Wednesday, April 30, 2003

100 Music Reviews by Christopher J. Bradley
Tone Def Archives

By Artist

808 State
808 State is a techno band. The album that I have, has a song called Pacific on it. It was their most famous song until about 1994 when Time Bomb was released as a single. 808 State has toured with Meat Beat Manifesto. I've often heard them burbling along on CFNY during afternoon drivetime, or buried in the back of a car commercial. They had a real influence on the way things were done in the early nineties, and when I bought them, I bought them because the impression I got was that 808 state referred to solid state computing. With the 8086 chip being that upon which we are all based now.

Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin is a techno artist. I have seen him perform live in Toronto. The Atlantis rave was on Queen Street. I went to see the show with my friend Steve. Steve, and Steve's brother, some Canadian girls, and I, used to spend a lot of time at Nightclubs, Bars, and Raves. The Aphex Twin played alongside Orbital and Moby. I thought that at that particular show, The Aphex Twin, was the best artist. His music made my ears scream, it was impossible not to move. The first of his works that I heard was called Digeridoo. I have a copy of the song on a pirated CD produced by the Nitrous rave organization (DJ's Ian, Don Berns, and Chris Sheppard). I also have a copy of The Aphex Twin's I Care Because You Do CD. The sounds on the album are very mettalic. I obtained it for half price from a coffee clerk that was selling off free CD's that the coffee shop was getting. The Aphex Twin's new music video Come To Daddy is very disturbing. I think it makes a very concrete statement about the role of the television in our lives. I hope to hear more from the Aphex Twin.

Atari Teenage Riot
Atari Teenage Riot is a very new German band. They call their style of music Digital Hardcore. It is a mixture of Industrial, Techno, and Punk. I saw a short article about them on MTV and heard part of one of their songs and decided to buy the album. I like a couple of the songs, but I don't think that America is ready for Atari Teenage Riot yet. I'll keep listening.
Update on Atari Teenage Riot. I saw something they put out last year that put Aphex Twin to shame, they had cubical workers with strange monsters crawling out of their innards. It was like Videodrome to the nth degree. I don't think I've seen a more disturbing video in my time. Well perhaps Marilyn Manson could drop the Dope Show or one of his other vampish tracks on them. But in an all out audio war, ATR is a beast.

Cake is a band that I got interested in because of a visit to a coffee shop near my old school (University at Buffalo). The coffee shop is called Stimulance (Main St. Buffalo). They played part of the album while I was drinking a Mocha Coffee and I heard the song, "The Distance." I like the song because it reminds me of the time that I was working for a very high pressure company. It reminds me of the types of people that I worked with, and startlingly, a little bit of the person that I used to be. If you haven't heard this album (Fashion Nugget), you should try to steal it from a friend.

Update on Cake. Cake made a comeback last year with the song Short Skirt, Long Jacket, about a girl who wears those clothes. I can't quite picture seams with this character, but I can picture something. Maybe this little Amanda I used to work with. I tried to find out where she lived once. I was so obsessed I almost became a stalker, but with a car. Nevermind, hide that thought and remember, that we are discussing music in this forum. Cake is wonderful and nice and all that and they haven't quite built their hotrod yet, but I can see another CD From them in the future. Just let me turn my Magic 8 Ball over one more time. Here's to the mileage.

Clock DVA is the Industrial band of Industrial bands. I bought one of their albums in 1992 only to have it stolen in 1994. The album, Buried Dreams, featured a fully naked sleeping (usually called dead) woman on the cover. The album contains samples that sound like surveillance recordings of creepy conversations. I read about Clock DVA in keyboard magazine in one of their many industrial articles of the late eighties and early nineties.

Concrete Blonde
I have one album by Concrete Blonde. It is called Bloodletting. I picked it out as one of my selections for a BMG music club subscription. I selected it because I liked the song Joey which was playing a lot on the local toronto radio station CFNY 102.1. I was highly influenced by the music on CFNY in 1990. It was the closest I got to hearing what was being played on MTV which I didn't have for 10 years and which I am now finally getting a chance to listen to. I like several of her other songs, but I think she was definitely finished by 1993.

I heard Joey on the jukebox at the Essex St. Pub in buffalo and I felt like the Joe on the floor. I was in a dark damp place, feeling like even the hooker singing the song had let me down somehow. But then the song ended and I felt like, maybe there could have been love there once. Joey, she's not angry anymore.

Consolidated 9
Consolidated is a band that is usually called stylistically Industrial, even though at least half of their music is completely different than most Industrial music. Consolidated is a culture jamming band. If you look carefully in magazines and newspapers about art, you will find a definition of culture jam work. They do not like being called a Rock and Roll band, you'll have to listen to their first album to understand what to call them. Their second album, titled Friendly Facism incorporates elements of Jazz, Hip Hop, Reggae, and House. Their second album seems as though it were written for an audience of people that only exists in San Fransisco. If you have an open mind, you will find Consolidated very stimulating. They are very conservative about their liberalism. I still listen to them on occasion, but I've mellowed out a lot, and I plan to get mellower.

They broke the airwaves for a second time in the mid nineties showcasing a popular new pill called RU-486 and called it the answer. I don't know if it's necessarily the answer. Personally I have some doubts about shaving my head and going vegan for them, but I suppose they have their merits with the youth, they keep them thinking at least. Rap and Acid Jazz were meant for those kinds of things, and Consolidated was kind of a pioneer of Infotainment. It's too bad, the group would be rolling in it's grave if it knew I was giving it the time of day. After all, I'm a superstar.

Corey Hart
I started listening to Corey Hart when I was in fifth grade. It is a strange addiction that I doubt will ever end. I've been able to put away the drugs, the alcohol, and the cigarettes, but not the Corey Hart. I still hear Sunglasses at Night bouncing around inside of my head. I have his first four albums, most of them were on tape. Someday when I am rich, I will buy all of his albums and force my future children to listen to them. Corey Hart is, was, and will be the coolest Canadian on Earth.

I should say more about Corey Hart here. For years I bought every work he put out, except the singles. The albums came out over the course of about 7 years, and they did not cease to impress me. It was as if I was growing with them. His success was in his attention to detail and orchastration, and he incorporated work with black soul singers in some of his live stage performances. He was anti-aparteid and had some reservations about Communism. It was a strange time Politically with Reagan having a stonghold in Washington and Canada only a few feet away. Corey was one of my childhood heroes and I will remember it as long as this document circulates.

Daryl Hall & John Oates
Hall and Oates were one of the first groups I listened to in 4th grade. I got a tape of them through a record club for free and spent many hours listening to Rock and Soul part 1. It has to have been one of the greatest Greatest Hits compilations of all time.

Songs Like Adult Education and Rich Girl still ring in my ears from time to time on the adult contemporary stations and I enjoy listening to their soulful croonings. They swung another hit with Private Eyes, and a couple other tracks. The best thing about Hall and Oates was their hairstyles. That's what made them in their music videos. Hall had the stand up hair and Oates had the mustache and the perm. They were the gayest looking ever loving band that I have ever seen, but they were cool in their appearance and posture. Man could Hall ever swing a plastic fake guitar around.

David Bowie
I don't think that there is a music fan alive that doesn't know who David Bowie is. I remember seeing him in a movie called Labyrinth when I was in grade school. I didn't really start listening to his music until 1995 when my friend Scott started playing all of his old albums for me. My favorite album, the only one I own right now, is Ziggy Stardust. I plan to buy another copy of it in the future because the one that I have is the soundtrack to the movie Ziggy Stardust, and I want the original music. I really like the video for "I'm Afraid of Americans." I would have bought the album, but my English teacher told me that the version on the album is not the same one that is in the video. I want to wait until the Trent Reznor mix is available before I buy it.

Well, I ended up buying earthling anyway, and you know what, I wasn't disappointed. I really enjoyed it. It's really progressive and mixes and merges a lot of techno/rock sounds and moves forward a bit. If you look at Peter Gabriel, he's even getting into some Hindu Wailings and stuff that is taking things even further off the map. Could you imagine a show with Bowie and Gabriel? That would be some kind of WomadPalooza event to trip hours over. I recently saw Bowie on stage on DirectTV and he didn't sound or look like he was doing half bad for his age. I was really impressed when he played Ziggy, again one of my favorites along with the Wild Eyed Boy from Free Cloud. He also played my death and the audience sang most of it. Crazy. Anyway. Off the Bowie Road. We Have Many More Artists to Get To.

Depeche Mode
I own seven Depeche Mode albums, and I have been to see them in concert twice. Depeche Mode was one of the first bands that I realized that I had a specific taste for in High School. I heard People are People played on the radio one night during Christmas vacation and realized that I had liked Depeche Mode since the early eighties but had never realized who they were. A couple of weeks later, in school, I saw someone bring a copy of Depeche Mode 101 to school. I went immediately to the store and bought it, and I have been listening to Depeche Mode ever since. I have a bias toward music that is produced electronically (if you haven't noticed already) because I play keyboards and the piano. The Depeche Mode Albums that I have are 101, Black Celebration, Catching Up With Depeche Mode, A Broken Frame, Violator, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and ULTRA. Depeche Mode has had a very serious loss in that they no longer have Alan Wilder, the keyboard player that worked out the bulk of the harmonic musical segments of their work. I think that if they do not replace him, they will find that their sales drop off dramatically. I think that it would be really nice if they could just invite him back. In any case, I still think that their music is very good. In many ways, their music portrays Renaissance ideals and shows us a vision of Europe's future.

Depeche Mode might be getting back together from what I have heard on the Radio. There is talk of a Gahan/Gore get together, but Gahan, having had so many troubles and such an investment in his Solo Career, may not be able to do it. Let's hope and pray for the best for all of them. I'd really like to see it happen, but I don't want to see it break the man either. The Depeche Mode I will always remember best is the Depeche Mode of 101 and Music For The Masses. I can play Stripped on the keyboard given the sheet music and I have been known to work at playing some of the others. Most of them are such complex orchastrations though, that you'd have to completely re-invent 1990's technology to even approximate a genuine effort. All of the new synths sound too clean. Too Plasticine. Give me the analog waves of the Emu or that huge Tycho plate Gore used to bang on. And a nice set of Bong Speakers to hang from my roof and then we'll have a party.

Divynils were a short lived phenomenon. I ordered their record because I couldn't find anything else that I liked on the CD club stamps. They were a last choice. I selected them because of Touch Myself. How can you complain about a girl talking about masturbating in her songs? It's too bad they haven't made more records. The could some day be as cool as Vanilla Ice.

Note: I wonder if The Lead Singer from the DiVynils would ever get involved in Celebrity Boxing?

My first experience with DMX was through a friend at work. He sold me a burned CD with the uncut version of ?Party Up? on it, and I began to truly realize the awesome groove of this Hip Hop master. I know I will be listening to his stuff for quite some time to come. My favorite of his tracks currently is ?They don?t know who we be??

DMX has been really progressive lately. He's taking it to the streets. A dog needs an uh. Anyway, I thought the cars he drove in his most recent video were pretty slammin and I could see him breaking right through the engine. Those were some styles. And the camera FX were great. He's got some great directors and producers, and I hope to see some more pounding DMX bass this summer.

Duran Duran
I have liked Duran Duran since their beginnings, but I liked them a lot more for a short time. They had two albums that I bought. One was called Big Thing. It is my opinion that Big Thing is their best album. I like the pictures of America that they create with it. The other album that I like is called Liberty. The songs on Liberty are good, but not as good as the songs on Big Thing. The song Rio, from an album that I do not own, always reminds me of playing Atari 2600 video games with my friend Joe in 5th grade.

Some other work that I remember now is Union of the Snake, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Girls on Film. While not everyone likes everything they do, it is all up to the individual listener. Try before you buy. The Reflexx....xxxx.

Seriously though. It was a tragedy when that one member of the band died in the Catamaran accident as they were on the rise about the time that the Notorious album came out. I seem to remember that from about the seventh grade or something like that. It crushed many young girls hearts. I only wish I had managed to pick up some of the pieces.

I listened to Eminem for nearly 2 months straight, during a long voyage to NYC and at subsequent residences. I think his work is telling and depicts well, the disenfranchisement of young adults who've had to work McJobs like myself.

Eminem really does have some angst to produce. Apparently he lived the hard knocks on the streets of Detroit, and I can see a little bit of where he's coming from. It is nearly impossible in this country to get over the problems of Social and Economic stratification and Racial Tensions. Never before in America has our population been more diverse. The melting pot is coalescing and I can see a lot of that in Eminems' work. He sees the changes that are about to happen as well as anyone else. If you believe that, you'll know he's got Market Researchers and strategists now that help him select the best new way to strike up controversy. You'll know that the odds are stacked 10-1 in his favor. Because his listenership is definitely illiterate, vagrant, and quite frankly, mr. shankly, we don't give a fuck. The time is up. Hand over the keys, or we'll find a way to hotwire that jammy. Isn't that the game of the century, Grand Theft Auto III?

Eon's album Void Dweller easily made it's way into my CD collection in 1993. The song The Spice had been playing for two years on the Saturday Night Dance Party on CFNY 102.1 before Eon's album had been made available in Canada (I did a lot of record shopping in Toronto). The Spice is based on the movie Dune, with Kyle Laughlin and Sting. Any science fiction fan would recognize the samples in it instantly. I liked the strange keyboard sounds and early breakbeat drum rhythms he used in his work.

A couple years after the original release of the Spice came out, Eon released the second single, Basketcase. It took a while for the import album to get into HMV, but eventually I found it up in the bins in Toronto, and I couldn't have been happier. The only problem now is finding the old Scratched up CD. I used to treat them like such crap. I should know better by now than to do that.

Front 242
Front 242 is an impressive keyboard band. I read about them in Keyboard magazine. The magazine article said that they had opened for Depeche Mode at concerts in Europe. I bought a copy of Front By Front from Cavages, a mall record store that no longer exists. My favorite song from the album is Headhunter. In 1990 I found their first major label record called Tyranny For You at a record store in Williamsville, and bought it right away. The cover for the album is very impressive, it is a computer edited photograph of what looks like a man's head pushing out of a broken automotive windshield. The album was incredible, and I ended up going to see them in concert in Toronto with my friend Rob and a girl named Charlene (who should be on my list of ex-girlfriends). At the concert, I saw my first taste of real computer animation on a large video projection screen. The picture that was on the cover of the Tyranny album was contorting in and out of the screen. I bought a couple of other albums after the Tyranny Album, but I didn't like them as much. They were the two albums with the coded messages on the front, and neither one had particularly memorable music on it. Front 242 may someday adapt to work their music into popular culture, they will be interesting to hear if they do. Right now, they're just selling remixes though. I'm not sure if it's their fault, or Sony Music's fault.

"You catch the man" - Front 242

Front Line Assembly
I don't know much at all about front line assembly. I have one of their albums. The music was industrial music, but it seemed like pale music. The music didn't have the same depth that other industrial music that I was listening to had. I bought the album at Wax Trax at the same time I bought Cyberaktiv. I hope that in the future, bands like Front Line Assembly adapt into more productive, more organic entities. I hope that their music evolves with the technology and fights it's way back into the techno or digital hardcore genre's.

Guns N' Roses
Guns 'N Roses is one of the few rock bands that I like. I only have one of their tapes, Welcome To The Jungle. I like almost every song on the album. Each of the songs is a different depiction of the ugly realities of urban life in cities like New York. The songs on Welcome To The Jungle remind you of how nice it is not to live in a nightmare world where the underground rules with a pair of iron jaws. I like a couple of songs off of the albums that were released in 1991, like November Rain, and Civil War. I am not a big fan of the racist content of a couple of their songs, but hey, everyone has good days, and bad days. Meeting certain people recently has reminded me how important it is to have a little bit of hard rock in your collection.

Gun's and Roses was in the news again last year for reportedly cancelling a show that several thousand people bought tickets to. And then they didn't refund the price. The fans got out of control and had a mini riot, and the show that never played was broadcast globally. What a drain on Society. Axl, you really need to get ahold of that Bourbon problem.

Iggy Pop
I have never been a big Iggy Pop fan. Iggy Pop apparently has been around for a long time. The first time I heard him mentioned was on a computer bulletin board system. The second time I saw his name, was in a BMG records catalog. His name was one of the 10 that I selected. I have enjoyed his album Brick by Brick for many years since, because of classic mainstream hits like Butttown, and P**sy Power. CD cases aren't big enough to stop doors with are they?

Actually, Wild Child has come back in such a disturbing way that I don't even know how to say it. I'm stunned. Music from earlier decades is just drifting all over the place like Spam. I keep hearing his work from Trainspotting that Lust for Life Tune and Candy from the aforementioned Brick by Brick Album. Come on Iggy, give us a break. We know you are wiry and tenacious, but please, quit showing us your teeth and start showing us some new muscle.

Information Society
Information Society was one of my favorite bands of all time, until I discovered techno in 1992. Their music was very technically well done. They mentioned Mirrorshades in a 1990 album called Hack (Mirrorshades is a cyberpunk short story collection). Their music was a combination of New York House music and what we call Techno today. I had both of their albums. I have not heard about any of their music since the early ninties, but I haven't had MTV for 10 years either. I hope that they are still out there working on another musical scheme.

Information Society stepped on to the Dance scene and put Tommy Boy Records on the block with Pure Energy. The song was played at virtually every dance I went to during my four years of high school. The sample was Spock from a Star Trek episode, and the timing of the song, based on our development of technology was almost perfect. In fact if I were writing a screen play, I think I'd put something like Pure Energy in it. It's a reflection of our times as passengers on the Information coaster. The information super coaster.
Inner City
Inner City is a detroit techno house band. I bought their CD in 1993. I bought the CD because I was told that they were very good by a very reputable source, one of the engineers for Transmat, a small record label in Detroit. Inner City is very good, the album that I have is called Praise. I like the futuristic bass and keyboard sounds that they use. I also like a lot of the reverberating electronic sounds that they use. Their lyrics are focussed on positive perceptions of future technology. There will be a time in the future, that I devote to collecting other music by Inner City.

I was lucky to obtain a copy of Who Will Save Your Soul? for free. I got it with the purchase of several cups of coffee at my favorite Buffalo coffee shop of that era (1995) the Topic Cafe'. I like her new song Foolish Games also. I don't own any of her albums yet, because I'm focussing on building my rock collection right now, but I am sure that in a couple of years I will be buying her CD's. I think that Jewel has been doing some very noteworthy things in terms of her philanthropy and interest in humanist ideals.

Jewel's done some fresh things this year, putting herself on display in the bright lights of the big city. She's definitely grown up well and I look forward to more good work from her. She's moving out of folk and into Pop. She's a traditionally beautiful woman and she has a lot going for her.

Josh Joplin Group
Josh Joplin Group is a new one. I know very little about them except that they are produced by Shawn Mullins and have one of the finest pieces of work to date, currently playing on the radio. It is titled "Camera One" and it makes you feel as if you are part of something larger than yourself. I guess that?s why I like them and why I bought their album nearly immediately after seeing them in Barnes and Noble and on MTV2.

I'm surprised not to have heard a second album yet from JJG. This year might be a big one though. I hope they can pull together and make things happen again. Camera One was a smash success in my book.

Kate Bush
Kate Bush is a performance artist who has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel and other world artists. She is very talented and I just recently acquired an MP3 of "Running up that hill" which is a classic 80?s new wave anthem. I heard a lot about her from my poetry and literature instructors at NCCC. They really liked her.

She's also done some work with Peter Gabriel on Don't Give Up and she has an old song in the woodwork about Christmas that I found really appealing and mythical. Or was it magical?

MC 900 Ft. Jesus
MC 900 Foot Jesus is another one of those artists that I found in Keyboard magazine. He has produced three pretty good albums that I know of. I only own one of them because I don't have the resources to collect everything that I would like to. The album that I have is called Hell With The Lid off. It is a jazzy, hip hop/industrialist, work that has many well thought out constructions that depict life in a huge urban city. I am not sure what city MC 900 Foot Jesus is from, but I would guess that he is from New York or Chicago. The funniest piece on Hell With The Lid off is called Spaceman. It is about a man devoted to collecting cans to buy his next bottle of alcohol. You have to feel for some people.

MC 900 foot jesus wrote while the City Sleeps as well and scared the living heck out of all of us with this anthem to Arsonists. Maybe he's taking it a bit too far, but then you know, how Detroit gets out of control on Haloween. Ugh!

MC Hammer
I listened to MC Hammer quite a lot while working at a Pizza shop called Fatso's Pizza on Military Road where Mighty Taco now stands. The place no longer exists, but I remember listening to the album with "You can?t touch this" on it many times while washing dishes and waiting for orders to drive out with the other Italian and African kitchen help.

There are times when I wish the Parachute pants and 2 legit 2 quit would come back. It's been ages since I heard a bomb track from the Hammer and he is sorely missed. I can relate to him financially.

Meat Beat Manifesto
Meat Beat Manifesto is a Chicago style industrial band. I made a special trip to Wax Trax in Chicago when Wax Trax was the industrial authority in the US. The album that I purchased at Wax Trax was called Armed Audio Warfare. It has a lot of interesting samples and drum loops. I don't think that the members of Meat Beat Manifesto could ever have predicted that drum loop music would evolve into the forms of Bass and Drum and Jungle that exist within the techno genre. I purchased the album 99% in 1992 at a store called Record Theater in Buffalo. 99% is one of my favorite CD's of all time. I consider it the second best industrial CD that I have in my collection. The best industrial CD in my collection is Skinny Puppy's Rabies.

Ministry is a band whose values I am not a major endorser of, but whose music was important to the development of a lot of modern electronic music and cyberpunk stylings. I would have to say that I first heard of them in my Junior year of high school when playing keyboards with a skateboarding friend. "Stigmata" is on the sound track for Rumble in The Bronx, a great Jackie Chan movie. "Every Day is Halloween" is vintage goth 80's disco.

On the album they put out in 91 they really went off the hook with the Butthole Surfers frontman with Jesus Built my hotrod. It's nice to see that they can still kick it. They played that Flesh Fair in the movie Artificial Intelligence by Kubrick and Spielberg. Who's idea was that I wonder?

I have one album by Moev titled Moev. The song I remember best on the album is called "Head Down." It was about keeping a positive attitude amongst negativity. It got thumbs up from me, but was not quite as current as I would have liked and I haven't listened to it in a while. It's still worth mentioning though, and you might want to try to look them up in digital format.

Nelly is a rapper that takes up all the fresh groove of the new Millennium. He has so much caged energy, I think he could probably stop a train by flashing his eyelids. I would definitely like to see him go somewhere with his talent and not fall out of sight like so many other rap stars of the moment have. Here?s to Nelly with a bottle of Crys?

Nelly keeps the hits rolling with the lunatics squad. For him we have to thank for Air Force Ones, Pimp Juice, Dillema, Hot In Here, Country Grammar, and his latest collaboration with P. Diddy and Bad Boy Entertainment from the Sound Track for Bad Boys. It seems he's always got something on his plate. If he's not doing solo stuff, he's backing up Murphy Lee with Hook on this Beat. Nelly's a player to watch out for. Crunk that Junk Up!

Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails best album ever was the first. Trent really put his whole heart into making "Pretty Hate Machine" and I think it was reflected well in the quality, tonality, and personality of the production. I don?t think he pulled any punches and I think he really meant what he intended to say. I think that on some of his later albums he lost the message a little bit but there are still some bright spots in his career. His work on the soundtrack of "The Crow," "The Perfect Drug" from Lost Highway and his Remix of Queen's "Get Down Make Love" are my favorites. I also like his remix of Bowie's "I'm afraid of Americans."

Sadly, Johnny Cash's remake of Hurt, was more true and to the point than, perhaps the original was. It certainly left an indelible impression on the global music industry. It is a shame that it had to be his swan song.

I have nearly every album Oasis has ever produced in the studio. I really like Noel Gallagher?s voice and I think their work has only enhanced my taste for other groups of the same Genre. They fit in well with the Beatles, Stone Roses, and Blur, all of which my friend Scott has gone to great pains to introduce me to. I can only thank him again for broadening my horizons somewhat. "Don't Go Away" from Be Here Now, and "Wonderwall" are my two favorite Oasis songs of all time.

I think Oasis got too big for their britches though. They haven't put out anything remarkable since "Fu&&ing in the bushes" from the Standing on the Shoulders of Giants album, which I really got into for a time. It seems I'm not getting a lot out of them from listening to the radio except re-plays and re-plays and re-plays of Supersonic. That one definitely isn't going away.

I picked up an Oingo Boingo album at Cavages years ago because I had read that Danny Elfman, the soundtrack keyboardist from Batman, and several other works including The Nightmare before Christmas and BeetleJuice, was a member of the band in Keyboard magazine. I was fortunate that I found the album, because now looking for an album by this band is pretty rough going. I haven't seen anything from them in a long while. I can't at the moment recall any song titles but I can tell you that their work is of the first order of greatness.

Danny Elfman did some excellent work on James and the Giant peach and word has it that he was once an under study to the great Jan Hammer of Miami Vice fame. The true story is that he's still scoring films impressively and he's someone that if my music career ever progresses that I'd actually like to meet.

I may have bought the Orchastral Maneuvers in the Dark CD at about the same time as Oingo boingo. If I remember correctly, their work was on the sound track for Pretty in Pink with Molly Ringwald. I really enjoyed their album, there is a lot of good string and keyboard work on it. One piece I remember distinctly is titled "Enola Gay" which is about the plane which dropped the first atomic bomb.

Pet Shop Boys
The Pet Shop boys are another band you read a lot about in Keyboard Magazine. They are very talented and wrote work that appeared in a made for TV movie called the "Billionaire Boys Club." The album I have by them is titled Behavior and it came out in the early 1990s. Two of my favorite tracks on that album are "Jealousy" and "October Symphony." "Let's make lot's of money.

Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel is the most amazingly cool artist of all time. He values using instruments and people from all parts of the world and all different cultures in his music. He has two albums that I have had the privilage of owning at one time or another. They are titled "So" and "Us." So came out in the 80?s and unleashed the monster hits "SledgeHammer" and "Big Time" and was at the top of the charts for a really long time. Peter Gabriel was originally the lead vocalist for Genesis until they broke up and re-formed with Phil Collins. Us had a great track on it titled "Digging in the dirt." Unfortunately I lost that album somewhere. It'll be a while until I get around to buying it again. I also like some of his older work like "Shock The Monkey" and "Solsbury Hill".

I've now had an opportunity to hear most of Intruder and Gabriel's latest work titled Up. He does some interesting Hindu wailings on Up that I don't think are easily replicable. It sounds honestly as though he's being tortured. It was actually hard to listen to, but it all makes sense somehow in the end. I mean if people will listen to hate music, why not go for a little wailing. I feel your pain Peter. I do. I know how you feel and we all should feel the pain of the masses of the dead.

Pink Floyd
I don?t think any band of it?s time has had more of an impact on my thinking than Pink Floyd. The first time I spent any time listening to what they had to say was after a party at a friends house where he insisted we listen to a concert and have a beer. This happened during the time when I was working for McDonalds and my views weren't really all that developed yet, but in some ways, they really did make a little bit of sense. And they weren't entirely electronic, which was kind of cool and unique to me. "The Wall" has inspired a good amount of my writing and I find myself wanting to refer to it quite a bit. It is such a complex piece though that you have to specify your reference point because otherwise, just saying "The Wall" would some how take away from the fact that historically it has been one of the most significant works of the twentieth century. I also listened to "Dark Side of the Moon" quite a bit during my one month visit to Boston while playing scrabble and drinking premium beers like Grolsch?

To leave just that little piece of text on the wall doesn't do it justice. It is promethean. It is all of the trauma of war and post traumatic stress disorder wrapped up with acid tripping vibrance of malice. It is every rebellion against known causes of destruction at the same time taking you on a flight over the cursed earth. It is the moment when you wake up and see the larger world through your third eye and then some. The trauma for Pink is intense, and I think you will find yourself lathering in the sheer bubbliness of the concept. We truly need no education.

Plastikman is a band from Detroit headed up by Ritchie Hawtin who is not only a great musician but a really cool individual. I had the opportunity to meet him once on his tour bus when his project was called Cybersonik with Plus 8 records. He helped me get my girlfriend into a concert when she forgot her ID for an over 19 show. He was very charismatic and aloof and I think that if I met him again he would probably remember me, he?s just that kind of guy. His work is very creative and takes many different forms. His projects have led to the creative output of others and his record label is one of the best in the Techno arena. I own several of his Vinyl EP?s and a couple of CD's. One track that I really like is titled 'Helikopter.' Ritchie is also one of the world?s finest Disc Jockey's.

I am glad to see Ritchie's still on the international circuit even if things have calmed down at home. Things internationally were probably more profitable for him anyway. Talk about a prodigy, this guy somehow had the whole thing made at 19. Where is there left to go? Maybe he'll be in on that whole moon rave thing I was thinking about doing.

Poe is a band that unfortunately has recently had some problems with her Record label. I have always liked her though. I think she is probably most remembered for her rendition of "I'd Die For You" from the modern version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio. However my favorite song by her is "Angry Johnny." From her first self titled album.

Poe tried to re-invent herself last year, but her video's got second string to Hip Hop. She's more of a pop artist and it is unfortunate that Hip Hop has so overshadowed the entire music scene. A lot of kids could benefit from her talent and articulate lyricism. I'm sure a few people bought the last album, but I think they really probably overspent on promotion. The video looked very expensive.

Psychedelic Furs
The Psychedelic Furs were a band that were really popular with some girls I knew in Junior High school. I let the record club send me a copy of one of their albums when I saw they were the selection of the month and they were very good, but more of a band that as I suspected, "Chicks would dig"?

Public Enemy
When I lived in Chicago for 6 months, I was fortunate to have a roommate who had very diverse tastes in music. One of his favorite Rap groups was Public Enemy. I sort of adopted his liking for East Coast rap while I was there and have never given it up since. I have several Public Enemy Albums. My two favorites are "It takes a Nation of Millions" with "Don?t Believe The Hype" and "Channel Zero" and "Music In Our Mess Age" with "Death of a Car Jacka" and "Runnin' outta time.."

To stop there though is to stop and find yourself in nowhere's ville. Chuck and the boys have been laying pipe since Fight The Power in Bed Stuy with Spike Lee. They pulled one off called Resurrection and He Got Game. And there's more to come with the Advent of MP4 Technology from what I here. Chuck was the first to put it to the test and reframe us. Just wait. The Grooves are going to get hysterical. "Listen for lessons I'm sayin' inside music that the critics are all blastin' me for." -Chuck D

I used to have a Queensryche album. I sold it on e-bay in desperation when I was really short on cash. If I had been able to, I would have liked to have kept it. The album was called "Empire" with the tracks "Jet City Woman" and "Sweet Lucidity." I am glad to have been alive to hear their guitar technique. They really are great artists. I remember listening to them a lot in my sophomore year of high school while working for Burger King and Tops.

Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine is an unrelenting trip into the guerrilla. I am a really big fan of them and am currently searching for a mix up they did with KRS-One. If you have it, please e-mail me. I have "Evil Empire" and "The Battle of Los Angeles" and I wrote an almost 20 page poem as a result of listening to "Sleep Now in The Fire," a great anti-capitalist anthem.

Word on the street has it, and you know its always the word on the street, but I've heard of a possible reuniting of Rage. You might say it can never happen, but things might change drastically with technology. This information is Guerrilla as all get out. Keep your radios locked, cause as soon as the track comes down the pipe, you know I'm gonna be livin' large and in charge.

This is one of Peter Hook's side projects. I have recently had some discussions with people on message bases on Yahoo! About Revenge and it seems that this project was not particularly well liked among musicians. But as both a listener and composer, I found it to be a fine piece of work, and I don?t think that the project was a wasted effort by any stretch of the imagination.

In my freshman year of high school, I listened to a lot of Rush and really could get into their whole Zen spirituality thing. They had a lot going on, almost more than you could absorb. They were very prolific and I could only afford a few of their cassette tapes. I had Hold Your Fire and Presto and had a chance to hear Power Windows, and Moving Pictures. My friend Pat also likes them as did a lot of people we went to high school with at the time. Give in to the Tao and learn.

My friend Pat was kind enough to play Moving Pictures and Power Windows for me when we were on a trip up to Buffalo one night and I could really get into Rush's communion with Nature. They sang about the pain of the trees and it moved me. I still wish I could plant a tree every arbor day, but in our yard, it's sure to get uprooted or mowed down. Daddy's happy with the lawn mower if you know what I mean.

Sarah McLachlan
I have been a closet fan of Sarah McLachlan ever since the first time I heard Posession. I am a keyboard player, so I have a natural interest in the complex piano parts of songs like Posession. Sarah's voice is very interesting, and she deserves credit for being able to play and sing certain songs at the same time. I bought her new album Surfacing in the first week of December. I like Surfacing, especially the songs that have actually been played on Music Television, Building a Mystery and Sweet Surrender. I have yet to take the time to look at the music videos that come on the CD in multimedia format. I plan to work on that when I am finished with all of these reviews.

Sarah actually just put out a new CD. I love the video for it. Never have I wanted to be in a bathtub with a girl more than her. Well, there were a couple times when you know... But seriously, she is a hot number and I think that we could do well to pay her a visit from time to time on the record rack, just to lighten our ears with the gentle sounds of the Northwest.

Skinny Puppy
I had a few albums by Skinny Puppy too. I am sad to say I sold one, but I still have two left. I had Rabies, 12" Anthology, and Cleanse Fold and Manipulate. I lost a few bucks on the e-bay transaction for Cleanse Fold, but I think the owner of the album at present is probably enjoying it, so I don?t see the transaction as a waste. Cevin Key was one of the most instrumental in launching cyberpunk into modern techno and a lot of electronic music has benefited from his influence. Including some of my own.

Their best song ever was Worlock, although most of their danceable stuff was on Cleanse and fold if you really wanted to Mosh you could throw on Tin Omen on Rabies. It was always good for an ear cleansing. I think I still have the CD somewhere.

Sugar Ray
Sugar Ray is kind of a pop band now, but I really liked the Hip Hop/Reggannana vibe they had going with that track "Fly" at the beginning of 1999. It was exciting and memorable and I still hum along with it whenever I hear the tune on the radio.

The Beatles
The Beatles have to be included in this list because a music list without them is not a music list. I must have been influenced musically by them 2 generations ago and still going strong. My most recent Beatles acquisitions are an MP3 of Helter Skelter and a couple of tracks from The Magical Mystery Tour. I do believe that John was re-incarnated in Noel Gallagher.

I have to give the Beatles more than One Little Blurb. After all they are the Beatles. What would the Beatles be without Let It Be, Yellow Submarine, and Penny Lane. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Help, or Norwegian Wood? The Beatles defined a century starting with their first hits dead center and influencing everyone from here to Texas and back again. They didn't just influence the United States. They influenced the world. Even as staunch an advocate of himself as Kurt Cobain was, he would have undeniably have said they changed the course of musical and poetic history. And to that, no less than Nirvana. For some the revelation is in the lyrics, for others, the harmonies. But keep this in mind. There is a certain advantage to being well read and abreast of the winds of change that can alter the way you think and do things forever and the Beatles had that special something in everything they did that made the earth shake on it's axis with each crooning song. John Lennon became such an important political figure in the sixties and seventies that most people just call his death an assassination. Think of that. A vocalist on par with world leaders. That in itself must give some kind of an inkling of how important they became to the culture industry of the last millenia. And their songs have the same depth and meaning today as they did when they were first written, and what's better, they are found in collections inexpensively now, so you can buy up the CD's and share your joy with members of your immediate family who already know the tunes.

The Charlatans UK
The Charlatans UK are a fun band. I went to see them in Hamilton Ontario (Canada) in 1992 during the summer with my friend Scott. My favorite song by the Charlatans is Weirdo. I am not sure which album Weirdo is on, Scott would be able to tell you that, he's the one that owns their albums, unfortunately, Scott doesn't have a web page yet (We're working to get him involved in this whole net scene). The concert in Hamilton was memorable. The only beer available for purchase cost six dollars and fifty cents and was in quart sized cans. There was a lot of jumping into the mosh pit going on, and there were a lot of cute young girls wearing shirts that said Weirdo on them.

The Charlatans were actually spectacular at that concert. It was really enjoyable, and the Tall Boys, those six - fifty beers weren't so bad after all. I am glad we went. One point that Scott is better at than I am is that there were some complications at the door on the way in. Scott was only 18 and I was just barely 19 and the show was a 19 and over show. Fortunately they let him in even though he showed his underage drivers liscence which he had to go back to the car to get. Whew. Close calls, it would have been a wasted night otherwise.

The Cure
I only own one album by The Cure. It is a greatest hits album called Mixed Up. I bought the album after seeing the video for the song Lullaby and hearing the song Fascination Street a number of times on the radio. I have never worn white face paint, except on one Haloween, and that was when I was seven years old. However, the girl that introduced me to The Cure was wearing white face paint when I saw her at the Depeche Mode concert that I was supposed to drive her to. I like all of the songs on Mixed Up, but my favorites are Fascination Street and Never Enough. I haven't been interested in anything that The Cure has done since Mixed Up.

The Cure have stuck in there for so long now that they are now being perfectly replicated by 311 for the soundtrack of 50 first dates. It is almost eerie and unsettling how closely replicated 311 have been. Part of that whole Cure vibe I guess. I never did get that whole face painting and smeared lipstick thing with Michael Smith. I suppose I never will, I just don't have his transvestite zombie tastes. Musically there are few that were on par though.

The Future Sound of London
My favorite techno band to date is The Future Sound of London. There is one particular memory that I have of one of their songs that I will never forget. Unfortunately, I can't share that memory with you unless I know you directly. My belief is that the best song that they have ever written is called Papua New Guinea. It was released in a CD album format in the United States in 1996 on the album called Accellerator. Accellerator is a good album, but it is a compilation of the Future Sound of London's old work. I think that the best album that they have released is called Lifeforms on the Astralwerks label. I also have ISDN, released in 1995, and Dead Cities released in 1996. With the exception of a pirate video that contains part of the music of Moscow, the only Future Sound of London video I have ever seen is We Have Explosive. I would like to see more of their videos. If any of you know where I can order one inexpensively, please send me an e-mail.

I almost forgot to mention ISDN and Far Out Son of a Lung. Geez, where would we be without that one. They are predecessors, of the kind of far out stuff that Groove Armada was doing with their album last year. Vertigo was good, a natural flow from ISDN forward. At least I could feel the vibe and make the connection.

But don't let me confuse the two for you, Go Out and Buy The Future Sound of London. You'll never be the same, I guarantee it.

The Jesus And Mary Chain
I am not a collector of Jesus and Mary Chain albums, but I own one of them. Reverence happened to be released at about the time that I was looking to get involved in going to a lot of concerts and experimenting with my musical tastes a little bit. The album that I own is called Honey's Dead. A lot of the songs on the album have some very interesting guitar pieces in them. My friend Scott owns a lot more of The Jesus and Mary Chain's stuff. He likes Kill Surf City. I saw The Jesus and Mary Chain live at Lollapalooza 2 in the summer of 1992. I think they were stoned, but sometimes it's hard to tell.

All in all The Jesus and Mary Chain were always just a notch too loud and scratchy for my taste. I like distortion, but I like distortion with a distinct punch, not the kind of all over the scales screeching like they did on Kill Surf City, and a couple of their other tracks whose names I can't remember or make out due to the sheer confusion of it all. They were good, but not one of my favorites.

The Mighty Lemon Drops
The Mighty Lemon Drops are a band that my girlfriend from the summer of 1988 introduced me to. They really sound like Lemon Drops. She also introduced me to a lot of Woodstock stuff and a couple other unmentionables. I keep this disc in my collection as a memory of the great times we had together even though I regret my loss of her. She really was a wonderful person. From what I hear she currently lives and works somewhere on the East Coast.

I got the tip to buy them from Patty Ift, my girlfriend's friend when I was a kid. Patty was known for her skill in hairdressing and i remember having her cut my hair once at a wine party at her apartment. Patty was interesting and punkish and also listened to Tori Amos, who I picked up on once I got into college. She was way ahead of the curve culturally and some people, I don't know how, just have it all connected, but you can't figure out how.
They were all mixed up in the art scene here in Niagara Falls, and I met them sometimes at Art Wheels after school. It was a shame too, because that's after I'd broken up with my girlfriend and things were slightly uncomfortable being just - Friends. I did make some creative art though as a result.

The Notorious B.I.G.
It started as a joke that we liked Notorious BIG and then turned into a ridiculous name game where eventually I was called "The Notorious CJB" by quite a few. Now that I actually listen to him a little bit I realize that the man did have some true wisdom. Take for instance "The Ten Crack Commandments" which indicate the ten most important rules to follow when entering the drug trade. Or "Victory" with Puffy where the family really becomes one. Notorious was always the man and always will be.

Today the Notorious B.I.G. lives on in our memory and through rumor and heresy and even the music that is produced in the attic and basement studios of New York, Detroit, and LA. The Notorious B.I.G. from the grave collaborated with Tupac, and the chants we'll always love you papa still graze the ears of the youth of America. No matter how big and bad he was, he was a symbol of American Strength, and the history of American pride and unity. Even as a poor writer, I owe him a debt, he leaves me a history to discover and contemplate on as we move into the next millenium.

The Police
The Police are a great band. They are also a band I was exposed to at a very early age. I listened to them in third grade and had an album by them at age 9. The album was "Synchronicity" and really had quite an impact on me. I had never thought about things like the Loch ness monster, self induced pain, or dysfunctional family life before. They really put quite a bit of thought into their subject matter and drove their points home, sarcastic or otherwise. "Every Breath you Take" will always be one of my favorite love songs.

Last year, when I still had my mustang, I ordered CD's from Columbia House, and ended up with Every Breath You Take, the Hits. My favorite songs on the CD were Roxanne and Message In A Bottle. They sunk into my head as I drove to and from work for the cable company, and I got some real relaxation out of them I think. I think it was just fun being able to sing along with a song that was familliar for a change. Unfortunately, this disc must have been made of cheap material, because it got jammed in my player and cost me 40 bucks to get a snapped disc back. Oh well. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It's always a gamble with these mechanical changers.

The Prodigy
The Prodigy didn?t start out looking quite as grimy as its' current incarnation is. I remember the rave anthems "Charlie" and "Out of Space" which were considered to be happy house and had a very Reggae breakbeat feel. When they developed their most recent album "fat of the land" it seemed they wanted to leave the happiness behind and go for a more startling political image for the sake of selling records in America. They accomplished what they set out to do and are currently among the top most celebrated techno artists in America. But do they deserve it? Let's see what they do next.

Apparently The Prodigy are still getting residuals from Fat of The Land. They had at least two tracks from it on the Charlie's Angel's Full Throttle DVD and they haven't even produced a new album. Apparently they hit with enough force to move several motion pictures. I am glad to see fellow musicians doing so well, but Guys, don't rest on your laurels, we've got plenty of room in our heads for your next experiment. Don't self destruct. Tick The Tock!

The Shamen
The Shamen were an incredible group until they lost one of their members in a diving accident. They released several versions of a great track called "Move any Mountain" which is very "Up" techno. It can really bring you out of a bad mood quick. Another great track on their first album was called "Hyperrreal" another that I would recommend you put on your lists if you get a chance to. I wish I'd had a chance to see them in concert. I liked them almost as much as I liked Information Society.

My most intense experience with the Shamen was on the holophonic sound system at the top of the Vertigo Rave by Atlantis on the CN tower in Toronto. They had some kind of 3-D Audio Production on the mix that Ian was spinning that sent shivers down my hackles. The movement of the music was so fluid and rhythmic that I nearly lost my shorts. Fortunately I was well in control of my faculties, having been quite hopped up, and the night went well. I strolled until I met my Dorothy. And you'll just have to read Atlantis Vertigo to hear about her.

The Smiths
The Smiths are still only about five years old in my world. I never listened to them much until around 1995 but I do like them. I went to see Morrissey in concert in Toronto and the show really rocked. I have a nice collection of Morrissey and Smith's tracks and plan to keep collecting them as time goes on. And if they give me another shot at seeing the whole band then who knows, maybe I'll shell out the massive cash? "How soon is now?" is my favorite song by the smiths. "Lost" by Morrissey takes a close second.

They have a lot of classics. Suedehead comes to mind. I've been keeping a secret. I actually had 2 tickets to the Morrissey show I went to, and I ended up keeping them both to myself because I had a prior obligation to flyer for Nitrous for one of their raves. That netted me a really cool pirate CD and a Nitrous 014 T-Shirt. At the time those were worth a lot on the street. It was really cool feeling like part of the downtown scene and yet being quite a few miles from home. Toronto was my home away from home between 90 and 93 and I really sported it for all I could. Those are the days you remember, the ones where time is money but money is not time.

The Stone Roses
I wrote an entire poem about a situation involving the Stone Roses music and my friend's liking of them. It would seem that they do have a significant fan base around here because they do play them on the radio from time to time. I really like "Fool's Gold," "Adored," and most of the album that those two are on. All I had was a really beat up tape of those tracks though. But I used to play it nightly while working in the Audio Visual Maintenance dept. of the local college.

It is unfortunate that the Stone Roses never released more than 2 albums in the United States, their talent precedes them in so many ways, and their words and music are timeless, and meaningful, even philosophic. If there were a butterfly of my exposure to the UK pop scene they would be it.

Tori Amos
Tori Amos is the most Rockin' southern vocalist to ever walk the earth, and she's got red hair to boot. She has made all the right moves and has really got a great career to show for her hard work. I have got "Little Earthquakes," "Boys for Pele," and "Songs from the Choirgirl hotel." All three of these albums are spectacular stand alone works and I definitely recommend them. My favorite tracks are "Precious things," and "Thoughts of Maryanne." She has a knack for playing multiple keyboards, harpsichords, and pianos, while belting out her songs at the top of her beautifully formed lungs?

I think I finally figured out her Kaiser Wilhelm reference as well. A quick read of the Great Gatsby will do for that. There is so much depth to her poetry that it is hard to pick a single place to begin any kind of analysis. She is so flowery and depth filled. She is like a pointsetta that blooms like an Iris.

U2 is a rock band that has been around since the early 1980s and has done quite a lot to demonstrate their value for peace over war. The only album I have ever owned by them is "Achtung Baby." I went to a record release party for it in downtown Chicago and we as Fraternity brothers probably bought 12 copies in one night, if not more. I like all of their classics and all of their modern tracks. There is not a single song they have written that has been unappealing to me, and that frightens me to a slight degree, because I don't know if I will ever be able to collect everything that they have produced with their tendency to produce track after track after track. I give "New Year's Day" and "the Fly" my all times thumb's ups.

More recently, U2 have produced "All that you can't leave behind" and "Beautiful Day", these are two nice ones to add to the collection if you have an opportunity. We can't forget such all time classics as their film Rattle and Hum or the Joshua Tree which have had a profound impact on their establishment as a Global corporate entity, that has been fundamentally instrumental in the purchase of large tracts of real estate in the country of Ireland potentially reducing bloodshed in recent years.

Vanilla Ice
There is no denying it, Vanilla ICE was a 1 hit wonder, but he did have a certain style about him that attributed to his success. He was very certain of himself and I think that that helped him out a lot with his determination to produce good high quality rap music. I have heard rumour that he may be a film star soon, if that happens, I might actually shell out the bucks to see him on the big screen, he?s as much a part of my past as I am of anyone else's.

From what Mike tells me, Todd Bridges kicked Vanilla Ice's ass in Celebrity boxing. I don't know because I'm not prone to watching much of that sort of TV. But it must have been funny to see him get wiped across the pavement. I'm sure he'll have something new on his plate in a few years though.

This summer I made the wise move of picking up Weezer's Green album. It really has a lot going for it. A lot of their songs are about relationships and their affects, effects, and complications. They also sing about love, romance and escapism. These sorts of topics always draw crowds so I don?t really give them thumbs up for theme as much as I do for putting together a really tight package that is worth a good listening to. Rock out with "Hash Pipe" and then Mellow out with "Island in The Sun." They are the perfect Yin/Yang combination.

Having never purchased it, I am not entirely familliar with the Blue album, but I believe there is a track on it called El Scorcho is riotous, where they quote chuck d stating "I'm the epitamy, of Public Enemy." Those Weezer guys sure are American Geezers.

"Owner of a lonely heart" is one of my favorite songs of all times. Yes is a band which bears further investigation into on my part. Having been born only recently I missed out on a lot of the prog rock scene in the 70's, but I think that if I gave them a real chance I might really like their older stuff too. Who knows. 90125 would still be in my collection if it hadn't been swiped. I'll say nothing more. You know who you are :).