Cool Music

Current Favorite Albums:
Invitation - California Guitar Trio
Thud - Kevin Gilbert
Perotin - The Hilliard Ensemble
Bach Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Favorite Recording Groups (not in any particular order):
It's really weird to listen to 90125 followed by The Yes Album or vice versa. This group has changed personnel so much that the bands aren't really the same from album to album, but nearly every album has something worthwhile(except Tormato), and some of them are truly classics that can be appreciated time and time again. Best albums: 90125, The Yes Album, Fragile, and Going for the One. This is a great band for mondegreens (see San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Caroll's book Near Life Experiences for great examples of song lyrics gone awry in listener's ears - he invented the term mondegreen). My favorite is "Slime creature nailed upon the coloured door of time" from The Teacher, The Preacher on The Yes Album. The problem here is that Jon Anderson's lyrics don't make sense even when you hear them correctly, but that doesn't mean the music isn't pretty cool.
Toy Matinee
Probably haven't heard of these guys, and they aren't around anymore (especially since one of them is dead), but they had one very cool self-titled album. Neat stuff with some seriously scary lyrics. Don't know of any other rock group that has done an entire song about Salvador Dali. (Reprise 2 26235-2, 1990)
Yes, silly stuff, but the vocalists are very cool, and the lyrics are very entertaining. This is good music to sing to when you are working on something mindless on the computer at work. One of the few groups I like with female vocalists. And vocal harmonies are outstanding - that probably helps. Best album is Whammy!, but best song is Roam from Cosmic Thing.
I was visiting New Zealand when U2 lost a member in a car crash on tour in NZ, and every time I hear the song One Tree Hill, I remember visiting there at night under a full moon. Joshua Tree is the best album, although I like Boy quite a lot as well.
The Beatles
What is there to say? Everything they did while they were a group. "Free as a Bird" was a waste of time.
Animal Logic
Probably never heard of these guys either, but Stanley Clarke plays a mean bass on their two albums, and Deborah Holland's voice and lyrics are amazing. And of course, Stewart Copeland is no slouch either (IRS X2-13106, 1991)
Talking Heads
True Stories is one of the best movies ever made, and my brother and his wife swear that everything in it about Texas is true. They have so many great albums that it's hard to pick a favorite. The first half of Naked is truly excellent, especially Flowers. True Stories - Love for Sale. Little Creatures - Stay Up Late. Stop Making Sense - all of it. Sand in the Vaseline is very cool as well, especially the really early stuff.
Dick Dale
This guy has to be heard to be believed. Nothing else he has done can compare to the first track on his Tribal Thunder album. Nitro is simply amazing work, and I have sold quite a few records for him by playing that track to co-workers and friends. Another great artist for "road music".
Kevin Gilbert
Just two albums from this guy (one posthumous), who was part of Toy Matinee. His album Thud is one of those albums that you can listen to every day and not tire of it. His lyrics are amazing, especially on When You Give Your Love to Me, Goodness Gracious, Joytown, Shadow Self, and All Fall Down. Okay, so that's half the album right there,which gives you an idea of just how good this guy's lyrics are. You may have difficulty finding this album, but it is well worth the search. Unfortunately, Kevin Gilbert died a couple of years ago, and that adds a special significance to Song for a Dead Friend, the final track on the album. If you can find it, buy it!!! (PRA Records 60401-2, 1994) And the cover is truly amazing, even on a jewel box. His posthumous album was clearly a response to his breakup with Cheryl Crow, and it is even more bitter than Thud. It's not quite as good as Thud, in my opinion.
Miles Davis
Kind of Blue. What more can I say? Have you ever really sat down and listened to it with your whole attention? If not, do it now. I'm quickly amassing a collection of Miles. One of the few albums I could listen to just after September 11, 2001.