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THE TEA PARTY

Crossover Prog • Canada


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The Tea Party biography
1990 - The Tea Party consisting of Jeff Martin as lead vocals/lead guitar, Stuart Chatwood on bass and keyboards and Jeff Burrows on drums officially forms after a marathon jam session at Cherry Beach Rehearsal Studios on Toronto's waterfront.

1991 - The Tea Party release their first album independently. The self-titled debut was mainly distributed throughout Ontario and all 3500 original pressings sold out within a year.After this release, they were signed to Chrysalis and sold over a million copies of their official 1st release Splendor Solis, their most successful album to date.During the nineties the band did exstensive tours of both the USA and Canada and have developed something of a cult following.Transmission their studio release in 1997 is regarded as their most progressive album to date sharing a myriad of sound influences.They are widely regarded as one of Canada's most prominent bands and in 2007 they released their first official DVD of live material.

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Ocean at EndOcean at End
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$12.29
$11.29 (used)
Edges of TwilightEdges of Twilight
Capitol 1995
Audio CD$5.27
$0.12 (used)
Tea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in AustraliaTea Party - Reformation Tour: Live in Australia
Multiple Formats · DTS Surround Sound
Linus Entertainment 2012
DVD$9.04
$12.99 (used)
TriptychTriptych
Import
Emd Int'l 1999
Audio CD$7.13
$3.45 (used)
Live from AustraliaLive from Australia
Double CD
Linus Entertainment 2012
Audio CD$10.46
$11.19 (used)
Tea Party CollectionTea Party Collection
Import
Wea Int'l 2000
Audio CD$7.66
$3.66 (used)
Seven CirclesSeven Circles
Import
Emd Int'l 2004
Audio CD$7.46
$7.36 (used)
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THE TEA PARTY discography


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THE TEA PARTY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.24 | 12 ratings
The Tea Party
1991
3.84 | 47 ratings
Splendor Solis
1993
4.31 | 65 ratings
The Edges of Twilight
1995
3.44 | 32 ratings
Transmission
1997
3.37 | 33 ratings
Triptych
1999
3.59 | 26 ratings
The Interzone Mantras
2001
2.62 | 27 ratings
Seven Circles
2004
3.30 | 25 ratings
The Ocean At The End
2014

THE TEA PARTY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE TEA PARTY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 4 ratings
The Reformation Tour
2012

THE TEA PARTY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Icon
2014

THE TEA PARTY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Alhambra
1996

THE TEA PARTY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Ocean At The End by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.30 | 25 ratings

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The Ocean At The End
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Has it really been nearly ten years? One listen to THE TEA PARTY's 2014 reformation album makes it seem no time at all since they broke up after the bland 'Seven Circles'. And I don't mean that entirely in a good way.

Look, these songs are great. Some are outstanding, and the band certainly take more risks than they were taking in 2005. But - and I am finding this difficult to put into words - there's an oily sheen of rock professionalism all over this album. Perhaps it's the overproduction, but I have the feeling it goes deeper. 'The Black Sea', for example, ought to be a standout, but it falls flat. There's no rough hand reaching out from the speakers and grabbing me around the throat. I am not compelled to listen. We get THE TEA PARTY doing PINK FLOYD on the title track, with a plodding pace, ascending chord sequences and a bitchin' guitar solo. Actually, I like it. 'Like' is about the most they get out of me. Heck, even 'Submission' fails to move me, despite the amazing intro. The only time I did a double-take was at the chilling electronic five-minute outro. They have cleansed this record of anything that might irritate or hook the listener and, in so doing, have rendered it sterile.

And what's JEFF MARTIN done with his voice? He's sounding more and more like JIM KERR these days. (Have a listen to 'Cypher' to hear what I mean.) Now I love KERR's heavily affected voice, and it worked in the context of SIMPLE MINDS' elaborate electronic, pulsing rock of the early 80s ('Sons and Fascination' is one of the best records ever made - ooh look, I'm getting sidetracked). But it just sounds incongruous here. He tickles my ear now, when back then he scorched.

This album's good, make no mistake. But I think the band wanted to do better than good. If so, they're probably a little disappointed.

Was it worth them reforming the band? I'll find out in a couple of weeks' time, when I attend their Canberra gig.

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 Seven Circles by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.62 | 27 ratings

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Seven Circles
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

2 stars And so we reach the rather bleak nadir of this compelling band. THE TEA PARTY learned its chops performing LED ZEPPELIN covers. However, by this, their seventh album, they have all the chops in the world but bind them up rather in the manner Chinese women were once forced to wrap their feet. The result is stunted and unbalanced.

And yet. A surfeit of heavy rock riffs still stirs a faint pleasure in me. Stop it, 'Overload'! I don't want to enjoy this; I shouldn't! But - hee hee - it's still fun. 'Writings On The Wall' is a superior hard rocker. The chorus to 'Wishing You Would Stay' is lovely, with the female voice lifting the song out of mediocrity. Listened to in isolation - perhaps as part of one of their earlier albums - these tracks wouldn't be too bad. (Well, 'The Watcher' is pretty bad, really.) But put 'em all together and you have the same result you'd get if you forced Shakespeare to write a script for a Teletubbies episode.

No, 'Seven Circles', I'm going to resist your crude blandishments. You are a sellout, written to get heavy rock radio airplay, and I despise you for that. If I was the charismatic lead singer and had a desire to make more meaningful music I'd leave after such a limp effort - oh look, he did.

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 The Interzone Mantras by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.59 | 26 ratings

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The Interzone Mantras
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A classic case of misleading advertising. One look at the album cover and title and you'd be forgiven for thinking THE TEA PARTY have returned to their glory days of beautiful Eastern melodies. But they have not. These are not mantras. Shiva does not appear as guest vocalist on any track. Drat.

With this album THE TEA PARTY settle firmly into their post-'Transmission' album formula. Really, this review is largely interchangeable with any of their four most recent albums. And that's a shame: there's no surprises left. It happens to virtually every band - but one can hope...

So. Hard rocker to open, a couple of mid-tempo ballads as singles separated by a few stronger (but interchangeable) numbers. After about five or six tracks, pull out a sequence of three excellent tracks lightly dusted in the glamour that made them a candidate for Crossover Prog: a bit of Arabic melody and rhythm, an oud or a sitar or a tambla drum, a flash of LED ZEPPELIN tinsel (there's a guitar figure in 'Angels' that'll arrest your attention if you're a ZEP fan, and 'Must Must' is yet another return to that troubled Himalayan province, you know the one I mean). Save the most progressive track for the end. Result: an album much more Crossover than Prog. Rinse and repeat.

But.

They are so very good at it.

Crunchy riffs (Exhibit A: 'The Master & Margarita'), superb rhythm section (Exhibit B: 'Apathy'). The occasional surprise (the delicious, sumptuous horns in Exhibit B) and outright brilliance (Exhibit C: the entirety of 'White Water Siren', but especially the chorus riff, oooooh) make this an album I play again and again, albeit in reduced form as a 40-minute playlist. Two songs ('Apathy' and 'White Water Siren') make it on to my 50-minute Best Of THE TEA PARTY playlist. Write more of this stuff, guys! To me, all this adds up to a solid three-star album.

But with a more liberal sprinkling of prog dust it could have been so much more.

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 Triptych by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 33 ratings

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Triptych
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

2 stars It happens to almost every band eventually. Their repertoire gets large enough that their new songs begin to sound derivative of their old songs. THE TEA PARTY have consciously worked to avoid this since the beginning of their career, but I'm afraid on this album they do not succeed.

'Triptych' is a reasonable album. Musically competent, full of excellent melodies. What it's missing, however, is heart. The songs sound like inferior copies of what's gone before. The #1 Canadian single, 'Heaven's Coming Down', is stripped back soft rock... dare I mention a band called NICKELBACK? This is an abrogation of what makes the band great. This song succeeds only because the passion has been torn out of it. Rock by numbers. MARTIN's great voice is wasted here - in fact, it sounds incongruous, more like TOM JONES than JIM MORRISON. Songs like 'Underground' and 'The Messenger' drift past on a cloud of their own inconsequence. Others ('Samsara', as you'd guess from the title, and 'Halcyon Days') reference the glorious 'The Edges of Twilight' but those days appear to have gone. There's nothing exotic here, nothing searing, nothing propulsive. It's telling that many of the songs fade out. As does the album.

Again I must emphasise that this is not a poor album. But I would genuinely choose to listen to 'Transmission' twice in a row than follow it with this one.

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 Transmission by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.44 | 32 ratings

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Transmission
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The follow-up to the wildly impressive 'The Edge Of Twilight' is a calculated change of direction. You have to admire a band for opting out of a reprise when their formula has reached its pinnacle. THE TEA PARTY does just that by introducing samples, loops and other techniques garnished from the electronica/IDM scene that was cresting at the time. The result is 'Transmission', an album that continues the band's excellent songwriting and performance.

Unlike their earlier albums, this is a slab of top-quality music with no weaknesses - but fewer strengths also. There's no 'Sister Awake' or even 'Save Me', but there are searing rockers (and I mean searing: 'Temptation', 'Pulse' and 'Gyroscope' stick their fingers in your ears and try to gouge out your eardrums) and intriguing, superbly original tracks, such as the title track. This track begins with electronic feedback overlain by what sounds like a sample of a Jim Jones rant, joined by a thunderous Arabic beat, a Mellotron, an Eastern flute and MARTIN's vocal rasp. The song doesn't take full advantage of such an intriguing beginning (which is a complaint one could levy at most of the tracks on this album) but it is wildly atmospheric and needs to be heard to be believed. To my mind this is exactly what a progressive band needed to do in the 90s - take from the dominant musical cultures to flavour their own work.

And those flavours are stolen without apology. After fifty seconds of exactly what you'd expect, the opening track ('Temptation') is subverted by a pulsing beat one reviewer describes as reminiscent of 'When The Levee Breaks' but is in fact lifted straight from 'Minniapolis' an obscure 1992 Lemon Interupt (later to be Underworld) track. This sot of thing wins my admiration even though it comes at the cost of much of the Arabic/Eastern feel.

In a decade where 'progressive' music was by and large taking place outside normal 'prog rock' circles, it was refreshing to see bands like THE TEA PARTY reinventing themselves.

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 Alhambra by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1996
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Alhambra
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Issued as a way to keep interest alive after their superb 'The Edges Of Twilight', THE TEA PARTY's 'Alhambra' is an excellent EP and well worth acquiring for any aficionado of the band.

Acoustic-based songs are an important part of the band's repertoire, both on their studio albums and live: in fact, they have toured as an acoustic outfit. This EP offers acoustic versions of some of The Edges Of Twilight's choicest cuts. Indeed, 'Inanna' and 'Turn the Lamp Down' are substantially the better for it - particularly the former, which is slowed down to a pace where the Arabic flavour seeps into your bones. Delicious.

After four acoustic tracks somes the highlight of this release. ROY HARPER guests as vocalist on 'Time' (sorry, Floydian flashback there) and I can see why he was asked - this outstanding song would not have suited a baritone. HARPER's voice sounds excellent, if a little thinner than back in the day, and it is somewhat of a coup for the band to have recruited him. When the glorious chorus arrives, after over two minutes' worth of largely acoustic setup, it is a substantial shock. Genuinely one of the best tracks in THE TEA PARTY's canon.

What to say about the remix of 'Sister Awake', a remake of one of the best tracks in rock? We're better for having it, I suppose, but it's not up there with the original. This is a link between their previous album and the upcoming industrial electronic feel of 'Transmission'. I think this is an excellent example of how a song's arrangement is crucial.

Four stars as an excellent example of what can be achieved in an EP's length. These days I suspect it would be issued as a bonus disk.

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 The Edges of Twilight by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.31 | 65 ratings

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The Edges of Twilight
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'The Edges of Twilight' is THE TEA PARTY's acknowledged masterpiece, but perhaps you haven't yet experienced just how excellent it is. This power rock trio from Canada took their formula of hard rock blues and folky acoustic sound and slathered a layer of Middle-Eastern instruments, melodies and timing all over it, to end up with half a dozen all-time rock classics, surrounded by another half-dozen lesser (but still excellent) tracks. If you want to sample this band, this is where you start.

Specifically, this album is organised around the spine-tinglingly majestic 'Sister Awake', one of the best rock numbers of the 90s. More than a little prog-tinged, this six-minute adventure comes in two parts, a Moroccan-drenched intro and outro sandwiching a most beguiling centrepiece with enough riffage, drama and atmosphere to satisfy any lover of rock, prog or otherwise. This is THE TEA PARTY's 'Kashmir', the apogee of their art. It's that good. Go and have a listen to it now.

But to get there you will have already rocked out with 'Fire In The Head', an opener with more than enough power and subtlety to please, 'The Bazaar', a shorter track based on an eastern rhythm, and the longer, slower, bluesy 'Correspondences', a prog track good enough to be the highlight of many artists' careers. You'll have chilled out with the Celtic acoustic beauty of 'The Badger' and been woken up again by zeppelinesque 'Silence'.

The rest of the album's a bit of a curate's egg. For some reason the band felt the need to insert two of their blues numbers ('Turn The Light Down Low' and 'Since I've Been Loving You' - sorry, I mean 'Drawing Down The Moon') - just delete or skip if you're not a fan of this sort of stuff (I'm not). 'Inanna' is the other indispensable eastern-sounding track on the album and is cut criminally short, while the last two tracks would stand out on any other album by this band.

In the end this album's not about the individual tracks but the overall sound, which will, I hope, capture you and intrigue you over many listens.

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 Splendor Solis by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.84 | 47 ratings

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Splendor Solis
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A lot of rock and a dusting of prog, THE TEA PARTY are a perfect fit for Crossover Prog. This, their second album (but first widely available release), showcases their sound. Blues-based rock tinged with acoustic tendencies a la LED ZEPPELIN III or any number of folky '70s bands is your starting point, but I would point out that you can hear grunge influences, particularly in some of the guitar and vocal phrasing. The Middle Eastern references people associate with THE TEA PARTY are almost absent here. If this is your cup of tea, read on.

Splendor Solis is organised around a solid centre of excellent material: the first five songs are well crafted, powerful and fit together very satisfyingly. 'The River' is a snappy opener, while 'Midsummer Day' is an improvement on the version recorded for their debut. The drama peaks on 'A Certain Slant of Light', which is carried by an outstanding vocal performance laid on a strong rhythm section and an excellent guitar riff. 'Save Me' is a fan favourite and about as proggy as it gets on this album.

Sadly, the second half of the album tapers off, starting with the cringeworthy and thoroughly derivative 'In My Time Of Dying' - I mean 'Sun Going Down', sorry. 'Dreams Of Reason' needed more work to make it worth over six minutes of your time. The rest of the tracks are at best inoffensive.

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 The Tea Party by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.24 | 12 ratings

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The Tea Party
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by russellk
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The debut album from Canadian hard-rock outfit THE TEA PARTY had a limited release in 1991. At the time the world was preoccupied with grunge, so it garnered very little attention. Fortunately the better tracks on the album were re-recorded (generally for the better) and re-released on their acclaimed follow-up album, Splendor Solis, two years later. So you are not missing anything if you do not hunt this down.

Their first album sees THE TEA PARTY searching for their musical voice. Much has been made of their Zeppelinesque sound and Jeff Martin's Jim Morrison vocal style, but I don't really hear it that way. Martin has a baritone voice and Morrison was rock's most famous baritone (though Eddie Vedder was to challenge him), so it was natural to make the comparison - but when we first hear a band we constantly look for comparisons. They are like Led Zeppelin in that they are largely blues-based, incorporating folk and middle-eastern elements, but they project neither the ambition nor the confidence Led Zeppelin had from the start.

This album was convincing enough to keep them in the game. Highlights include Midsummer Day, an excellent ballad (if twice as long as it needs to be), and Save Me, which would be shortened for subsequent releases, and is a staple of their live performances. The guitar here is thinner than on subsequent albums and the production in general is barely adequate. This would be a solid three-star album if the better tracks did not reoccur on their next album. Skip this one and dive headlong into their next few releases.

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 The Ocean At The End by TEA PARTY, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.30 | 25 ratings

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The Ocean At The End
The Tea Party Crossover Prog

Review by jsmidg

3 stars Welcome back guys.Can't believe no reviews yet of this major come back moment but I feel honored to start ! Don't expect anything elaborate or pretentious(apart from this opening) but just an honest down to earth appraisal of this, frankly, slightly disappointing release. And it's not really prog in it's true sense - just prog elements.

They've been doing their 'own thing' for a while + Jeff Martin has made a few 'watered down' versions of Tea Party albums since their split, but after almost a decade apart you would imagine they'd come back with stronger material than this - admittedly there are a few excellent tracks but the overall feel is of a reduced abundance of melodies (which was always their strong point), reduced number of high points, and an obvious attempt in some places to re-create a sound similar to what they produced in the 90s. I loved how all their previous albums were so different - I even loved 'Seven Stars' (regularly abused) which to me was a 'beefed up' stab at mainstream recognition which I don't blame Jeff Martin for - because that had some great melodies and many highlights. OK enough rambling, lets analyse :

1. The L.O.C. : Excellent opener - which isn't always a Tea Party strong point - ref.'Touch' from 'Triptych'. Reminds me of 'Song remains the same' in parts. 'Galloping' style beat with great bass work. Very rocky...very Zeppelin..and very good news! (Thanks Ade Edmondson) 9/10

2. Black Sea : Reasonable. Jungle rhythm opening followed by heavy and fairly ' doomy' rock . It's fairly predictable, and the Black Sea lyric delivery is painful to my ears. Some good moments though and a nice solo. 7.5/10

3. Cypher : Nice atmospheric opening but then degenerates into a slightly 'leaden' rock work out - sounds like an outtake from 'Transmission' sessions in a way. Has some redeeming features but ultimately nothing uplifting (maybe the instrumental bit from 2:45..but it's far too short). 7/10

4. The Maker : WTF. To me this is truly awful. It's sounds like a sickly attempt at a hit single. A poor man's 'Watcher' etc. Guys- what were you thinking ! So predictable and bland - but a good solo at the end which doubles it's score. 4/10

5. Black Rose: At last something to cherish again. And some acoustic guitar opening it - which I think is sadly lacking throughout the album. You could say the track's a bit formulaic but it's superbly executed and oozes melody and class. In places Martin really lets his voice rip like the old days - real passion and emotion. 8.5/10.

6. Brazil : Oops, nice idea but another album low point for me. Basically a rock song with little melody. It has some good beefy guitar sections, however the track is regularly punctuated by what I can only describe as Amazonian chanting/groaning. Look, I'm all for a bit of variation but this doesn't work. 5/10

7. 11th Hour : Thankfully things start to get more consistent in 2nd half of the album. Good fairly heavy track this - would have fitted on 'Twilight' quite easily. Martin's voice again full of that passion I love. Further Zeppelin sounding moments here too (never a bad thing usually).8.5/10

8.Submission : The opening really sounds like Gary Numen circa 'Cars' (honest), and a 'Transmission' feel here. I like Numen-but if you don't then you may dislike this. It's generally heavy with that keyboard feel appearing regularly. 7.5/10

9. Cass Corridor : Initially sounds like it's going to be a tedious up tempo standard rock track - but it has real energy and great 'Hey man' chorus from Martin ( very 'Suffragette City'). Short and fairly sweet. 7.5/10

10. Water's on fire : At first I thought ''oh my god - not another 'Maker' !'' But thankfully it isn't - and this one really developes and houses the albums stellar chorus. Martin screams out the short beautiful chorus to make any rock fan go weak at the knees! Ha. Superb guitar solo too. My favorite track. 9.5/10

11. Ocean at the End : When I first heard this a few weeks ago on the naughty web, it sounded a bit lame and 'Tea Party' by numbers. But now it sounds great! Maybe something to do with following the previous track - they work well together. Longest track, which starts very atmospheric with sound of waves/keyboard, and then Martin comes in with fairly haunting and laid back voice + we have that rare breed : a long Tea Party guitar solo - which is very bluesy and superb. The ending is excellent as well - a total extra dimension to the track (vocals). 9.5/10

12. Into the Unknown : A quiet closing atmospheric keyboard track. Sounds like something Eno churned out by the crate load 20 or 30 years ago. Poorish to be honest and a bit confusing .Think it would have worked better if truncated and followed by another rock track opening with drums...but hey - what do I know and who do I think I am? 4/10

Generally this is a fairly good rock album with a few prog moments - but it's let down by a few poor tracks and lacks imagination in many places. I'm feeling there are opportunities to develop many tracks here and to have more instrumental sections : I love Martin's voice,especially when he lets that passion through, but there is an impression sometimes that he dominates things too often(apart from last track of course) . Still, if you are new to Tea Party music then this might seem a great album. It pleases me in many places too - just not the classic I expected.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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