11. David + David
Surely you remember "Welcome To The Boomtown". It surfaced during period when singer-songwriters became popular in the eightes and Marc Cohn and Suzanne Vega had hits. VH1 created an entire channel based on that kind of music. But what you might not remember was how bleak "Boomtown" was. Like "Born in the USA" or "The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)" I think the catchy melody made people ignore the message.
One of the Davids was David Baerwald, and he went on to create several wonderful albums, proving that maybe he was the brains and talent behind the duo (are you listening Andrew Ridgeley?) Baerwald created some seething political songs into the nineties, and he is really missed, at least by me.
12. The Db's
This is the best band I've written about so far. Drums, bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals, backing vocals. That's all it takes. Sounds simple. But those ingredients can create absolute magic. And like Lennon/McCartney, sometimes it takes two people . Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple
Watch this video for "Amplifier". How can it not break your heart? And at the same time it moves your ass. "Danny went home and killed himself last night. She'd taken everything, she'd taken everthing. She took his car, she took his bike. She took everything she thought he liked. And what she couldn't take, she found a way to break. She left his amplifier."
13. The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy
Whenever I meet someone who doesn't like rap music, I play them The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy. In the eighties, when rap was sexist and hateful, there were a few artists making positive music: De la Soul, Kool Moe Dee, and A Tribe Called Quest, to name a few. The Disposable Heroes song "Language of Violence" was one of the first songs I ever heard, rap or otherwise, to take on the issue of homophobia and gay bashing. The lead rapper, Michael Franti, went on to form a collective named "Spearhead", who just played Coachella last weekend. However, the new band is a little too funky and hippie for me - but I'm glad they are around and communicating such a great message.
14. E B Da
I know nothing about this band, and I couldn't find a single link in Google. The only thing I know is that I was working in a record store in Hopkins, Minnesota during college, and someone brought in their CD. Normally, we hated playing local bands, because they all sounded the same: Wilco-like folk rock. We were blown away that this band came from the middle of america, yet sounded like they were from somewhere exotic... like London.
There's something sad about the idea that us hip record store clerks only liked local music if it sounded like they didn't come from Minnesota. Sometimes, I would hear a Twin Cities band where the lead singer would fake an English accent like Madonna did, stretching out the vowels the way our beloved Morrissey. E B Da's only CD was called "Sursumcorda", which means "Lift Up Our Hearts". Good luck finding a copy for yourself.
Ah, early cyberpunk was so cute, wasn't it? Before the internet, bes, there was Mondo 2000 and Phrack and 2600. And this band, "Emergency Broadcast Network". They got their start in 1991 at Lollapalooza, where they parked a huge white van full of video screens showing jittery scary video clips. That's right... back then teenagers paid a hundred dollars to attend an all-day music concert in order to watch TV outdoors.
EBN was paid by U2 to create visuals and mashups for their Zoo TV tour, which was weird, because the year before, U2 had sued Negativland for doing the same thing to *their* music. I'll always love seeing George Bush I edited to make it sound like he was singing "We Will Rock You". In today's world of YouTube and video editing software, the idea is kind of stale. But it's nice to know that EBN was there first.