Poetic Memory: Great Power (List)


San Diego folk rockers Great Power are new to the scene, but their music feels old as the earth.

As you can tell from the epic MP3 above (and you should definitely check it out), their sound is similar to those harmonized ’70s slow burners — drawing from Gram Parsons and Neil Young, and could be compared to modern bands like Wilco and Fleet Foxes. The music is thoughtful, with hints of Americana, and makes you feel both a little wistful and happy to be alive to hear such good stuff.

Great Power will play the Che Cafe on July 9. In anticipation of their show, they provided us with a list of influences. Check it out below.

Poetic Memory: Great Power

1. Motorcycles: Half of our band rides them fairly religiously, and the other half is burning with the itching relentlessness of jealously. The influence on the band has much less to do with the bikes themselves and is probably more appropriately thought of as an ethos. Just watch the 1953 Brando movie, “The Wild One.” The goal of our music is to be the soundtrack to that film (‘film’ sounds pretentious, but ‘movie’ doesn’t really do it justice).

2. 60’s girl groups: Something about African American girl groups in the 1960’s is mystically alluring. Perhaps it is the dissonance between their music being popular and trend setting while as black women they were still largely marginalized. Or it could be that it’s just an unspeakable, indescribable quality that I have done violence to in trying to name it. Whatever it is, it’s incredible. Listen to the Ronettes, then listen again.

3. Songbird by Willie Nelson: What could be more perfect about a Willie Nelson record, produced by Ryan Adams, that includes a flawless Gram Parsons cover?

4. $1 movies at Wal-Mart: I know, it’s not cool to shop at Wal-Mart. What you may not know is there are movies for sale for $1 that are literally paradigm shifting, and you may never see the world the same way. From “Hood Angels,” a low budget, urban take on “Charlie’s Angels,” to “Karate Cop,” a post-apocalyptic movie starring a 60 year old cop who never does karate even once. You can’t go wrong.

5. The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy: So, I read a lot. I’m kind of a nerd. I try to read as much medieval Catholic theology as I can (because of that nerd-ery), and mostly shy away from fiction (we like to talk theology, too!). Nevertheless, The Cossacks is great. It’s like a Russian take on Louis L’Amour’s cowboy vs. Indian stories. I feel like stories involving a lovesick individual, wandering through remote wilderness regions really animate the music we make. Plus, they are just the best kind of stories, right?

6. The Insane Clown Posse

7. The song “My Sharona” played at really inappropriate times: Like, imagine a movie about WWII, say it’s depicting D-Day, and as the soldiers storm the beach in slow motion, that song plays. Would people just leave the theater? Would it move people deeply to tears, prompting a standing ovation? There’s really only one way to find out.

8. Painting: Sean, who formed the group, paints beautifully. He is untrained and his stuff is pretty erratic and startling, but at the same time it’s really romantic and dreamlike. He would never tell anyone he paints, much less analyze his work, but I think it’s a really big part of him. It’s totally inseparable from whatever Great Power is, you know? It’s like the music is just the paintings heard, or something (not to take ourselves too seriously, though).

9. Silliness in general: It’s hard to list influences and not sound like a group of pretentious jerks. It’s weird that when you get serious about stuff it has kind of an air of condescension. Please forgive that. We are not serious people: Brinton keeps a mask of himself, along with a cat mask, on his bass drum at all times just in case the mood strikes him. Our band practices are essentially running through the set once, maybe twice if we’re feeling good, and then writing joke songs for an hour and a half. Laughing is the number one goal.

10. My Ghoul Jackson: Literally all those plays are from us.

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