Here is where I talk a little about various artists whose music I own. (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!
Nine Inch Nails (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) — 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.
Nitzer Ebb (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.
Negativland (1987 Escape From Noise) — 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.
New Order (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.
Nirvana (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.
Gary Numan (2002 Exposure: The Best of Gary Numan 1977-2002) — 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.