For most of us, adolescence is a moment in which we first meet some of the most important names in music. Thousands of teenagers felt special when they discovered The Beatles or The Rolling Stones and then became fans of Nirvana, assuring that it was the best band of all time, when reality is quite different. In this way, Pink Floyd has been considered a divine figure for hundreds of kids that through different generations have used their songs to get into psychedelia.
Only their most iconic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, has remained on the charts for almost fifteen consecutive years, not only because of the quality of the music, but also due to the fanaticism that surrounds the band. And although some of their audience accepted their musical influence and then continued opening their mind to more sounds, others still believe they are the only important group and that no new band could ever surmount them. Of course, they are wrong; there are many musicians as talented as this group.
It’s absurd to think that the evolution of music stopped with Pink Floyd or Nirvana. Not accepting new bands is a metaphorical senility that prevents us from expanding our perceptions and giving way to the future, especially as new groups take them as an influence. Nobody denies the legacy of Syd Barrett or Kurt Cobain, but we must acknowledge newer times and begin to recognize the contemporary projects that do the same thing that Oasis and Blur did a few decades ago: to push the revolution through sound.
Those who have not heard of the following bands before turning 25 are missing out one part of the story that is easily of equal or greater importance than Pink Floyd’s. It is important to let go of the past to make room to those who will play a brighter future.
The White Stripes
Anyone who doesn’t know The White Stripes may as well have been hiding in a fallout shelter for the last 18 years. The duo changed garage rock forever —and inspired a wave of new bands like The Black Keys— as one of the most recognized bands of the last decade. With Jack White’s dirty guitar and Meg’s sloppy drums, the band wrote several hits, and although they have disappeared from the scene, no one forgets their contribution to music.
Although Joy Division was a short-lived band in the early eighties, it was not until the beginning of the twenty first century that their popularity grew to extraordinary levels and expanded across the Atlantic, beyond their home in England. The depth of Ian Curtis’s voice hypnotized us with an even greater force after the premiere of the biopic Control. Moreover, this is one of the most listened bands in Spotify.
Originally from the UK and led by vocalist Beth Gibbons, Portishead arrived in the 1990s but never adhered to any single movement in music. Able to move and create freely under the shadow of Nirvana —as most of the bands in the nineties—, the group introduced the world to trip hop and incredibly poetic lyrics, inspiring a new generation that realized grunge had no future, but auditory exploration would live forever.
Although they’re often described as a blues band, their music consists of a simple, yet extraordinary combination of the entire musical history of southern United States. Alabama Shakes spans all the emotions in mere seconds, reincarnating the spirit of the old-time singers-without-a-cent that sang out their soul in every performance as if it were their last. This is one of the most touted groups in recent years, whose following continues to grow.
Probably the closest to Pink Floyd, if we are following a line of succession. Kevin Parker is mainly responsible for everything that happens within Tame Impala, and each album mixes different genres with a psychedelic sensibility. Until a few years ago it was fair to not know the name, but after the success of his album Lonerism, the band is one of the most recognized of today, not to mention that its fan base keeps growing with each release.
Broken Social Scene
Some might say that Canada arrived a little late on the music scene (although Canadians would probably dispute this), but the wait was worth it. The Canadian music scene has grown to amazing levels since 2000, and Broken Social Scene serves as the face of those emerging musical talents. Made up of members of different local bands, the collective implements every element that makes Canadian music fantastic, and holds its own influence on US and even Australian artists.
The Last Shadow Puppets
Everyone seems to know the Arctic Monkeys, but it is necessary to listen to The Last Shadow Puppets to know more about the genius of Alex Turner, lead singer of both bands. The work with this group, whose second member is Miles Kane of The Rascals, seems like an advanced version of The Beatles mixed with French and Italian pop from the sixties. With tragic stories and elegant sounds, it’s also necessary to listen closely to them to notice the progress of their music.
With an indie attitude, yet quite well-known in the underground scene, Phantogram has less than ten years of existence as a band, but each album explores an evolving mix between trip hop, dreampop, experimental electronics, and even shoegaze. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter are the only two members, and the influence they take from groups like Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth can be perceived in their songs, delivering unforgettable auditory wails. This is a name that will hold your attention, since each of their albums has been a step up from the previous one.
It is impossible to have lived in Mexico during the nineties and part of the twenty first century without knowing Zurdok, and it’s still more shameful to know Café Tacuba, Caifanes, and Soda Stereo without knowing this quartet, whose had a key contribution to the history of Mexican music. This is the only band who didn’t stick to the modern sounds of Mexico and South America, but chose to present songs with international influences and sounds, similar to Blur and Oasis, and gave us a couple of the greatest albums produced by Mexico.
Pink Floyd changed the world of music while Syd Barrett was the leader. What came next were just variations of a band that knew how to create inspiring psychedelic rock music. In spite of having created excellent albums and being geniuses that have held sway over different generations, it must be acknowledged that there are talents of equal or greater magnitude, which —even by the simple fact of being born in a different time— do not receive the same recognition. But the mind must be open to the new as well as the old, or we will continue to think that Black Sabbath was the heaviest metal band in history.
If you want to know more about the influence of these great musicians, check out these lists:
“How Tame Impala, Pink Floyd And The Doors Will Give You Lucid Dreams”
“The Rolling Stone Gives Us The Best 500 Songs Of All Time”