A-Z of good music - C.T Herron - 'A'

I could die tomorrow, in fact, given my lifestyle it's very feasible I could. Would seem a a shame to take all this musical info. to the grave with me. You see, since I was first able to lift a record up with both hands and put it in the player I have been fascinated with, driven by, and enriched by music. "Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form" (Plato).

People are always putting up status updates 'any new tunes you could recommend to me?'. Yeah, millions actually, it's worth observing that just because something isn't famous or popular doesn't mean it's not good. I know literally thousands of bands that nobody has heard of that are some of the best bands in the world ever!

I have been on a lifelong journey of discovery, tracking down all the best tunage that the musicscape has to offer, I consume music at the rate a Hellfire party consumes alcohol, or a swarm of locusts consume a field of wheat. I have 80,000 albums on MP3 plus hundreds of rare vinyls and hundreds of CDs and I have been to well over a thousand gigs, not including all the performances at the many festivals. I have dived into, went to the bottom of, and swam back up out of, almost every genre, clutching the pearls of my dive.

It is my intention then, to list all the great music I have discovered as a reference guide to people looking for new stuff. It will be an ongoing project, letter by letter, as it's gonna' take a while, a couple of letters a month, should take me roughly a year, but it will be worth it. I will list every artist and their genre as a header followed by a brief description for each one, I will only include artists I consider really great, and I might even throw in some fun facts and maybe even some alliteration - starting with 'A'...

Remember, this is all subjective, so don't come moaning to me cos' your favourite band's not in it. Artists that I think are exceptionally good I've highlighted with a double asterisk **. This compilation will also be periodically updated, at least until I die, as I discover more new bands... Let us begin... At the beginning...

**ABDOMINAL (HIP-HOP/RAP) ~ Origin: Canada. Active: 98' - Present. As I'm not a fan of Abba (they've got some catchy tunes but they're not great) so Abdominal gets pole position alphabetically. One of the top 5 best rappers I ever heard in my life, a wordsmith, intellectual, skilled, breath control unparalleled, Abdominal blows most other rappers out the water. Check out songs 'Vicious Battle Raps', 'Walk Left/Stand Right', 'Abdominal Workout', 'Pedal Pusher', 'Big Mac Track', 'Radio Friendly', 'Breathe Later', 'The Best Posse Cut...', 'We Know Something You Don't Know', 'The Hit Song' and many others, his whole discography is solid gold and he has worked with many famous rappers, DJs and producers. Abs is a true master of his craft! Everyone I have introduced to him has loved him, he comes highly recommended whether you're into hip hop or not. I have seen Abs live twice and met him twice and he is brilliant onstage and in person too.

THE ABYSSINIANS (REGGAE) ~ Origin: Jamaica. Active: 69' - Present. Original old school reggae, good, chilled out, excellent, harmonised music, they only have about 3 albums but I would really recommend the record 'Satta Massagana' especially accompanied by a strong joint or pipe.

**AC/DC (ROCK) ~ Origin: Australia/Scotland. Active: 73' - Present. It took me a while to really get into AC/DC, even though my mates were all into them my whole life, I was about twenty three before I really started to appreciate them. I used to always prefer Guns N' Roses, now I would have to say AC/DC are better. Highly influential, hard-hitting feel-good music, soaring vocals, and some of the best melodic guitar riffs you'll hear in heavy rock. Everybody should know AC/DC. My favourite song by them (arguably) is an oft. overlooked 1978 track called 'Gone Shooting'. But obviously if you don't know AC/DC you should check out the album 'Back In Black' or their greatest hits and take it from there, though many of the fans are divided between Bon Scott on vocs and after his death Brian Johnson on vocs, but I don't give a shit, I like them both. AC/DC are a band it's worth owning the discography of (as long as you download it for free).

**ACTION BRONSON (HIP-HOP/RAP) ~ Origin: New York Active: 2008 - Present. Another one of my all time favourite rappers, his lyrics are witty, controversial, grimy, real and sometimes disturbing, just the way I like it. I have seen him live and his live shows are quite an entertaining spectacle. I was seriously addicted to the work of Bronson for a good few years. Definitely check out his album 'Blue Chips' and work your way from there, he's worth his discography. Some of my favourite tracks include 'Thug Love Story', 'Contemporary Man', 'Pepe Lopez', 'Flip Ya', and 'Bag Of Money' to name a few.

THE ADICTS (PUNK) ~ Origin: Suffolk, England. Active: 75' - Present. You will like The Adicts if you like punk, especially old school 'raw' punk. Their Clockwork orange 'droog' image is pretty cool, and they were one of the most popular punk bands of the 80's, even entering the indie chart a few times! Their best song is arguably 'Viva La Revolution'. Fun fact: The Adicts changed their name briefly to The Fun Adicts for a children's TV show appearance.

THE ADOLESCENTS (PUNK) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: On and off 1980 - Present. Formed from members of two other good punk bands (Social Distortion and Agent Orange) I went through a brief period where these guys were one of my favourite punk bands. They were highly influential in the American punk scene of the 80s attributed with inspiring bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Offspring, NOFX, Blink 182 (unfortunately), Bad Religion, Pennywise, Vandals, etc. etc. Check out songs 'Kids Of The Black Hole', 'Amoeba', 'Who Is Who', 'No Way' and their cover of 'All Day and All of the Night' among others.

THE ADVERTS (PUNK) ~ Origin: London, England. Active: 76'-79'. The Adverts were famous for their hit 'Gary Gilmour's Eyes' a great song worth checking out. This band were one of the first punk bands to enter the charts by getting to no.18 in 1977 with aforementioned hit. They are also credited with having one of the first female punk stars in bassist Gaye Advert.

AEROSMITH (ROCK) ~ Origin: Boston, America. Active: 1970-Present. Love them or hate them Aerosmith are one of the hugest rock bands to ever come about. I like them, my whole family likes them. They were originally based in a bluesy rock sound, but they later went on to encompass everything from 'Love In An Elevator' right up to pop, in the ballady 'Don't Want To Miss A Thing', that song is nice, but fuck that song, try listening to 'Nine Lives', 'Full Circle', 'Pink', 'Dream On' (which Eminem sampled in Lose Yourself), 'Sweet Emotion', 'Falling In Love...' and nobody can deny the rock/hip-hop classic crossover of 'Walk This Way' with Run DMC! Aerosmith were one of the first heavy rock bands I ever heard and they have some really beautiful music, don't overlook them just cos' their frontman is hideous* or because of that poppy hit they had...

*But produced one of the most gorgeous women ever in Liv Tyler!

THE AFGHAN WHIGS (GRUNGE/INDIE/PSYCHEDELIC) ~ Origin: Ohio, America. Active: On and off 86'-Present. This band weren't exactly grunge, but they certainly surrounded the whole grunge movement in Seattle late eighties through nineties, and were even on Sub Pop. A dealer of mine introduced me to them about ten years ago and I really liked the album '1965', my favourite track from it is 'Johnny The Baptist', it's a nice album to chill out and have a smoke to. Good band.

AFI (POP-PUNK) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: 91'-Present. I'm reluctant to include AFI but I acquiesce because they are worth it if only for that fantastic song 'God Called In Sick Today' from the album 'Black Sails In Sunset', I first heard that song when I was 16 and I was struck by its beauty and still am. The rest of their stuff, I've never really been a huge fan of even though I have their discography, but I always feel like I'm missing something. You should definitely check them out though, they're not shit that's for sure, and they have some pretty amusing song titles and album names. Worth a swatch, but whoa on the whoas. Fun fact: A.F.I officially stands for both 'A Fire Inside' and 'Anthems For Insubordinates'.

AGAINST ALL AUTHORITY (SKA-PUNK) ~ Origin: Florida, America. Active: 92'-2007. AAA are a good ska-punk band. They were also political and social activists and fiercely independent. Well worth a listen of you're a fan of ska-punk.

**AGAINST ME! ('ANARCHO'/PUNK/ROCK) ~ Origin: Florida, America  Active: 97'-Present. One of my fave bands ever! The first time I heard the album 'Searching For a Former Clarity' I put it right back to the beginning and listened to it again, then again, then again, for months on end - infectious, gritty, dark, poetic, emotive, the album is full of aurus vermis (earworms). I then went on to discover they had a whole back catalogue of amazing albums, Against Me! are one of those bands where every song on every record is brilliant and every record is a journey of discovery. Check out the aforementioned album 'Searching For A Former Clarity', then check out 'As The Eternal Cowboy', 'Reinventing Axl Rose', and 'New Wave', all genius albums! Fun fact: Lead singer Tom Gabel had a sex change and is now Laura Jane Grace and still fronts Against Me! I guess that's a real case of nevermind the bollocks! LJC is also reputed to be one of the nicest people in rock music, though I have never met her, I hope that someday I will.

AGENT ORANGE (PUNK) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: 79'-Present. Worth checking out if you're really into punk. They are famous for their song 'Bloodstains'. The band play live in a scene of, and have a few songs in the soundtrack of, the horror movie Pale Blood. Fun fact: the group recorded their debut Living In Darkness album with Brian Elliot, best known for composing Madonna’s hit 'Papa Don’t Preach'.

**THE AGGROLITES (REGGAE) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: 2002-Present. Alongside The Slackers I think The Aggrolites are the greatest reggae band to ever come forth, and probably one of the best bands in the whole world. I'd describe their sound as funk molesting soul while reggae masturbates. I was astonished to discover the singer Jesse Wagner was white, he sounds so black on record! Soulful, beautiful, catchy, sublime music check out the albums 'The Aggrolites', 'The Aggrolites IV', 'Dirty Reggae' and 'Reggae Hit L.A'. Some of my favourite songs ever are provided by this band, 'Countryman Fiddle', 'Pop The Trunk', 'Reggae Hit L.A', 'Time To Get Tough', 'It's Gonna Be OK', 'Dirty Reggae' and 'Let's Pack Our Bags'. They have served as a backing band for the legendary Prince Buster and for the incredible Tim Armstrong, check out the album they did with Tim entitled 'A Poet's Life' an amazing record. One of the best bands ever!

A-HA (POP) ~ Origin: Oslo, Norway. Active: On and off 82'-Present. A good band if you like cheesy 80s synth pop, and I am a sucker for some of that shit, maybe because I was born in the eighties, I liked James Bond a lot as a kid too, so maybe there's a connection there as they did the theme song for 'The Living Daylights'. Famous of course for their songs 'Take On Me' and 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' and pioneers of music videos. Reel Big Fish do an even better ska-punk version of 'Take On Me' so check that out. A-ha are a good band if you like pop music, better than what pop has to offer these days anyway!

AIR (ELECTRONICA/PSYCHEDELIC/AMBIENT) ~ Origin: France. Active. 95'-Present. Probably the best band to come out of France anyway, great music to chill to, but also fantastic music to trip to, specifically the album 'Moon Safari', I'll never forget the time I came up on 300 Liberty Caps to that record, it was glorious! Check out songs 'Sexy Boy', 'Kelly Watch The Stars' and 'All I Need', but the whole album is awesome!

**AL GREEN (SOUL) ~ Origin: Arkansas, America. Active: 67'-Present. The Reverend Al Green defines soul, perfect music to lift you up if you're feeling down and a great introduction to the genre. A rock and roll hall of famer with a string of hits for you to consider including 'Love & Happiness', 'Take Me To The River', 'Tired Of Being Alone', 'Still In Love With You' and of course his signature tune, the one that usually leads to you discovering him, sometimes through the Pulp Fiction soundtrack (like me), 'Let's Stay Together'. Al Green is of course a legend and an influential icon and one of my fave soul singers, and he still tours today at 70 years old!

**ALABAMA 3 (COUNTRY/BLUES/ELECTRONICA/GOSPEL) ~ Origin: Scotland/England  Active: 96'-Present. I'm actually friends, or at least acquaintances, with the frontman Rev. D.Wayne Love, from the Vicki's Era and through his recent association with the Yellow Movement too, I believe he is also an old friend of Joe Bone of the Dark Vibes as they both hail from Possil in Glasgow or somewhere like that. Alabama 3 are famous for their hit 'Woke Up This Morning' which was used as the theme tune for the greatest TV show that ever existed, The Sopranos, but Alabama 3 are so much more than that. Their album 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane' is a masterpiece with an alloying of genres and such incredible tunes as the full version of 'Woke Up...', 'U Don't Dance 2 Techno Anymore', 'Hypo Full Of Love', 'Mao Tse Tung Said', 'The Old Purple Tin' (a reference to Tennent's Super), and their cover of John Prine's 'Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness'. They also have many other great albums on offer for you to check out too. I have seen them live several times and they are very good on stage as well.

ALBAROMA (FOLK/ROCK/BLUES/BALKAN/CELTIC/GYPSY) ~ Origin: Edinburgh, Scotland. Active: 2012-Present. Our first entry from an unsigned local band! I first became aware of AlbaRoma when I was covering Kelburn festival back in 2012 or 2013, we interviewed them after we were blown away by their live set. A heterogeneous multi-national band that play dark-edged turbo-charged Roma melodies. "Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms that are fused with traditional Celtic folk, all performed with the speed and energy of British punk." Well worth checking out!

ALICE COOPER (ROCK) ~ Origin: Arizona, America. Active: 63'-Present. Alice Cooper and his band of the same name, just say make it onto the list because he is very influential, is credited with shaping heavy metal, is a rock and roll hall of famer, has been called by Rolling Stone "one of the world's most beloved heavy metal entertainers", has a huge following, has been rocking a long, long time, and is probably one of the pioneers of 'shock rock'. They've got some really good tunes too, like the hit songs 'School's Out', 'I'm Eighteen' and 'Poison'.

**ALKALINE TRIO (PUNK/ROCK/EMO) ~ Origin: Illinois, America. Active: 96'-Present. Alkaline Trio were for a number of my teenage years one of my favourite bands. However, only material through the period of '96 to 2005-ish, I consider most their new stuff to be a bit shit, they basically sold out and it seemed to cost them their edge. But early Alk3 is true ingenuity! 'Goddammit', 'Maybe I'll Catch Fire' (probably one of my top 100 albums ever), 'From Here To Infirmary' and their B-sides album 'Remains' are all albums where every track is brilliant, 'Good Mourning' and 'Crimson' have a few good songs on them, but are beginning to mark their decline. Matt Skiba is one of my all time favourite lyricists, his lyrics are dark, poetic, emotive and rife with metaphor and imagery, a true genius of songwriting. I've seen them live several times and, just like their music, they were better back in the day. some of my favourite Alk3 tracks include 'Radio', 'Private Eye', 'Keep Em Coming', 'Maybe I'll Catch Fire', 'This Is Getting Over You', 'Armageddon', 'Fine Without You', 'If You Had A Bad Time', 'This Could Be Love', 'We've Had Enough', 'Fuck You Aurora', 'Warbrain' and their covers of 'Metro' and 'Exploding Boy'. They are also perfect music if you like cutting yourself a lot...

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS (ROCK/BLUES/COUNTRY) ~ Origin: Florida, America. Active: On and off 69'-Present. Famous, of course, for providing 'Jessica', the theme tune for Top Gear, but I really got into them when I discovered the beautiful song 'Whipping Post'. The band are credited with being one of the principle architects of 'southern rock'. Their live album 'At The Fillmore East' is considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. A very talented band with a very extensive back catalogue to be getting on with.

ALPHA BLONDY (REGGAE) ~ Origin: Africa. Active: 81'-Present. I discovered the French-spoken Alpha Blondy because of his awesome cover of Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here', probably one of the first and only times I've heard bagpipes used in reggae as well! Multilingual, multi-instrumental, spiritual, political and positive "The Bob Marley of Africa". One of his most popular songs is 'Sebe Allah Y'e'. A must for any fan of reggae.

**ALVIN LEE (BLUES/ROCK) ~ Origin: Nottingham, England. Active: 1960-2013. In my opinion THE SINGLE MOST GREATEST guitarist that ever walked the face of the planet, he was overshadowed when Jimi Hendix stole his thunder at Woodstock and he has remained largely unsung since, but you Google some videos of Alvin Lee playing guitar and prepare to be really fucking amazed! Best known for being the frontman of the phenomenal Ten Years After, but also with a decent solo career and string of albums worth checking out, as well as being the founder of Chrysalis Records. Lee also recorded a solo album with George Harrison (Beatles), Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis Group/Blind Faith), Ronnie Wood (Faces/Rolling Stones) and Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) 'On The Road To Freedom'. Lee has also appeared on the albums of Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. A true legend, and a real unsung hero of the guitar!

THE AMPS (ROCK/POP) ~ Origin: Ohio, America. Active: 1995. See The Breeders in the 'B' section of this series.

AMY WINEHOUSE (SOUL/POP) ~ Origin: London, England. Active: 2003-2011. I didn't get into Amy Winehouse until quite a few years after she famously joined the 27 Club. I possibly ignored her because of her chart success but essentially she is a fucking fantastic musician with an amazing voice, and she certainly had a sexy, sultry, self-destructive, hedonistic punk attitude to boot. She has many great songs and is a bastion for real music in an artificial age, her career was cut far too short by her untimely death, and she goes down in history kinda' like a female Kurt Cobain! At least she was rock & roll all the way!

THE ANIMALS (BLUES/ROCK/FOLK/PSYCHEDELIC) ~ Origin: Newcastle, England. Active: On and off 63' to Present. Famous for their apocalyptic, gritty, bluesy sound, as well as their transatlantic hit cover version of traditional song 'House Of The Rising Sun', but responsible for many great songs including 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood', 'I'm Crying', 'It's My Life' and 'We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place'. Fun fact: The band were dubbed 'the animals' because of their 'wild' stage act and they adopted it as their band name. A lot of good covers and a lot of good original songs, well worth checking out.

ANNIE LENNOX (POP) ~ Origin: Aberdeen, Scotland. Active: 76'-Present. See The Eurythmics in the 'E' section.

ANTI-FLAG (PUNK) ~ Origin: Pennsylvania, America. Active: 88'-Present. A very politically active band, with a great sound and a noble message. Relatively hardcore so probably only for the punk connoisseur, but some of my favourite tracks include 'One Trillion Dollars', 'Seattle Was A Riot', 'The School Of Assassins', 'This Is The End', 'Turncoat', and many more, definitely worth a nosy and a headbang.

ANTI-HEROS (OI/PUNK) ~ Origin: Georgia, America. Active: On and off 84'-2000-ish. Perfect if you're into punk, particularly oi punk, Ant-Heros are one of the foremost popular bands of this specialist genre of the music. Fun fact: Anti-Heros took the makers of American History X (brilliant movie!) to court for using the band's logo in the film and successfully had it removed, not wanting their band to be associated with white supremacy/Nazi punks, which had tarnished their reputation in the past.

ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE (PUNK/HARDCORE) ~ Origin: Kent, England. Active: On and off 1980-Present. I love this band because they have a song that's perfect if you really want to offend people, 'So What', which covers everything from drug abuse, bestiality, paedophelia, fellatio with pensioners... Yeah, you get the picture. Apart from their shock value however they are a good band if you're into punk, especially hardcore old school punk with a lot of grit, spit, growl and snarl. Check out their singles collection, there's a lot of good songs on there, and move on from there if you like what you hear. Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards also do a good cover of their song 'For You' on their album 'Viking'.

APPARAT (ELECTRONIC) ~ Origin: East Germany. Active: 96'-Present. Again, good music to chill out to, ambient, nebulous, atmospheric. Did an album with one of my all time fave electronic bands Modeselektor. Check out the album 'Walls' by Apparat, my fave track on it is 'Over And Over'.

THE AQUABATS! (PUNK/POP/SKA/SYNTH/METAL/COMEDY) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: 94'-Present. A bit of a joke band yeah, but amusing enough and with all the right melodies to keep you entertained. A really eccentric and weird band; Fronted by The MC Bat Commander, The Aquabats wear matching costumes and masks, that's right, they have secret identities, like superheroes. They masquerade as crime-fighting vigilantes and their live sets include everything from comic book style sub plots to on stage 'battles' with villains complete with stunts and monsters. Fun fact: The band had costumes donated to them by then unknown artist Paul Frank (famous now for that ridiculously exorbitant monkey design chicks love!). Despite the jokey exterior Aquabats do have some decent tunes, I love the song 'Meltdown' and check out their album 'Myths, Legends and Other Amazing Adventures Vol.2' with such classics as 'I Fell Asleep On My Arm' (a skit of the nu-metal genre), 'Pizza Day' and 'The Baker' and also check out the record 'Charge!!!'. The Aquabats are currently doing a kid's TV show entitled 'The Aquabats! Super Show!' on Nickelodeon, suits them down to a tee.

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS (INDIE/ROCK/POP) ~ Origin: Sheffield, England. Active: 2002-Present. One of the few decent bands to be spewed up out of that whole toilet of an indie-pop-rock revival scene of the millennium. Yeah, the Arctic Monkeys have balls, and some decent songs, and my little brother would be upset if I didn't include them, and he's much bigger than me. I do like that hit they had 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' it has just enough punk and attitude in it to entice me.

ARETHA FRANKLIN (SOUL) ~ Origin: Detroit, America. Active: 56'-Present. One of the greatest voices of all time no doubt about that. A legend of the musical ages and an inspiration to countless millions. My favourite track by her is 'Chain Of Fools' R.L Burnside also does a good cover of it, but she has many, many hits including her cover of Otis Redding's  'Respect', 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman' (which Me First & The Gimme Gimmes do a good version of), 'Do Right Woman, Do Right Man' and many others, one of the most prolific singers of our times, essential listening for any serious music fan.

ARMCHAIR MARTIAN (PUNK/ALT.FOLK) ~ Origin: Colorado, America. Active: 93'-2007-ish. Armchair Martian are pretty good but are an elusive, enigmatic, esoteric band, supposedly influenced by The Descendants and Husker Du. They are huge influences themselves on one of my all time favourite singer songwriters Joey Cape (Lagwagon/Bad Astronaut), they even did a split EP with Bad Astronaut entitled 'War Of The Worlds' where they cover each other's songs, a brilliant album well worth checking out. The singer Jon Snodgrass also went on to form the band Drag The River.

ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION (RAP/RAGGA/DUB/ELECTRONICA) ~ Origin: London, England Active: 93'-Present. Cracking band, mixing up genres like nobody's business, everything from funk to punk to bhangra! "Hard ragga-jungle rhythms, indo-dub basslines, searing sitar-inspired guitars and 'traditional' sounds gleaned from their parents' record collections, shot through with fast-chat conscious lyrics". Massive discog' to be getting on with but 'Community Music' is a good place to start.

THE ATARIS (POP-PUNK) ~ Origin: Indiana, America. Active: 95'-Present. Okay, the one flaw with the Ataris is 90% of their lyrics cover girls, love, heartbreak and relationships, to the point where it can get a bit tiresome, the only thing that saves them from being irksome is the heavy, melodic, fantastic pop-punk riffs that provides the backdrop to the lugubrious, quixotic songwriting. They are then, the perfect band for a punk who's girlfriend has just left him or whatever, because they provide that heartbreak appreciation but while maintaining a hard enough edge so as not to be completely lame. Their record 'End Is Forever' is a great record and provided the soundtrack to all the girls I longed after or lost in my teenage years. Arguably the best track off the album is 'Atari Teenage Riot'* but the whole album is good, they have other good albums too in the form of 'Blue Skies & Broken Hearts, Next 12 Exits' and 'So Long Astoria' which has a cracking cover of 'Boys Of Summer' by Don Henley (The Eagles) on it.

*They were constantly getting confused with that mental band Atari Teenage Riot and decided to do a song of the same name just to add to the confusion.

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (STONER ROCK/METAL/PSYCHEDELIC) ~ Origin: New Jersey, America. Active: 92'-Present. Psychedelic rifftastic hard-edged rock and metal if you like that sort of thing, I do, one of the best of the stoner rock genre. Fun fact: The drummer is also the drummer for Monster Magnet.

AUDIOSLAVE (GRUNGE/ROCK) ~ Origin: California, America. Active: 2002-2007. Another elusive enigmatic band, formed from the ashes of Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden we got Audioslave, I prefer them to Soundgarden but not to Rage. During their brief existence they released three albums and were nominated for three Grammies, worth checking out.

AUGUSTUS PABLO (REGGAE/DUB) ~ Origin: Jamaica. Active: 1970-99'. Perfect if you're a big fan of reggae or dub, a true pioneer of dub through his work with King Tubby, and populariser of the melodica instrument. Suggested listening; 'East of the River Nile' album, a unique alloying of Asian and Jamaican sounds. I have his discog' but I wouldn't recommend going that far unless you're a real dub enthusiast, and they're rare.

**AVAIL (PUNK/ALT.FOLK) ~ Origin: Washington, America Active: 87'-2008. Avail have a beautiful record in 2002's 'Front Porch Stories' a classic album from beginning to end and a mainstay on my turntable for many years, I love the bluesy, boozy deliverance of the singer. The album is worth checking out even if you're not into punk because it leans very heavily in the direction of folk and country too.

THE AVALANCHES (ELECTRONIC/HIP-HOP/PSYCHEDELIC) ~ Origin: Melbourne, Australia. Active: 97'-Present. Well known for such hits as the dreamy 'Since I Left You' from the brilliant album of the same name and the whacky 'Frontier Psychiatrist' also from that album. Avalanches are an electronic band with a difference and have a very eclectic, wonderful sound that is unique and pioneering. Only 2 albums so this band's only flaw is a lack of productivity.

AZIZ IBRAHIM (BLUES/PSYCHEDELIC/INDIE/PROG/ASIAN) ~ Origin: Manchester, England. Active: 87'-Present. Rounding off the list nicely is an incredibly talented and prolific musician, famous for his guitar skills and his work with The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Marillion, and Simply Red. I'm pleased to class Aziz as a friend, I've met him several times, interviewed him a few times, reviewed his gigs, reviewed his album, partied with him, been quoted by him, and was even invited to his VIP 50th birthday party where I rubbed shoulders with the elite of Manchester's music scene, one of the greatest nights of my life. Aziz is a highly skilled master of the guitar, combining 'Madchester' influence with Asian/Pakistani styles and blues. Credit must also go to his percussionist Dal who is to the tablas what Jon Bonham was to the drums! Check out Aziz's album 'Rusholme Rock' an opus and a masterpiece!

                                                                                         See you for 'B'!

                                                                                                                                      CTH.