly their’s is a pop flavoured delivery over a psych-tinged folk backdrop. Intriguingly their Facebook page describes them as fans of fondue and gaffa tape in various colours, what influence that has on their sound, well we hope to work it out one day!
The members hail from England, Ireland and France respectively, if we are to assume they’re rugby fans the six nations must get messy. They’re now based in London, as is traditional for bands who aren’t based in New York.
They formed in 2012, releasing a split lp (an idea we thought of the other day to help out smaller labels struggling to make ends meet, and are slightly disappointed to see already exists!) with Glaswegians, The Rosy Crucifixion on Soft Power Records. They’re now doubling up to both sides of a piece of vinyl and releasing their debut album proper, At Bay, on Nottingham’s Gringo Records at the start of November.
Because their album marks them out as one of the most intriguingly different and utterly brilliant bands of the year! Psych-folk sounds with tight poppy melodies and a crashing punk drum sound. Vocal harmonies with the tightness of Field Music & the beauty of The Ronettes all screeched out with the intensity and passion of Bikini Kill. Whilst the obvious mainstream comparisson would be Warpaint, they’re far more musically playful and adventurous, like Stealing Sheep crashing into Sleater Kinney. Basically they’re great!
Tough call this one, partly because they’re great and partly because they borrow from so many different styles. I guess that could get a touch distracting, and maybe you like Oasis and think bands should really find one sound and stick to it.
The Wharves new album, At Bay is out on Gringo Records on November 3rd. Their album launch is the 1st of November at New Rivers Studios in London.