We’re not ones to bitch and moan here, but we did read a feature published a few days back (we’re not going to say where) about the bands who have allegedly defined the musical landscape in the years after Nirvana. It was a silly concept to begin with -– Nirvana were important, sure, but it’s hard to see why they constituted some sort of cultural year zero –- and made worse by the fact that the list included such luminaries as, um, Coldplay, Muse, and Dave Matthews Band. And, it has to be said, not one band whose chief creative force is a black person or a woman. Anyway, the whole sorry business did get us thinking about artists who have been truly influential over the last decade or so. So here’s our riposte to that publication that shall remain nameless: ten artists who’ve shaped some of the most important and interesting musical trends that have emerged in recent years.
OK, an obvious choice, but also pretty much a compulsory one. The way in which Animal Collective have evolved from high school jam project into culture-bestriding colossus over the course of the 2000s has been remarkable, and has been synonymous with the rise of hipster culture. Pitchfork giving Merriweather Post Pavillion an exuberant 9.6/10 rating was one of those moments that seemed to get everybody talking, and the fact that the album reached #13 on the Billboard charts constituted a genuine crossover moment. You can argue that chillwave started with Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, and their distinctive, rhythmic, psychedelic sound has spawned a legion of like-minded bands, from contemporaries like Gang Gang Dance to latecomers like MGMT.