Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
Darren Scott, March 2019
Listen to why I picked this Kendrick Lamar album. It is actually more like a film. The album was meant to be played in order and tells the story of a young Kendrick on the streets of L.A. Does the influence stand up, does the album still sound relevant? Listen for yourself and then join us at the beginning of next month for our review.
Rumors – Fleetwood Mac
Alain DuPuis, February, 2019
Greetings, fellow audiophiles. It’s Alain, back with another Sonic Collective pick for the month of February 2019, and I’ve been thinking about this one for a long while now.
Rumors by Fleetwood Mac, released in early 1977, is the band’s eleventh studio album. It spawned a number of singles including Go Your Own Way, Dreams, and Don’t Stop, several of which I’m sure you’ve heard either on the radio or out in the wild at least a few times.
What attracted me to Rumors were the rumors around the making of Rumors. See, I’ve had this longstanding theory that the best music is made when the artists are in emotional distress. Good music is rarely bred from contentment. And while Rumors was being created, nobody in the band was content…
Fleetwood Mac’s line-up at the time consisted of Lindsey Buckingham (guitars and vocals), Mick Fleetwood (drums), Christine McVie (keyboards/vocals), John McVie (bass), and Stevie Nicks (vocals). Prior to working on Rumors, things went sour between the McVies and after eight years of marriage, they called it quits, all but ceasing to communicate with each other – except to discuss musical matters. Meanwhile, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were having an on-again / off-again relationship that led them to frequent and heated fights. The duo’s arguments stopped only when they worked on songs together. Mic Fleetwood was dealing with dark times of his own, having learned that his wife, the mother of his two children, was having an affair with his best friend. While all this was going on, the press who had picked up an interest in the band, frequently wrote false reports about both present and past members.
With rumors inescapably swirling internally between band members, as well as outside of the band thanks to shoddy journalism and a growing fan base eager for salacious news, Fleetwood Mac was faced with trying times – Rumors was the result, filled with songs deep and personal, full of angst, pain, resentment, and introspection – or so I hear.
It must be pretty good since the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry, an honour only bestowed to “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” recordings. One prominent member of the band was even cited as saying it was the most important album they ever made.
Stevie Nicks has suggested that Fleetwood Mac created the best music when in the worst shape. Lindsay Buckingham said the tensions between band members informed the recording process and led to “the whole being more than the sum of the parts”.
I haven’t given the album a listen yet, but having heard rumors of its backstory, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my turn to pick so we can dive in and see if my previously stated theory holds true – Is the best music made when the artists are at their worst?
Check back at the end of the month to hear our reviews
Scott Gregory, January 2019
Hello everyone and welcome to The Sonic Collective. Scott G here with our pick for January, 2019. We’ve been playing around the last couple months with some really fun ways to pick albums, but I’m going to sneak back to the single album format for a second to correct a grevious oversight on our part.
We’ve completely neglected a band that cranked out Eight albums in nine years, all of them went platinum and you can still here them playing n the radio everywhere, all the time.
Afer they won Eurovision in 1973 with their song Waterloo, I wonder if Benny, Bjorn, Frida, and Agnetha knew how quickly things were going to change for them. By the time they got to their fourth studio album in 1976, aptly named Arrival, they were launching into worldwide megastardom, and ABBA would changethe face of music forever.
I thought this was a great album for us to dissect pricesely because it’s the bridge between their early work and the height of their succcess, and it also includes a healthy number of their most recognizable songs, but an equal number of tracks we’ve likely never heard before to chew on. I’m going to listen to the 1977 release that included Fernando because I really enjoy that song, but you can go with the 1976 release that didn’t if you’re sick of it.
ABBA’s always been celebrated for their harmonizing and technical brilliance in song composition. I’m really curious to see if that’s mostly just a judgment of their singles, or if even the B-sides show the same level of care and attention. I’ll probably even watch the videos for some excellent 70s fashion and dance moves.
So, I invite you all to join us in enjoying The Sonic Collective’s first pick for 2019: Arrival by ABBA.
Wikipedia – ABBA
Wikipedia – ABBA Arrival Album
iTunes – ABBA, Arrival
Spotify – ABBA, Arival
We all know that around the holiday season there is nothing better than watching a good movie. It also is a great way to avoid that weird uncle with bad breath, ha ha.
Sonic Collective member Scott Coates suggested we all pick a movie soundtrack that we really felt made the movie better. A great movie soundtrack can create an emotional connection to the characters, the environment and the story. Though there are many to pick from, listed below are the four our experts say you need to watch and listen to. We will all spend December watching and listening and then we will release our podcast that will allow our experts to tell you why the movie and soundtrack blended together so nicely. Happy holidays and enjoy the movies and music.
Listen to our podcast and check out the details below.
Selected by Scott Coates
Released July 9, 1996
Few movies have made as strong an impact and stuck with me as Trainspotting has. While it’s an incredible movie, the soundtrack plays an indelible role in cementing the film. Songs I didn’t know before and some I did, came together to elevate mood and moments in a manner rarely achieved. The songs and movie are the better for it. Truly one of the best curated soundtracks that works in complete symbiosis.
- Lust for Life, Iggy Pop
- Deep Blue Day, Brian Eno
- Trainspotting, Primal Scream
- Atomic, Sleeper
- Temptation, New Order
- Nightclubbing, Iggy Pop
- Sing, Blur
- Perfect Day, Lou Reed
- Mile End, Pulp
- For What You Dream Of, Bedrock
- 2:1, Elastica
- A Final Hit, Leftfield
- Born Slippy, Underworld
- Closet Romantic, Damon Albarn
Romeo + Juliet
Selected by Scott Gregory
The Romeo + Juliet movie attempted to update the classic story for a 90s audience, and the soundtrack called upon quintessential 90s artists to set help set the stage. It’s a great blend of existing songs and ones written just for this album. It went triple-platinum, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 Album charts.
- Crush, Garbage
- Local God, Everclear
- Angel, Gavin Friday
- Pretty Piece of Flesh, One Inch Punch
- Kissing You (Love Theme from Romeo + Juliet), Des’ree
- Whatever (I Had a Dream), Butthole Surfers
- Lovefool, The Cardigans
- Young Hearts Run Free, Kym Mazelle
- Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good), Quindon Tarver
- To You I Bestow, Mundy
- Talk Show Host, Radiohead
- Little Star, Stina Nordenstam
- You and Me Song, The Wannadies
The Greatest Showman
Selected by Alain DuPuis
Released December 2017
The Greatest Showman original soundtrack accompanies the movie of the same name, recanting a very creatively liberal musical interpretation of the story of P. T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Effron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya all lend their singing voices as well as acting chops to their roles. While I’m not personally a big fan of musicals or long, elaborately choreographed dance numbers at the best of times, I’ve gotta admit, this movie is really damn good. Particularly when the cast starts singing their songs. Holy shit, these people have serious talent. Most of the songs from this album are really catchy, and have found a home in my permanent playlists on Spotify. That’s how good I think the soundtrack is. And maybe by the end of the month, you’ll find yourself agreeing with me!
My recommendation: watch the movie! The songs will make way more sense in context of the story, and then the emotion will really shine through.
- The Greatest Show
- A Million Dreams
- A Million Dreams (Reprise) – Reprise (Austyn Johnson & Cameron Seely)
- Come Alive
- The Other Side
- Never Enough
- This Is Me
- Rewrite The Stars
- Never Enough (Reprise)
- From Now On
Selected by Darren Scott
Released December 2017
I’ve always liked a wide variety of music and I love the Soul and Funk. Though I had heard some of the music before by Curtis Mayfield from the movie it wasn’t until I saw Super Fly at one point in the early 2000s that I understood what an awesome soundtrack can do for a movie. It was funky, awesome, hilarious and sometimes cheesy to me but I ate it up. Released in 1972, this was Curtis Mayfield’s 4th album and is very recognized for the history it made. It is one of the few soundtrack albums that actually outsold the movie box office earnings. Ranked by Rolling Stone as the 69th album in their Top 500 of All Time List I invite you to listen to this funky gem and watch the movie with us this month. I hope the rest of the group and our listeners love it as much as I do.
- Little Child Runnin’ Wild
- Freddie’s Dead (Theme from ‘Superfly’)
- Junkie Chase
- Give Me Your Love (Love Song)
- Eddie You Should Know Better
- No Thing on Me (Cocaine Song)
- Freddie’s Dead (Theme from ‘Superfly’)
My favourite part of being a huge music fan is discovering new music. As life gets busier it can become harder and harder to make time to listen to new music. Keep in mind that ‘new’ music is oftentimes old music. I find it just as exciting to discover new bands like Royal Blood as I do to uncover and rediscover bands of that past, like The 13th Floor Elevators.
As our four Sonic Collective members all have amazing taste in music, obviously, I thought it would be fun to ask the group who they thought was a recording artist that other music fans should listen to. We each picked these artists independently so many of these picks are new to the group as well.
On November 1st our show will be available on the website. Each of our Collective members will educate the listeners about the band they chose, tell you which albums and songs to listen to and give you some cool facts about these bands.
Here are the the bands picked by our expert panel.
Artist: Ron Gallo
Chosen by: Darren Scott
Artist: The Kills
Chosen by: Scott Coates
Artist: Greta Van Fleet
Chosen by: Alain Dupuis
Artist: Jenny Lewis
Chosen by: Scott Gregory
Blink-182: The Mark, Tom and Travis Show
Scott Gregory, September 2018
Hello everyone I’m Scott G and welcome to The Sonic Collective’s pick for September 2018. As you know, we’re in the middle of a round of live albums. We’ve had some New Wave with the Talking Heads, some Southern Bluesy Rock with the Alman Brothers and some acoustic Blues from across the pond from Eric Clapton unplugged.
This month, I wanted to find a seam in the picks and go in a completely different direction. We’re going to fast forward to the 2000s, we’re going to get loud, and we’re going to get a little crazy.
Blink-182 is well-known for putting on electrifying live shows full of crazy banter with the audience in between songs played way faster than on the studio albums. In 2000, between hit records Enema of the State and Take Off your Pants and Jacket, Mark, Tom and Travis recorded a show over two nights and aptly called it “The Mark, Tom and Travis Show”.
Looking at the track list, I think what I’ll enjoy most is everyone getting a deeper look at the band. Much Music (MTV for Canadians basically) only played the videos for their singles, and the band got a bit of a bum rap as some sort of prank group. It got them a lot of publicity so I’m sure they played it up a bit, but no joke, this is a band with tight lyrics and playing. This album isn’t just a greatest hits, so you’re going to get a deep look at their full playlist.
HISTORY WILL EXONERATE BLINK-182 as the greatest punk pop band of the 2000s. I’m staring right at you Green Day.
So yeah. The show’s supposed to capture lot of the live banter between Mark Tom and Travis and a crazy audience coming in loudly over the vocals, so I’m really looking forward to a great audio recording of a frenetic live rock show.
Without further ado, I’d like to once again invite you to join us here at the Sonic Collective for our September pick: The Mark, Tom and Travis Show by Blink 182, and check in at the end of the month to see how your thoughts match up with ours. Cheers.
Album on Wikipedia
The Mark Tom & Travis Show on Youtube
Best Blink-182 Video
Sad Clown covering the same song:
Eric Clapton – Unplugged
Alain DuPuis, July 2018
This month’s pick is Eric Clapton’s album Unplugged.
Recorded in front of a live audience in the winter of 1992 in England, Unplugged represented a stripped down version of Clapton’s music. Bluesy and soulful, the album went on to receive nine Grammy award nominations, ultimately winning six, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Not a bad haul for one performance.
Eric Clapton was a musical giant long before he recorded Unplugged, lending his talent as a guitarist to such notable musical acts as the Yardbirds, and Cream.
Born in Surrey, England, Eric first picked up a guitar at age thirteen, but within three short years, he managed to achieve a large amount of notoriety for possessing advanced prowess with the guitar. As he continued to play around the country in a number of different musical outfits, Clapton forged a distinctive style and rapidly became one of the most talked-about guitarists in the British music scene, an accolade that would dog him – for better or worse – for decades.
Despite professional success, Clapton’s personal life has been troubled. At various times he has faced tragedies, loss, and heartache, battled depression, and fought a crippling addition to drugs and alcohol, but he has always managed to overcome – a feat he attributes to his music, stating: “I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and lo and behold, it worked … I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music.”
His music has undoubtedly also brought happiness and strength to millions of fans around the world.
Let’s dive in to Unplugged.
Eric Clapton – Wikipedia
Unplugged – Wikipedia
The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
Scott Coates, July 2018
I’ve known of the Allman Brothers my entire life but until recently had never listened to one of their albums. A few years ago while searching ‘best live albums’ online, their At Fillmore East album was listed; I was intrigued but didn’t listen to it. Fast-forward a couple years and I came back to it.
The double album, featuring just seven songs, was recorded at New York’s Fillmore East theatre on March 12th and 13th, 1971. They were the opening, opening act for Johnny Winter and Elvin Bishop Group the first two nights, but gained so much momentum, they closed the third show as the headliner. The band was paid $1,250 each show. This was the band’s third album and the one that made them a commercial success, being released in July 1971.
It’s interesting to note just how regarded Duane Allman was at the time, regularly jamming with Eric Clapton, and he was invited to join Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos but declined. Find a comfy chair, nice drink and settle in to what many publications have listed as one of the best live rock albums of all time.
Other Albums Considered
Rolling Stones: Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!
MC5: Kick Out the Jams
Motorhead: No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith
Bob Seger: ‘Live’ Bullet
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense Live Album Selection
By Darren Scott, June 2018
This month we decided to resurrect our round of live albums that proved to be a very popular–at least with our group anyway–genre of albums. Besides, what is better than live music to show just how great a band is?
Though I had originally intended to pick a more obscure album, I have always loved the Talking Heads and David Byrne. After chatting with a few good friends about the recent David Byrne concert in Calgary I completely knew I had to pick this legendary band.
I had never listened to this soundtrack, nor have a seen the Stop Making Sense movie so I was excited to make this pick.
Listen to my selection audio, watch the video clips or the movie if you can find a copy, read up on this classic live movie and then join us at the beginning of July to hear our thoughts, what we learned, and if this movie/soundtrack are still worth having in your collection.
Enjoy Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads.
Stop Making Sense on Wikipedia
Stop Making Sense on Spotify
Stop Making Sense Trailer
First 30 Minutes of Stop Making Sense
Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?
This is Scott G from the Sonic collective with our May 2018 pick.
Hi, how are you today?
No, really. That’s the pick. Hi How Are You Today by Ashley McIsaac.
Canada seems to have a couple musical hot spots, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and every 5 or so years there seems to be a massive eruption of talent that comes out of the East coast, frequently with an Irish or Celtic root that gets fused into the current musical trend.
Ashley’s a fiddler from Nova Scotia that exploded onto the Canadian scene in 1996 with his most-critically acclaimed and commercially successful album, “Hi How are you Today”.
I remember the main single Sleepy Maggie, was on the radio like every single hour. You may not know this, but Canada has laws requiring a minimum amount of Canadian content to be played on the radio, so when someone like Ashley or, god help us, Nickelback comes along they really play the snot out of them.
The album went double platinum and enjoyed some moderate success in the United States and abroad.
Historically, I’ve stuck pretty high up on the various lists of top-500 albums, but I thought it would be a great pick to explore a musical theme that comes forward frequently in Canada, and Ashley’s one of those musical oddballs that translates a pretty wild personal life into a uniquely crafted musical experience.
I didn’t know this, but apparently he plays his fiddle left-handed, but keeps it strung right-handed, which contributes to his unique sound. Thanks for that, wikipedia!
Other albums that were dominating the public conscience that year were the previously-reviewed Jagged Little Pill by Alanis, What’s the Story Morning Glory by Oasis, and Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. Keep that in mind as you try to figure just how this album managed to carve out its own place in 1996.
Break out your kilts, gather everyone in the kitchen for a listening party and join Darren, Alain, Scott and I at the Sonic collective in (hopefully) enjoying this month’s pick, Ashley MacIsaac’s “Hi, How are you today.” Cheers.
Ashley MacIsaac on Wikipedia