Thursday, October 8, 2009

Under The Influence

Each month we will take a look at an older band or musician and the impact they have had on the musical world today. Some may be obvious and some may not. Today we are looking Joy Division and the bands that wouldn't be here without them.

Hailing from the late 70's punk influenced Manchester, England scene or as it was known then, Madchester, Joy Division had just barely started making waves at the time of their demise. Joy Division are known for jittery, dark and sad tunes that feature bass and drums in the front of the mix while electric guitars often squall and grate, seemingly apart from the melody of the song. Lead singer Ian Curtis' deep baritone is unforgettable for its morose beauty and also for the deep bank of emotion flowing just beneath its restrained surface. That emotion would eventually undo Curtis. On the morning he was supposed to fly to America for their first big tour in the states, his band mates found him dead in his apartment of a suicide. What was left of Joy Division would become New Order and they would find their own success later on with hits like "Blue Monday."

Here, a list of bands that might not be here today without Joy Division.

Interpol - This one's easy. Interpol is to Joy Division what Oasis is to the Beatles. What Interpol added to the sound was quite simply - New York City. In a sense, Interpol is less of a rip-off and more a logical extension of the sound.

The National - God, I love this band. Not outright copping Joy Divisions' sound, but there are elements, to be sure. Matt Berninger's deep baritone and the discombobulated guitars on "Mistaken for Strangers," are original enough that it wouldn't anger Ian Curtis, but close to enough to make him proud.

The Smiths - Not just fellow musicians but fellow Manchester residents (Mancherites?). Johnny Marr's jangly guitar is a more focused version of the unholy racket Joy Division was capable of making, and Morrisey's dour lyrics were often right in the vein of his hometown heroes.

Nine Inch Nails - Trent Reznor's sound is equal parts industrialized distopia and moody Madchester. All one has to do is listen to his famous Joy Division cover, "Dead Souls," to hear how much the band has been an influence on his work.

Editors - Blatant copyright infringement.


  1. EDITORS: Why haven't you told me about this band mister?!
    Imposters or not - you know I gobble this shit UP! ;)

  2. If you like that you check out this band called Joy Division :)

  3. eh, after more listening, I get a bit grossed out by the synthy tracks. LOVE the guitar driven ones tho...

    Joy Division? Who is this? Perhaps you should blog about it...

  4. I'll take it under consideration

  5. joy division... is classic.