I saw Portugal. The Man play a few nights ago in Eugene and I still have no idea what music they like to listen to, and it's driving me crazy. Malkmus? Barrett-era Floyd? Slint? James Brown? Maybe. Maybe none of them. The only hints from the show were a snippet of Moonage Daydream and at least one song in 13/4 (to go with the date: 4/13).
Thinking about this more I realize that my brain needs to categorize. When something appears dropped from the sky with no context, I'm not quite sure how to process it. I think the lack of obvious ties can create a mental break that leads to Art.
I'm trying to think of photographers that seem to have no obvious influences, that appear dropped from the sky like Portugal. The Man. Eggleston? Atget? Fox Talbot? I'm not so sure about any of them. Fun to speculate.