Andy Gainey

Favorites » Music

I love music. I would love composing music, because I love the creation process so much for nearly any medium, but that is made substantially easier when one can perform music well, a skill I have not yet been motivated enough to develop to a sufficient level. But I can still participate deeply in the consumption of music.

Although I do have my favorite genres, in particular progressive metal, I prefer to maintain a wide diversity of musical interests. On the heavier side, I also enjoy power, symphonic, and industrial metal. Lots of electronica of various styles, heavy and light. World music, especially from musicians who experiment with fusions of music from different regions, and fusions of modern and traditional. Classical (broadly speaking), with an emphasis on the piano and the cello. A good amount of indie and alternative rock is included, as well as some jazz and blues, especially in the form of an influence on some of the above genres. And finally, there are a number of excellent movie soundtracks that gain added value from the movies and scenes for which they were made.

Tier 1

Somewhere along my journey to rank my favorite music, I developed the following filter: If I had to be stuck with music from just a limited number of musicians/​bands/​composers, which would I pick? If I could only pick two, it would be the following two. I do not think I could comfortably narrow it to one, and if I had a third option, I'm not currently sure what I'd pick from those listed further down. Maybe Chopin, for variety if nothing else, but I'm not ready to commit to putting him in my top tier over all the other second tier entries.

Dream Theater ( | progressive rock/​metal | website )

I first got into Dream Theater through the album Systematic Chaos (bookended by the two-part song In the Presence of Enemies). That expanded to the album Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory, including the song Home, which I discovered I was already familiar thanks to a friend during college. (If only I had further explored the band at that earlier time!) From there, I've eagerly sought out and consumed all their other studio albums (aside from their first album When Dream and Day Unite and fourth album Falling into Infinity, reportedly produced with significant pressure to make something more radio-friendly; I've listened to them a few times and just can't get into it).

I love elaborate and intricate music, and Dream Theater is definitely that. I also throughly appreciate the frequent mix of heavy and light that they utilize. Their lyrics often either explore subjects relevant to the human experience that don't get much attention within the wider musical arena, or tell stories, frequently of an epic nature.

More songs...
They Might Be Giants ( | alternative/​pop/​indie/​experimental rock | website )

My discovery of They Might Be Giants began with their classic albums Flood and Apollo 18, including songs such as Istanbul, Particle Man, Mammal, and the eclectic mix of shorts collectively known as Fingertips.

TMBG is a prolific pair of musicians. So much music. Ironically, their third song on their first studio album claims "There's only two songs in me, and I just wrote the third." And seriously, check the list of songs categorized on This Might Be a Wiki. So many songs.

Their style is fun, diverse, and often goofy. Their lyrics are every manner of clever conceivable, and very frequently reveal deep insights in the process. (Peruse the many themes explored, such as Oxymorons, Paradoxes, and Contradictory Statements, Funny but Sad, or Science. Also check out their list on TV Tropes.) I have also observed a substantial amount of overlap between their lyrics and my neurodivergent life experiences which makes their music all the more deeply relatable for me.

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Tier 2

Music in the second tier consists of musicians, bands, and composers that are potentially in contention for that ambiguous third slot in the first tier. This requires in part that they have created a sufficiently large collection of music, and that I thoroughly enjoy most of it. If any of them were to release a new album, I'd consider buying it immediately. (Though this impulse would be firmly checked by my extreme stinginess!)

Progressive Rock

Dixie Dregs ( | hard/​southern/​progressive rock, funk, jazz, classical | Wikipedia )

An thoroughly entertaining fusion of progressive metal, southern rock, funk, and classical from the 70s and 80s. Sample songs include Broad Street Strut, Dig the Ditch, and Moe Down.

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Dredg ( | alternative/​progressive metal, art/​experimental rock | website )

Debuting with a harder progressive metal sound in the late 90s, with songs such as Penguins in the Desert, they quickly transitioned to an often gentler art rock sound that nonetheless perserved the prog and experimental nature of the band, with songs like Same Ol' Road, Information, and Down Without a Fight. The subject of practical philosophy is explored by the lyrics of many songs.

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Liquid Tension Experiment ( | progressive metal, instrumental | Wikipedia )

A purely instrumental group with strong connections to Dream Theater and King Krimson, elegantly mixing the heavy and the energetic with softer interludes. Songs include Freedom of Speech and Biaxident.

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Muse ( | alternative/​progressive rock | website )

English rock band with a propensity for singing about revolutions and uprisings. Their music demands one sing along loudly and with much energy when alone (and preferably sound insulated from others), at least in my personal experience. Songs include Feeling Good, Butterflies & Hurricanes, Glorious, and Follow Me.

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Porcupine Tree ( | progressive metal, alternative/​art rock | Facebook )

Piano Lessons, Trains, The Creator Has a Mastertape, Shallow, Fear of a Blank Planet,

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Tool ( | alternative/​progressive metal, art rock | website )

Forty Six & 2, Lateralus, Vicarious,

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Power Metal & Symphonic Metal

Blind Guardian ( | power/​speed/​progressive/​symphonic metal | website )

Time Stands Still (at the Iron Hill), Battlefield, Otherland, Sacred Worlds,

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Demons & Wizards ( / | power metal | Wikipedia )

Blood on My Hands, Crimson King, Love's Tragedy Asunder,

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Therion ( | symphonic/​Scandinavian/​death metal | website )

The Crowning of Atlantis, Typhon, The Blood of Kingu, Path to Arcady, Sitra Ahra,

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Miscellaneous

Björk ( | art pop, electronic, experimental | website )

Human Behaviour, Army of Me, Bachelorette, Triumph of a Heart,

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Cake ( | alternative rock | website )

The Distance, Commissioning a Symphony in C, Dime,

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Chopin, Frédéric François ( | Romantic | Wikipedia )

Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20, Nocturne No. 20 in C♯ minor, Op. posth., Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, 2nd Mvt. Romance – Larghetto,

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Daft Punk ( | electronica, dance, progressive house | website )

Da Funk, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, Robot Rock, Giorgio by Moroder, See also: Tron Legacy Soundtrack.

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Enya ( | Celtic, pop, world | website )

Orinoco Flow, Book of Days, Tempus Vernum, The River Sings,

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Feist ( | indie pop, folk, electronic | website )

Mushaboom, I Feel It All, The Bad in Each Other,

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Flight of the Conchords ( | comedy/​parody, rock, hip hop, folk | website )

Mutha'uckas, Business Time, Hurt Feelings, You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute,

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Imogen Heap ( | alternative rock, indie/​synth pop, electronic | website )

Sweet Religion, Hide and Seek, First Train Home, You Know Where to Find Me, See also: Frou Frou.

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Incubus ( | alternative/​funk/​nu metal | website )

Make Yourself, Warning, A Crow Left of the Murder,

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Led Zeppelin ( | hard/​blues/​folk rock, heavy metal | website )

Immigrant Song, Stairway to Heaven, Kashmir,

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Loreena McKennitt ( | Celtic, world, new age | website )

All Souls Night, Santiago, Night Ride Across the Caucasus,

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Nine Inch Nails ( | industrial metal, alternative rock | website )

The Becoming, The Wretched, Into the Void, The Hand That Feeds,

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Norah Jones ( | jazz, pop, country, blues | website )

Don't Know Why, Not Too Late, Chasing Pirates, Little Broken Hearts,

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Portishead ( | trip hop, electronica, alternative/​experimental rock | website )

Glory Box, All Mine, Nylon Smile,

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  • Sour Times (from their 1994 album Dummy)
  • Roads (from their 1994 album Dummy)
  • Cowboys (from their 1997 album Portishead)
  • Only You (from their 1997 album Portishead)
  • The Rip (from their 2008 album Third)
  • We Carry On (from their 2008 album Third)
Queen ( | hard/​glam/​arena/​art rock | website )

Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, Fat Bottomed Girls, Dragon Attack, Under Pressure,

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VAST ( | alternative/​industrial/​experimental rock, heavy metal | Facebook )

Touched, Free, Turquoise,

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Tier 3

Music in the third tier covers a wide base. Although I thoroughly enjoy listening to these musicians, for one reason or another, I cannot consider any of them to be remotely in contention for that hypothetical third spot in the first tier, and so do not make it into the second tier. Perhaps the musician is not prolific, or I only really enjoy a single album. Perhaps I like a lot of their music, but only moderately.

Whatever the case, these musicians and groups still serve an important role in filling out my musical tastes, and cannot be left out if my tastes are to be accurately represented. And if I am to have a positive opinion about my tastes (which I do), then I think that there is plenty of good in this tier for others to explore.

Classical

Beethoven, Ludwig van ( )
Liszt, Franz ( )
Rachmaninoff, Sergei ( )

Electronica, Electronic Rock, and Industrial Rock

c.db.sn ( )
The Chemical Brothers ( )
Chicane ( )
The Crystal Method ( )
Dave Gahan ( )
Depeche Mode ( )
E Nomine ( )
Eiffel 65 ( )
Enigma ( )
Hinkstep ( )
Kate Havnevik ( )
Knodel ( )
Lacuna Coil ( )
Marilyn Manson ( )
Massive Attack ( )
Orgy ( )
Radiohead ( )
Rammstein ( )
  • Official Website
  • Der Meister (from their 1995 album Herzeleid)
  • Asche Zu Asche (from their 1995 album Herzeleid)
  • Laichzeit (from their 1995 album Herzeleid)
  • Engel (from their 1997 album Sehnsucht)
  • Du Hast (from their 1997 album Sehnsucht)
  • Spiel Mit Mir (from their 1997 album Sehnsucht)
  • Ich Will (from their 2001 album Mutter)
  • Feuer Frei! (from their 2001 album Mutter)
  • Adios (from their 2001 album Mutter)

Ethic, Folk, World Music

Afro Celt Sound System ( / / / / )
Corvus Corax ( )
  • Venus Vina Musica (from their 2006 album Venus Vina Musica)
  • Tuska (from their 2006 album Venus Vina Musica)
  • Scotus (from their 2006 album Venus Vina Musica)
Dead Can Dance ( )
DuOuD ( / / )
Ekova ( )
  • Starlight in Daden (from their 1998 album Heaven's Dust)
  • Ditama (from their 1998 album Heaven's Dust)
  • How Sweet Mal (from their 2001 album Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore)
  • Siip Siie (from their 2001 album Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore)
  • The Storm (from their 2001 album Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore)
  • Cruel Sister (from their 2001 album Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore)
John Fahey ( )
Glenn Jones ( )
Jack Rose ( )

Progressive, Experimental

Coheed and Cambria ( )
David Bowie ( )
  • Life on Mars? (from his 1971 album Hunky Dory)
  • Kooks (from his 1971 album Hunky Dory)
  • Queen Bitch (from his 1971 album Hunky Dory)
  • Starman (from his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)
  • Ziggy Stardust (from his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)
Kansas ( )
Opeth ( )
Sieges Even ( )

Indie Rock, Pop Rock, Lighter Miscellaneous

Alanis Morissette ( )
Ben Folds Five ( )
Coldplay ( )
Creedence Clearwater Revival ( )
Dave Matthews Band ( )
The Dismemberment Plan ( )
Duran Duran ( )
Frankenixon ( )
Franz Ferdinand ( / )
Frou Frou ( )
Gnarls Barkley ( )
Jack Conte ( )
Jen Gloeckner ( )
Kings of Convenience ( )
Ladyhawke ( )
Linnea Olsson ( )

Cellist, singer, and song writer.

Mates of State ( )
Modest Mouse ( )
  • Tiny Cities Made of Ashes (from their 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica)
  • The World at Large (from their 2004 album Good New for People Who Love Bad News)
  • Float On (from their 2004 album Good New for People Who Love Bad News)
  • The View (from their 2004 album Good New for People Who Love Bad News)
  • One Chance (from their 2004 album Good New for People Who Love Bad News)
  • Dashboard (from their 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
  • We've Got Everything (from their 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)
PJ Harvey ( )
Pomplamoose ( )

Original Songs

Covers

Pookey Bleum ( )
The White Stripes ( )

Metal, Heavier Miscellaneous

A Perfect Circle ( )
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Alice in Chains ( )
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Audioslave ( )
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Black Sabbath ( )
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Boy Hits Car ( )
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Disturbed ( )
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Foo Fighters ( )
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Godsmack ( )
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Metallica ( )
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Puya ( / )
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Rage Against the Machine ( )
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Red Hot Chili Peppers ( )
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Soundgarden ( )
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Stone Temple Pilots ( )
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System of a Down ( / )
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Týr ( / )
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Movie Scores and Soundtracks

American Beauty ( | Thomas Newman, IMDB )
The Animatrix ( / / / | IMDB )
Fight Club ( | Dust Brothers, IMDB )
The Fountain ( / | Clint Mansell & the Kronos Quartet, IMDB )
  • K-PAX ( | Edward Shearmur, IMDB )
    The Matrix Scores ( | Don Davis, IMDB )
    Moon ( | Clint Mansell, IMDB )
    Road to Perdition ( | Thomas Newman, IMDB )
    Tron Legacy ( / | Daft Punk, IMDB )

    Primarily Orchestral Songs

    Primarily Electronica Songs

    The Truman Show ( / / | Burkhard Dallwitz & Philip Glass, IMDB )
    Waking Life on IMDB">Waking Life ( | Glover Gill & the Tosca Tango Orchestra, IMDB )