My 10 Favorite Bands
I discovered Orgy back in 1999 or 2000 and they became my favorite band for the next few years (I don't remember dates) by hearing Blue Monday on the radio. Ironically, Blue Monday is only a cover song for another band called New Order (whom I also grew to like) and it was only because of Orgy that I really discovered and grew to appreciate New Order as well (New Order was still relevant back in 2000 because 60 Miles an hour was another song I really liked). I was really impressed by Orgy's unique sound, which can only be described as a combination of synth-pop and rock (synth-rock?) and I really liked Orgy's cover of Blue Monday (better than New Order's).
Blue Monday is a track on the album Candyass (1998). A lot of artists are hit or miss, but Orgy's sound is very consistent and I ended up really liking the entire album and them as a band. Unfortunately, Orgy disbanded in the mid 2000's (they pretty much got rid of Jay Gordon, who was the lead vocalist for the band) and became Julien-K in 2008 with bass player Ryan Shuck as the lead singer. Personally I think Ryan Schuck has a better voice (you'll have to look up Julien-K to find out more), but Jay Gordon definitely had a better stage presence.
While everyone else listened to pop, rap and alternative rock, I found out I was really into synthpop when I was in high school back in 2000. When I heard Strange Love for the first time, I was hooked immediately. It was very catchy and you can dance to it; not to mention the sexy vocals (I mean that in a non-gay way). I don't think Strange Love was the first song I ever heard by Depeche Mode, but it was the one that turned me into a fan. Needless to say, I discovered Depeche Mode a bit late in life, but I'm really glad I did because they were what opened my world to what would become my favorite musical genre and I developed a (non-gay) man crush on David Gahan's voice and I would eventually learn to perfect it for Karaoke nights (with the echo and reverb adjusted, I have been often told that I sound just like Dave Gahan), but that's another story entirely.
Depeche Mode songs are what I would always sing in the car. I love most of their songs, but I didn't really like the direction they decided to go after 2000. Other songs I would recommend by Depeche Mode are Enjoy the Silence (1990), Policy of Truth(1990), and Precious (2005). Even though it is an entirely different sound altogether, I really though Miles Away (2009) had an "outlaw" type of feel to it and it was the perfect compliment to playing a game of Borderlands 2.
Echo Image is a Norwegian synthpop band that I discovered in 2001. Standing Alone is not my absolute favorite song by Echo Image, but it was the very first song I discovered by them through a random search on Limewire, which was a torrent program that was widely used back in the early 2000's. Immediately I was intrigued by Standing Alone, and wanted more. With the exception of one or two tracks (I can't remember the names), I enjoyed all of their songs and Echo Image would become one of my favorite bands of all time.
Echo Image did not release too many albums or songs. Besides EPs and Singles, Compuphonic (2001) was their only album for more than a decade. Fast forward to 2016, I was super excited when I noticed a post on their official Facebook page that they released a new album called Compulation (2016)! After listening to their featured song, I was not disappointed and the decade wait was well worth it!
I also discovered Bellamorte back in 2000 (seemed like a great time for music). I first heard their single Fall No More off of a soundtrack for Vampire the Masquerade called Music for the Succubus club. Bellamorte is a Goth/Rock/Darkwave band and I remember seeing them play live at a local Goth nightclub in Columbus Ohio called Outlands (no longer open). At first I can honestly say I was not so impressed with Bellamorte as a band; I only liked their one song Fall No More and I thought their other music was mediocre at best, but after 2008 (when my ears matured), I decided to give them a second chance and I absolutely loved their music the second time I listened to them.
Bellamorte does not have a "consistent" sound which was probably why I didn't like them at first, because I was only interested in electronic music at the time, but I grew to appreciate their more rock focused albums as I got older. When I first heard Bellamorte, they started out more focused on a goth/electronic/rock sound, but deviated to just goth/rock and then back to goth/electronic/rock (with more focus on an electronic sound) after 2012. I honestly think this is a good thing, and it seems that more and more of the younger Millennials are actually into electronic music more than they were before. Regardless of what direction they go, I still have a great appreciation of their music and Fall No More is still my favorite song after more than a decade.
A little known fact about me; I listened to gangsta rap in my Middle School and early High School years. I found out about Sean Paul through a DMX song called Here Comes the Boom from the Belly soundtrack (2000). I was never a fan of traditional Reggae like Bob Marley, but after listening to Sean Paul, I developed an appreciation for the newer Reggae songs that combine hip hop and dance hall beats.
Sean Paul's earlier solo songs can only be described as "cheap loop tracks", but he had unique stage presence and his own vocal style which no other Reggae artist seemed to have. Personally I think Sean Paul is better as a collaborator than a solo artist, but I still like his music nonetheless because of his contributions. Normally I am not interested in these other artists, but I really liked Sean Paul's collaborations with these other artists such as Bailando (2014) with Enrique Iglesias, Riot (2013) with Damian Marley and You Make Me Go (2013) with Arash.
I first heard Imperative Reaction in late 2007 or early 2008, and I was really surprised I missed out on them for so long, because they had been around since 1996. They might not be the most creative band out there, but they are certainly the most consistent (which I really appreciate). I generally like hard hitting electronic/industrial music and Imperative Reaction was able to deliver this sound each time without disappointing me. Their music is generally fast and melodic, the lyrics are often very depressing or angry, but I love it, because I can relate to them and oddly enough, their music is really soothing to me.
VNV Nation's song Dark Angel was a hit in the Goth nightclub scene in the early 2000's and this song was really my introduction to the scene back in 2001. When I first heard Dark Angel, I knew I wanted more from VNV Nation, so I began to discover more. I was most impressed by their album Empires (1999) and later Burning Empires (2000), which featured a remix of all the songs from Empires. After Empires, it seemed like VNV Nation wanted to take a different route with their music and became less hard hitting, but still maintaining a consistent sound that defines them as VNV Nation. I would definitely recommend listening to all their albums to get a better idea of the transition, because it cannot be described with words.
I first heard Waste of Love by Ashbury Heights in 2013 on Sound Cloud while at work and had to save it. It wasn't until 2015 when I actually came back to Sound Cloud to listen to their other songs; immediately I was hooked. Ashbury Heights may not be all that impressive, but they have some really catchy songs, which I still more or less have on repeat. I can't say they are very innovative, but there are really not too many synthpop bands (that I like) with dual male and female vocals. They kind of remind me of what Human League did way back, but darker and better.
I found out about The Neighbourhood at the end of 2014 and it was through a recommendation of the Arctic Monkeys. The Neighbourhood's song "Sweater Weather" appeared as a similar artist, and while I liked the Arctic Monkeys too, I thought The Neighbourhood actually sounded better. The Neighborhood is a rather young band that is still emerging, and all the members are in their early 20's. For the longest time, I was not really accepting of new music outside my normal genres, but The Neighbourhood really helped break that wall.
Namnambulu is very different and I personally think they were amazing. I discovered them back in 2004 and I found it fascinating that the lead singer, Henrik Iversen had such a deep and operatic voice; I thought it was so awesome because I also have a deep base-like voice and I often sing in the car (I have told that I sound just like him when I sing). I was really disappointed when I heard they disbanded in 2005, but was happy to see that they reunited again in 2013 for one more EP entitled "Sorry". I suppose the title is fitting, because I really missed their music and it doesn't seem like they are producing anymore. It's a shame though, because Henrik has one of the most amazing and unconventional voices out there and it seems to work great with electronic music.