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Sisters of Mercy I'm no MP3 fan, but I recently bought a 160GB iPod for travel. Audiophile? No. Hearing loss? Yes. One personal key for listening this way: choose lo-fi recordings. I've long championed early Sisters singles and EPs, and unlike purist friends, I love their debut album. Aside from everything legit from 1980 to '85, I loaded tons of demos, alternate takes, instrumentals, radio sessions, and concerts. Catchy songs with minimalist Boss DR-55 drum patterns. Start here: Before the Flood, The Darks Were in Milan, Disguised in Black, Heartland, Kenny Giles Walks on Water, Psychedelic Sessions, Wide Receiver. Joy Division and early Einstürzende Neubauten bootlegs work equally well.
A Beautiful Machine I've been captivated by this Australian one-man band since a 1999 mp3.com discovery. Three albums (A Beautiful Machine; Solar Winds, White Noise, Antigravity; and Home), a remix disc (Solar Variants), and an EP (Another Time) blend dark, romantic shoegaze, doom, and psychedelia to create what is for me the most perfect oeuvre from any band in many years.
El Chopo Fresh from another amazing Mexico City trip. Made it back to El Chopo, with Pieter from Bloodyminded, Sergio from Los Heraldos Negros, and our three better halves. First went in 2007 with Sergio, plus Isidro and Heber from Bloodyminded and some cool DF noise guys. This massive, long-running, revolutionary street market is dedicated to metal, punk, goth, classic rock, et cetera. Need a Discharge DVD? Check. Specimen T-shirt? Yep. Obscure black-metal demos? Si. Beatles memorabilia? Of course! Bizarre bondage zipper mask with Pinocchio nose?