Ok, so I’ve been futzing with it to see if I can get from A -> B, where A is a band/artist I like and B is a different one. Started with R.E.M. and so far have been able to get to the land of prog rock (YES), alt.country (Gillian Welch), classic rock (the WHO), classic folk (Joni Mitchell) and “punk rock” (old school — Violent Femmes).
I cannot find a way from R.E.M to They Might Be Giants yet, but I’m going to cheat and reverse-engineer it.
Then I have to see if I can get to Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds (or maybe England Dan and John Fold Coley) from TMBG.