ian's music

Anyone who knows me knows that music is an important part of my life as well as Maureen's and Timmy's lives (and Evelyn's, eventually). Here's a sample of our favorite musical artists and music-related links. Also see our complete album list.


Our top favorite musical artists, in "genre spectrum" order. I'll explain this later. Is it just me, or are there a lot of Natalies in this list?

English-born Sealhenry Samuel writes songs that are played in radio stations of various formats, including Top 40 (adult contemporary), modern rock, and modern jazz ("smooth jazz"). It's a mix of dance, rock, and R&B/soul. His velvet voice makes his albums highly listenable all the way through, especially his self-titled Seal [1994] and Seal IV. His latest album is Soul, a covers album of classic R&B hits. I've been a Seal fan since 1994 and own all of his studio albums.

Richard Melville's alter ego (as well as Voodoo Child and others). Great electronic music, but also speed metal, ambient, and movie scores. He's also got a lot of important things to say about lifestyle and religious convictions. If only we could all take care of the environment more, be truly more compassionate toward each other, and eat a little less meat. Moby's latest album is wait for me. I've been a Moby fan since 1994 and seen him in concert once and own all of his albums (under the Moby name), except Go - The Very Best of Moby: Remixed, since many of the tracks are included on the bonus disc in the special edition of the Go compilation.

Frou Frou / Imogen Heap
Imogen Heap has three solo albums (as a singer/songwriter) and one with Guy Sigsworth, the other half of Frou Frou, who also worked with Björk (and it shows). Imogen's voice alternates between whispering and ethereal but works well with the dance beat. Their only album is details, and the band is on indefinite hiatus. Heap's latest album is Ellipse, which fans of Frou Frou will probably like the best of her solo work. I've been a Frou Frou and Imogen Heap fan since 2004 and own their sole album, as well as all of Imogen Heap's solo albums.

Classically-trained Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong made her breakthrough in electronic pop that fits into the modern rock genre somewhat. She writes her own songs and vocalizes them with both strength and vulnerability. Her latest album is Safe Trip Home, her most mellow effort. We've been Dido fans since 2000 and seen her in concert once and own all of her studio albums.

One of the ultimate synth-pop bands in existence. Vince on keyboards and Andy on vocals. Pure pop heaven. Their latest album, Light at the End of the World, was just released on 22 May 2007 in the US. I've been an Erasure fan since 1989 and own all of their albums, except the Hits! album (but I do have the more comprehensive Hits! DVD and the even better audio collection, total pop!). A new album is in the works now, hopefully released by the end of 2010.

Depeche Mode
Synth-pop and guitar rock all in one. They pretty much have it all. Their latest album is Sounds of the Universe. I've been an dM fan since 1989 and seen them in concert three times and own all of their albums, plus both Dave Gahan solo slbums. I wrote 6 parodies, some of which went on the dM BONG mailing list, but never went into the archives. I also made some dM MIDI files from scratch on my Yamaha PSR-510. If anyone is interested in any of these, please email me.


depeche mode T-shirt design
Someone on the BONG mailing list designed this incredible multi-color logo for a T-shirt. Email me if you want to claim it.

The definitive rock band of our time. Their latest album is No Line of the Horizon, actually one of my favorites of theirs from start to finish. They also have a comprehensive, single-disc greatest hits, U218 Singles, including the excellent collaboration with Green Day, "The Saints Are Coming." Great sounds by the whole band and great lyrics, mostly by Bono. This is their official site. I've been a U2 fan since 1991 and seen them in concert twice and own all of their albums.


ZooTV picture
I forgot where this came from, but it's cool. Email me if you want to claim your artwork.

The Cardigans
The latest in a long line of Swedish bands, starting with ABBA, Roxette, and...Ace of Base. They've evolved from kitsch-pop rock to electronica to singer/songwriter rock with their last album released in the US, Long Gone Before Daylight. The most recent album, Super Extra Gravity (hence the new logo), hasn't been released in the US yet, so I got the import when B&N had an extensive CD sale. They just released a greatest hits abroad, but I haven't gotten it yet. I've been a Cardigans fan since 1996 and seen them in concert once and own all of their non-compilation albums.

Dixie Chicks
These gals can harmonize, play, swing, rock, and increasingly write their songs. They've got lots of talent and spunk, and they're the band that first got me listening to country. I've been a Dixie Chicks fan since 2000, and own all of their Natalie Maines-era albums.

Modern eminent singer/songwriter Jewel Kilcher has styles spanning folk, rock, pop, and even dance. Her lyrics are poetic and sometimes autobiographical, sometimes questioning and sometimes reverent. Her latest album is Goodbye Alice in Wonderland. She also has a country album, Perfectly Clear, which I haven't had the chance to check out yet. We've been Jewel fans since 1999 and seen her in concert once (for free in Central Park to promote 0304) and own all of her albums except Perfectly Clear.

Natalie Imbruglia
Sydney-born Natalie Imbruglia provides a style of songwriting more conducive to rock than folk. Her voice is sweet and sometimes seductive, while the music goes from lite to hard rock. Her latest album, yet to be released in the US, is Come to Life, which we got as a used import. She also released a greatest hits compilation abroad, Glorious: The Singles 97-07, which we also got during a B&N sale. We've been Natalie Imbruglia fans since 2001 and own all her albums.

Annie Lennox
The lady from Scotland has soul. She proved her vocal talents and writing ability as half of the Eurythmics, and her solo efforts further demonstrate that. Her latest proper album is Songs of Mass Destruction. We've been Annie Lennox fans since 1996 and own all of her (solo) albums.

10,000 Maniacs
Maureen's favorite band, at least during the era of Natalie Merchant. They highlight socially conscious themes with great lyrics and folk-rock accompaniment. Their last album with Natalie Merchant was MTV Unplugged and last studio album Our Time in Eden. With Mary Ramsey, their last album was The Earth Pressed Flat. They now have a new lead singer, Oskar Saville, and toured but have yet to produce a new album. We've been (Natalie Merchant's) 10,000 Maniacs fans since about 1995 and own The Wishing Chair through MTV Unplugged and the collection Campfire Songs.

Dan's Boingo Page
Boingo rocks and rocks strange. Great party band and great Halloween band. Two words: Danny Elfman. There's been no official site since Boingo disbanded, but this fan site has lots o' stuff and lots o' links. The new official site is almost ready, and may be ready by the time you see it. I've been a Boingo fan since 1994 and seen them once during, unfortunately, the Farewell tour and own all of their greatest hits (2) and live albums (1) plus Dead Man's Party, Boi-ngo, and the rerecording collection Boingo Alive. Also check out this Elfman interview by KROQ before the Farewell Concert in LA that I found on the 'net and saved.

A slimmed-down guitar and piano rock band. Their style alternates between upbeat and mesmerizing, resulting in nothing but well-crafted albums, from start to finish. The latest masterpiece is X&Y. Their forthcoming album is Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. I've been a Coldplay fan since 2002 and seen them in concert once and own all of their albums and the Prospekt's March EP.

Franz Ferdinand
It's simple, but it rocks. One of my new favorites. Their music is retro new wave, post-punk like The Clash or Blondie (with a male singer). Alex Kapranos' playful and seductive voice is a big part of what makes the music great (yes, I'm comfortable with my sexuality). Their latest album is Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. I've been a Franz Ferdinand fan since their self-titled debut in 2004 and own all of their albums.

The Killers
Another one of my new favorites. Their music is also retro new wave, but more synth-rock plus guitars like New Order and The Cure. Brandon Flowers' voice is what I think distinguishes this band from similar bands like Kaiser Chiefs and Interpol. Their latest album is Sam's Town. They also have a B-sides/rarities collection, Sawdust, and a new album Day & Age on 25 Nov. I've been a Killers fan since 2004 and own both of their proper albums.

Jason Mraz
This San Diego local made a name for himself in the local venues here, with his mixture of singer/songwriter style, hip-hop/jazz/scat vocals, and acoustic funk accompaniment. His latest album is We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.. I've been a Jason Mraz fan since 2002 (alas, I was not exposed to his music in San Diego before his breakthrough hit, "Remedy") and own all of his studio albums.

They Might Be Giants
The quirky NYC duo went full band, and the results are spectacular. Funny, subtle, and sometimes educational lyrics and a unique synth-rock sound. They also do punk and techno. Their latest albums are The Else and the kid-friendly Here Comes Science. I've been a TMBG fan since 1990 and seen them in concert four times (once for free, and once with Timmy) and own all of their albums (unless you count certain EPs and the Dial-a-Song compilation). Timmy loves TMBG too, especially No! and the Here Come(s) series, designed just for kids. The most comprehensive unofficial resource I've seen is This Might Be a Wiki.

In the concerts page, I said "weezer [sic] cannot be defined, only shown through example." I was just trying to be funny, basing the description on a definition of "weak sauce" by Danny Guillermo and Joe Cahiwat. Breaking it down, Weezer is a little punk, a little hard rock, but simple, clean, power chords combined with vocals alternating between yelling and somewhat nervous (not quite a nervous as The Flaming Lips). Their latest album is Hurley. I've been a Weezer fan since 1994 and seen them in concert once and own all of their albums.

Rock evolved. From their first album, pablo honey, they were ahead of their time. starting with the song "Creep", which apparently is lead singer Thom Yorke's least favorite song, explaining the clean guitar interrupted with distorted guitar for the chorus. (I still think it's a great song (partly because of the interrupting disorted guitar), but maybe too cliché now, even in that day, especially compared to the slacker themes in punk rock.) Their breakthrough album is the bends, including the song "Just", with a thought-provoking video. With Kid A and Amnesiac, they experimented with electronics to great success, then returned to mostly guitar rock with Hail to the Thief. And there's definitely some intelligence in the lyrics, evident in all their songs, especially ones from the bends on, for example, "2 + 2 = 5" from Hail, inspired by Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Their latest masterpiece is In Rainbows, which started as a digital download, then became a CD on New Year's. Their former label also released The Best Of (without the band's blessing, but it's still a good collection). Green Plastic is a good unofficial Radiohead resource, updated often. I've been a Radiohead fan since 1995 and seen them in concert twice and own all of their albums (plus Thom Yorke's solo electronic album).

In their early days, it was hard to mention Muse without making comparisons to Radiohead, especially in Matthew Bellamy's vocals. But, man these guys are talented. Bellamy sings (vibrato, falsetto, and scream), plays complex riffs, and writes the music. And in listening to them more and more (during my recent "edumacation" phase of their music), I think they've developed their own signature sound. Their latest album is The Resistance, their closest to progressive and classic rock yet (sometimes more like Queen than anything else), but all of their albums are winners. Semi-official MuseWiki is also a great resource, with lyrics and more details than you probably wanted. I've been a Muse fan since 2009 (of all their music, curiously, months before they became mega-superstars in the US for The Resistance) and seen them in concert once and own all of their studio albums.

Green Day
Modern punk. Sold out? Going major label didn't affect Billie Joe's great lyric writing ability. Green Day rocks like a badass. Their latest is 21st Century Breakdown, the great concept-album follow-up to the excellent American Idiot. My current favorite is "Holiday." I've been a Green Day fan since 1994 and own all of their major label albums.

Nine Inch Nails
Industrial. The original. Fired-up lyrics with a unique metal-techno sound. Accept no substitutes. It's a lot of rage, but smart rage. Their (Trent Reznor's) latest albums are The Slip and the instrumental Ghosts I-IV, both available online in MP3, iTunes, and FLAC formats (I recommend FLAC or Apple Lossless; you can convert to any other format (such as 192 kbps CBR MP3) while losing only the quality from that one conversion). I've been a nin fan since 1994 and own all of their albums.

One of my new favorite bands. These guys rock, and artfully. It's a fusion of heavy metal and prog rock, with philosophical themes and lyrics, plus the usual rage. More info is on a good (and band-recommended) fan site, the tool page. Their latest album is the epic 10,000 days. I've heard their stuff back in the 90s, but became a Tool fan in 2006 and own all their proper albums.

The eminent metal band, hailing from the SF Bay Area. I got introduced to them during the 1993 Summer Bridge program at UCSD with their album ...And Justice for All, especially the song "One." It was my first exposure to heavy metal, breaking a lot of my skepticism, showing how intelligent and musically complex it can be. Their latest album is Death Magnetic. My favorite of theirs if S & M, their concert with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by the late Michael Kamen. I became a Metallica fan in 1994 and own all of their albums.

Radio stations

Local rock stations we like.

FM 94/9
Currently my favorite modern rock station in the San Diego Area. I usually switch between here and Sophie when I'm not listening to KPBS (89.5 FM). FM 94/9 is more of a rock fan's station, and the DJs really know their stuff, half the time playing non-single tracks from albums. I get to hear Muse and Tool here.

Sophie @ 103.7 (FM)
A sister station to Alice (see below), Sophie plays the music we like for most moods, less harder-edged, but still rockin' feel good music. They also rotate in some pop/dance music (like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Pink), I think a bit more so than Alice does (last I checked).

Alice @ 97.3 (FM)
Currently my favorite modern rock station in the Bay Area. Live 105's playlist got a little harder edged, which is fine every once in a while, but not half the time. Alice plays a lot of the bands above (except NIN, Tool, and Metallica). Also, they've got a great annual compilation CD that features live and acoustic (or both) performances of various artists they play, This Is Alice Music 7, available at both Amazon and B&N, along with This Is Alice Music 9, which is also good. The slightly less wordily-titled Alice Music 10 was only available at Borders stores in the Bay Area. CD sales help fund the fight against breast cancer.

Live 105 (FM 105.3)
Bay Area Modern Rock Station. I grew up on this stuff, at least in high school when Ben introduced me to modern rock. This station and KFRC became my primary stations in high school.

KFRC 106.9 (FM)
The Bay Area oldies station. It's my parents' music, but it's mine too. During high school, I was listening to the Top 40 station, X-100, but it went defunct, and KFRC returned from latency and took over that frequency. Since then, I got schooled in old school golden greats.

KROQ (FM 106.7)
The legendary modern rock station in Los Angeles. As far as I know, LA's rock scene pioneered the modern rock/new wave format that spawned Live 105 and 91X.

91X (FM 91.1)
San Diego's Modern Rock Station. Pretty much the same as Live 105 in content.

Jazz 88.3 (FM)
San Diego's jazz station. A service of San Diego City College.

Live music

My concerts page
Check out all the concerts I've been to. Set lists and reviews, plus some shows and more dangling prepositions. I've gotten to see at least half of the above acts and a few more of my favorites that aren't my top favorites like these.

U2 PopMart 1997
U2 in San Diego at Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium. On my concerts page. Click on the animated GIF (or "Click here for more stuff" for text browsers) to get some pictures of the concert.

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