To garner awareness for the music that I love (with what little platform I have through this blog), I’ve decided to share my favorite bands and musicians of all time (the current list).
That bit at the end there is both a joke and true. Our musical tastes evolve over time, akin to our physical receptors like tastebuds.
Now a few things to note:
1. I’ve included links to iTunes for each band, but do your best to buy these records as LPs or CDs. They’ll sound so much better.
2. The bands or their notable songs are mostly in order.
3. You are guaranteed NOT to agree with all of these.
So without further ado, here are my favorite bands of all time.
I discovered Little Dragon when they appeared on the Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach (more on them later). For some reason, I had thought of looking them up, but didn’t act on it until 2012. Immediately, I fell in love with them and have seen them “Twice.”
They are my favorite band. I could listen to their entire discography on repeat and frequently do. Go see them live. They change things up like true jazz musicians and play around with their arrangements. You won’t be disappointed.
Notable Favorites: Twice | Forever | Pretty Girls | Little Man | Crystalfilm | Constant Surprises | Come Home | Fortune | Feather | Klapp Klapp | Sunshine | Ritual Union | Precious | Scribbled Paper
Our radio station in Northern Maine was like Top 40, but even more selective. They would only play the songs they wanted to play, and those songs were played ad-nauseum over predominantly 80s music. But one of the few songs they played that never wore on me was “Drive.” It began my Incubus love.
Sadly, when I first bought Make Yourself, I didn’t like any other songs. It wasn’t until I listened to Morning View that I retroactively dug into Make Yourself and S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
They have consistently challenged my musical tastes with every evolving album. As a fan, I could not be more proud of their work ethic and creativity.
Notable Favorites: Just a Phase | If Not Now, When? | Make Out Party | Isadore | Drive | Nowhere Fast | A Certain Shade of Green | Dig | Talk Shows on Mute | Sick Sad Little World | Southern Girl | Here in My Room | Wish You Were Here | 11am | Aqueous Transmission | Pardon Me | Stellar | Out From Under | Friends and Lovers | Tomorrow’s Food
Ever since I’d received an iPod as a Christmas gift in 2009, I’ve been listening to Brian Altano. First, it was through the IGN podcasts he frequents like Nintendo Voice Chat, Game Scoop!, the Gamespy Debriefings, and now Podcast Beyond. Naturally, these led to the creation of his current venture of hilarity, The Comedy Button.
Now my first encounter with his music was when Greg Miller shared his song on Podcast Beyond during one week’s “Ryan’s Wrap Up” (before it received that name). That song was “The Wings” (fitting Greg Miller would introduce me to wings). I dug it. So much so, that I immediately bought the album.
Robotobots and the follow-up Misanthrope, are albums that have a concept; they’re made to be played through in one sitting and consequently prove as an amazing soundtrack to life. If you’re working on a design project, listen to it. If you’re driving, especially in snow/rain storms, listen to it. If you’re doing anything, listen to it.
He’ll be releasing another album within a few months or so. “I cannot wait,” but will do JUST THAT for as long as it takes.
Notable Favorites: Collapse Axis | Beautiful Sky Demise | As the World Falls Down (Xeodrifter Soundtrack) | It’s Payday, Mr. Jopeck | Break You Down | Radiolaser | Katy Perry’s Firework (B-Mix) | One a.M. (feat. Thomas Rakowitz) | If You Need Me I’m Gone (feat. Thomas Rakowitz) | The Wings
During the same time that I’d listened to IGN’s podcasts, naturally, Daemon also came to my attention through his show, Game Scoop! This may be insulting, though I don’t mean it that way- but at first, I wasn’t a fan of his music. It’s wasn’t the music that was bad, but it was my tastes. Soon after Incubus, Little Dragon, and Brian opened my eyes (and ears), I fell in love with Daemon’s music. And much like Brian’s work, It’s amazing to listen to while I work.
The song that started my love for Daemon’s work? “Good Morning California.” The song was part of a collaboration with former IGN Editor, Ryan Geddes (He wrote the lyrics for Black Cloud Vol 1 & Vol 2).
Notable Favorites: Moon Patrol | Good Morning California | Palestine Hotel | Log 1 | Log 5 | Colorbeam | Log 9 | Modified | Fort Cronkhite | Tiny Grass is Dreaming | Spacewalk | Vectorbeam | Time to Turn the Page | Suspended Animation | Beyond the Darkness | Super Powerful Robot
This is the newest addition to my favorite music of all time. My friend Mike has been talking this cat, James Murphy up since I’ve known him, and only recently have I dived into their discography. This band is just what I needed at this moment in my life.
A lot of these bands on this list have that “honored” distinction. They come almost serendipitously into my life when I need them the most. And while I’m sad to know that he may never play another show in his life, I’m glad to have been lucky enough to have fallen in love with LCD Soundsystem.
Notable Favorites: Get Innocuous! | All My Friends | Yr City’s a Sucker [Full Version] | You Wanted a Hit | All I Want I Can Change | Drunk Girls | Great Release | North American Scum | Someone Great | Time to Get Away | Home | Daft Punk is Playing at My House
Daft Punk had to grow on me. For quite some time, actually. It wasn’t until the soundtrack for TRON: Legacy that I truly fell in love with their musical styles.
I listened to that soundtrack and its “R3ConF1gur3d” remix for many months straight.
Now I enjoy all of their albums as part of my ‘Scripts’ playlist when writing.
Here’s to their newest project!
Notable Favorites: Steam Machine | Touch | Voyager | Around the World | Make Love | One More Time | Solar Sailer | Derezzed | Father and Son | End of Line | Instant Crush | Motherboard | Contact | Veridis Quo
Oh man, what can I say about Tool? This band has probably the least amount of album per year ratio and simultaneously the richest discography.
Tool has been with me since I was first introduced to them in sophomore year. By my senior year, my art teacher would play Lateralus incessantly during class time. For me “The Patient” will forever be associated with that class.
This was also one of the albums (along with Incubus’ Morning View) I would play on repeat to grind dungeons in Dark Cloud 1 for the PS2 (this needs a new entry too).
Notable Favorites: Disposition | Opiate | Parabol | Parabola | Forty Six & 2 | Lateralus | Schism | Pushit | Ænima | Right in Two | Rosetta Stoned | The Grudge | The Pot | Stinkfist | Eulogy | Wings for Marie/10,000 Days | Ticks & Leeches
Another of Maynard James Keenan’s projects, but you’d be a fool to give all of the praise to him. Each band in which he’s a part is stacked with immense talent, and A Perfect Circle is no exception.
I had loved Mer De Noms for so long, but it’s the follow-up that made the most impact.
A Perfect Circle saved me from my days fighting Leukemia in the hospital. Thirteenth Step was my first step towards recovery. “The Noose” spoke to me in a way that it wasn’t meant to speak. I took it as an anthem. Either I fight this head-on, and without mercy, or I face The Noose myself.
Notable Favorites: The Noose | The Hollow | Thinking of You | Blue | Gravity | Pet | 3 Libras | Magdalena | Brena | A Stranger | Vanishing | Weak and Powerless | The Nurse Who Loved Me | The Outsider | The Package | Judith | Passive
The first time I had heard of this band was in 2004 on the way back home from the hour drive to our nearest mall. Yes, I said an hour. My roommate had bought U.N.K.L.E’s album Never, Never Land there. We listened to it all the way through under the brilliant light of a full moon. It was one of the very first times that I was enamored with a single CD in an upper echelon of elation.
Soon after, I bought Psyence Fiction and introduced the very same friend to that album. In turn, he continuously played it in the Subway in which he worked at the time.
Since then, my love for them waned: War Stories was good but left me feeling empty, and Where Did the Night Fall was even worse.
That is until I recently revisited the latter and repurchased the expanded edition of Where Did the Night Fall. WOW. Holy shit did this album speak to me, again, right place, right time! It’s a shame that Gavin Clark had to pass. Now, I miss him and his beautiful voice dearly.
Notable Favorites: Country Tune (feat. Gavin Clark) | Lonely Soul | In a State | Not a Sound | Every Single Prayer (feat. Gavin Clark) | The Runaway | What Are You to Me? | Reign | Unreal | Bloodstain | Celestial Annihilation | Hold My Hand | Price You Pay | When Things Explode | Joy Factory (feat. Autolux) | Falling Stars (feat. Gavin Clark) | Not a Sound | Ablivion | Inside | Safe in Mind (Please Get This Gun From Out My Face) | Glow
I heard of this band like many of you: through their Top 40 hit, “Handlebars.” Yes, you know this song. But when I purchased and actually listened to their debut album Fight With Tools, I found so much more to love.
Then I largely forgot about them as my life steered into my first big break up. Around that time (right place, right time- I’m telling you) I discovered they made a follow-up: Survival Story. My God, this spoke to me in a big way. “By The Time You Get This Message” became a large component of that end.
Much later I found their third effort, and I was largely disappointed. But those first albums will always be a part of my musical DNA.
Notable Favorites: Stand Up | Rise | By The Time You Get This Message | Infatuation | Panacea for the Poison | Run (Run Run Run) | Mayday!! | The Rhythm Method (Move!) | Same Thing | Loneliness | If I | The Effect | Airplane Mode | Cracks in the Surface | Handlebars
Much like Flobots in a few ways, Gorillaz were introduced to me with their big breakout hit, “Clint Eastwood.” And the eponymous album didn’t grow on me for a few years. The second single that got me jazzed was the Soulchild Mix of “19-2000,” and boy was I pissed when I realized that version wasn’t on my copy of the cd.
That was my introduction to their G-Sides, D-Sides, et al. When Demon Days released I was in love. So far as much to use “O Green World” in a video project during my first stint at college.
And finally, when Plastic Beach dropped in 2010, I initially was turned off by most of it. Sometimes it takes me a while to come around. But one of the few songs that struck me immediately was the magical “Empire Ants,” the song that allowed me access to the aforementioned Little Dragon.
Notable Favorites: Empire Ants | The Sounder | Last Living Souls | Tomorrow Comes Today | Sound Check (Gravity) | El Mañana | Demon Days | Superfast Jellyfish | On Melancholy Hill | Clint Eastwood | Double Bass’ | O Green World | Dare | Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach | Broken | Rhinestone Eyes | Doncamatic
BlueFoxMusic is instrumental music that can be purchased for cheap soundtrack use, but it doesn’t stop me from loving to rock out to it. Its upbeat sound gets my toes tapping and my spirits soaring every time.
Originally heard of them by Shazaming the song “Way Above the Skyline” in Video Games: The Movie.
Notable Favorites: Way Above the Skyline | Midnight in Tokyo | Life is Good | Colossus | Four to the Floor | Get With It! | Blue Groove Deluxe
Leave it to Brandon Boyd to continue evolving, branching off into other projects during Incubus’ different hiatus. First, it was his solo effort, The Wild Trapeze, and now this self-titled collaboration with producer Brendan O’Brien.
Sons of the Sea, much like everything else Boyd releases, challenges me at first. I question if this is something that I like, then I let the music play again, and again; allowing myself to find its voice and then- and only then I am able to appreciate it.
I found myself dancing the first time I heard this album while doing dishes. It was a blast.
Hopefully, they continue to make music in Incubus’ next off-season. But hey, Brandon, if you need a break, please, take one. Unless you’re one of those who can’t and for that, I say, good on you.
Notable Favorites: Avalanche | Where All the Songs Come From | Space and Time | Untethered | Great Escape | Come Together | Plus Minus
I used to get a lot of crap for my love of Coldplay. It was the norm to make fun of Coldplay and its fans. In high school, we used to watch a News program for teens called Channel One (the beginning of Maria Menounos, Lisa Ling, and Anderson Cooper‘s careers). During one episode, they went to commercial break and played Coldplay’s “Clocks.” My Senior year English teacher- a large, bearded wonder of a man spouted: “What is this garbage they call music?”
Well, Coldplay is a massive band, they sell out stadiums, and their music sells incredibly well.
But the reason I love their music is the same reason I love lots of these bands above- Their music puts me in a euphoric mood. When I’m down, their music lifts me up. “Clocks” was one of those songs in the early aughts that did this for me. That’s why I had to defend it against my teacher’s insults.
He slapped me.
Not really, and I just committed libel.
Notable Favorites: Clocks | Lost! | Talk | Fix You | Paradise | Major Minus | Trouble Yellow | 42 | Viva La Vida | Life in Technicolor
I first heard of Mellowdrone via a CMJ Magazine Sample Disc which had the song “Fall On Your Knees.” From there, I bought their first LP, Box. This is another album that took some time to grow on me.
The music is very much like it sounds- Mellow and at times, droning, but it’s truly something to marvel.
Since this release, I haven’t dug much of their newer stuff, but here’s hoping the next one will speak to me.
Notable Favorites: Orange Marmalade | Maquina | Oh My | Beautiful Day | Limb to Limb | Four Leaf Clover | Settle the Hum | Bone Marrow | Fashionably Uninivited
I wasn’t always a huge fan of folksy artists, but lately, I truly get their appeal. The lead singer’s gravelly voice and the uplifting progression of the music really gets me in the feels.
Haven’t listened to much of their newest album, Wilder Mind, but plan to at some point soon. I am, however, unsure about their electric guitar focus though…
Notable Favorites: Babel | Below My Feet | Holland Road | I Will Wait | Where Are You Now
Okay, I’ll admit it: I first heard of Of Monsters and Men when their song “Dirty Paws” featured on the first trailer to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. That trailer coupled with that song, was one of my favorite trailers that year. Sublime.
As another one of those folksy-sounding bands, OMAM truly brings me to peace. That being said, they aren’t for everyday listening.
Notable Favorites: I of the Storm | Dirty Paws | Yellow Light | Love Love Love | Little Talks | Slow and Steady | From Finner | Mountain Sound | Sloom | Your Bones | Lakehouse
THESE ARE THE ONES THAT I keep in my iPod- the bands whom I may not listen to as frequently, but will still hold a special place in my heart.
I was only a fan of a few of their songs when they first arrived onto the scene. I was able to see them at Ushuaia’s Nightclub in Orono, ME mid-2008, but it was later that year that I fell heavily into them.
Their sophomore effort, Division was the culprit. “Proud of You” and “So Long, Good-Bye” (much like A Perfect Circle’s “The Noose”) are songs that make me think of my Leukemia and all of the countless others who have been afflicted by the Big C. Even though the songs have literally nothing to do with any illness per se.
Feeding the Wolves, their third LP was the one that they called their “masterpiece,” but I believe #2 was much better.
Notable Favorites: Cast It Out | So Long, Good-Bye | The Wasteland | Waking Up Focus | 11:00 am (Daydreamer) | Picture Perfect (In Your Eyes) | Proud of You | One More Day | Fix Me
Another band I was “so-so” on during their initial effort, 30STM hooked me with A Beautiful Lie. This CD has some amazing songs, and with each following album, they have great singles that make me feel inspired. It took me a while to get into the musical style of Love Lust Faith + Dreams, but it’s now a part of my playlists, especially “End of All Days.”
I used to listen to “A Beautiful Lie” and “Attack” as part of my MP3 playlist while playing the Wii’s launch title, Excite Truck. That is… until they patched the ability to do so out. Nintendo had such little DLC or patches then, and they patch out that simple feature. *Raises fists in the air– “Curse, you Nintendo!!”
Notable Favorites: A Beautiful Lie | Up in the Air | Kings and Queens | Closer to the Edge | Bright Lights | Capricorn | The Kill | R-Evolve | From Yesterday | Birth | Convergence | Search and Destroy | This is War | Hurricane | Night of the Hunter | Vox Populi
This one’s easy. I mean come on, it’s Rage! I first fell in love with these politically-charged rockers from their music video for “Guerrilla Radio.” Maybe that’s why I love that CD the most, but either way, it is one HELL of an album.
Then I was super stoked that that very song was on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Easily one of my favorite games of all time. The amount of time spent (wasted) on park creation broke the triple digits, easy.
Audioslave was pretty good, but nothing beat the original RATM line-up.
Notable Favorites: Testify | Bombtrack | Killing in the Name | Born Of a Broken Man | Know Your Enemy | People of the Sun | Mic Check | Bulls on Parade | Guerrilla Radio Calm Like a Bomb | Sleep Now in the Fire |
“Give It Away” is one of the first music videos I ever remembered. And of course “Under the Bridge” soon followed.
Naturally, I’d heard of their stuff at this point (and thoroughly enjoying it as a six-year-old), but when I first saw Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie and it opened with their cover of “Higher Ground”… Holy shit.
I didn’t know that it was a cover of Stevie Wonder at the time, but I nearly came regardless.
Then there was “Soul to Squeeze” in Coneheads playing during the extremely funny “sex” scene with the “Senso-Rings.”
After those cinematic moments, I followed the band religiously for quite some time, especially Flea in my favorite film series, Back to the Future (2&3).
I haven’t kept tabs on them much recently. After Stadium Arcadium I don’t know what their newest stuff has to offer. Maybe I should dive back in…
Notable Favorites: Give It Away | Porcelain | Scar Tissue | Minor Thing | Venice Queen | Cabron | Under the Bridge | Scar Tissue | Soul to Squeeze | Otherside | The Zephyr Song | Californication | Can’t Stop | Tell Me Baby | Dosed |
And I close out the old standbys with a band over which I used to obsess. The debut album Disclaimer was one that I listened to almost every day for about one year.
I had first heard of this band on the snowboarding video game from Nintendo, 1080° Avalanche in which the song “Fine Again” was featured. (Also the place where I had first heard of another old favorite: BoySetsFire.)
This was a CD in which I could listen to front to back; again and again. And boy did I.
Saw them live in concert with Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, and Godsmack back in 2007 or 2008.
Notable Favorites: Driven Under | Fine Again | Out of My Way | Broken | Needles | Gasoline | Your Bore | Fade Away | Pride | Sold Me | Got It Made | Remedy
And there you have it. These are my favorite bands of all-time. What are yours? Do any align with my list? Have I introduced someone new to you? Let me know in the comments below!
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