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.
Two dudes beat up their poor cellos playing vigorous covers of rock tunes. A fun novelty.
These guys had a very interesting sound. I got hooked on a couple of singles from this album
” 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,
” but I never picked up the album it was on.
A 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.
Hope they keep it up!
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
” and the
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,
“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
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.
, but also glad to see the band release new material.
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
“Green Christmas Ball” when she was just an up-and-comer.
Love her voice and the mix of melancholy and playfulness in her songwriting.
“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
I loved the most amplified and stripped of all the other stuff.
Moody, dark, complex, with some awesome videos and guest appearances by
, 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
” was by definition awesome.
2003 20th Century Masters
1987 Everyone Loves the Pilot (Except the Crew) •
1988 The Compleat Angler
Wait, wait, this is NOT
(unrelated) and this is NOT a
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.
Rage Against the Machine
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.
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
, 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.
Note that the video here is only for horror aficionados.
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
Like everyone else, I caught wind of these guys when
” 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.
Haven’t been keeping up with them recently, but they’re on my list to get back to.
2008 Solace •
2012 Mechanisms •
A staple at
, 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
” 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.
“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! •
In college and just afterwards I couldn’t get enough
, 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.
And their cover of
“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.
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.
Another Bay Area discovery (note the 1995-era album), Bonham had a pretty popular hit
” that played all the time.
Always felt like she should have had more success as the rest of her material is quite good.
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.
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
’s involvement and its use in the movie
Now I must edumacate myself.
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.
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
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
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
, 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.
Poppy and yet kind of moody as well.
Yes, there are two GH collections because they don’t entirely overlap, LOL.
Their 20+ year comeback album was pretty good too!
Great songwriter and an excellent debut album, just never took the time to keep up.
1995 was the year I first started to listen to techno (guess electronica taxonomists are calling this
” now), and The Chemical Brothers, along with
, 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.
Good recent addition at the wife’s request.
May have to check out more....
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!
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.
2007 The Greatest Show Unearthed
One of the opening acts when we saw
. Light & cheesy horror-pop fun.
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.
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, but it’s still far from complete.
In 1987 there were two big solo pop stars making huge waves:
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.
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
’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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
I don’t do much karaoke, but when pressed, I can do a mean rendition of
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
-influenced band fit the bill.
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 •
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
piece, and even longer before I was familiar with the
” choral setting.
Early high school years were the time of hair metal bands, and Dokken was always one of my favorites.
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.
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
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.
One of the pioneers of
, 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!
As a huge
fan, of course I was had to also be 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.
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.
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.
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
) 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,
(And check out the steamy soft core vampire action in the video -- how very French!)
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
” which I could have done without).
Plus you can thank him for giving us Christopher Walken
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
back in the day.
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.
Picked up these guys based on their first single “Emerge.”
Another electronica band, though this one is classified as
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!)
More great electronica for the mix! Latched onto Fluke as a result of
” from the
video game soundtrack, of all things.
2014 The Best of Foreigner 4 & More
Again, two not completely overlapping greatest hits albums.
Man, I remember distinctly that
” was just absolutely huuuuuuge when I was young and impressionable, though I always preferred the follow-up
,” 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.
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
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!
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.
Picked up their first album when
” 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!
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.
Too bad the original “Mama” video isn’t available. 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.
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.
This album is all covers of other artists' work, most of which I’d never heard before.
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”?)
With songs featured on both the
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”
-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.
“What About Love
” 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
sold out or destroyed her career or sullied the name of her husband or whatever,
but this is a powerful collection of songs.
Another recent addition to the lineup after hearing some good stuff on Octane.
Weird that this 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!
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.
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.
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!
“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
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.
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
” 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.
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
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.
I was a huge fan of early KMFDM when
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was an electronica band I first heard of through various soundtracks, most notably
Too bad they only put out 2 albums as they are both pretty great.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This entry is all due to my wife, since I can’t understand a word of quickly rapped French!
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
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.
Two perfect albums from these guys.
Never even tried the third one; maybe I was afraid they’d break the streak (from what I hear, they did).
For all their pop hits they were really quite moody and deep, which is of course why I loved them.
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.
left/was kicked out, solo
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.
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
Totally fell in love with these guys around the Absolution
Hearkening back to a time of
, I appreciate their “go big or go home” attitude, even when it doesn’t always hang together.
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.
2000 Joko: From Village to Town
Pretty sure we picked this up after his collaborations with
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the mid-90s there were two factions: the
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.
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.
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.
Just dabbling at this point.
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.
Another Maynard James Keenan
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
Randomly came across this darkwave band just a couple of years ago and immediately picked up all the albums because I love the sound.
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.
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.
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.
Coming up on 10 years since the last—can’t we have a new Portishead album, please? Pretty please?
This is an utterly charming mix of
’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.
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
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.
Maynard James Keenan
with a bit of a different feel, more synths but the same angstiness and funky time signatures.
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.
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!
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
is a critical component to my enjoyment, as the albums without him just don’t do much for me.
I should probably just pare back to those 5 and call it good.
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.
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.
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.
Seal is definitely more my wife’s pick than mine, though I can’t claim to have any serious objections.
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.
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,
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.
Never was a superfan, but “Disarm” totally kills me emotionally, and most of their Mellon Collie era stuff is a good listen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fell in love with this band with “Chop Suey!” and still love their eclectic mix of humor, politics, metal, and sweet harmonies.
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.
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.
Classic 80s album 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.
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!
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.
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.
2003 Orion Prophecy
A little techno-Egyptian fusion music for the collection.
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.
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.
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.
Like Radiohead but a little different. It’s all good!
Another techno band with a Middle East influence.
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