Like fashion, music runs in cycles, we all know that. The musical stylings of any band or artist are more often than not very obviously mapped to a few definite influences, fusing these with incredible results.
A huge number of artists of yesteryear can be heard in modern music across a range of genres. Modern dance, RnB, hip-hop and pop all carry audibles overtones of generations gone by, but perhaps there is no genre more indebted to years gone by than alternative music.
The obvious influences are there; Without the Stone Roses and The Beatles, the Gallaghers would’ve never formed Oasis. Without The Pixies, Nirvana would have had a very different sound. But what of the subterranean music of today? How is the music industry of 2018 going to tip its cap to the ghosts of music past?
One sub-genre subtly wheeling its way back into the consciousness of alternative music is glam rock and whilst there is no forecast of a lunge back towards its 1970s heyday, it might well be the case that we might see a more sustained assault on the charts than The Darkness managed a decade ago.
One band leading the way in this regard is HMLTD, a British glam-rock outfit that wowed the UK festival scene last summer and appear as a walking amalgamation of just about every rock star you could think of. If you were to narrow them down to a single major influence, you’d suggest David Bowie, but look closer and you’ll see one measure Jim Morrison, a dollop of Adam Ant and a tablespoon of Gene Simmons.
Once known as Happy Meal Limited but reborn in order to fend off foamy-mouthed lawyers, HMLTD have a small army of cult followers and are not alone in their subterranean glam-rock sensitivities, with bands such as Starcrawler and Lemon Twigs making an impact in the States. Keen to tap into the doe-eyed nostalgia that bands such as Slade, Kiss and Queen offer, the fact is that a love for glam rock has never truly gone away.
Alongside the music, it’s the fashion, the artwork and the sense of style and it’s exactly the same across all alternative music genres. Harking back to the likes of Kiss, who were trailblazers in terms of merchandising and promotion beyond music, glam rock has never truly gone away – fans can visit Kiss cafes, wear Kiss condoms, play Kiss-themed roulette online at William Hill Live Casino and even get buried in Kiss coffins. If HMLTD and co are looking for a sleeping giant of a market to tap into, they’ve found one.
Beyond glam rock, the underground music scene is rife with bold musical influences of course, and 2018 is also set to see the emergence of synthwave music, a bubbling undercurrent to the music scene that is set to hit boiling point as the months unfurl. Bands with names such as Scandroid, Gunship and Meteor sound every bit like 80s throwbacks and whilst their music and fashion follow suit, there is substance to the comparisons with A-Ha, Depeche Mode and The Human League.
Again, 80s pop and synth music is still a huge part of popular culture today, with popular television programmes such as Netflix-favourites Stranger Things and Black Mirror having tapped into this in recent years. Whether popular culture follows music trends or vice versa is a topic for debate, but when the two come together, expect fireworks.
Music of days gone will continue to shape its future. With subterranean music acting as a buffer between the two, expect both glam rock and synthwave to lead the way in 2018.