Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Favorite Albums & Concerts of 2016

16th Dec 16 (Fri) 1 comment
To my fellow music friends… here are my favorite 25 albums that I heard/purchased in 2016… still more to discover as I dig into 2017 and catch up on 2016 stuff…
  1. Car Seat HeadrestTeens of Denial (lo-fi indie rock) fave song: “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” (#6)
  2. Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket) – Swallowed by the New (singer-songwriter) fave song: “Criminal Career” (#3)
  3. SiaThis Is Acting (pop) fave song: “Alive” (#2)
  4. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (rock) fave song: “Ful Stop” (#5)
  5. WussyForever Sounds (lo-fi indie rock) fave song: “Dropping Houses” (#1)
  6. Holy FuckCONGRATS (groove electronic) fave song: “Tom Tom” (#2)
  7. Elliott SmithHeaven Adores You (indie rock) fave song: “Plainclothes Man” (#6)
  8. Steve Taylor & the Danielson FoilWOW to the Deadness -EP- coffin (indie rock) fave song: “Wow to the Deadness” (#1)
  9. Circle of DustMachines of Our Disgrace (hard industrial) fave song: “Machines of Our Disgrace” (#2)
  10. Lily & MadeleineKeep It Together (singer-songwriter duo) fave song: “For the Weak” (#2)
  11. Charlie Hunter, Bobby Previte, and more – Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth (jazz) fave song: “No Money, No Honey” (#7)
  12. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic BoomOtis Was a Polar Bear (jazz) fave song: “Fuster” (#1)
  13. David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) – Blanco (indie rock) fave song: “Little Landslide” (#7)
  14. Anna TivelHeroes Waking Up (singer-songwriter) fave song: “Black Balloon” (#2)
  15. The Jelly JamProphet Profit (prog rock) fave song: “Care” (#1)
  16. Dave Douglas’ High RiskDark Territory (jazz with electronics) fave song: “Celine” (#1)
  17. Amendola vs. BladesGreatest Hits (jazz) fave song: “Lima Bean” (#1)
  18. Damien JuradoVisions of Us on the Land (indie rock) fave song: “Exit 353” (#11)
  19. Greydon SquareOmniverse : Type 3 : Aum Niverse (rap/hip hop) fave song: “Defiant” (#5)
  20. Elysian FieldsGhosts of No (sultry indie rock) fave song: “Shadows of the Living Light” (#11)
  21. Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) – 4 ½ -EP- (prog rock) fave song: “My Book of Regrets” (#1)
  22. OpethSorceress (prog metal) fave song: “Will o’ the Wisp” (#4)
  23. ScandroidScandroid (keyboard electronic) fave song: “Aphelion” (#3)
  24. The Claypool-Lennon DeliriumMonolith of Phobos (weird rock) fave song: “Cricket and the Genie, Movement I: The Delirium” (#2)
  25. Kaada & PattonBacteria Cult (ambient experimental) fave song: “Immodium” (#7)
Stand-Out Live Music in 2016: chronological
  • {8 Apr} Peter Mulvey w/ Anna Tivel :: Alberta Rose Theatre :: Portland, OR
  • {22 Apr} Sufjan Stevens, BØRNS, Parov Stelar, LCD Soundsystem & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {23 Apr} CHVRCHES, Guns N’ Roses, Gary Clark Jr., Ice Cube, GoGo Penguin & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {24 Apr} Sia, Kamasi Washington, Wolf Alice, Joywave & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {16 Jun} Holy Fuck :: Doug Fir Lounge :: Portland, OR
  • {25 Jun} Flight of the Conchords with Eugene Mirman :: Keller Auditorium :: Portland, OR
  • {28 Jul} Ozomatli :: HiFi Music Hall :: Eugene, OR
  • {29 Jul} Weird Al Yankovic :: Cuthbert Amphitheater :: Eugene, OR
  • {13 Aug} Buster Keaton’s The General film with live score by Mark Orton, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Todd Sickafoose :: Bohemia Park :: Cottage Grove, OR
  • {29 Oct} Failure presents Fantastic Planet’s 20th Anniversary :: Star Theater :: Portland, OR
  • {9 Nov} Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket :: Alberta Rose Theatre :: Portland, OR
  • {17 Nov} Car Seat Headrest :: The WOW Hall :: Eugene, OR
Looking forward to much more in 2017…

My Favorites of 2012

5th Feb 13 (Tue) Leave a comment

Life has been a been busy/hectic lately, to say the least. Not enough time to do the usual extended blogs for best of instrumental, vocal and whatnot with lots of descriptions. And since, hell, it’ll be 2014 before too long; so I figured I’d get out my favorites of 2012 list in some fashion now before it’s officially too late.

Here’s what was my favorite music from last year…

vocal top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

O.S.I. - Fire Make ThunderO.S.I.Fire Make Thunder

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa Peter Mulvey - The Good Stuff Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On? Bad Veins - The Mess We've Made Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree & Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth) Sigur Rós - Valtari Aimee Mann - Charmer

instrumental top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola - Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola
Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Alleujah! Don't Bend Ascend Guillaume Perret - The Electric Epic Buckethead - Electric Sea

Celldweller - Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol 2 Floratone - Floratone II Cosa Brava (Fred Frith with Kihlstedt, etc) - The Letter

John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas by David Krakauer) John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 19 (Abraxas by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz) John Zorn - A Vision in Blakelight

ep, internet, etc

Best Novelty: Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold boxset

Best Internet-only releases: Glen Phillips Coyote Sessions,
Greydon Square Type II : The Mandelbrot Set,
Sufjan Son Lux & Serengeti (s/s/s) beak and claw

Best EPs: Levi Weaver’s I Am Only A Tiny Noise
Peter Mulvey’s Chaser (OOP)

Best Vinyl-only: Wussy “Dangerous Highway” 7″
Sufjan Stevens & Rosie Thomas “Hit & Run” 7″

Enjoy! I’ll sort of promise to do better with timeliness on next year’s lists!

~Dan – np: Pinnick Gales PridgenPinnick Gales Pridgen
pinnick gales pridgen

A to Z / Music Packaging Today

3rd Feb 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

Check out this cool article/interview from last Thursday with A to Z Media‘s Sarah Robertson and Scott Pollack to discuss the state of physical media in 2011.  Click here or the pictures below to go to the interview…

John Zorn‘s Interzone

John Zorn‘s The Dreamers with Chippy’s artwork

A to Z Media covers a lot of John Zorn’s Tzadik and other record label releases, which are all quite stunning mini pieces of art.

~Dan – np: Over the RhineGood Dog Bad Dog 

1-Bit Symphony

24th Aug 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

Tristan Perich‘s 1-Bit Symphony is brilliant.  Perfect for the experimental fans, perfect for electrical engineers who also dig music, and perfect for fans of post-modern minimalism.  It is an electronic composition in five movements on a single microchip. Though housed in a CD jewel case like his first circuit album (1-Bit Music 2004-05), 1-Bit Symphony is not a recording in the traditional sense; it literally “performs” its music live when turned on. A complete electronic circuit—programmed by the artist and assembled by hand—plays the music through a headphone jack mounted into the case itself.

It comes out today (Aug 24, 2010) and is limited edition…

~Dan – np: John Zorn / Masada String TrioFilm Works XI: Under the Wing

The Eigenharp

9th Oct 09 (Fri) Leave a comment

So, as reported at the BBC, there’s a new musical instrument on the scene, eight years in the making…

There’s also another video on the BBC link above.  It totally puts the keytar to shame.

Find out more about it at Eigen Labs.

~Dan – np: Flat Earth SocietyIsms

* Favorite EPs / Vinyl / Live Albums & more of 2008 *

21st Dec 08 (Sun) 9 comments

Before I start… happy 68th birthday to Frank Zappa.  You are missed.  Ya Hozna!

This is sort of a precursor to my “official” Favorites of 2008 blog.  Up later this coming week or two, I’ll post my favorite vocal and favorite instrumental albums of 2008.  I’m still making my way through the re-listening phase.  Yeah, I know, I’m slow (or dedicated? or certifiable?).  I was waiting on a few to show up in my mailbox.  Anyway, on with the music pimping

My Other Favorites of 2008 Recaps:

  • Fave Concerts of ‘08 are recapped *HERE*

Favorite EPs of 2008 (coincidentally all indie artists)
1 Ellery You Did Everything Right
2 Estradasphere The Pegasus Vault
3 Glen Phillips Secrets of the New Explorers
4 Kim Taylor The Greatest Story
5 Wussy Rigor Mortis

Favorite Vinyl of 2008
1 Holy Fuck Lovely Allen 19″ single (7″+12″) –
2 God of Shamisen The Science Fiction of Ray Bradbury Attack! 7″ single –
3 Puscifer Dozo 7″ single –
4 David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) Jingle Bells / All I Want for Christmas (Christmas 7″) –
5 Puscifer Queen B 7″ single

Favorite Live Albums of 2008
1 Dave Douglas & Keystone Live at the Jazz Standard, April 2008 (this was 4 nights, 2 sets each night, 8 hours of music released as “instant live” within 24 hours of each performance… and fantastic)
2 Porcupine Tree We Lost the Skyline EP
3 David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) Live in Gdańsk
4 Ani DiFranco Hamburg Germany, 10.18.07
5 Tori Amos Live at Montreux 1991 & 1992

Favorite Comedy Albums of 2008
1 Flight of the Conchords Flight of the Conchords
2 George Carlin It’s Bad For Ya
3 Mitch Hedberg Do You Believe in Gosh?

Favorite Reissues in 2008
1 Jurassic 5Jurassic 5 11th Anniversary
2 John Zorn, Bill Frisell & George Lewis News for Lulu
3 John Coltrane The Impulse Albums, Vol 2 (including John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, Impressions, Live at Birdland, Crescent, and A Love Supreme)
4 Ahleuchatistas The Same and the Other
5 Beck Odelay (deluxe edition)

Favorite Debut of 2008
God of Shamisen‘s Dragon String Attack! -and- Ashes Divide‘s Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright

Favorite Internet Only Releases in 2008
Glen Phillips had his hand in both of them… and they’re both free
PloverPlover -and- RemoteTreeChildrenVeteran of the Loudness Wars

Favorite Internet Leaks in 2008
Ben FoldsWay to Normal (fake version of the album leaked by Ben himself) -and-
Sufjan StevensSongs for Christmas, Vol VIII: Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Infinity Voyage (he made it for family & friends… luckily one of those also let it loose for the rest of us)

Favorite Artwork in 2008
NINGhosts I-IV each song in the download version had it’s own unique artwork attached to it.  Whether studio or nature or electronic, it worked well with this release.

Favorite Packaging / Design in 2008

  • Sigur RósMeð suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (deluxe edition)
    Steven Wilson Insurgentes (deluxe edition) – Both Sigur Rós and Steven Wilson came out with lush coffee table-sized books that housed the music. Call it an incentive to somewhat combat the illegal downloaders.  I call it great art.
  • Ani DiFranco Red Letter Year – Always a packaging visionary, this one was more subtle than recent efforts… the glow in the dark moon was a nice touch.
  • Metallica Death Magnetic – Not necessarily breaking new ground musically, their packaging for the return to form metal album evokes digging through 6 feet of fresh dirt to see if Lars Ulrich’s drumming sounds better than beating on a metal folding chair.  Thankfully it does… this time.
  • Secret Chiefs 3 plays John Zorn‘s Masada Book Two: Xaphan – I love what Chippy does for Tzadik Records.  The Masada Book Two series artwork and die-cut Star of David with offset colors that poke through is some of her best work.

Favorite “Local” Album of 2008
OK, they’re from Cincinnati and Portland (respectively)… but local enough for me… I’ve got my ears in two locales (the Cincinnati/Dayton scene will probably always have a shot at winning in this category).
Noctaluca‘s Still the Wicked Rest -and- Talkdemonic‘s Eyes at Half Mast

Favorite Soundtrack or Score
Joss Whedon‘s Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog -and- Mike Patton‘s A Perfect Place

Favorite Concept Album
Noctaluca‘s Still the Wicked Rest -and- Zakarya‘s The True Story Concerning Martin Behaim

That’s all for now… more coming in the next week…

~Dan – np: CelldwellerSoundtrack for the Voices in My Head

iRandom {28 Aug 08}

28th Aug 08 (Thu) Leave a comment

Some random listening this morning from the iPod’s shuffle option…


  1. Mogwai “Kappa” from Government Sessions

    This was fortuitous, as I’m going to see Mogwai in Portland next week.
    :) The Government Sessions was my first experience with Mogwai.
  2. John Scofield “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” from Up All Night

    A little bit too hotel lobby jazz for me compared to some of J.Sco’s other stuff… but great for reading through employee benefit audit guidance.
  3. Frank Zappa “The Moon Will Never Be the Same” from Joe’s Xmasage

    More of the avant-garde meanderings from FZ. Short, but not sweet.
  4. Sigur Rós “Bíum Bíum Bambaló” from Angels of the Universe

    This is easily my favorite track from this soundtrack / score.
  5. Silverchair “No Association” from Freak Show

    Ah, from their good ol’ gah-rung-ah era…
  6. The Sheds “Rootwings” from You’ve Got a Light

    Cincinnati quirfolk duo… but one of their more straight forward songs… they haven’t put anything out lately, I don’t think. I may have to poke by their website when I get home tonight.
  7. Tim Sparks “Where Are You My Lover?” from Tanz

    Gentle guitars on this overall beautiful Tzadik release.
  8. Frank Zappa “Flakes” from Beat the Boots #7: Saarbrücken

    Two FZ tunes in the 10-song spin… what are the odds? Well, actually, they are 1,110 available FZ songs out of 14,678 non-replacing permutations (all songs currently on my iPod) would be a 0.57% chance for 2 FZ to land somewhere in the first 10 spins (unless I did the math incorrectly – which is highly likely, as my stats book from last term was borrowed from a colleague). Anyway… fun song, complete with a pretty bad, but funny, Bob Dylan impression.
  9. Caedmon’s Call “I Just Don’t Want Coffee” from I Just Don’t Want Coffee -EP-

    This one has different lyrics from the Warner debut version. It’s one of the more compelling, and thankfully not Jebusy, Derek Webb-penned early Caedmon’s tunes. Derek Webb is a great songwriter. Even though I have philosophical differences with him, I still love him and his music.
  10. Yann Tiersen “Soir de fête” from Rue des Cascades

    Yann, you wiley devil. Great instrumentalism with the grounded feel of folk music, but the fun of a circus parade.

Well, I shant type robustly about the 11th and so on shuffled tune… even thought I want to (#11 was Estradasphere and #12 was Isis). Anyway, that’s just a peak inside my ears this morning… check any of them out on iTunes or the Amazon.



Jude’s Cuba

25th Jun 08 (Wed) 1 comment

Jude Christodal just updated his blog with this entry:

(snippet from his blog)
The Cuba cd is being pressed.

Somehow I thought it had reached this phase when he mentioned it at his recent show in Portland – – alas, at least it’s now off to “the pressers.”

~Dan – np: John ColtraneLive at the Village Vanguard (1961)

160 G’s

30th May 08 (Fri) 2 comments

My wife gave me the go-ahead… she wanted a bigger iPod (she’s got a shuffle now); so I’m giving her my 80G to get a 6th gen 160G black iPod (with an eVo4 electra-blue skin) for me… yay!  I was running out of room…


It’s officially on order… yay!

~Dan – np: Charlie Hunter QuintetRight Now Move

Categories: Music Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite Albums of 2006 (and Instrumental albums & EPs, too)

20th Jan 07 (Sat) Leave a comment

TOP 15 Instrumental Albums of 2006

EstradaspherePalace of Mirrors (epic and cinematic) : A sibling band of Secret Chiefs 3… Estradasphere got their start on SC3’s label Web of Mimicry (and many of their members from SC3 as well). This is their The End Records debut, and it went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. Their previous albums have been quite ADHD (a la SC3 and Mr Bungle), but they always had a gypsy-meets-cinematic feel. This album is quite epic and gypsy-cinematic throughout. It’s got a touch of metal in spots and some SC3-type middle-eastern roaming, but the production on this album is masterful compared to their prior works. It truly blew me away. Seeing them perform this year also helped the album’s appeal with me. Brilliant band. Web:

Bobby PreviteThe Coalition of the Willing (groove-laden jazz) : A drummer-led jazz band with inescapable grooves, this CD was a “whim” purchase that totally paid off. It also features some of my fav NYC jazz musicians: guitarist Charlie Hunter & organist Jamie Saft, to name a couple… Web:

Irving Fields Meets Roberto RodriguezOy Vey…..Olé!!! (klezmer jazz with a latin flavor) : This album is quite the engaging mix of Jewish and Latino musical culture. More of a collaboration than a mashup, though. Great stuff from a great bunch of musicians. My wife liked it, too… Web:

Frank ZappaTrance-Fusion (the return of meedley meedley meeeeee) : Apparently FZ fans have been waiting on this for 10 years… hell, I only found out about it a month before its release, but it’s a great guitar-centric album that fits nicely near the top of my Frank Zappa collection. Web:

Dweezil ZappaGo With What You Know (the son of the return of meedley meedley meeeeee) : The lead-off track has vocals, but after that it’s an entire shredfest. Wicked fast, but with a nice groove that DZ usually delivers at a level on par with his father… *gasp* Web:

Dave DouglasMeaning and Mystery (trumpet-led jazz quintet) : After getting into klez-jazz phenom Masada earlier this year, Dave Douglas quickly became one of my favorite jazz soloists. He’s got great sound, composition and groove. Web:

Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodOut Louder (groove-jazz with guitars and a bit more meandering) : I dig MMW a bunch, and MSMW adds a familiar guitar tone to the groove-jazz. Web:

8 )
Cracow Klezmer BandMasada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 5 ~ Balan (klezmer jazz) : Masada still plays live, but I’m fairly certain that John Zorn’s quit writing tunes for them as a band. His new Masada tunes (“Book Two” as it were) are numbered upwards of 200-300 songs that he wrote over a few years, and different artists are recording them and putting their own spin on the music. Five Masada Book Two albums came out from different artists in 2006, and this one by the Cracow Klezmer Band was the most engaging (Jamie Saft Trio’s & Kobe Israelite’s were also good). 2007 looks to be awesomer, though… as Secret Chiefs 3 (one of my fav bands ever) is going to releasing their Masada Book Two angel-demon incarnation in May (or so). Web:

John ZornAstronome (glossolaliac noise metal) : I’m a big avant-garde, screamo fan. I dig many projects from John Zorn and Mike Patton that are so absurd that no one should really listen to them on a recommendation. This one is just that way. I don’t expect anyone to take a recommendation to check out Astronome (or Moonchild). If you’re curious, maybe check it out on iTunes… or shove a guitar into a blender with some avocadoes. I’m a big Fantômas fan — and for both Astronome and Moonchild (below), John Zorn has written some Crowley-influenced, magick-heavy “tunes” with vocal-utterance master Mike Patton in mind. The songs are all fairly instrumental, with the “vocals” not being lyrical, but rather very primitive. He rounds out the trio with fellow-Fantômas bandmate Trevor Dunn on bass and Masada drummer Joey Baron. Astronome beats out Moonchild only due to Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics being more kooky. The third in the series is due in 2007. Web:

Jon Madof’s RashanimShalosh (klezmer rock) : Great fretwork with the sound of old culture seeping through. Of all of the radical Jewish culture series that I’ve gotten into this past year, Jon Madom & Rashanim stands out due to its “rock band” feel… Web:

Flat Earth SocietyPsychoscout (orchestral big-band with a sense of humor) : I first heard of FES while getting into bands on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label. They stood out as not really fitting the heavy, screamy type of band. Multi-instrumentalist big band with its hand in jazz and its other hand in orchestral scores. Fun stuff that’s very much “familiar” without being “all up in your junk.” More Ennio Morricone than, say, um… John Williams. Web:

Electric Kulintang (Susie Ibarra & Roberto Rodriguez)Dialects (percussive, yet smooth) : Two drummers making a very accessible instrumental record… crazy, huh? There are some non-lyrical vocalizations by Susie on some songs; but all in all, this is straight up instrumental fun. It’s way more poppy than I would have thought. Web:

TalatThe Growl (klezmer jazz) : Lots of klez-jazz this past year… this one rose to the top. Web:

MogwaiMr. Beast (post-rock ) : Mogwai put out some solid material in 2006… the Zidane Sountrack is also good, but more mellow in spots (not head-butty, like I expected it would be). rolleyes.gif Web:

John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words (glossolaliac noise metal) : Ditto reason as #9 (Astronome) above, ‘cept Moonchild had some neat-o artwork… Web:

TOP 5 EPs of 2006

Glen PhillipsUnlucky 7 (poppy singer-songwriter) : His full-length this year was good/OK, but this -EP- is what I feel is up to par with his prior work. Great stuff!! Web:

David BazanFewer Moving Parts (melancholic singer-songwriter) : Two versions of five songs (one acoustic, one band format) from the former Pedro the Lion frontman. PTL was pretty much a one man band; so his “departure” doesn’t hurt me so much. I look forward to his “debut” full-length in 2007. Web:

Thom YorkeSpitting Feathers (twitchy electronic rock) : This -EP- has some nice b-sides, a video and an extended version of “Harrowdown Hill.” Web:

O.S.I.Re: Free (progressive rock, remixed) : A great follow-up to a wonderful sophomore album. Web:

TristezaEn Nuestro Desafío (organic electronic) : This -EP- was coupled with a great live DVD; which is fun, seeing as they never seem to come ’round these parts… Web:

Best Soundtrack/Score
Mogwai‘s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (runner(s)-up: OutKast‘s Idlewild & The Beatles‘s Love: Cirque du Soliel)
/ /

Best Debut Album
My Brightest Diamond‘s Bring Me the Workhorse (runner-up: Ellery‘s Lying Awake)

Best Concept Album
Estradasphere‘s Palace of Mirrors (runner-up: Jóhann Jóhannsson‘s IBM 1401, A User’s Manual)

Best “I Found them on MySpace” Album
Au4‘s soaring On: Audio (runner-up: 8mm‘s sultry Songs to Love and Die By)

and now… my favorite albuims of 2006… at the time… note: I got lazy after I had written little blurbs for all of the instrumental and EPs by the time I got to the album list. Eh.

TOP 30 ALBUMS of 2006
O.S.I.Free (prog rock meets trip-hop beats) : Web:

Nellie McKayPretty Little Head (witty & spunky piano pop) : Web:

Sean LennonFriendly Fire (John would be proud) : Web:

Tool10,000 Days (art metal) : Web:

My Brightest DiamondBring Me the Workhorse (quirky pop with operatic training) : Web:

Peeping TomPeeping Tom (hard rock meets hip-hop meets pop-avant-garde) : Web:

Au4On: Audio (sweeping and lush atmospheric rock) : Web:

8 )
NoctalucaTowering the Sum (hard rock masterpiece) : Web:

ElleryLying Awake (passionate Cincinnati songwriting duo) : Web:

Kim TaylorI Feel Like a Fading Light (singer-songwriter with a Berquistian voice) : Web:

Pearl JamPearl Jam (rock icons) : Web:

Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche (quirk-folk b-sides) : Web:

Ani DiFrancoReprieve (consistent folk hipster) : Web:

BeckThe Information (electronic hip-pop) : Web:

DramagodsLove (melodic hard rock) : Web:

Thom YorkeThe Eraser (not kid a… maybe kid b ) : Web:

JudeRedemption (golden-voiced songwriter) : Web:

18 )
EvanescenceThe Open Door (hard rock, angsty and hooky) : Web:

Johnny CashAmerican V: A Hundred Highways (his last complete work) : Web:

IncubusLight Grenades (melodic hard rock) : Web:

David GilmourOn an Island (longing for Floyd) : Web:

PlaceboMeds (post-punk brit-glamrock) : Web:

Red Hot Chili PeppersStadium Arcadium (funk rock?) : Web:

IsisIn the Absence of Truth (heavy metal ambiance) : Web:

The Gotan ProjectLunático (modern tango) : Web:

Ty TaborRock Garden (melodic rock) : Web:

Jurassic 5Feedback (rap) : Web:

28 )
Regina SpektorBegin to Hope (quirky piano pop) : Web:

The Blood BrothersYoung Machetes (screamo) : Web:

RivuletsYou Are My Home (Nick Drake-ian singer-songwriter) : Web:

Honorable Mention:
AudioslaveRevelations / Cut ChemistThe Audience’s Listening / DJ LogicZen of Logic / Jars of ClayGood Monsters / MugisonLittle Trip / The ReceiverDecades

Best Album Packaging & Design
Peeping Tom‘s snazy pull-out casing (runner(s)-up: Anathallo‘s Floating World die-cut slipcase and Beck‘s The Information sticker set)

Best Album Artwork
Tool‘s 10,000 Days artwork, including “Net of Being,” by Alex Grey (runner-up: Au4‘s On: Audio)

Biggest Disappointment
Web of Mimicry Records not coming through with their “Fall 2006” promise… and way too many X-mas albums this year (including Over the Rhine‘s Snow Angels, Sufjan Steven‘s Songs for Christmas, Aimee Mann, Bootsy Collins, your mom, your grandma)… ugh. X-mas albums usually sucked (save parts of Sufjan’s and “Goodbye Charles” from OTR’s)

and since I didn’t want to end on a sour note, here are some more “Best Of” winners…

Best Book on CD
Noam Chomsky‘s Failed States (runner-up: Eric Schlosser‘s Fast Food Nation (Updated))

Best Music-related DVD
Tori Amos‘s Fade to Red (runner-up: Megadeth‘s Arsenal of Megadeth)

Best Live Album
dredg‘s Live at the Fillmore (runner-up: Over the Rhine‘s Live from Nowhere Farm Vol 1)

Best Internet-only Release
Iron & Wine‘s iTunes Live Session (runner(s)-up: My Brightest Diamond‘s Disappear -EP- and Celldweller‘s Remix -EP-)

Best Re-issue

Porcupine Tree‘s Stupid Dream (runner-up: Steven Wilson‘s UEM on black-CDR)

Best “Late Getter”
Masada‘s Alef through Sanhedrin (runner(s)-up: Elysian FieldsQueen of the Meadow and Cibo Matto‘s Stereo Type A)

Best “Best Of”

No-Man‘s All the Blue Changes (runner-up: Medeski Martin & Wood‘s Note Bleu: 1998-2005)

Best Side-project
Electric Kulintang (Susie Ibarra & Roberto Rodriguez)‘s Dialects (runner-up: Xenuphobe (Ty Tabor & Wally Farkas)‘s Xenuphobe 1.0)

Looking forward to in 2007: Secret Chiefs 3 x 6 (or so), Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, OTR, Mum, Megadeth, Andy Yorke, Tori Amos, Amiina, Jenn Ghetto’s S, Silverchair, John Zorn’s 3rd in the Magick series with Patton/Dunn/Baron, Monk (Ric Hordinski), Tegan and Sara, Coheed and Cambria, Time Lapse Consortium, Eisley, Tomahawk, My Brightest Diamond (remix album) …


Favorite Music of 2005

19th Dec 05 (Mon) Leave a comment

Admittedly a lot of swapping around from my 1st Half Recap… but here are my thoughts on 2005’s Music… as of now

TOP 20 ALBUMS of 2005
1) IPB Image Sigur RósTakk (ambient & angelic), released Sept ’05: This Sigur Rós album didn’t catch on with me as quick as their two prior albums, but after several listens, it gains the top spot for the year. I still don’t agree with many people’s assessment that it is “more accessible,” but regardless, they continue to make captivating music. Web:

2) IPB Image Porcupine TreeDeadwing (modern progressive), released Apr ’05: I saw Porcupine Tree live twice within about a month of owning this disc. I think it spun in my rental car in Chicago about 8 times… then it finally sunk in. I still hold In Absentia or maybe Lightbulb Sun as my favorite PT CDs, but Deadwing made music listening in 2005 a lot more enjoyable. Web:

3) IPB Image Sufjan StevensInvites You to Come On Feel the Illinoise (quirky folk), released July ’05: Wow. 12 months ago, I had only heard a few (boring) songs by Sufjan. Now, I’m hooked. His quirky, banjo-driven, xylophone-infused group-folkrock stylings really make me happy. His show at the Southgate House in Newport-KY this year was easily one of my top two concerts this year (Sigur Rós in Ann Arbor being the other). With two states under his belt (Michigan being the previous state album), I wonder how the remaining 48 will turn out… Web:

4) IPB Image Glen PhillipsWinter Pays For Summer (pop singer-songwriter), released Mar ’05: This was in the top spot for the better part of the year. A great follow-up album to his solo debut Abulum. As of early December, Glen’s also in the studio for a follow-up to this one… yay! Web:

5) IPB Image EisleyRoom Noises (rocks more than Sixpence), released Feb ’05: Another “hadn’t heard of them 12 months ago” band. I can solely blame the Paste Magazine DVD sampler for this crush. Anyway, I’m looking forward to great music from Eisley in the years to come… assuming they can keep their sibling rivalries in check… :) Web:

6) IPB Image Fiona AppleExtraordinary Machine (jazzy, sultry broodstress), released Oct ’05: Long-awaited… not as jazzy or cohesive as When the Pawn, but still a stellar performance. I dig this version of the album over the earlier Jon Brion/leaked version, but I do dig the Jon Brion-produced tracks that sandwich this record the most (go figure). Overall, this album was mostly worth the wait… now if only she’d tour on her own and not part of the Clodplay: Cloding Up the Great Indoors Tour ’06… Web:

7) IPB Image King’s XOgre Tones (melodic hardrock), released Sept ’05: 25 years and still counting… damn. I’ve been a King’s X fan for a longtime (not all 25 years, though), but their last two efforts left me nonplussed. This latest one, however, hits me square across the mouth — in the good way. Fantastic return to form, Jetydo! Web:

8 ) IPB Image Coheed and CambriaGood Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV – Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (geekcore, emo-pomp), released Sept ’05: There are so many cheesy aspects to C&C’s sound and marketing that make me cringe (it’s such an over-the top geek-and-wank fest)… yet their sound simply sucks… me in. To quote a drummer from an unrelated band, “balls and chunk is where it’s at!” Web:

9) IPB Image BeckGuero (folk-tronic), released Mar ’05: One of the best Beck albums in years… reminds me a lot of Odelay. Really funky, and it fits the “folk-tronic” badge well. And he’s got a remix album of it coming out soon (entitled Guerolito)… Web:

10) IPB Image OpethGhost Reveries (swedish death metal), released Aug ’05: The last three Opeth records had Porcupine Tree Steven Wilson at the production helm. Perhaps he was too busy supporting his own band to help the O out, but this album came out a-OK anyway. Sometimes the keyboards sound… um… dumb… but luckily there is enough thrash and growl to cover it up. Hail Satan! Hail Satin! Hail Stan! Web:

11) IPB Image DredgCatch Without Arms (passionate hardrock), released Jun ’05: From out-of-nowhere… I heard (and liked) Dredg’s song on the Stealth Soundtrack, even moreso than the Incubus songs that I bought the soundtrack for in the first place. Then I saw Dredg open up for Coheed & Cambria in Columbus on 9/30/05, I was hooked. Powerful melodic rock, with an ecstatic drummer and great vocals. Web:

12) IPB Image Foo FightersIn Your Honor (power-pop rock), released Jun ’05: Pure double-album pop enjoyment. Dave Grohl continues to impress me with his relentless delivery of great rock tunes. It seems effortless for him. Kurt is missed, but after its all said and done, I think Dave might win out as being the better pop songwriter… Web:

13) IPB Image The MobThe Mob (hardrock übergroup), released Nov ’05: A supergroup made up of a bunch of ’80s washouts (from Winger and Night Ranger) and also Doug Pinnick from King’s X (“and also” meaning he’s not included in the “washout” category). Doug sings on most of the album, and it doesn’t really sound dated like I thought it would (mainly due to Doug’s involvement, mind you). It’s got some classic rock / hairband overtones, but again only “overtones.” Overall it’s a great record!! It can be had directly from the Italian label for as much as Amazon is hocking it for… but there’s a slight “PSOL* issue. Web:

14) IPB Image Ben FoldsSongs For Silverman (piano pop with fuzz), released Apr ’05: Ben continues his solo path, while bringing back the sound very reminiscent of “The Five.” His new bassist and drummer definitely harken the sound of Darren and Robert from BFF. This album is solid, which is usually expected from the songwriting likes of Mr. Folds. Web:

15) IPB Image TristezaA Colores (experimental twitchy instrumental rock), released Nov ’05: Tristeza continues on even after Jimmy LaValle’s departure to dedicate his time to his solo effort, The Album Leaf. Both bands, Tristeza & The Album Leaf, have a similar style. I dig ’em both. If you like mellow, yet ecstatic, instrumental-tronica… you’ll dig ’em, too… Web:

16) IPB Image The SquirtsSquirts II: Resquirted (fantastic melodic rock with a dumb name), released sometime in 2005: I always loved The Mustard Seeds… a melodic, pop-sensible hardrock band from SoCal. They only released two albums… :( But, but, but… ringleader Matt Bissonette is a busy muthafunka. 2005 alone saw three Matt Bissonette-related releases, and one of his side bands, The Squirts, has a really close to Mustard Seeds vibe (as do two of his other sidebands, Jughead and Raising Lazarus). Walrus, take note. Anyway, this Squirts album is pop-rock delight. Catchy throughout and chunky when it matters. The last track, “Lobster,” is reason enough to buy the CD. Yeah, I know, dumbass cover art (and band name for that matter), but it’s really, REALLY GOOD. And it’s completely indie… a purchase directly benefits Matt Bissonette and his family. Web: IPB Image Ani DifrancoKnuckle Down (the folkstress who needs no description), released Jan ’05: This album is probably Ani’s most solid since Revelling / Reckoning. The packaging is superb as well… which is something she’s taken a shine to as of late. Web:

18 ) IPB Image Erin McKeownWe Will Become Like Birds (pop singer-songwriter), released Jun ’05: I bought this album due to Peter Mulvey guest vocalling on it. I continue to enjoy this album for the other 11 songs that are sheer singer-songwriter pop-delight. Web:

19) IPB Image CopelandIn Motion (power-pop rock), released Mar ’05: One of my rock heroes is Ken Andrews. I got into him backwards… first ON, then Failure (then Year of the Rabbit, in the correct order). Regardless of all of that, I noticed his imprint on Copeland right away, almost subconsciously. Anyway, I stuck around due to the great vocals (vocals are usually the “make-it-or-break-it” with me). Mr. Marsh’s vocals are a delight for me. Web:

20) IPB Image HeadphonesHeadphones (melancholically sung synth-pop), released May ’05: I dig David Bazan’s Pedro the Lion music a lot. This seemingly one-off project with TW Walsh was great as well… casio-sound and all. Web:

*- PSOL = PayPal for Speakers of Other Languages.

Honorable Mention:
Tori AmosThe BeekeeperAudioslaveOut of Exile, ClodplayX&Y, The Mars VoltaFrances the Mute, and Derek WebbMockingbird.
IPB Image / IPB Image / IPB Image / IPB Image / IPB Image

TOP 5 Eps of 2005
1) IPB Image Iron & WineWoman King (whispy americana), released Feb ’05: If I didn’t force myself to split “Fav Albums” from “Fav EPs,” this EP would probably crack the Top 5 Fav CDs of 2005. Great songs, great vocals… it got me back into Iron & Wine. Web:

2) IPB Image The Album LeafThe Red Tour -EP- (electronic-fused organic instrumental rock), released Jan ’05: Originally available on TAL’s 2004 tour, but not commercially available to the rest of us until early 2005… this great EP whets the appetite for their follow-up to In a Safe Place which should be out sometime in mid-2006. Web:

3) IPB Image Iron & Wine with CalexicoIn the Reins (whispy americana stops over in a bordertown), released Sept ’05: More of an Iron & Wine record than Calexico. Sometimes the combination works, and sometimes it seems awkward. Luckily, again, it’s more I&W… overall a great CD for 2005. Web:

4) IPB Image EuphoneV (jazzy groovy post-rock), released Apr ’05: I saw Euphone open up for Sunny Day Real Estate in 2000. They were a primarily instrumental band, and when there was singing, the drummer sang. They had a nice vibe and were on indie Jade Tree. I love their records. This EP caught me by surprise. Its five songs clock in at only 13 minutes. However, I could listen to it on repeat for hours. It’s not instrumental anymore either. It’s also a completely solo effort by the drummer (Ryan Rapsys played all instruments & sang). It’s very well recorded for being basically a “bathroom”-type recording. Very well received! In concert, I hear he drums, sings, and plays organ. Wow! Chicago peeps… check him out sometime. Web:

5) IPB Image Pristina featuring Sarah MasenSo Alive (indie alt-electronica), released May ’05: Well, it’s been 4+ years since Sarah Masen released any music. She is desparately missed, but this Pristina single/EP with some Sarah Masen vocals hit the spot for now. Sarah, got anything in the works? Web:

Best Use of a Horse’s Ass (or Horse’s Ass Paraphernalia)
Over the Rhine‘s Drunkard’s Prayer
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Best Instrumental Album
Tristeza‘s A Colores (runner-up: Mogwai‘s mostly instrumental Government Commissions)
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Best Soundtrack/Score
Thumbsucker Soundtrack featuring The Polyphonic Spree & Elliott Smith (runner-up: Screaming Masterpiece Soundtrack featuring a dozen+ great Icelandic artists)
IPB Image / IPB Image

Best Debut Album
Eisley‘s Room Noises (runner-up: HeadphonesHeadphones)
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Best Concept Album
Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come On Feel the Illinoise (runner-up: Coheed & Cambria‘s Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV – Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness)
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Best International Release (US label)
Sigur Rós‘s Takk… (runner-up: Porcupine Tree‘s Deadwing)
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Best International Release (non-US label) i.e.- harder to get ahold of…
Múm‘s Loksins Erum Við Engin (runner-up: Yann Tiersen‘s Les Retrouvailles)
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Best Local Album
The TimesBegin from Cincinnati, OH (runner-up: Shrug‘s Whole Hog for the Macho Jesus from Dayton, OH)
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I heart CDBaby. Support local / indie music!!

Best Indie Album
Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come On Feel the Illinoise (runner-up: Ani Difranco‘s Knuckle Down)
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Best Album Packaging & Design
Fantômas‘s Suspended Animation and its 30+ page spiral calendar with illustrations by Japanese artist Yoshimoto Nara (runner-up: Ani Difranco‘s Knuckle Down)
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Best Album Artwork
The Iron & Wine and Calexico collaborative In the Reins -EP- painting (runner-up: Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come On Feel the Illinoise‘s cease-and-desist-inducing “Superman cover”)
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Biggest Disappointment
Gary Cherone‘s solo debut Need I Say More -EP- (he didn’t need to say more, he just needed to say it better)
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Worst Album Art (for an otherwise stellar album)
The Squirts Resquirtedgreat album, very Matt Bissonette/Jughead/Mustard Seeds-y, yet dumb, dumb, dumb cover…
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and since I didn’t want to end on a sour note, here are three more “Best Of” winners…

Best Use of Nature on an Album Cover
King’s X‘s disguised trees on Ogre Tones (runner-up: Copeland‘s sleek In Motion)
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Best Book on CD
Noam Chomsky‘s Imperial Ambitions (runners-up: George Carlin‘s When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? -and- Al Franken‘s The Truth (With Jokes))
IPB Image / IPB Image / IPB Image

Best Album named “Suspended Animation
Fantômas‘s Suspended Animation definitely over Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci‘s first solo album under the same name
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yes, I like lists… and the “concatenate” function…

~Dan – np: nellie mckay‘s “the big one” from the forthcoming album pretty little head (early front-runner for Best of 2006)

THE ORCHARD MIX CLUB: OCTOBER 2005 presented by posty mcposterton in A-to-Z style

14th Oct 05 (Fri) 3 comments


OCTOBER 2005 presented by posty mcposterton in A-to-Z style.

Too much music? Nah, that could never be!

Introduction… well, I’m definitely more of a rock fan; so my compilation is gonna lean more that way than more of the folk/ camps that a lot of y’all have come from… but alas, hopefully you’ll find something new and exciting on here. If something on here is atrociously not your thing… sorry. There may be some heavy riffage goin’ on in parts… again, sorry. And due to the A to Z nature of it all (asinine, I know), sometimes one song doesn’t flow all that well into another… again, sorry. Even with 36 tracks to share, I still feel like I’m cutting off my left arm for the sake of my right sometimes in selecting songs. If you ever wanna hear more of an artist, let me know.

cover art

The following is a glut of information about the artists on this compilation if your interests have been piqued by the Mix CDs. I won’t be offended if ya toss this info sheet, though… ya bigger tosser… Oh, you might wonder why I also note “Indie Meter” for some artists… well, I love a lot of music, but I love to support indie artists a lot, too. I think it’s important to support good music. The downside… I tend to not know songs like Van Morrison’s “Moondance” or Elton John’s “Rocket Man” on first listen, and the first time I heard Over the Rhine covering “Blackbird” I asked Bruce who they were covering (that was 6 years ago, and I wasn’t really big into the Beatles until early 2000). Yeah, my wife laughs at me a lot.

CD #1

(track 01) A is brought to you by The Album Leaf.


Album: In a Safe Place (Sub Pop, ©2004)

Indie Meter: All of The Album Leaf’s albums have been on dinky indie labels, and this one on a larger indie label, Sub Pop. I give him major indie props.


Hails from: San Diego via Iceland (or Iceland via San Diego, depending)

Info: I got into The Album Leaf (aka Jimmy LaValle, formerly of Tristeza) via a Sigur Rós connection (read: a link from their site to some sound samples with the SR guys guesting). This recent album was produced in Sigur Rós’s swimming pool studio in Iceland. I have a tendency to really like organic-meets-electronic-driven, melodic efforts by one-man bands (Ken Andrews/ON & Kevin Moore/Chroma Key being the other notable ones). The Album Leaf has a smattering of about 6 albums/EPs (plus some 7” vinyl)… In a Safe Place is the best place to start. Some of the songs have vocals, but I’d earmark The Album Leaf as primarily an instrumental, soundscape artist. If you like The Album Leaf, I’d say also check out Tristeza (more guitar-y, but still instrumental).

(track 02) B is brought to you by Blackfield.


Album: Blackfield (Snapper, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Released on indie Snapper in Europe in ‘04 and indie Koch in North America in ‘05


Hails from: England and Israel

Info: Blackfield is a wonderful collaboration between Porcupine Tree singer/guitarist Steven Wilson and Israeli popstar Aviv Geffen. Normally I would cringe at a band/album/song combo all having the same name… but, hell, it’s a good song regardless of the triple-team naming with which it is associated. The Blackfield album fits in with the Porcupine Tree catalog, as Steven’s fingerprints are all over this one-off collaboration. I actually hope it becomes more than a one-off, but I don’t mind Steven’s Porcupine Tree stuff either… ;)

(track 03) C is brought to you by Copeland.

Song:No One Really Wins

Album: In Motion (The Militia Group, ©2005)

Indie Meter: Always on indie labels… but about to blow up, if you ask me…


Hails from: currently Atlanta, GA

Info: I got into Copeland based on one of those damn in-store listening booths. J Great packaging, cover art… and when I popped the headphones on, I got an immediate Ken Andrews/Failure rush… when I turned over the CD, I saw that Ken had mixed the album (he’s relentlessly all over the rock scene). Anyway, the best part of Copeland, to me, is Aaron Marsh’s vocals. Enjoy.

(track 04) D is brought to you by The Dissociatives.

Song:Goodbye (Prop Sleepyheadz Mix)

Album: The original version appears on LP, The Dissociatives (Virgin Eleven, ©2004)


Hails from: Australia, the country and continent

Info: The Dissociatives is comprised of Daniel Johns and Paul Mac (and some touring members). Daniel Johns of Silverchair is a rock-n-roll hero of mine. At age 15, he had his first international super-hit (“Tomorrow” from Frogstomp). Alas, Silverchair were just a 2nd rate grunge band at the time. I’ll save my ramblings about Silverchair for Song #S, but just know that my interest in The Dissociatives came from Silverchair (who is now on hiatus while Daniel is busy with The Dissociatives). The Dissociatives’ debut album came out in 2004 in Australia, and I’m extremely thankful that of all countries with high potential for importing CDs to me, Canada and Australia have great exchange rates in favor of us Stateside. It was my #1 album of 2004, BY FAR. The Dissociatives record got international release in 2005… you can get it for a reasonable price at Amazon and iTunes. Do it, you know you want to…

(track 05) E is brought to you by Erin McKeown.

Song:Bells and Bombs

Album: We Will Become Like Birds (Nettwerk, ©2005)

Indie Meter: Former indie-queen now on a biggie.


Hails from: Northeastern U.S.

Info: I first saw her open for Over the Rhine some years back, and I wasn’t impressed. Then I saw her on one of Ani Difranco’s tour DVDs… still not much to get me to purchase her stuff. Then I saw her newest CD above in a listening booth at my local shop, and there was a song that Peter Mulvey sang with her on the CD (he’s a personal favorite of mine). I got the CD, and the Peter Mulvey track isn’t even in the top half of the good songs on this album… and that’s a very pleasant surprise. This record is a pop-folk delight.

(track 06) F is brought to you by Faith No More.


Album: Album of the Year (Warner Reprise, ©1997)

Indie Meter: Never since probably their Courtney Love days were FNM indie. Now they are in the “dead band” category.

Webpage(s): – –

Hailed from: San Francisco, CA

Info: Faith No More (and Mike Patton offshoots) are in my Top 5 Artists of all-time. I just love ‘em… This here is a mellower song from their final album. I’m glad I got to see them before they broke up. My only pain is that the opener for that Fall 1997 Faith No More show was Limp Bizkit, who went on to sell a cagillion records while Faith No More broke up for “artistic reasons.” Faith No More was comprised of 5 very divergent musicians, who at the end of it all, hated each other’s artistic direction. This is what I feel made Faith No More so brilliant: five musicians who wanted something completely different in their sound. It was that great tension that birthed some wonderful music. Oh, and yes, Courtney Love was once their singer… I’m glad that other singers took over and eventually Mike Patton brought it all together.

(track 07) G is brought to you by The Galactic Cowboys.

Song:Still Life of Peace

Album: Space In Your Face (Geffen, ©2003)

Indie Meter: The later part of their career was on the indie label Metal Blade Records. Now they are in the “dead band” category as well.

Webpage(s): – –

Hailed from: Houston, TX

Info: I got into the Galactic Cowboys in the Fall of 1994 – aka freshman year in college. I got into so much new and different music that first quarter alone… my buddy’s band Enslaved (now unfortunately called Gnashing of Teeth) led to Dream Theater which led to the Galactic Cowboys and subsequently King’s X. Anyway, I also got into creating webpages, and in 1995 after I got out of the Air Force ROTC I had all kinds of free time… so I created the 2nd Galactic Cowboys page on the “internet” (but humbly it was the best GC website at the time). It was 1995 – the internet was picking up credibility. Anyway, a bit after starting my little fanpage, I get an email from their guitarist (Wally Farkas). I built up a good connection with them, and for a while was their primary source of web content until they launched their own official webpage about 4 years later. Their bassist (Monty Colvin) is also a painter; and I just recently bought one of his originals… All the above is to say that the Galactic Cowboys have a special place in my heart the left ventricle, I think. Anyway, their music ranged from prog-metal at the beginning into what ended up being a melodic-hardrock at the end (like the Beatles mashed with Foo Fighters or something). The song featured here is in my Top 5 Songs of all-time, which is why I couldn’t cut it even after it was on the chopping block for this compilation about a dozen times. Where else can you get tasty quasi-speed metal riffage, strings, sitar, screwed up time changes, four-part harmonies, and an allegory for Corporate America?

(track 08 ) H is brought to you by Hotel Lights.

Song:Miles Behind Me

Album: Hotel Lights (self-released, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Sold completely indie via their webpage, shows, and CDBaby. Big indie meter points!!


Hails from: North Carolina

Info: The primary vocals and songwriting is done by Darren Jesse, the drummer for the now-defunct Ben Folds Five. Refer to his penned song “Magic” from the Five’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner CD for more quality songwriting of his. Darren doesn’t drum in this band, though. He plays guitar and sings lead. This song is fairly indicative of their sound… great indie pop.

(track 09) I is brought to you by an Incubus side-project called Time-Lapse Consortium.


Album: Time-Lapse Consortium Live at the Roxy (Epic Official Bootlegs, ©2003)

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: Southern California

Info: As far as I know, this was a band put together for only a few shows in 2003. I hope it comes back in the future for a reprise album or tour… It is the brainchild of Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and his musician friend Suzie Katayama. It also featured Incubus’ drummer Jose Pasillas and The Roots’ bassist Ben Kenney (who later joined Incubus), as well as horn and string sections. The CD made my Top 5 CDs of 2003 (see the old Actwin archives for proof). It was a delightful surprise. It is primarily jazzy numbers like “Cholula” (named after an authentic Mexican salsa), and it also has a few Incubus songs thrown in near the end, with Brandon Boyd coming out to sing on “A Certain Shade of Green.” It is primarily an instrumental effort, though.

(track 10) J is brought to you by Jude (Christodal).

Song:Brad and Suzy (Petralia Mix)

Album: You’re So Hot I Love You -EP- (Maverick, ©1999), the original version is on No One Is Really Beautiful (Maverick, ©1998 )

Indie Meter: Now completely indie via his webpage, shows, and CDBaby. Big indie meter points!!


Hails from: Los Angeles, CA

Info: Once indie, once Madonna’s whipping boy, now indie again. I saw Jude open up for Ben Folds Five over Memorial Day weekend in 1999 down in Nashville. By his second song, I was a lifelong fan. I bought his only majorly-distributed CD the next day at Best Buy. He went into hiding for a while after his label rejected his follow-up album and made him re-record it. The result was King of Yesterday, which was good, but quite… um, “forced.” He eventually got out of his contract and seemingly disappeared. In late-late 2003, he mysteriously had a new album on CDBaby (I CDBaby). Anyway, for the past few months Jude has been updating his webpage almost daily, like some kind of hard-to-maintain manual blog. It is often humorous, and I proudly say that I try to visit it daily. He’s got several projects in the works… 2006 looks like it’s gonna be a good year for Jude fans.

(track 11) K is brought to you by Michael Kelsey.

Song:Wild Blue Ride

Album: November (H Note, ©2003)

Indie Meter: Completely through his webpage, local shops, and shows… major indie props!


Hails from: Lafayette, IN

Info: My first Over the Rhine concert was also my first Michael Kelsey concert. He was the opener, and he blew me away. His records are great, but his live show is something of legend. I once saw him play a song, break a string, and change the string while not stopping the song. In 2004, he was awarded the top prize in Guitar Center’s Best Unsigned Guitarist search. He’s got 4 records and a DVD-EP, and his music is about half instrumental and half vocal. If you only do one thing in your life from here on out, add yourself to his email list and go see him live if he comes to your town.

(track 12) L is brought to you by Jason Ludwig.


Album: PeLL MeLL (self-released, ©2003)

Indie Meter: A complete DIY-er from Cincinnati… gotta love his tenacity…

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: Cincinnati, OH

Info: All I can really say it that I really dig Jason’s debut CD, and I hope Noctaluca (Jason’s band incarnation) get that damned debut album recorded… they’ve been threatening to finish it for about two years now… in concert, they’ve got a nice Pink Floyd meets Radiohead meets <insert jam-band name> vibe.

(track 13) M is brought to you by Mr. Bungle.

Song:Goodbye Sober Day

Album: California (Warner Bros, ©1999)

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: San Francisco, CA

Info: Mr. Bungle was Mike Patton’s band before, during, and after Faith No More. They are what I’d call loungy-cartoon-beachbum-circus-deathrock. They’ve only released three proper albums, all on Warner Brothers… which was lucky for them, otherwise they’d probably be sued for their logo. They are on a long-term hiatus right now, meaning that Mike Patton is busy with his 80-million other musical and filmic side-projects. I believe that Mr. Bungle’s music is utter brilliance, yet I also concede that it’s not for everyone. It’s on this mix CD to expose your brain to something different. At least listen to it once all the way through… after that, I wouldn’t be offended if you skipped it. Again, it’s not for everyone. It’s definitely up my proverbial alley, though. Me likes me some Bungle.

(track 14) N is brought to you by No-Man.

No-ManSong:Chelsea Cap

Album: All That You Are -EP- (Hidden Art, ©2003)

Indie Meter: Only on European indie labels.


Hails from: England

Info: Steven Wilson sneaks his way onto this compilation once again. This side-project is fronted by Tim Bowness, though. It’s a two-man band of sorts. Tim writes the lyrics and sings, and Steven writes and plays the music. On some of their albums, they also have some additional studio musicians (Porcupine Tree kin and others). Great melodic rock, sometimes painful lyrically.

(track 15) O is brought to you by Office of Strategic Influence.

Office of Strategic Influence - Limited Edition Song:Hello, Helicopter!

Album: Office of Strategic Influence (Inside Out, ©2003)

Indie Meter: One album out on an indie progrock label.

Webpage(s): – – – – – –

Hails from: The members were from Long Island, Montreal, and Costa Rica at the time, but it was recorded in upstate NY.

Info: A “supergroup” with Kevin Moore (of Chroma Key), Jim Matheos (of Fates Warning), and Mike Portnoy (of Dream Theater). You had me at Kevin Moore.” It’s like a Chroma Key record, but it didn’t even start with Kevin’s involvement. Now continuing on for OSI #2, it’ll be primarily Kevin and Jim. Anyway, the album is a loose concept of sorts about the media, political administrations, and the failed attempt of the Pentagon/Homeland Security Department setting up a real “OSI” to make the U.S.’s “war on terror” be viewed in a more favorable light overseas. Given all of that backstory drivel, the music isn’t overtly political.

(track 16) P is brought to you by Placebo.

PlaceboSong:Twenty Years

Album: Once More With Feeling (Astralwerks-EMI, ©2004)


Hails from: England

Info: My favorite “exactly half gay band”… EVER. By the way, that’s their description of their three-piece rock group, not mine. I got into Placebo with their song “Pure Morning.” They only got better after that. The song on this Orchard compilation is actually the previously unreleased song from their culmination of singles compilation put out last year. Most compilations like that are a sign to an end of a band… ya know, record contract fulfillment. I’m relieved that they’re in the studio now for a new release in 2006. Brian Malko’s got a golden voice that bridges the gap between the Placebo sound of britglam and punkrock.

(track 17) Q is brought to you by Queen (via Extreme).

Song:Love of My Life

Album: Song for Love -EP- (A&M Records, ©1992)

Webpage(s): – – – – – –

Hailed from: Boston, MA

Info: Well, you didn’t really want me to put Queensrÿche on here, did you? And, I admittedly don’t own any Queen. They just never were my thing, even though I do like some of their stuff. Rather than Queensrÿche, you all should be thanking me for opting for Extreme covering a Queen song. They even have Queen’s guitarist Brian May on the track. Extreme was/is in my Top 5 Artists of all-time list. Count how many times I say that – I think I’ve got 4 of those Top 5 Artists on this compilation, with my postscript being all about the 5th separate mention of the Top 5 Artists. Say what you will, but Extreme was so much more than the “More Than Words” hairband. They just came out either too late or too early for their time, depending on how you look at it. They were more of an art-rock band, but no one seems to believe me when I say that… alas, this song doesn’t go in that direction either. But trust me, Extreme was an art-rock band. J

(track 18 ) R is brought to you by Radiohead.

Song:Meeting In the Aisle

Album: Airbag (How Am I Driving?) -EP- (Capitol, ©1998 )

Webpage(s): – – –

Hails from: England

Info: Cough… Radiohead is one of my Top 5 Artists of all-time. I yield blindly to Thom Yorke’s will. I’d buy a record of him dumping in a plastic bag, shut up Steve. In other words, I don’t feel as if I have to defend Radiohead. Their music speaks for itself. Some people don’t like it. Some people do… a lot. I’m in the later group.

CD #2

(track 01) S is brought to you by Silverchair.

Song:Tuna In the Brine

Album: Diorama (Virgin Eleven, ©2002)


Hails from: Australia

Info: Cough… my 3rd Top 5 Artists of all-time in a row… OK, I’m done with that for now. Silverchair started out as a 2nd rate grunge band but evolved into an amazing force. Their last two albums, Neon Ballroom and Diorama, are pulled out of my CD racks a lot to spin. Diorama was easily my favorite CD of 2002. The album features the orchestration of the legendary Van Dyke Parks on three tracks (including this track, “Tuna In the Brine”). Silverchair is currently on hiatus, but I hope Daniel Johns and company get back to working up new music soon. They’re only 24 or 25 now; so they’ve got hopefully plenty of time to put out some more great music.

(track 02) T is brought to you by Tool.


Album: Lateralus (Zoo/Volcano, ©2001)


Hails from: Southern California

Info: Tool is one of the most intelligent rock groups around. Sure, some of their content might be questionable to some, per se, but that’s all part of their artistic and conscious striving to be subversive towards the mainstream. This track is one of their most beautiful pieces of music. Much of their music is harsher than this, but it’s all quite stunning music, in my opinion. Maynard James Keenan has one of the best voices in metal – hands down. If you don’t mind the “f-ck your god” lyrics, I’d also recommend checking out Maynard’s other mainstream-subversive band, A Perfect Circle, with former-Tool guitar tech Billy Howerdel and former-Failure guitarist Troy Van Leeuwuen. Back to Tool… Danny Carey plays the most insanely creative drumming that I‘ve heard – but he remains very understated in his approach. Adam Jones’ guitar playing is oft understated as well, while also being oft powerfully abrupt. I don’t know much about their bassist Justin Chancellor, but I’m sure he likes bubble gum as much as the rest of them.

(track 03) U is brought to you by Unbelievable Truth.


Album: Almost Here (Virgin, ©1997)


Hailed from: England

Info: I first saw them on tour with Tori Amos. I second saw them on tour with Tori Amos. I third saw them on tour with Tori Amos. Yeah, I am a Tori junkie, and I got hooked on Unbelievable Truth by the third time. They reminded me of a cross between Radiohead and Toad the Wet Sprocket, which is a comparison that still rings true (for me). I came to find out that the reason why they sounded a lot like Radiohead was that their front man was none other than Andy Yorke (Thom’s younger brother). They only released one album on a major, then went quite underground and independently released 2 to 3 albums (depending on your continent) before they eventually called it quits.

(track 04) V is brought to you by Vigilantes of Love (Bill Mallonee).

Song:Solar System

Album: Audible Sigh v. 3 (Meat Market/True Tunes/Compass, ©1999/2000/2000)

Indie Meter: Bill and VOL has been primarily indie for their entire career… except for the brief period when they had one greatest hits and a studio album on a Warner subsidiary.


Hails from: Athens, GA

Info: Bill Mallonee is Vigilantes of Love. Some people love him, some people don’t. This song comes from the third issue of Audible Sigh. It’s my favorite album of VOL’s since the Blister Soul / Welcome to Struggleville era. The trouble is that it got released three separate times on three separate labels with different tracks… a-nnoying, but a great record nonetheless. Bill Mallonee is a prolific songwriter, and I enjoy his brutal honesty. Sometimes he gets too countrified or too sesame street-harmonica for my tastes, but many times he gets it spot on. My wife likes his Snuggle fabric softener song.

(track 05) W is brought to you by Carissa’s Wierd (the misspelling is theirs, not mine).

Song:Ignorant Piece of Shit

“Explicit” Lyrics: None other than the title…

Album: Songs About Leaving (Sad Robot, ©2002)

Indie Meter: Completely indie or self-released, and sometimes very difficult to track down…

Webpage(s): – –

Hailed from: Seattle, WA

Info: I thank [jp/p] from the Orchard for getting me hooked on Carissa’s Wierd. I wish they would learn to spell, though. At first I thought they just took the whole “i before e” rule too seriously, but a look at their liner notes shows that they really just don’t know how to spell many words correctly. Eh… regardless, I love their raw, emotional music. They are now on official hiatus/break-up, but Jenn Ghetto has a couple of albums out and about under the band name “S”…

(track 06) X is brought to you by the X-ecutioners vs. General Patton.

Song:¡Get Up, Punk! (0200 Hours)

Album: Joint Special Operations Task Force (Ipecac, ©2005)

Indie Meter: On Mike Patton’s own Ipecac label


Hails from: San Francisco, CA & New York City

Info: This was way better than the alternative for “X.” J This is a one-off side-project between Mike Patton and the hip-hop turntable crew X-ecutioners. I don’t have much to add other than saying that much of this album is disjointed, but the few actual songs on it are wonderful…

(track 07) Y is brought to you by Year of the Rabbit.

Song:Rabbit Hole

Album: Year of the Rabbit (Elektra, ©2003)

Webpage(s): – – – – –

Hails from: Southern California

Info: Year of the Rabbit is the most recent Ken Andrews band in existence… it’s not officially done, but he’s off working on other stuff right now. I dig Ken Andrews a lot… I first got into him through his solo effort, ON. It’s very organic, yet very electronic pop. Then I got into his old band, Failure. Their album Fantastic Planet is probably one of the most underrated gems in modern rock. It’s utterly fabulous. He also had a cover project called The Replicants that Maynard James Keenan (of Tool) and others appeared on… Since my slots for F, O, and R were taken, Year of the Rabbit appears on this compilation. YOTR is rockier than ON and more polished than Failure. Ken has also produced or mixed upwards of 100 artists… the list is gi-mongous

(track 08) Z is brought to you by Frank Zappa.

Song:Duke of Orchestral Prunes

Album: Läther (Rykodisc, ©1996)


Hailed from: primarily Southern California

Info: Frank Zappa was a prolific songwriting satirist who often wrote ridiculously and often politically. He many times stumbled on to a great thing, but many times he also didn’t know when to quit. He pushed the boundaries of rock, and specifically the concept of the rock composer. After issues with the biggies, he became an astounding do-it-yourselfer. Over his career, he put out over 70 albums of original material, and most likely appeared on a hundred other albums. In his later years, he became more and more avant-garde. My usual standby FZ instrumental track is “Peaches In Regalia” from Hot Rats (I even included it on our wedding music CDs), but I opted for something different in this compilation… and I didn’t want to offend anyone; so I picked an instrumental track. As for essential Zappa, Strictly Commercial (a hits package) is where I started, but other essential albums are Apostrophe (’), Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka

(track 09) 0 is brought to you by Remy Zero.


Album: Villa Elaine (Geffen, ©1998 )


Hailed from: Birmingham, AL

Info: Hmmm… what to say about Remy Zero? I got into them back in 1998 when I saw the video for “Gramarye” on some late-night alternative rock cable-access station. I bought both of their albums at the time for cheap at a used shop… both great purchases at a $5 level. When their last album came out, The Golden Hum, I think I got it the day it came out. I saw them in concert that year, then I watched the first episode of Smallville after one of our weekly Buffy nights. First few bars of the TV show’s opening credits, I blurted out, “holy crap, this is Remy Zero!” Everyone else in the room looked at me like I was a psycho (which is a highly reliable reaction considering the source). Anyway, I thought it was cool that a fairly unknown band has getting such prominent exposure. Apparently this overexposure ended up breaking the band up.

(track 10) 1 is brought to you by Population-1.

Song:Unhappy B-day

“Explicit” Lyrics: Not really, but it does include “shit” a few times.

Album: Population-1 (self-released, ©2002)

Indie Meter: Puts out his albums out independently or also on Polydor Japan

Webpage(s): which will eventually morph into

Hails from: Australia & Los Angeles (and formerly Boston)

Info: Nuno Bettencourt is a rock hero of mine. After Extreme broke up, he put out a great solo album under the moniker of just “Nuno” called Schizophonic. He then put out two albums under the moniker Mourning Widows. The first MW record was still a solo album, and then by the second he made a band out of it. He briefly changed the name of his band to Near Death Experience, and then he changed it to Population-1. And now, two days before the beginning of October 2005, I find out that there are plans to change the name from Population-1 to Dramagods. Oy vey! Needless to say, I think Nuno’s got identity issues or something. All of his post-Extreme days have been melodic power-rock efforts… some showcasing his guitar-playing, but mostly showcasing his songwriting. I’m kind of an idiot, because this song doesn’t really showcase his “great songwriting” (it was just a fun “party” tune). Population-1/Dramagods hopes to release their third record (2nd full-length) in early 2006. Three members of Population-1/Dramagods (definitely including Nuno) are also working with Perry Farrell (of Jane’s Addiction & Lollapalooza fame) and Tony Kanal (No Doubt’s bassist) on a side-project called Satellite Party, which had its live debut at the Chicago 2005 Lollapalooza fest. I have no news about a Satellite Party studio effort…

(track 11) 2 is brought to you by The Jelly Jam’s album 2.

Song:She Was Alone

Album: 2 (Inside Out, ©2004)

Indie Meter: Small prog-rock label…

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: Texas, New York and Boston

Info: This is a veritable prog “supergroup” of Ty Tabor (King’s X), Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs), and John Myung (Dream Theater). It actually started as Platypus (with former-Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian), but splintered off into two side-projects – The Jelly Jam (sans Derek) and Jughead (Ty, Derek and Matt & Gregg Bisonnette from The Mustard Seeds). Of the three bands (Platypus, Jughead, and The Jelly Jam), I dig Jughead the most… but they’re all great rock bands.

(track 12) 3 is brought to you by Secret Chiefs 3.

Secret Chiefs 3 photoSong:Knights of Damcar

Album: Book M (Web of Mimicry, ©2001)

Indie Meter: Completely.

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: unsure, but probably the SF Bay Area

Info: No, you’re not listening to a band from the Middle East. You’re listening to a gang of musical fringe players who run in circles with the noiserock, punk, and hardcore underground, including members of Mr. Bungle. No, Mike Patton has no involvement in this group, but fellow Bungles (Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, and Danny Hiefetz) are all over the Secret Chiefs 3. The Secret Chiefs 3 catalog is “mostly made up of Indian/Asian-sounding melodies overlayed with wildly cavorting techno rhythms and a tiny bit of metal, infused with a sense of mystery and paranoia from the thematic artwork based on number theory and assumedly Hindu belief systems” (allmusicguide). Most of it fits in with the eclectic Bungle sound – ie: The Secret Chiefs 3 can’t be defined or pigeonholed.

(track 13) 4 is brought to you by Porcupine Tree’s EP that has a “4” in the title.


Album: 4 Chords That Made a Million -EP- (k-scope/Snapper, ©2000)


Hails from: England

Info: I should thank (or blame) both Steve C. and Zayne for getting me into Porcupine Tree. A brilliant progressive band comes along just when I’m about fed-up with progressive rock. Porcupine Tree’s earlier albums are more Pink Floyd influenced, and their most recent albums (In Absentia and Deadwing) have a heavier edge to them. PT comes highly recommended in both the live and recorded setting. Porcupine Tree is also related to two other bands in this compilation… Steven Wilson (the primary songwriter in PT) is also a major contributor in both Blackfield and No-Man.

(track 14) 5 is brought to you by Jurassic 5.

Song:Monkey Bars

“Explicit” Lyrics: Not really, but it does include “shit” a few times.

Album: Quality Control (Interscope, ©2000)

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: Los Angeles

Info: Jurassic 5 is quite frankly one of the few hip-hop groups out there that truly excites me. I enjoy their “old school” style and their art of making the hip-hop sound be a lot about musicality. Their DJs (Cut Chemist and Nu Mark) bring a level of musicianship and playfulness to the band. J5’s MCs also tend to keep it clean (for the most part) and rap about positive and/or thought-provoking topics… not “hoes and gats”… This song (“Monkey Bars”) is just a fun song about the elements of hip-hop.

(track 15) 6 is brought to you by King’s X.

Song:Six Broken Soldiers

Album: Faith Hope Love (Megaforce, ©1990)

Indie Meter: They started out indie, then got signed up for an asinine 14-record contract with Atlantic. Yikes! Luckily Atlantic honored their request to be dropped, and they have been indie ever since 1996.

Webpage(s): – –

Hails from: Katy, TX

Info: I’m going to preface all of this by stating that this song is an aberration of most King’s X songs… it is sung by the drummer, and it’s primarily nonsensical… alas, it had “six” in the title. King’s X is one of those rare bands who have withstood the test of time. They have been around for over 25 years, and they are still active in the rock music scene without having any major hits or chart success. They are a band that has spawned countless influenced-by colleagues – Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Collective Soul included – and gained much respect from musicians all over the world. All three members of King’s X (Doug Pinnick, Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill) have side-projects and solo efforts and remain loyal to King’s X through it all.

(track 16) 7 is brought to you by Zero 7.

Song:Truth & Rights

Album: Another Late Night (Kinetic, ©2002)


Hails from: England

Info: Thanks to Luke for his pop-up Zero 7 Player post before When It Falls came out. Beautiful vocals and smooth jazz. This band became a quick favorite.

(track 17) 8 is brought to you by Elliott Smith.

Song:Figure 8

Album: Son of Sam -single- (Dreamworks, ©2000)

Indie Meter: indie-pop king who somehow got nominated for an Oscar against Celine DionJ

Webpage(s): is a good posthumous webpage

Hailed from: primarily Portland, OR, but also New York City and Los Angeles along his career path

Info: I thank Bruce for getting me into Elliott Smith right before he came to town in 2000. I’m glad I got to see him before he died. He was a treasure, and he is very much missed. This track was from the Figure 8 sessions and made its way onto the “Son of Sam” import single.

(track 18) 9 is brought to you by Buckethead.


Album: Bermuda Triangle (Catalyst, ©2002)

Indie Meter: countless albums on countless indie labels


Hails from: a chicken coop

Info: Buckethead is crazy. He plays guitar like few others. He wears a KFC-style bucket and a white mask during shows and photo ops. He plays guitars with nunchuks. He dances the robot. He’s got an album with Viggo Mortensen that is surprisingly good. He works a lot with Les Claypool and Bootsy Collins. He was in Axl Rose’s latest touring incarnation of Guns N’ Roses. There is very little known about his origins or personal life. Most of his music is in a metal vein, but two of his albums would be well-suited for fans of mellower music: Colma and Electric Tears. I even used some Buckethead tracks in our wedding CDs… J


Enjoy! Sorry for overloading… but once I got the “A to Z” mix concept in my head, there was no smoting it.


PS– You might be asking yourself, “why is Chroma Key clearly absent? Well, I’ve got an OSI track on there, which is essentially Chroma Key on steroids. If you wanna hear some Chroma Key (ie- my #1 favorite band of all-time), just ask me. Or check out some of the following links for sound samples:

The Chroma Key albums Dead Air For Radios and You Go Now have gained my 100% buy-back guarantee… if you buy them and don’t like ‘em, I’ll buy ‘em off your hands for what you paid for ‘em (max $13.95/ea). Honest to God!

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