Aaron Giles

About Me

The Final Rip

From March through August 2017, I decided to re-rip my massive CD collection to a lossless format (FLAC). While doing this, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about each band, both for my own edification and also in the interest of potential serendipitous discovery by others.

Here is where I talk a little about various artists whose music I own, beginning with the A’s. (S/T means self-titled.)

Since MTV was a big part of my early music experience, I tried to find videos of one song for each band just for fun. Apologies in advance for some of the more lurid examples, I mostly picked them based on the song, not on the video content!

For background information on my ripping approach, plus a little historical summary of my music tastes.



All # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
All Complete Collections Partial Collections Greatest Hits
All Solo Artists Bands
All Alternative Electronic Folk Grunge Hair Hard Rock Industrial Pop Rap Rock World Other
All ’60s ’70s ’80s ’90s ’00s ’10s
All Male-Fronted Female-Fronted
2011 S/T
Two dudes beat up their poor cellos playing vigorous covers of rock tunes. A fun novelty.
1995 S/T
These guys had a very interesting sound. I got hooked on a couple of singles from this album (“Down” in particular) and eventually picked it up. I always enjoyed the album but never quite got to the point where I wanted to do a full dive into their catalogue. A few years later they released my favorite tune, “Beautiful Disaster,” but I never picked up the album it was on.
2014 S/T • 2017 <shutdown.exe> • 2019 Metawar
A fairly recent discovery, and so happy I found these guys! Real, old-school industrial sound, with shades and obvious influence from just about all the great industrial bands of the 80s and 90s. Their third album felt a bit too KMFDM for my tastes, but I'm still hopeful for future releases!
I owned a few early AC/DC albums as a cassette collector, due in large part to needing to come up with 11 stamps for the record club subscription. When I switched to CDs, I chose to leave these guys behind. Eventually I decided this was the one album I couldn’t do without. The opening riffs of “Hells Bells” and the title track are the standouts here.
2003 The Essential Adam Ant
Adam Ant was a huge staple of the early MTV years. I remember (for perhaps obvious reasons) that they were playing the videos for “Goody Two Shoes” and “Strip” all the time. When I finally picked up this collection, I was particularly struck by how “tribal” his music sounded, especially the early stuff. Very unlike almost anything else.
2006 Devil’s Got a New Disguise
While the treacly ballads that seem to dominate their recent output really don’t do it for me, “Dream On,” “Rag Doll,” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” are worth owning this. I actually paid to see Aerosmith when I was a teenager, but skipped the main concert because I really only went to see the opening band Dokken.
1990 Facelift • 1992 Dirt • 1992 Sap • 1993 Jar of Flies • 1995 S/T • 2009 Black Gives Way to Blue • 2013 The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here • 2018 Rainier Fog
When I was working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland as a Research Assistant, I was sharing an apartment with a postdoc who owned a copy of Dirt. I picked it up out of curiosity and immediately fell in love with the dark, brooding sound. RIP Layne Staley, but also glad to see the band release new material.
1992 Little Earthquakes • 1994 Under the Pink • 1996 Boys for Pele • 1998 From the Choirgirl Hotel • 1999 To Venus and Back • 2011 Night of the Hunters • 3 singles
When we arrived in the Bay Area in 1995, Tori Amos was a fixture on the local radio. Loved a lot about her earlier stuff, but interest kind of petered out after a few albums. Her vocal shenanigans (more prevalent in her live and later stuff) can kind of drive me crazy! But she also has quite a collection of hauntingly beautiful songs as well.
Accidentally got a chance to see her in 1996 at the LIVE105 “Green Christmas Ball” when she was just an up-and-comer. Love her voice and the mix of melancholy and playfulness in her songwriting.
2001 Power Ballads • 2005 I Sold Gold • 2007 Or Give Me Death • 2015 Wild Knights
“The Suggestion Box” was a big hit in the Seattle area shortly after we arrived, and the first album turned out to be quite enjoyably quirky, with interesting complex rhythms throughout and fun pop culture references in the songs.
Famously self-described as the “most pretentious record ever,” I just don’t care. This is one of my all-time favorite albums, pretty much all the aspects of Duran Duran I loved the most amplified and stripped of all the other stuff. Moody, dark, complex, with some awesome videos and guest appearances by Sting and Grace Jones, what’s not to love? Only bummed they stopped after one release. (And sadly their awesome videos are not online.)
1988 The Best of the Art of Noise
I identify this album very closely with my college dormmate Brian, who was a total AoN nut. My MTV days introduced me to “Close to the Edit” and I was a huge Max Headroom fan so “Paranoimia” was by definition awesome.
2003 20th Century Masters
So many times I heard these guys on MTV. The videos for “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell” are permanently etched in my memory. Major nostalgia wave watching them again.
1987 Everyone Loves the Pilot (Except the Crew) • 1988 The Compleat Angler
Wait, wait, this is NOT Rick Astley (unrelated) and this is NOT a rickroll. Jon Astley is a producer turned songwriter who dropped two albums in the late 80s of droll British pop infused with great wordplay. “Jane’s Getting Serious” was his one hit, but the rest of his stuff is absolutely worth a listen, especially if you enjoy wordplay.
2002 Audioslave • 2005 Out of Exile • 2006 Revelations
Rage Against the Machine with Chris Cornell (RIP) on vocals? As with many supergroups I think expectations were too high, and although I ended up buying all three released albums, I’m not entirely sure they hold up. Will have to revisit them.
2001 Sounding the Seventh Trumpet • 2003 Waking the Fallen • 2005 City of Evil • 2007 S/T • 2010 Nightmare • 2013 Hail to the King • 2016 The Stage
When we got a new car in 2012 it came with Sirius/XM radio, so the wife and I started listening to the hard rock/metal station Octane, which is where I first heard these guys. It’s been a while since I added a new rock/metal band to the mix, but they hit the right mix of dark and epic for the most part. I even don’t mind too much when they get a little country in their ballads.
Sure, there’s “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack”, but the rest of their collection is pretty fun as well.
1995 Spaceman
Love this song so I picked up the single, but was never curious enough beyond that to check out this band. Turns out the version I’m familiar with is a remix (below). The original is notably different.
Solid collection of great songs from the 1980’s. And the fact that their version of the Simon & Garfunkel song “A Hazy Shade of Winter” is one of the all-time greatest cover songs is a hill I will die on.
1992 Gordon • 1994 Maybe You Should Drive • 1996 Born on a Pirate Ship • 1998 Stunt • 2000 Maroon • 2003 Everything to Everyone • 2006 Barenaked Ladies Are Me • 2008 Snacktime! • 2010 All in Good Time
Like everyone else, I caught wind of these guys when “One Week” was all the rage, but digging into their back catalogue I found a lot to like, and their first three albums are all pretty brilliant. I might be getting tired of their shtick at this point, though, as the last few releases haven’t inspired me to acquire them.
2008 Solace • 2012 Mechanisms • 2017 2600
A staple at California Extreme, of all places, this dude uses a custom 11-string bass and a unique playing technique to produce some incredibly cool and haunting sounds. Might be more classical than rock, but since it’s an amplified instrument, we’ll keep him in the rock category for now.
Licensed to Ill (which is brilliant, don’t let revisionist history tell you otherwise) made me aware, but “Intergalactic” is what really won me over to these guys. In the end I’m probably most partial to Paul’s Boutique.
Everybody’s gotta have some Beatles in their collection, right? Obviously I’m mostly into their later stuff, with the White Album being peak Beatles for me. Toss in the Greatest Hits collection 1 to cover the earlier bits and I’m good here.
1993 Loser • 1994 Mellow Gold • 1996 Odelay • 1998 Mutations • 1999 Midnite Vultures • 2002 Sea Change • 2005 Guero • 2006 The Information • 2008 Modern Guilt • 2014 Morning Phase • 2017 Colors • 2019 Hyperspace
“Loser” was all over the radio when we first moved to the Bay Area, but when Odelay landed he really took off. Beck was one of a number of artists we got to see at the LIVE105 “Green Christmas Ball” in 1996. Overall I think I prefer his (currently) mid-career albums, especially Guero and The Information, but they all have their charm. I also like the way he mixes in downbeat, melancholy albums amid the more crowd-pleasing ones.
Now here’s an MTV staple. Just an amazing collection of great songs. I can remember the video for practically every one of them!
1991 Carpe Diem • 1992 On the Run • 1992 Steel Works! • 1994 Supercute
In college and just afterwards I couldn’t get enough Front 242, so this Front 242 clone band was just the ticket. The wife and I still put on our fake German accents and quote “Carpe Diem” and “The Bog” at each other to this day. Pure fun. And their cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” is just perfect.
Bill Carson & His Checkered Past
2004 The Copper Look
Wow, so not even a Wikipedia article on these guys. Amazon lists it as “country” or “roots rock” but all I know is I love it. “Languid” is the word that comes to mind, just utterly laid back and calm, and so very different from most anything else in my collection. Wish there had been a follow-up!
2012 Birds of Chicago • 2016 Real Midnight • 2017 American Flowers • 2018 Love in Wartime
Nice little folk Americana duo from the Midwest—and it turns out that half of the duo is a high school classmate of mine! Some great, moving songs and a chill vibe.
1996 The Burdens of Being Upright • 2000 Down Here • 2005 Blink the Brightest • 2010 Masts of Manhatta • 2015 Wax & Gold • 2017 Modern Burdens
Another Bay Area discovery (note the 1995-era album), Bonham had a pretty popular hit “Mother Mother” that played all the time. Always felt like she should have had more success as the rest of her material is quite good. I especially enjoyed her most recent album Modern Burdens, which features reimaginings of all the songs on her first release.
1993 Debut • 1996 Telegram • 1997 Homogenic • 2000 Selmasongs • 2001 Vespertine • 2004 Medúlla • 2007 Volta
Quirky and a bit challenging at times but always interesting. Medúlla in particular, assembled almost exclusively from vocals and vocal samples, is a fascinating listen. Haven’t been keeping up with more recent releases, though.
1999 In Stereo • 2002 Burnin’ Sneakers • 2004 Reverse Psychology
This is a recent retro-discovery that I instantly fell in love with upon discovering their most well-known song “Freestyler” and its famous video. It's a great hybrid of late 90s/early 2000s-era dance and hip-hop, and listening to it always puts a big smile on my face.
1994 Cross Road
Another MTV regular with a great collection of songs. I still say he probably regrets that last key change in “Livin' on a Prayer” now that he’s older. Sadly this is an early hits collection and misses one of his better recent anthems “It’s My Life.”
Prior to his passing, I will admit to only owning the single to “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” owing to Trent Reznor’s involvement and its use in the movie Se7en. His hits collection Legacy provides a pretty good overview of his genius.
Sixteen Stone is a cornerstone of the grunge era, even if you think they were just cheap Nirvana knockoffs. I honestly never really bought into that narrative and just enjoyed it for what it was.
1987 Code
Late in high school I was given a mix tape of a bunch of electronic music, ranging from new wave to industrial, and a couple of songs from Code were included. At one point I had dug further into their catalogue, but I guess I decided that this one was the real keeper. It is also one of three classic industrial albums (along with Ministry’s Twitch and Nitzer Ebb’s That Total Age) that seemingly took forever to get their first CD release.
I totally love these guys; probably one of my favorite bands ever. Between the syncopated rap-singing, the great lyrics, the stripped down sound, the brilliant use of trumpet, and copious vibraslap, it all just works amazingly well. So many amazing songs to choose from, but the first I heard was “Rock 'n Roll Lifestyle” which to this day remains awesome.
1978 The Cars • 1979 Candy-O • 1980 Panorama • 1981 Shake It Up • 1984 Heartbeat City • 1985 The Cars Greatest Hits • 1987 Door To Door • 2002 Complete Greatest Hits • 2011 Move Like This
After the death of Ric Ocasek, I decided to revisit The Cars’ complete works and wow, I had no idea what I was missing! A perfect mix of poppy and moody, with amazing hooks. Even their 20+ year comeback album was great! I can probably get rid of my Greatest Hits collections now, LOL.
1988 S/T
Great songwriter and an excellent debut album, just never took the time to keep up.
1995 Exit Planet Dust • 1997 Dig Your Own Hole • 1999 Surrender • 2002 Come With Us • 2004 Push the Button • 2007 We Are the Night • 2010 Further • 2015 Born in the Echoes • 2019 No Geography
1995 was the year I first started to listen to techno (guess electronica taxonomists are calling this “big beat” now), and The Chemical Brothers, along with Orbital, was one of the first groups I got into. This is a genre of music where the individual albums don’t mean so much to me; I just like having a big pile to shuffle in a playlist, so I’m always happy to have more.
The wife turned me on to these guys, and after letting their vibe slowly infect me over the course of a few years, the dam finally broke and I acquired their full catalog. (Just realized when researching this that I’m missing the first album and B-sides collection, but I’m confident they will end up here soon enough!)
I was initially intrigued by the creepy Hellraiser Themes but was completely floored by Love’s Secret Domain, which to me is a creepy, funky, drug-induced masterpiece (the initials are no coincidence, I’m sure). I’ve flirted with some of their other catalogue but never pulled the trigger. Plus they’ve been hard to find at a reasonable cost.
Yeah, these guys were really big for a while there, and this ended up in my collection.
I remember hearing these guys all the time on the radio and yet not connecting the dots that all these songs were by the same band until I finally picked this up!
1983 ...Hits
So I’ve never had it in for Phil Collins as much as some, though I will admit I have a love/hate relationship with his music. Nevertheless, there’s enough good stuff to appreciate in his catalog that I will endure the remaining cheese on offer. As I find often to be the case, this collection is missing one of my favorites of his, “I Don’t Care Anymore,” so I had to track down the single for that one.
2019 Some Guys
The funny story about this CD is that I acquired it via a Kickstarter campaign. The idea was to produce a set of covers of classic 70s-era “sensitive guy” songs, and when I saw the track list, I knew I had to have it. These are all super well-done covers, almost indistiguishable from the originals. It’s like buying one of those “As Seen on TV” hits collections!
Creature Feature
2007 The Greatest Show Unearthed
One of the opening acts when we saw Schoolyard Heroes. Light & cheesy horror-pop fun.
1997 Vegas • 2001 Tweekend • 2002 Community Service • 2004 Legion of Boom • 2006 Drive • 2009 Divided by Night • 2014 S/T
These guys are part of what I would call the “second wave” of techno bands that I started listening to in the mid-90s, also tagged as “big beat.” After fleshing out my Chemical Brothers and Orbital collections, I went in search of more similar fare and found these guys.
1980 Seventeen Seconds • 1981 Faith • 1982 Pornography • 1983 Japanese Whispers • 1984 The Top • 1985 The Head on the Door • 1986 Staring at the Sea: The Singles • 1987 Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me • 1989 Disintegration • 1990 Mixed Up • 1992 Wish
Disintegration came out the year I graduated high school and I quickly fell in love with the atmospheric, moody sound. Then I discovered Pornography which was darker and moodier and became my favorite Cure. Since then, I’ve dabbled with filling out the collection, and slowly it’s getting there!
In 1987 there were two big solo pop stars making huge waves: George Michael and Terence Trent D’Arby. From the opening of his debut album, I was hooked with the poetry of his lyrics and his music, at times minimal and at times lush. At one point I owned all of his pre-Sananda Maitreya albums but eventually pared it down to just the first two.
Was briefly into these guys during the Welcome to the Monkey House era, but interest kind of faded shortly afterwards. Apparently Monkey House was produced by Nick Rhoades of Duran Duran, which might be just the influence I needed to enjoy them.
1988 The Serpent’s Egg • 1990 Aion • 1993 Into The Labyrinth • 1994 Toward The Within • 1996 Spiritchaser
Latched onto these guys due after hearing Lisa Gerrard’s amazingly haunting voice on the Gladiator and Black Hawk Down soundtracks.
2005 Plans • 2008 Narrow Stairs
Although DCC was on the radio constantly here in the Seattle area, I only gave them a real shot after discovering and falling in love with Ben Gibbard’s side project The Postal Service. I’d say both of these albums are just fine and enjoyable to listen to, but not enough to motivate me to explore more of the catalogue.
1990 World Clique • 1992 Infinity Within • 1994 Dewdrops in the Garden • 1996 Sampladelic Relics & Dancefloor Oddities
If you want a pick-me-up, there’s little out there more infectious than Deee-Lite. “Groove Is In the Heart” was huge, but that whole first album is just great. They kind of flamed out commercially after that, but I went back and picked up their subsequent albums and found them to be great in their own way.
1981 High 'n' Dry • 1983 Pyromania • 1987 Hysteria
Ah, the hair band days. In high school I started off with Pyromania, which had a number of singles on heavy MTV rotation. When Hysteria landed, they grew even more popular, but after that they seemed to recognize their formula and it became a little too obvious for my tastes. Meanwhile, I had come around to loving the immediate predecessor, High ’n’ Dry, and still consider “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” to be one of the best songs of the 80’s.
1981 Speak & Spell • 1982 A Broken Frame • 1983 Construction Time Again • 1984 Some Great Reward • 1986 Black Celebration • 1987 Music for the Masses • 1990 Violator • 1993 Songs of Faith and Devotion • 1997 Ultra • 2001 Exciter • 2005 Playing the Angel • 2009 Sounds of the Universe • 2013 Delta Machine • 2017 Spirit • plus ~24 CD singles
Simply judging from the completeness of my collection, Depeche Mode is clearly near the top of my list of favorite bands. I was introduced to them in high school during the Black Celebration era, but Music for the Masses was the first album I picked up, and I was totally hooked. Overall, my favorite album has to be 1982’s A Broken Frame, with its amazing bookends of “Leave in Silence” and “The Sun & the Rainfall,” and everything in between. My favorite DM song, though, is probably “Walking in My Shoes” from Songs of Faith and Devotion, a song which always hits me in the feels.
1990 Greatest Hits • 1990 Greatest Misses
I don’t do much karaoke, but when pressed, I can do a mean rendition of “Whip It”. It’s awesome that they released a collection of “Greatest Misses,” and pretty much love them all, so I figure some day I will bite the bullet and dig into their back catalogue more extensively.
1991 Big Electric Metal Bass Face
During my 90’s techno/industrial phase I was hungry for more bands in that genre, and this Nitzer Ebb-influenced band fit the bill.
2000 The Sickness • 2010 Asylum • 2015 Immortalized • 2018 Evolution
Recent addition at the wife’s suggestion. I mostly knew of them because of Weird Al’s quick cover of “The Sickness” in one of his polkas, haha.
2002 Phonosynthesis • 2003 Fearless
A little pump-you-up trance music for late night programming.
Performance for the 2004 Summer Olympics, but I have to admit it was the “Adagio for Strings” cover that attracted me, long before I was ever familiar with the Barber piece, and even longer before I was familiar with the “Agnus Dei” choral setting.
Early high school years were the time of hair metal bands, and Dokken was always one of my favorites. Got to see them open for Aerosmith (and in fact, skipped out on Aerosmith because I really wasn’t into them at the time!)
I was a serious Doors fan in college and at one point owned all their albums. Eventually I backed off a bit and settled on this collection, which is relatively thorough.
1981 S/T • 1982 Rio • 1983 Seven and the Ragged Tiger • 1986 Notorious • 1988 Big Thing • 1989 Decade • 1990 Liberty • 1993 S/T • 1995 Thank You • 1997 Medazzaland • 2000 Pop Trash • 2004 Astronaut • 2007 Red Carpet Massacre • 2010 All You Need Is Now • 2015 Paper Gods
I’ve been a DD fan since the early days, largely based on their large MTV presence and evocative/bizarre videos. (This also gave me an “in” with the girls in grade school, ha!) Also was a huge fan of their James Bond theme, “A View to a Kill.” Their music was always an interesting mix of poppy and new wave, with lots of pretentiousness, and lyrics that made no sense except as word painting and pure imagery. Their “reboot” with 2004’s Astronaut has produced a series of top-notch albums, so I’m thrilled to see that they’re still actively making new music.
1993 Abduction • 1994 Implant • 1995 Epsylon • 1997 Science of the Gods • 2000 Crash and Burn! • 2000 Prepare Your Spirit • 2001 In the Nude! • 2004 Alien Artifacts • 2008 Back to Earth • 2015 Dead Planet • 2017 Last Ship to Paradise
This psychedelic, sci-fi themed electronica group was a more recent discovery thanks to a coworker. Pretty solid all around, but also challenging to get ahold of. I ended up doing a bulk order direct from their UK store to fill out my collection.
1993 Tabula Rasa
One of the pioneers of industrial music, this was a band I always felt I should be more into than I actually was. This is known as one of their more accessible albums and I think I decided that was good enough for me!
Bernard Sumner of New Order plus Johnny Marr of The Smiths, with frequent guest vocals by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys: this is pretty much one of the first new wave “supergroups.” As usual, not quite matching the lofty expectations, but still had a pretty good run overall.
1988 Watermark • 1991 Shepherd Moons
Enya’s super lush, highly-produced style may not be in vogue anymore, but in the late 80’s when I first heard it, it was quite amazing. Coupled with beautiful, chill-inducing compositions, it’s still quite a pleasure to listen to even today.
As a huge Depeche Mode fan, of course I was also into Erasure. I followed them pretty religiously for their first few albums but then kind of lost momentum, eventually trading down to this GH collection. Of course, even just listening to “Ship of Fools” makes me second-guess that decision!
This may only be a Greatest Hits entry, but I did care enough to seek out the UK release which has 4 more songs than the U.S. release. That counts for something, right? Another band who hit it big during the MTV days and thus caught my attention with their videos during my formative years.
2003 Fallen • 2006 The Open Door
Interesting combination of sad piano + vocals with a harder rock sound underneath. Singer Amy Lee has a remarkable voice.
Dipped into this on the basis of “Missing”, but never really managed to sell me on anything beyond it.
1998 Media • 1999 Blank-Wave Arcade • 2001 Danse Macabre • 2003 Danse Macabre Remixes • 2004 Wet From Birth • 2008 Fasciinatiion • 2014 Doom Abuse • 2019 Egowerk
Picked up Danse Macabre on a whim shortly after I moved to Seattle and instantly fell in love with the old school synths combined with the dark lyrics and heavy sound. Totally feel these guys deserve more attention.
1988 Ainsi soit je • 1991 L’Autre • 1992 Beyond My Control • 1992 Dance Remixes • 1995 Anamorphosée • 1999 Innamoramento
My girlfriend (now wife) studied abroad in Paris her junior year and discovered Mylène Farmer. I luckily got the opportunity to spend a few months in nearby (via the TGV) Geneva and so we had a bit of a cultural music exchange. I have no idea what she’s singing about, but she’s got some pretty, moody music to go with them. My entry point was almost certainly “Beyond My Control,” which samples one of my all-time favorite movies, Dangerous Liaisons. (And check out the steamy soft core vampire action in the video -- how very French!)
Along with The Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim was part of my “second wave” of mid-90s electronica. He only released a handful of albums which are all quite excellent (apart from a cover of “The Joker” which I could have done without). Plus you can thank him for giving us Christopher Walken dancing!
1989 Against Nature • 1990 Viva Dead Ponies • 1991 Bertie’s Brochures • 1991 The Only Solution: Another Revolution • 1992 Valhalla Avenue • 1994 Lost in the Former West
OMG, this band. Another one of my all-time favorites. A complete fluke find after picking up the single “The Only Solution: Another Revolution” which I had heard might be industrial (kinda, sorta, but the rest of his stuff, not so much). Think more Irish with a bad attitude, biting political lyrics, and an amazing ability to write hooks. If you search “aaron giles fatima mansions” you can see that I tried (and often failed hilariously) to transcribe all the lyrics and share them over Usenet back in the day.
1995 Short Bus • 1999 Title of Record • 2002 The Amalgamut • 2008 Anthems for the Damned
Started listening to these guys originally due to their Nine Inch Nails connection and their debut single, “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” For whatever reason, the wife ended more into them than I was, though we haven’t checked out much from them in the last 10 years or so.
2000 #1 • 2005 Odyssey • 2009 Entertainment
Picked up these guys based on their first single “Emerge.” Another electronica band, though this one is classified as “electroclash.” Man, people overthink these things. The bonus track “Megacolon” from the first album is, uh, interesting to say the least.
1989 One Thing Leads to Another: Greatest Hits
“Stand or Fall” was one of my favorite MTV memories, and in college it seemed everyone had this greatest hits compilation. Definitely a worthwhile purchase, as pretty much every track on it is gold. My biggest disappointment was that they cheaped out and included a live version of “Stand or Fall” instead of the real one. (This is one of my most common complaints about hits compilations—stop with the live versions!)
1997 Risotto • 2001 Progressive History X • 2003 Puppy
More great electronica for the mix! Latched onto Fluke as a result of “Atom Bomb” from the Wipeout 2097 video game soundtrack, of all things.
1982 Records • 2014 The Best of Foreigner 4 & More
Again, two not completely overlapping greatest hits albums. Man, I remember distinctly that “Hot Blooded” was just absolutely huuuuuuge when I was young and impressionable, though I always preferred the follow-up “Double Vision.”
Between “Relax” and “Two Tribes,” Frankie Goes to Hollywood had an amazing debut and was in constant rotation on MTV. They only ever released two albums, both of which I owned at one point. This compliation CD pretty much covers all the essentials.
1982 Geography • 1984 No Comment • 1987 Official Version • 1988 Front by Front • 1991 Mixed by Fear • 1991 Tyranny (For You) 1993 05:22:09:12 Off • 1993 06:21:03:11 Up Evil • 1993 Angels Versus Animals • 1998 Headhunter 2000 • 1998 Re:Boot • 2003 Pulse • 2003 Still and Raw
The opening of “Until Death (Us Do Part)” is to this day one of my favorite album openings of all time, and was what originally sold me on industrial music when I first heard it. It’s also probably why Front By Front is my favorite of their albums. I also have a soft spot for the two extended remix EPs, Mixed by Fear, and Angels Versus Animals. Was great to have some new music from them in 2003 after 10 years, but they failed to repeat in 2013 like I had hoped!
To me, “Shock the Monkey” is one of the best songs and videos of the early MTV era, and what really made me into a Peter Gabriel fan. (Admission: I never got into Genesis during his era as lead singer.) The album it appeared on was one of the first all-digital albums recorded, and certainly the earliest DDD CD I owned, though not the first I purchased. His soundtrack efforts have been pretty brilliant as well. Only wish he would put out more new material!
2003 Paper Monsters • 2007 Hourglass
Solo efforts by Depeche Mode’s lead singer and obviously why I own them. Doesn’t stray too far afield from music that DM might actually do.
1995 Garbage • 1998 Version 2.0 • 2001 beautifulgarbage • 2005 Bleed Like Me • 2012 Not Your Kind of People • 2016 Strange Little Birds
Picked up their first album when “Vow” became a pretty big hit in 1995. Everything they’ve released has been pretty solid. Dark and poppy at the same time, just like I like 'em!
1983 S/T
Everyone loves to rip on Phil Collins-era Genesis, but honestly their self-titled 1983 release is one of my all-time favorite albums. Sure, it includes the cheesy “Illegal Alien,” but outside of that it’s filled with great atmospheric and moody music. Even the peppier “That’s All” has a dark feel to it that I can’t entirely explain. I’ll also note that Phil Collins’ solo music of this era has a similar feel (think “In the Air Tonight” and “I Don’t Care Anymore”), so I have to admit to being a bit of a fan, at least for this time period.
1990 Greatest
Another great set of songs from the 1980’s. Out of all their songs I’ve always been partial to “Head Over Heels”, but it doesn’t seem to get the love as much as their other famous hits.
Solo effort by the other main Depeche Mode singer. Was going to put this in the “complete(ish)” column until I noticed that there was a new (instrumental) release in 2015, so I guess that’s only a 50% collection. Oh well! This album is all covers of other artists’ work, most of which I’d never heard before.
2000 Gorillaz • 2001 G Sides • 2005 Demon Days • 2007 D-Sides • 2010 Plastic Beach • 2010 The Fall • 2017 Humanz • 2018 The Now Now • 2020 Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
One of my strongest memories is spacing out to the video for “19-2000” while chilling out in our Paris hotel room in between sightseeing during the summer of 2001. Not everything they do works, but when it does, it’s usually incredibly catchy. (Dare I mention “Dare”?)
1996 S/T • 1998 Perversion • 2002 Superstarved
With songs featured on both the Se7en and Mortal Kombat soundtracks, it’s no wonder I picked up their debut album. Their sound trends toward early Nine Inch Nails, and although I find them pretty listenable, they ultimately ended up being more to my wife’s taste than mine.
Another recent Octane pick-up. The world needs more female-fronted hard rock bands. Saw these guys in concert in 2018 and am definitely a big(ger) fan now!
Hey this almost-redundant-but-not-quite dual greatest hits collection thing is a real trend in my collection! The first (and second) band I got to see in concert, they have an undeniable legacy. I actually remember singing “Maneater” in elementary school music class with mimeographed, poorly-transcribed lyric sheets, LOL. Their Out of Touch album definitely mixed things up a bit and produced some interesting additions to their oeuvre.
I first got into PJ in the early 90’s with her stripped-down “Rid of Me”-era songs. Each album has been a bit of a journey, some a little out there for me, but she definitely has her unique sound and some real classics in her discography.
2003 Vertical Theory
Part of my effort to find “modern” industrial-sounding music to complement my collection of classic industrial bands. This release works well enough but I haven’t been too eager to flesh out the catalogue in my collection.
Most people remember Heart for their early rockers, but as an MTV child I was indoctrinated into their mid-80s poppy phase. Songs like “These Dreams,” “What About Love,” and “Never” are almost disturbingly emotionally loaded singles that immediately take me back to watching music videos late into the night during high school.
You might think Courtney Love sold out or destroyed her career or sullied the name of her husband or whatever, but this is a powerful collection of songs.
Sure, the whole Huey Lewis monologue in American Psycho was priceless, but here’s another MTV era pop phenomenon who was ultimately just harmless fun. “Hip to Be Square” and “The Power of Love” (from Back to the Future) were always my faves.
2012 Night Visions • 2015 Smoke + Mirrors • 2017 Evolve • 2018 Origins
There was a time a few years ago when Imagine Dragons was my kid’s favorite band, and after hearing them enough I found I enjoyed them as well. I see a lot of Imagine Dragons hate out there but whatever, they definitely have some great songs!
2012 Blood • 2014 Black Widow • 2015 Rise Of The Blood Legion - Greatest Hits • 2017 Ritual • 2020 Mother
Another recent addition to the lineup after hearing some good stuff on Octane. Weird that their 2015 collection doesn’t include anything from their 2014 album, including “Big Bad Wolf” which was the first song that caught our attention. Also interesting to find that their earlier work is less screamy than their harder, more recent stuff. Personally, I prefer the screamier stuff!
1982 Shabooh Shoobah • 1984 The Swing • 1985 Listen Like Thieves • 1987 Kick
Mid-80’s INXS had just an amazing string of albums. At one point I had all of them, then decided it was time for a Greatest Hits collection, then realized I didn’t like anything newer and was missing some key favorites, so I started picking up some of the albums again! The Swing is definitely my favorite album, but “Need You Tonight” is probably my favorite song.
2001 S/T
I tend to find straight up trance/dance music better on mixed compilations rather than as individual artists’ albums. This is a typical case of a good-enough-to-keep-but-doesn’t-blow-me-away CD. Band doesn’t even warrant a Wikipedia entry, apparently.
2003 Number Ones
Oh come on, everyone needs some MJ in their collection! Also: the video for “Thriller,” featuring zombies before they were trite.
I remember wondering as a kid if it was ok to like Billy Joel because my grandpa was a fan, LOL. Honestly don’t care too much for his later stuff, and I can take or leave a few of the items on here, but I do have a soft spot for a lot of the tunes in the middle, especially when he rocks it up a little.
HoJo is one of those artists who was omnipresent during my teenage years but who never clicked onto my radar until much later. I picked up this collection and realized that I knew pretty much every song, but just didn’t recognize them by name.
Apparently I’m the only person who thinks “Separate Ways” is a masterpiece and the best Journey song ever. So be it!
1998 Magazine • 2001 The Early Years, Volume 1 • 2001 Vertigo • 2004 Between the Dim and the Dark • 2018 Sparrow
“Hey, I know one of the band members” is why we first picked up their music, since my wife’s cousin is their cello/guitar player, but I quickly grew to appreciate them independent of this connection. Was always interesting to hear tidbits of their efforts to get signed. Even though they’ve officially moved on to other projects, they still have quite the following in the south. And I find it cool that Joan Osborne covered the beautiful “Cathedrals.”
Some really great, classic songs from these guys. But as an early 80’s MTV fanatic, it was “Play the Game Tonight” which caught my attention.
2004 S/T • 2006 Empire • 2009 West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum • 2011 Velociraptor! • 2014 48:13 • 2017 For Crying Out Loud
One of my favorite recent bands! Their first big song “Clubfoot” was popular around the time we moved to the Seattle area, and I picked up their debut album. Love their hooky songs and their willingness to bring out the synths in the name of cool music!
Ok, I take full responsibility here. Early Kid Rock was more white trash hip-hop, and the song “Bawitdaba” from this album had a heavier almost industrial sound to it. The rest of the album has enough fun songs and over-the-top attitude that I’ll admit to still giving it a spin now and again.
2004 Hot Fuss
This record was all the alterna-rage on Seattle radio in 2004, largely on the back of “Somebody Told Me.” The promise of that song made me hope for a harder-edge 80s retro-synth style that I found lacking when I got the album (ultimately The Faint managed to find that sweet spot I was looking for). I could lose this one from my collection without much sorrow.
I mostly knew of early KISS through their trading cards, which annoyingly got mixed up with our Star Wars trading cards. When I went through my early high school hair metal phase, KISS had unmasked, and for two albums during that time period, I was a pretty big fan.
1998 Retro
I was a huge fan of early KMFDM when Raymond Watts was involved and I was high on the discovery of industrial music. As time wore on, and albums accumulated, they all pretty much just started sounding the same, so this collection suffices to cover the essentials.
1999 Issues
Another one-off that I picked up largely on the promise of one single ( “Falling Away from Me”). Decent album but not enough to make me explore further.
1975 Radio-Activity • 1977 Trans-Europe Express • 1978 The Man-Machine • 1981 Computer World • 1986 Electric Cafe • 1991 The Mix • 2003 Tour de France Soundtracks
Despite getting into electronic music in high school, I was pretty oblivious to the existence of Kraftwerk for many years. Fortunately, my eyes were finally opened to their greatness in the late 90s. The wife and I quote this song all the time, and now even our 6yo quotes it back, LOL.
2003 WAT
Ah, Laibach. Always a bit of an enigma, with a unique operatic classical/industrial sound that you could never be quite sure whether to take seriously or not. I mostly felt they were hamming it up, myself. This is one of their more mainstream albums.
The first and best Lard album, an unholy collaboration between Al Jourgensen & Paul Barker of Ministry and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. The overall vibe of the album is punk/comedy (check out “Can God Fill Teeth?” for the full-on comedy aspect) and mostly a fun listen, apart from the interminable final track, which I often skip.
1994 Aurora Gory Alice • 1995 Wholesale Meats and Fish • 1997 Go! • 1998 Sister
Apart from having a great play on words for their debut album, Letters to Cleo was pretty much just a solid, straight ahead female-fronted rock band. Their big hit was “Here & Now” but I really appreciated pretty much everything they put out.
I can’t really justify owning this. Not sure what I was thinking. We all make mistakes. “Rearranged” isn’t too bad, I suppose.
2000 Hybrid Theory • 2002 Reanimation • 2003 Live in Texas • 2003 Meteora • 2004 Collision Course • 2007 Minutes to Midnight • 2010 A Thousand Suns • 2012 Living Things • 2014 The Hunting Party • 2017 One More Light
It’s become kind of cool to hate on Linkin Park these days, but I still enjoy them. When they first came on the scene, the hard rock mixed with rap & electronica was actually pretty novel. Now that it’s been often imitated and given its own genre tag (“nu metal”) I guess you’re not allowed to like them anymore or something!
1999 State Songs • 2021 Roman Songs
So the less flamboyant half of They Might Be Giants put out a solo album of ostensibly state-themed songs, though if you listen to the lyrics, most of them have pretty much nothing to do with the state in question. Regardless, the album is full of quirky fun songs like TMBG so here it lives in my collection.
2001 Electro Pop
I found this CD while visiting Paris and picked it up on a whim because it was a pretty unique sound at the time, a bit of a mix of Kraftwerk with more modern influences. Seems to have been a one-off project as far as I can tell.
1994 Voodoo-U
Raunchy, intense techno-industrial fun is how I would describe Lords of Acid. They were popular enough with “The Crab Louse” to get lots of airtime on the Bay Area alternative radio stations, which is where we picked them up. Definitely one of the more, ah, clinical songs you might encounter about STDs, haha.
While Arcadia’s “So Red the Rose” is often described as the most pretentious album ever, I’ll put up “Earth - Sun - Moon” as a competitor. Apparently a bit of an anomaly in their catalog, this all-acoustic album became my senior year go-to album in high school. As with most albums that made a big impression on me, the overall mood of it is haunting and reflective and filled with tons of great songs. I picked up the Greatest Hits to see if I should explore their catalog more, but honestly ESM is just so perfect I don’t want to ruin it with other stuff.
1997 Super Hits
Always felt that Loverboy got short shrift in the annals of 80s pop history. They were honestly Journey-level popular there for a while but for whatever reason never managed to achieve the same retro-popularity as many of their contemporaries. Too bad because they had a monster string of great songs, in spite of their predilection for red leather pants.
1997 Metropol • 2002 Breaking Point
This was an electronica band I first heard of through various soundtracks, most notably The Matrix • soundtrack. Too bad they only put out 2 albums as they are both pretty great.
1991 S/T • 1991 Rite of Shiva • 1993 Concentration • 1995 Gilt
These guys were on the edge of industrial but had a really unique sound and fascinating lyrics, which made me sad when they gave it up after just 3 albums. But I’ll take three brilliant albums.
1990 The Immaculate Collection • 1998 Ray of Light • 2000 Music
Gotta have some Madonna, especially the 80s stuff. Though her foray into a more electronica-influenced sound won me over to picking up a couple of her late 90s releases.
1994 Protection • 1998 Mezzanine • 2003 100th Window
Moody, electronic, and just generally pretty awesome.
Marilyn Manson came to the fore in the wake of Nine Inch Nails and made their controversial mark early on with the seminal Antichrist Superstar album. But it was the amazing follow up Mechanical Animals that revealed their true potential, eschewing some of the (anti-)religious imagery in favor of a more trippy glam rock sound. It’s too bad that they didn’t stay the course in this regard, but unlike many other industrial bands, it seems they manage to tweak their formula every few albums just enough to keep me interested.
Can’t really remember why this ended up in the collection. It’s all right, I suppose.
1997 Surfacing
All over Bay Area alternative radio in the mid-90s, we ended up acquiring this album but that was enough I guess!
Another entry I’ll attribute to my wife, who has a much greater appreciation of Don McLean than I do.
1991 Qui sème le vent récolte le tempo • 1994 Prose Combat • 1997 Paradisiaque • 1998 S/T • 2001 Cinquième As • 2003 Mach 6
This entry is all due to my wife, since I can’t understand a word of quickly rapped French!
1990 Psyche-Out
Never really got into these guys, who were often lumped into the industrial” category in my industrial listening era. But I did pick up this CD single from the 99% album and found it worth a spin now and again.
Always kind of been a fan of John Cougar, or John Cougar Mellencamp. His videos were quite popular on MTV in the early days, and he had kind of a midwestern vibe that I guess worked for me.
1981 Business As Usual • 1983 Cargo • 1985 Two Hearts
Two perfect albums from these guys. Finally acquired the third one, and while it’s not up to the level of those first two, it’s not half bad (though so very 1980s). For all their pop hits they were really quite moody and deep, which is of course why I loved them.
1984 Ride the Lightning • 1986 Master of Puppets • 1988 ...And Justice for All • 1991 S/T • 1996 Load • 1997 Reload • 1999 S&M • 2003 St. Anger • 2008 Death Magnetic • 2016 Hardwired... to Self-Destruct
As a dude who got into these guys with the “black album” I am not ashamed to admit that I embrace all of it, the early epic stuff, the more focused “sell-out” stuff, even the noisy St. Anger, and the newer stuff.
These guys had a sudden onrush of popularity and I picked this up. Didn’t get into it as much as I had hoped. “Kids,” however, is my son’s favorite song.
When I was first introduced to industrial music, I received a mix tape with songs from Twitch and The Land of Rape and Honey on it, and to me at that time Ministry really defined the sound that I wanted out of an industrial band. Of course, nobody else is really like Ministry. I was originally of the opinion that Twitch was the greater of the two, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the raw fury and vision of its followup. Sadly, once Paul Barker left/was kicked out, solo Al Jourgensen just kept churning out carbon copies of the same music and I gave up. But Ministry will always be hugely influential in my industrial upbringing.
1996 Animal Rights • 1999 Play • 2000 Mobysongs (1993-1998) • 2002 18 • 2005 Hotel • 2008 Last Night • 2009 Wait for Me • 2011 Destroyed • 2013 Innocents • 2016 These Systems Are Failing • 2017 More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse • 2018 Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt • 2020 All Visible Objects
Moby popped onto my radar with the release of Play and the incessant use of his moody, electronic music in “The X-Files” and many other TV shows/movies of the time. Unlike many others I didn’t grow totally sick of it and have really enjoyed most everything he’s released since then.
This album really put these guys on the map, and of course being from my current hometown, they were all over local radio. Still a pretty good album and a unique sound, just never pursued them.
1996 Unsupervised • 1998 It’s Fun to Steal
The Flansburgh half of They Might Be Giants off on his own doing some fun crazy stuff.
1999 Showbiz • 2001 Origin of Symmetry • 2003 Absolution • 2006 Black Holes and Revelations • 2009 The Resistance • 2012 The 2nd Law • 2015 Drones • 2018 Simulation Theory • 2022 Will of the People
Totally fell in love with these guys around the Absolution timeframe. Hearkening back to a time of concept albums and big stadium rock, I appreciate their “go big or go home” attitude, even when it doesn’t always hang together. Plus that Matt Bellamy can really sing!
TKK’s first few albums had an amazing dark sound to them, but afterwards they traded their pseudo cult shtick for more sex-oriented topics and I lost interest. The first album in particular made for a pretty ominous listen and kind of made you wonder if they were really serious. Unfortunately my copy of Confessions of Knife was damaged, so I bought a fresh copy and found they had swapped out the original “Do You Fear (The Inferno Express?)” for some lesser remixes. Boo!
2000 Joko: From Village to Town
Pretty sure we picked this up after his collaborations with Peter Gabriel.
Another band I was into more in my college days, gave up on, and then regretted it and began reacquiring albums. A fascinating mish-mash of pseudo-industrial music with extensive samples and ennui, this album is a pretty relevant microcosm of the late 80’s.
1987 Substance 1987 • 1989 Technique • 1993 Republic • 2001 Get Ready • 2005 Waiting for the Sirens' Call • 2013 Lost Sirens • 2015 Music Complete
Interestingly, my introduction to techno/pop in my late high school years did not include any New Order at all. Instead it was one of my college dorm-mates playing Technique which caught my attention. At the time I was in love with any kind of synth-based music with an edge, and some of the tracks on that album really hit home. I really enjoy Substance, their remixed collection of music prior to Technique, but have to put them in the “partial” collection because I don’t actually own the first 3 albums.
1989 Pretty Hate Machine • 1990 Head Like a Hole • 1990 Sin • 1992 Broken • 1992 Fixed • 1994 Closer to God • 1994 March of the Pigs • 1994 The Downward Spiral • 1995 Further Down the Spiral • 1996 Quake • 1996 “The Perfect Drug” Versions • 1999 The Day the World Went Away • 1999 The Fragile • 2000 Things Falling Apart • 2005 With Teeth • 2006 Every Day Is Exactly the Same • 2007 Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D • 2007 Year Zero • 2008 Ghosts I-IV • 2008 The Slip • 2013 Hesitation Marks • 2020 Ghosts V: Together • 2020 Ghosts VI: Locusts
Right around the time I went to college and had just been inducted into the industrial scene, Nine Inch Nails appeared and for a long while was my go-to industrial band. I spent many hours listening to Pretty Hate Machine and the super-extended Head Like a Hole single on my headphones while I worked my library shelving job. My personal NiN experience probably peaked with Broken/Fixed and The Downward Spiral, but I still very much enjoy their music and appreciate the soundtrack work they’ve been involved with recently.
1991 Nevermind • 1993 In Utero
Picked up Nevermind while I was still in my techno/industrial phase and for some reason it served as my first step away from that focus. While I feel they are a bit overrated compared to their peers, I can’t deny the impact and appeal of what they produced during their short career.
1983 Basic Pain Procedure • 1987 That Total Age • 1989 Belief • 1990 Showtime • 1991 As Is • 1991 Ebbhead • 1991 I Give to You • 2009 Industrial Complex
Out of all the industrial bands I got into during my late high school/early college time, I probably have the most affinity for Nitzer Ebb. This was twitch music stripped down to its barest essentials: drum track, synth bass line, screaming vocals. Yes, it was repetitive and simple, but out on the dance floor, you didn’t care. As with many industrial bands, they gradually tried to expand the complexity of their sound, but for these guys in particular I think it didn’t work (which is why I’m missing their last 1990s album Big Hit from my collection). I was pleased to see they released a 21st century revival album that was closer in spirit to their earlier stuff.
Don’t know much about these guys, but picked these up at the behest of the wife, who listens to Octane on Sirius/XM a lot more than I do!
Of course, I mostly knew of Gary Numan through his early 80s hit “Cars,” but I had never delved into his catalogue much until I found this greatest hits album. From the outset it is clear what a huge influence he was on industrial bands like Nine Inch Nails. But what is even more interesting is to realize how it all snakes back on itself and how his later stuff is quite influenced in return by later NiN and other bands. Overall, it all holds together remarkably well, and I kind of wish I’d discovered him much earlier in my music exploration.
1992 Ignition • 1994 Smash • 1997 Ixnay on the Hombre • 1998 Americana • 2000 Conspiracy of One • 2003 Splinter • 2008 Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace • 2012 Days Go By • 2021 Let the Bad Times Roll
In the mid-90s there were two factions: the Green Day fans, and The Offspring fans. I was the latter, by far (always hated Green Day). There’s nothing particularly complicated about The Offspring, but every few years they put out another album of solid punk/pop music that I enjoy, and hope they keep doing so on into the future.
1991 Orbital • 1993 Orbital 2 • 1994 Diversions • 1994 Snivilisation • 1996 In Sides • 1999 The Middle of Nowhere • 2001 The Altogether • 2004 Blue Album
Another mid-90s discovery for me, along with The Chemical Brothers. These two were my “gateway drugs” into the wider world of techno, and I am happy that I got the chance to see both of them perform in San Francisco in late 1996.
1995 Relish • 2000 Righteous Love • 2002 How Sweet It Is • 2006 Pretty Little Stranger • 2007 Breakfast In Bed • 2008 Little Wild One • 2012 Bring It On Home • 2014 Love And Hate
Always loved her voice and style, ever since “One of Us” hit it big in (again) the mid-90s.
Picked up a copy of Vulgar Display of Power back in the day and was blown away by the crazy aggressiveness of it. Used to own everything from that album onward but eventually scaled back to this collection.
2000 Infest • 2006 The Paramour Sessions
Just dabbling at this point.
Another band that my kid got into and which I eventually couldn’t help but learn to appreciate. A lot of die hard fans don’t seem to like this album, but as my only Panic experience, I find it quite solid.
2009 Safe In The Sound
Picked up this EP after hearing them play at Bumbershoot. As far as I can tell, that’s all they ever released.
2013 Three Sixty • 2018 Eat the Elephant
Another Maynard James Keenan-fronted effort. Hey, if we can’t get Tool albums quickly enough, I’ll happily take this! A different feel for sure but channeling a similar core vibe.
2003 4 Beers & A Tag
Saw this group perform a really funny classic barbershop set when we went to see The Baudboys and was happy to pick up this fun collection.
2012 I Am the Night • 2012 TERROR 404 • 2014 Dangerous Days • 2016 The Uncanny Valley • 2017 New Model • 2021 Lustful Sacraments
Randomly came across this darkwave band just a couple of years ago and immediately picked up all the albums because I love the sound.
1986 Disco • 1986 Please • 1987 Actually • 1988 Introspective • 1990 Behaviour • 1991 Discography: The Complete Singles Collection • 1991 How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously? • 1993 Very • 1994 Disco 2 • 1995 Alternative • 1995 Paninaro '95 • 1996 Before • 1996 Bilingual • 1996 Se a vida e • 1997 Somewhere • 1999 Nightlife • 2002 Release • 2003 Disco 3 • 2005 Battleship Potemkin • 2006 Fundamental • 2009 Yes • 2012 Elysium • 2012 Format: B-sides and Bonus Tracks (1996-2009) • 2013 Electric • 2016 Super • 2020 Hotspot
Clearly I love the Pet Shop Boys. They were actually the first synth-based crack in my hair metal phase during high school, when I discovered songs like “Opportunities” and “It’s a Sin.” Lots of people seem to think they were one hit wonders but they just keep on putting out great album after great album, mixing uptempo dance music with more contemplative works. My favorite album is probably 1993’s Very, with the 1-2 punch of “Dreaming of the Queen” and “The Theater” creating just an amazing mood.
Raymond Watts is a fascinating singer and songwriter. After doing some early work as part of KMFDM, he left and went off on his own pretty wild tangent. With a deep, menacing growl of a voice, haunting music, and visceral lyrics, he’s pretty much unlike any other band I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, his stuff is pretty hard to get ahold of unless you’re in Japan, where he seems to have secured a following of sorts.
1995 Hello • 2000 Haunted
Probably most well known for “Angry Johnny,” Poe landed quite a following with her debut album, and the follow-up was also very good, but since then... nothing.
As a kid I owned Synchronicity and Ghost in the Machine, but never picked up any of their earlier stuff. Apart from the wholly unnecessary “Don’t Stand So Close To Me '86” and the missing “Synchronicity II”, I guess I decided that this collection covered most of my favorites.
When I discovered these guys in college I was over the moon. The ultimate mash up of techno/industrial with copious samples and pop culture references all done in an edgy British rap style. As the 90s progressed they had to reduce the samples but still put together a great string of albums.
1994 Dummy • 1997 Portishead • 1998 Roseland NYC Live • 2008 Third
Coming up on 10 years since the last—can’t we have a new Portishead album, please? Pretty please?
2003 Give Up
This is an utterly charming mix of Ben Gibbard’s vocals backed electronically. People keep saying they should do another one, but I think they’re smart to keep this one-off project as a standalone.
I never got into Rob Zombie, but his little brother headed up this band which was worth a look, at least for one album.
Part of the Seattle local indie scene when we first moved here. Listening back on it, has that very early aughts Seattle sound.
1984 Purple Rain • 2016 4Ever
I will admit to ignoring Prince for many years between the mid-80s and his untimely death. Revisiting his catalogue now reveals a bunch of good stuff I missed, though “Batdance” is a terrible song and doesn’t belong anywhere near the words “Greatest Hits.”
Man I love this band. Picked them up starting in the mid-90s with “Firestarter,” of course, but I love pretty much everything they’ve put out. Always intense and in your face, this is great music to listen to when you need to get yourself moving.
Another techno band famous for a track from The Matrix soundtrack, I really wish they had released some more stuff as this is one of my favorite albums.
2013 Heart Beat • 2016 Our Electric Universe
Very recent discovery, a nice little bit of local darkwave techno.
Tool’s Maynard James Keenan with a bit of a different feel, more synths but the same angstiness and funky time signatures. Honestly I’m kind of liking his work here and in A Perfect Circle even more than Tool these days.
Not super into Queen but definitely appreciate a lot of their stuff. Picked this collection up because it doesn’t include “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was a fine song once, but is so overplayed/parodied/covered that I honestly could go the rest of my life without ever hearing it again.
1995 The Bends • 1997 OK Computer • 2000 Kid A • 2001 Amnesiac • 2003 Hail to the Thief • 2007 In Rainbows • 2011 The King of Limbs • 2016 A Moon Shaped Pool
First got into Radiohead during The Bends years, with their dreamy falsettoy sound, then came to love OK Computer and pretty much all the follow-ons. These days I’m particularly fond of some of their odder bits like “Life In a Glasshouse” and “We Suck Young Blood,” but like much of my music, I’m in it deep for the melancholy moodiness of it all.
Listening to these guys feels like getting yelled at by a drill sergeant with some sick grooves in the background, and it’s undeniably compelling.
1990 Flashback With Ratt
Ratt, Dokken, and Def Leppard are all that remain of my hair metal phase from early high school. For some reason these guys were always my favorites.
1986 Life’s Rich Pageant • 1987 Document • 1988 Green • 1991 Out of Time • 1992 Automatic for the People • 1994 Monster • 1996 New Adventures in Hi-Fi
I picked up Document when “The One I Love” became a big hit in the late 80’s and quickly fell in love with the unique sound of R.E.M. Of course, then their popularity skyrocketed, but I still enjoyed most of their releases until my interest started to flag after their 1996 release. Ironically, I think my favorite album is the one they released before Document: Life’s Rich Pageant. Check out young Michael Stipe in the video of my favorite song!
1989 Mother’s Milk • 1991 Blood Sugar Sex Magik • 1995 One Hot Minute • 1999 Californication • 2002 By the Way • 2006 Stadium Arcadium • 2011 I’m With You • 2016 The Getaway • 2022 Unlimited Love • 2022 Return of the Dream Canteen
Picked up BSSM a few years after it came out, but was really sold on these guys when they hit their more soulful period starting with Californication and its two follow-ups. Based on the sample size I have, I’m pretty sure John Frusciante is a critical component to my enjoyment, as the albums without him just don’t resonate as much with me. Was pumped to see him returning for 2022’s dual releases.
1995 Salt Peter • 1996 Stroking the Full Length • 2001 Short-Staffed at the Gene Pool
Kind of hard to peg Ruby, sort of trip-hoppy, I guess. Anyway, two albums and out, though it appears she’s started recording again in the past few years.
1974 Rush • 1975 Caress of Steel • 1975 Fly by Night • 1976 2112 • 1976 All the World’s a Stage • 1977 A Farewell to Kings • 1978 Hemispheres • 1980 Permanent Waves • 1981 Exit... Stage Left • 1981 Moving Pictures • 1982 Signals • 1984 Grace Under Pressure • 1985 Power Windows • 1987 Hold Your Fire • 1988 A Show of Hands • 1989 Presto • 1991 Roll the Bones • 1993 Counterparts • 1996 Test for Echo • 1998 Different Stages Live • 2002 Vapor Trails • 2007 Snakes & Arrows • 2012 Clockwork Angels
Ah, Rush. I actually actively disliked Rush when I was a kid, as all my guitar-playing friends were gaga over their musicianship, and for whatever reason I was feeling ornery. When I went to college and met my wife, I discovered she was into Rush, so I decided to give them another try and was kind of surprised to discover how much I liked them. My personal favorite period is probably the 1980-1984 era when they introduced the synthesizers, but before they started to overwhelm the sound. Honestly, however, I love pretty much all their stuff top to bottom now.
Early in college picked this up to see if I was into house music. Apparently not too much, but it did insinuate itself into my musical consciousness enough that I’ve kept them in my collection.
1984 Diamond Life • 1985 Promise • 1988 Stronger Than Pride • 1992 Love Deluxe • 1999 Lovers Rock
So smooth...
2008 S/T • 2018 Dictator
System of a Down’s Daron Malakian off on a solo tangent. The songs are simpler but veer more toward the ironic, reflecting his influence in SoaD.
This local Seattle goth horror/punk band really caught my attention during their brief period of activity. Enjoyed all their albums, especially the second. Too bad they’ve moved on, but at least we got to see them live (even if we were seriously the oldest people in the audience!)
2001 The Millennium Collection: The Best of Scorpions
Growing up in MTV land of course meant that I was well aware of this German rock band that had apparently been around since the early 70’s. But in the MTV era we got their early 80’s work with those awesome riffs and classic songs that I just couldn’t get enough of.
1991 S/T • 1994 S/T • 1998 Human Being • 2003 S/T • 2007 System
Seal is definitely more my wife’s pick than mine, though I can’t claim to have any serious objections.
1997 Toys of Vanity
Picked this up years ago because of single I & I, which had a bit of a Portishead vibe to it. The rest of the album less so, however, veering a bit more R&B than I initially liked, though it has all grown on me over time.
2005 S/T • 2007 This Is Forever • 2011 Valleyheart
Discovered this band thanks to a girl in church wearing their T-shirt, ironically. Found out they had a really droll goth rock sound that I liked, with nice dark lyrics and a mood to match.
Not sure I really qualify as a big enough fan to own Collected Works, but I am impressed to see their entire collection of works squished onto 3 CDs total.
1985 Bites • 1986 Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse • 1987 Cleanse Fold and Manipulate • 1988 VIVIsectVI • 1989 12 Inch Anthology • 1989 Rabies • 1990 Too Dark Park • 1990 Tormentor • 1992 Last Rights • 1996 The Process • 1998 Remix Dystemper • 2004 The Greater Wrong of the Right • 2007 Mythmaker • 2011 HanDover • 2013 Weapon
Loved the dark industrial sounds of Skinny Puppy since I first got a chance to hear them in high school. Their earlier works were very sample-heavy, with a dark horror theme. Then they hooked up with Al Jourgensen of Ministry and produced Rabies, with a more guitar-heavy sound and one of their best songs, “Worlock.” A lot of fans thought that was the end, but they came back stronger than ever with my absolute favorite album (and album artwork) in Too Dark Park, a 35-minute magnum opus of incredible music. To me, definitely one of the pinnacles of the industrial scene. After a bit of a fallow period, their newer 21st century albums seem to have found them revitalized with a bit of a tweaked sound.
The wife has taken up drumming in recent years but admits Slipknot’s rhythms will probably remain out of her reach for quite some time.
Never was a superfan, but “Disarm” totally kills me emotionally, and most of their Mellon Collie era stuff is a good listen.
1996 Becoming X
These guys released a great moody trip-hop first album, then followed it up by changing singers and direction. Oh well, at least we have one excellent offering anyways.
1991 Badmotorfinger • 1994 Superunknown • 1996 Down on the Upside • 2012 King Animal
Picked up on these guys as grunge hit its peak in the mid-90s. “Black Hole Sun” was everywhere on the radio, and Chris Cornell’s voice was hugely compelling in its power. Didn’t end up exploring their earliest stuff, but their last few albums are solid rockers.
2005 Absolute Hits
Billy Squier was one of those solo rock artists who was all over MTV in the early days. Over the years he accumulated quite an awesome collection of songs, and I was happy to finally see a decent compilation so I could own them.
Never been that into Cat Stevens myself; he’s definitely more my wife’s cup of tea.
I liked Sting as part of The Police, but when he went solo in the mid-80s I found his new sound challenging and ultimately very enjoyable. Especially those first few albums had a heady intellectualism about them that fit well with my graduating high school and moving on into college. I also personally feel Bring on the Night is probably my all-time favorite live album by any artist. And his recent stuff has been great as well, from the great winter-themed If on a Winter’s Night to the stage soundtrack for The Last Ship.
1992 Core • 1994 Purple • 1996 Tiny Music... Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop • 1999 #4 • 2001 Shangri-La Dee Da • 2010 S/T
Originally lumped in with the grunge bands of the early-to-mid-90s, I connected with these guys from the start. Yes, Core slots in nicely with the grunge of the era (and in fact is one of my favorite albums of the times), but their subsequent releases were much more varied and interesting.
1972 S/T • 1973 Styx II • 1974 The Serpent Is Rising / Man of Miracles • 1975 Equinox • 1976 Crystal Ball • 1977 The Grand Illusion • 1978 Pieces of Eight • 1979 Cornerstone • 1981 Paradise Theatre • 1983 Kilroy Was Here • 1990 Edge of the Century • 1999 Brave New World • 2003 Cyclorama • 2017 The Mission • 2021 Crash of the Crown
Styx’s Cornerstone was the first album I ever purchased, when I bought the cassette tape from the local drug store. Then I joined a record club or two to pick up a bunch more of their stuff and was hooked. I know these albums (well, everything up through Kilroy) so well that they are just a total part of me. For a while I thought I had outgrown them but came back recently found myself loving them all for totally different reasons. These days I can really see the yin-and-yang of Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw and their influence on the songs. I appreciate that all the band members can sing and harmonize together. And I don’t think there’s another band in my collections whose songs can give me the chills as much as these guys.
Bjork before she went solo. I owned this album when it came out, then ditched it, then reacquired it recently. Now when I listen to it, it totally reminds me of an Icelandic B-52’s, LOL.
1998 S/T • 2001 Toxicity • 2002 Steal This Album! • 2005 Hypnotize • 2005 Mezmerize • 2006 Lonely Day
Fell in love with this band with “Chop Suey!” and still love their eclectic mix of humor, politics, metal, and sweet harmonies.
Naked was one of those albums I bought from a record club out of curiosity and fell in love with after giving it some time to settle in. Eventually I discovered that I liked a lot of their other stuff as well but settled for the hits versus backtracking through all their albums.
2007 Elect the Dead • 2010 Imperfect Harmonies • 2012 Harakiri
Solo efforts from the System of a Down lead singer to hold me over until SoaD deigns to drop a new album. These are more political with more varied instrumentation but don’t quite hold together as well as the full band’s work.
Two classic 80s albums with so many great songs, but for whatever reason I can’t stand the follow-up (Seeds of Love), which has kept me from exploring any further.
Fun downtempo electronica.
TGT (The Genetic Terrorists)
1988 Machine Gun
Ahhh, back in the days when you could sample liberally from movies like “Robocop,” “The Running Man,” and “Aliens” and get away with it. These guys released this single and one album and that was all she wrote.
2000 Songs in the Key of Beotch • 2007 The Moon Is Disgusting • 2010 Packs A Wallop! • 2014 Poseidon’s Deep Water Adventure Friends • 2020 Set the Controls for the Heart of the Buttnoggin
Very quirky and fun one-man band playing his own invented instrument, the “magic pipe,” which is sort of a hybrid upright bass and super synth pad that he can use to create whole songs on. Check him out live sometime, he puts on a great show!
1986 Then: The Earlier Years • 1990 Flood • 1990 Istanbul (Not Constantinople) • 1992 Apollo 18 • 1992 I Palindrome I • 1992 The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) • 1993 Why Does the Sun Shine? • 1994 Back to Skull • 1994 John Henry • 1996 Factory Showroom • 1998 Severe Tire Damage • 2001 Mink Car • 2002 No! • 2002 They Got Lost • 2004 Indestructible Object • 2004 The Spine • 2004 The Spine Surfs Alone • 2005 Here Come the ABCs • 2007 The Else • 2008 Here Come the 123s • 2009 Here Comes Science • 2011 Album Raises New And Troubling Questions • 2011 Join Us • 2013 Nanobots • 2015 Glean • 2015 Why? • 2016 Phone Power • 2018 I Like Fun • 2018 My Murdered Remains • 2018 The Escape Team • 2021 Book
I really disliked TMBG for the first six months after I was introduced to their quirky pop magic, but once Flood was released in 1990 I saw the error of my ways. Since then I’ve become a huge fan. Probably my favorite disc from them is the Back to Skull EP which features a complete re-imagining of “She Was a Hotel Detective” in a glorious 70s falsetto pastiche, and “Ondine,” one of their bleakest songs. At one point I could sing from memory all their songs from the beginning until around Severe Tire Damage because I had a set of cassette tapes I’d made that I just looped over and over in the car. Sadly, I’ve not kept up that particular skill.
Another band I knew of who had a bunch of songs I was pretty familiar with but didn’t realize the full extent until I grabbed their greatest hits. I always loved the surreal “Don’t Come Around Here No More” video, an old MTV favorite.
1993 Undertow • 1996 Ænima • 2001 Lateralus • 2006 10,000 Days
I’m not as hard-core a fan as most other Tool fans I know, but I definitely appreciate their sound and interesting approach to music.
I’m a bit of an odd U2 fan. War is my favorite album. I think The Joshua Tree is overrated. I totally hated Rattle and Hum. But felt that the Achtung Baby-Zooropa-Pop sequence put them back on track. And I’m kind of meh on their later stuff, honestly.
My wife was a big Suzanne Vega fan when we met, and I was familiar with her more popular songs from the MTV days, so we’ve enjoyed being mutual fans as the years have passed. I thought it was a pretty nifty idea of hers to re-record most of her catalog acoustically and release them over a short span from 2010-2012. And for some reason “The Queen & The Soldier” can just wreck me emotionally from its opening line.
A fairly new addition to the collection. I'd describe Volbeat as upbeat hard rock with dark lyrics and a hint of Elvis.
2003 Orion Prophecy
A little techno-Egyptian fusion music for the collection.
My kid listens to dance music stations all the time, and one of the standouts that I also appreciate is Alan Walker. (I always jokingly call him “skippy” because of his signature beat skipping in most all of his songs.) His most famous track “Faded” always gives me chills.
Random electronica I must have picked up when trying to explore the genre more. Not bad, but not good enough to make me pick up more of their stuff.
1994 S/T (Blue) 1996 Pinkerton • 2001 S/T (Green) 2002 Maladroit • 2005 Make Believe • 2008 S/T (Red) 2009 Raditude • 2010 Death to False Metal • 2010 Hurley • 2014 Everything Will Be Alright in the End • 2016 S/T (White) • 2017 Pacific Daydream • 2019 S/T (Teal) • 2019 S/T (Black) • 2021 OK Human
Loved the blue album and Pinkerton. Was glad they came back strong with the green album, and happy to see them prolific, even if some of their stuff is a little uneven. These guys can totally write a hook though! Also, “Pork and Beans” is one of the best videos ever if you are at all aware of the history of YouTube memes.
Always loved the stripped-down simplicity of The White Stripes’ sound. Grabbed this recently-released hits compatlation and found a whole lot to love about it.
2006 Cannibal Anthem • 2007 Body Census
Modern industrial band from Germany, definitely Skinny Puppy-inspired. Wow, they’ve released a lot of albums! These two will do for the moment.
2006 The Eraser
Like Radiohead but a little different. It’s all good!
After Depeche Mode and before Erasure, Vince Clarke teamed up with Alison Moyet to produce two great albums. His new wave hairdo in the attached video works well for the doctor role, LOL.
2001 Onethreeseven
Another techno band with a Middle East influence.

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