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Giving Thanks for the Influence 

Records that inspired today's youthful bands

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Phoenix

Glassnote Entertainment Group

If they were American, this Thanksgiving, Swedish pop rockers The Royal Concept ought to be grateful for Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), the fourth studio release from French alt-pop band Phoenix. Why? Well, simply put, Royal Concept's 2013 EP Royal is more than just a doppelganger for that album, it's a blatant rip-off.

At times—especially during the first single "Gimmie Twice"—everything from the lead vocals to the synth-laden rock are virtually indistinguishable from Phoenix songs like "Lisztomania" and "1901."

However shameful that is, surprisingly, it doesn't keep The Royal Concept's EP from being totally hot and danceable. In fact, even though The Royal Concept lacks originality, the teenage-like energy powering its songs is effortlessly addictive, even for hardcore fans of the band's sound-sake Phoenix.

Bananarama

Bananarama

London Records

One band is a trio of childhood friends, close enough they could be sisters. The other is a group made up of three actual sisters. The latter, Los Angeles power-pop rock group Haim, should be thankful for the music made by the former, the top charting female band of all time, England's Bananarama.

Despite the fact that the members of Haim haven't come right out and listed Bananarama as one of their influences—instead often opting for En Vogue, Fleetwood Mac and Aaliyah—one listen of their debut 2013 album Days are Gone and it's clear, there is a connection. Specifically, the association is with Bananarama's self-titled 1984 sophomore album, famous for the singles "Cruel Summer" and "Hot Line to Heaven."

Both albums rely heavily on dynamic female vocals with empowering harmonies that dispel the idea that there is a fairer sex as well as stylistic ranges that include R&B and rock. Each record is an exercise in strength, tracing its roots even further back to a little group known as The Pointer Sisters.

Sounds of Silence

Simon & Garfunkel

Sony Music Entertainment

There's no simpler way to put it than to say California's Milk Carton Kids are the modern version of Simon and Garfunkel. Their 2013 release The Ash & Clay is brimming with all the folksy character of Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 release Sounds of Silence. In fact, it's hard to imagine their sound originating from any other record.

Both just 30, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan of Milk Carton Kids—who both play guitar and harmonize—are most certainly indebted to the sanguine sounds of their '60s counterparts. Their voices are equally supple and though Milk Carton Kids rely more heavily on acoustic guitar than did their influential artists, the spirit of their art is fully matched with that of Simon and Garfunkel. Both also trade in a sort of beatnik poetry set to beautifully sedate music.

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...
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