Alice Cooper: Love it to Death

Alice Cooper: Love it to Death
Alain DuPuis
In the late 1960s, Alice Cooper had failed to find any commercial success, despite having released 2 albums under Frank Zappa’s record label. Their sound was just too psychedelic, low-fi, and weird for most people. But that all changed in November of 1970, when with the help of Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, the band released the song, I’m Eighteen, to much acclaim. Approaching their music with a more aggressive, hard rock style, the band managed to convince Warner Brothers records that it had commercial potential to release an album, and I’m Eighteen became the first single on their third album Love it to Death, which was officially released in March of 1971.
The band’s popularity and fame only grew from there thanks to their reputation for putting on flamboyant, over the top live performances.
Love it to Death is considered to be one of the foundational albums that inspired the heavy metal sound, and left a considerable influence on hard rock, punk, and heavy metal. Joey Ramone wrote his first song for the Ramones based on the chords to I’m Eighteen, and John Lydon auditioned for the Sex Pistols by miming to the song.
Along with their contemporaries, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper helped shape the future of hard rock and heavy metal for decades to come.
Love it to Death Wikipedia Page
Alice Cooper Wikipedia Page

The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
Scott Coates
Hard to Handle was the hit song of the moment and I was spinning it as a young DJ at Lloyd’s Recreation, a rollerskating rink and Calgary landmark that sadly recently closed. I was 17 and didn’t realize the ‘hit’ was a cover. A few other tracks on The Black Crowes first album, Shake Your Money Maker, caught my ear but then they kind of disappeared. Their second album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion came out but it didn’t really grab me.
Years passed, then sometime in the 2000s, I hit upon The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion again, and, wow… Age and maturity was needed to appreciate this one it seems. Much like Catcher in the Rye read at 15-years-of-age wasn’t fully grasped, this album escaped me during first listens at a young age.
The Crowes second release, it came out on May 12, 1992 and went on to spawn four hit singles. This album reminds me a lot of old Rolling Stones albums and rock albums of the seventies. I’ll stop here and let you decide – sit back – have a listen – and enjoy.
Wikipedia page
On iTunes
On Amazon

Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston

Toots & the Maytals – Funky Kingston
Darren Scott
I was near Recordland in Calgary on a very cold–like -25C cold–day so I had to go in. I was just looking around at albums when I heard the Recordland staff play Time Tough by Toots & the Maytals. I was completely overwhelmed by the song as it was freaking perfect. It was a freezing day so a nice beach-inspiring reggae song like that made me feel great. But I’ve also had a tough few years career-wise, like many Calgarians, and this really hit home. It again made me feel great to realize that “The Struggle” is real and capitalized. Everyone has their own struggle and you can’t compare to others. Fortunately, music like this can understand you, speak to you, and inspire you to do something. I wanted to learn more about this album.
I bought this album as well as Black Uhuru’s Red album and The Congos The Heart of the Congos album. All three are considered to be some of the greatest reggae albums out there. Ok, I know you are screaming Bob Marley at me but you have to listen to the podcast in order to find out why I didn’t pick him.
Please join me on a month of discovering or rediscovering reggae.
Funky Kingston Album on Wikipedia

Toots & the Maytals Website – Interesting history on Jamaica here!

Prince: Purple Rain

Prince – Purple Rain
Scott Gregory
We only have a couple rules here at the Sonic Collective on how we pick albums;

  • it has to be at least 5 years old
  • it can be of any genre (I guess that’s more of an affirmation than a rule)
  • Has to be an original album (no greatest hits, soundtracks or compilations)

BUT – It can be a soundtrack if it’s entirely original material, composed and compiled for this purpose.
I’m glad we made this caveat, because there’s an album that’s considered one of the greatest of all time, usually ranked first or second behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller for best album of the 80s. It’s a soundtrack to an album of the same name.
The Sonic Collective’s album for January 2018 is Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution.
The sixth studio album and the first to feature The Revolution, it’s sold over 25 million albums worldwide and is the third best-selling soundtrack behind Whitney Houston’s the Bodyguard and The Bee Gee’s Saturday Night fever.
But, let’s take a moment and reflect on the fact that Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell, has outsold all three of them. That’s RIGHT. Greg, I miss you.
I’ve put together a little gameplan for this pick to try and really get the most out of this album.
I’ve heard all of Prince’s singles, but never listened to a full album. Apparently this is a real departure from his earlier work, so I think I’m going to start off by listening to the first five Prince albums for context before getting into this album.
After listening to the album a couple times I think I’ll go and watch the movie again. It’s been easily a decade so I can’t even remember most of it, but it’ll be fun to see where the album matches up with the scenes and themes in the movie.
Whether you go all the down the rabbit hole or just want to give the album a couple listens, I hope you join us at the end of January to discuss Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain. Cheers.
Purple Rain the album on Wikipedia
Purple Rain the movie on IMDB

Depeche Mode: Some Great Reward

Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward
Alain DuPuis
1984 was a very important year, because that is the year I was thrust kicking and screaming into this mortal coil. Incidentally, a little known band that you’ve probably never heard of called Depeche Mode happened to release an album that same year, called Some Great Reward, which was important. I guess.
All kidding aside, Depeche Mode is often cited as being an extremely influential music group for the impact they had on the electronic music scene, the pop scene, the new-wave the industrial scene… Lots of scenes. The breadth of their influence is what convinced me that this was the album to dive into this month.
Some Great Reward featured some pretty impactful singles. People are People was culturally significant for several reasons: It topped the charts in West Germany and was ultimately used in the ’84 Olympic Coverage. Remember, this was at a point where the East and the West were at odds on a number of social and political issues. It’s even listed in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s most list of 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. Other notable singles are Blasphemous Rumours, a song that tackles divine justice, and Master and Servant, a song that looks into sexual politics. Edgy stuff. Especially for the decade that spawned the “satanic panic.”
Full discolsure: I don’t know Depeche Mode’s body of work very well, and the only song I’ve heard from this album is People are People, which I appreciate for its verrrry 80s aesthetic and it’s industrial percussion. My hope is that I find the rest of the album just as awesome as I find People are People.
Check back at the end of the month for our review!
Further reading:
Depeche Mode Wikipedia
Some Great Reward Wikipedia

DJ Shadow: Entroducing

DJ Shadow: Entroducing…..
Scott Coates
I came upon this album some years ago on a list of top albums of some sort or genre. I listened to pieces of it here and there, forgot about it, then when DJ Shadow’s Nobody Speak track came out in 2016, I was knocked-out and it spurred me to revisit Entroducing…..

Released on September 16, 1996, he set out to create an album composed entirely samples. DJ Shadow spent two years crafting the tracks and it’s since been heralded by many as the best sample-based album ever made. Most samples are quite obscure but there are many by more prominent artists such as Björk and Metallica.
His studio set-up was minimal, with only three primary pieces of equipment being used in making the album: an Akai MPC60 sampler, a Technics SL-1200 turntable and an Alesis ADAT tape recorder. He became a master with the Akai – crediting it with the end-sound of the album.
This is a different album, one I find that requires me to be in the right mood to get all the way through in a single session, but is incredibly creative and unique. Enjoy the journey…..
Sample list from Endtroducing
Endtroducing….. has been frequently ranked in professional lists of the all-time greatest albums
Entroducing…. on Wikipedia
Entroducing…. on iTunes
Entroducing…. on Spotify
Scratch documentary

Tom Petty: Wildflowers

This is a really sad day. Tom Petty has passed away.
I’m actually a bit late getting my pick up as usually we have them ready on the first. I planned to update today and when I woke up I heard that Tom had a cardiac arrest and was taken to the hospital. I since recorded my segment about his pick and now just found out he died shortly after. So sad.
I decided to pick Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album a few days ago after much thought. I’ve always loved Tom Petty and thought to myself that is was about time we picked one of his albums. I knew the hits from Wildflowers but for whatever reason I never actually owned this particular album.
Listen to why I picked this album on this sad day and please join us in celebrating an amazing musician and listen with us this month.
Darren Scott
Wildflowers on Wikipedia
Wildflowers on iTunes
Wildflowers on Spotify

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Pendulum

It’s been a while since we rocked out together, and I think George Thorogood was the closest we got to Swampy. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Pendulum takes us back to the start of the seventies to enjoy one of the Woodstock headliners right before everything came apart.
Their sixth studio album, it was the last one before John Fogerty left the band to pursue a solo career, and the band didn’t last much longer after that. Part blues, part country, Pendulum sticks to the swamp rock roots of the band and stands out as one of their most musically-diverse albums.
Pendulum on Spotify
Rolling Stone review (screw you, Jon Landau)

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill

July 1st marked the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, and I guess I’ve been feeling a little bit more patriotic than usual, so for this month’s pick, I’ve decided to stay close to home and celebrate one of Canada’s top female music talents.
Alanis Morissette released the album Jagged Little Pill in June of 1995. I was surprised to learn it was actually her third album, and her first to be released outside of Canada. Full of angst and emotion, a wall of post-grunge instrumentals were complimented by clever, yet relatable lyrics, the album clearly struck a chord with the world at the time, because it ended up topping the charts in 10 different countries. 33 million units were shifted worldwide, and it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Additionally, the album spawned 6 singles, which meant that in the 90s, it was unlikely there was anybody on Earth who didn’t know the words to at least one song from JLP. Does familiarity breed contempt when it comes to Alanis? I guess we’re gonna find out.
Let’s put on our flannel shirts, climb into the back of Mom’s Plymouth Voyager, and take a sonic trip through time back to the mid-90s, when for better or worse, Alanis Morissette was all but inescapable.
Album on iTunes
Album on Amazon
Wikipedia Information on the album.

Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

I’ve recently been listening to concerts and tracks (Unfuck the World – amazing video) from the newly formed super-group Prophets of Rage and been enjoying them a good deal. Pumped for their album coming out in September 15, 2017. I also re-watched an episode of Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways where Public Enemy frontman Chuck D is interviewed and it got me to thinking about Public Enemy. I realized I’d never listened to one of their albums in full. Well it’s time.

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back was released in June 1988 by Def Jam Recordings and was the band’s second studio album. It quickly went on to be named by many to be the best album of the year and has continued to grow in significance since then. The lyrics are poignant and it represents a snapshot of America in the late eighties. Strap in for a rap journey that’s regarded as one of the greatest of the genre…
Album on iTunes
Album on Amazon
Wikipedia Information on the album.