James Brown: Hell

I’m actually as surprised as you were that we have been a group that specializes in reviewing influential artists and albums, but this is our first review of a James Brown album. I thought for sure that in out live album selection round that his Live at the Apollo album would have been chosen, but alas, it was not.
I am very excited to really dive into the album. I invite you to listen to why I selected this particular album and to join me in rediscovering a classic from a legend*.
*A legend in his music. I actually detest that he was an abusive man and how he took advantage of others close to him.
Hell on Spotify
Rolling Stone Review

Cyndi Lauper: She's So Unusual

Hey there everybody, Scott G from the Sonic Collective here to introduce our pick for May, 2017. Recently we’ve gone through a number of bands with not only a unique sound, but signature style offstage. They left their stamp on pop culture and helped chart a generation. Read this article and then please listen to my audio above to hear why I selected this album.
This month I really wanted to feature a female artist and continue the unintentional theme of musicians that came onto the scene and threw everything in the air. Tore up the charts and pop culture at the same time.
Everyone will remember Cyndi Lauper for exploding onto the scene in 1984 with the Album She’s So Unusual. Even if the title doesn’t ring a bell, songs like Time after Time, She Bop, and the impossible to get out of your head “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” will certainly be familiar.
Like everyone else, I’ve ran into Cyndi’s songs on the radio, but I’ve never actually sat down and listened to one of her full albums. This first album spent 77 weeks on the Billboard 200, is certified six times platinum, and Slant Magazine ranks it #22 on the Best Albums of the 80s. My sister also thinks she’s pretty cool.
So, join us at the Sonic Collective this month in enjoying Cyndi Lauper’s debut album She’s so Unusual, and tune in at the end of the month to see if your thoughts are the same as ours. See you then.
Hear our review of this album here.
Album on Wikipedia
Cyndi’s site
Album on iTunes

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin is often called one of the most influential bands to emerge from the late 1960s, and are well known for hits including Immigrant Song, Black Dog, and of course, the unforgettable Stairway to Heaven.
Aside from listening to the usual radio-friendly singles, I’ve never formally been acquainted with a full Zeppelin album. That’s why for April 2017, we’ll be listening to the second eponymous album, Led Zeppelin II.
Led Zeppelin II - Album cover
The album was a commercial success, hitting the number one spot on the charts in both in their home country of England as well as overseas. What intrigues me the most is how the band described the recording process. Songs were written while the band was on tour rotations. They would write whenever they found hours in between concerts. Each track was recorded, mixed, and produced separately at various studios spread out across the UK and North America. The resulting sound is supposedly rife with spontaneity and urgency through necessity. Jimmy Page, the band’s guitarist receives the bulk of the credit for the album’s production oversight. He and engineer Eddie Kramer worked together to cobble the completed album together from recordings taken in piece-meal, sometimes impromptu sessions in cheap studios, hotels and “holes in the wall”.
Interesting? I think so.
Let’s delve into Led Zeppelin II, and we’ll reconvene at the end of the month to see what the group thought.
Album Wikipedia
Band Wikipedia
Buy the album on iTunes
Buy the album on Amazon

Neil Young: After the Gold Rush

I’m Canadian, love music, know Neil Young, but strangely have never listened to an entire Neil Young album. While watching music documentary Sound City for the fifth or sixth time, Young was featured and mentioned recording some of After the Gold Rush at the studio and I had my pick for March 2017. It’s time to dive in and get a complete taste of one of Canada’s most famous musical exports.
This is the third studio album by Young and he’s backed by Crazy Horse. The album was originally written as a soundtrack for a movie script by the same name that never got produced. Initial reception was weak but it’s gone on to become one of Young’s most famous albums. Lets see what’s inside?! Listen to why I selected this album and listen with us at The Sonic Collective.
Listen to our review of this album here.
Wikipedia: Neil Young: After the Gold Rush 
Buy the album on iTunes
Buy the album on Amazon
Other Considerations 
The Message: Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five
The Color and the Shape: Foo Fighters
Tibetan Meditation: Phil Thornton

The Clash: The Clash

Listen above to hear why I decided to pick The Clash’s debut album. I am really excited to give this influential album the dedicated listening time it deserves. Though not the inventors of punk The Clash took the FU attitude of the music and escalated it and pushed it into a new era of U.K. punk. Enjoy listening and be sure to come back at the beginning of next month to hear our reviews.
Darren Scott
The Clash (Album) Wikipedia
The Clash Official Site
A Brief History of Punk

Listen to our review of this pick here!


The Who: Live at Leeds

Ladies and Gentleman, this month’s pick is Live at Leeds, by the Who.
Recorded in 1970, it’s the band’s first live album, featuring the entire original lineup of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Arguably one of the best live bands in the world, I know I really love them, I’m comfortable Live at Leeds will hold its own against the already amazing live albums we’ve already covered.
For the review we’ll be using the 2001 deluxe edition, which is the first one that included the entire concert set list. They tweaked the order a bit to put the whole Tommy rock opera together, but on a first listen it doesn’t cause any major problems and it’s well worth it to get the entire concert.
Listen to our review of this album here
Album link on iTunes
Album link on Amazon
Album Wikipedia page
Other Albums Considered This Month
Boogie Down Productions – Live Hardcore Worldwide
U2 – Under a Blood Red Sky

Nirvana: From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah

The album we’re going to be reviewing this month is both live, and a compilation of sorts – a clear violation of the mandate The Sonic Collective set for ourselves when we formed our noble group a couple of years ago. I guess I am just feeling rebellious, and so too were the millions of people who fell in love with Nirvana’s infectious brand of alternative music.  Our pick for the month: From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah.
About Nirvana:
When Nirvana arrived on the Seattle grunge scene in the late 1980s, the airwaves were filled with hair metal and new wave music. This formulaic, radio-friendly music didn’t appeal to a new generation of disenfranchised or just plain bored youth, who started leaning more towards the underground for their music. Nirvana was just one of many unknown indy-bands who were playing small gigs at the time. But the world would forever change after they signed on with a major label (DGC Records) and released their breakout album, Nevermind. It achieved an unexpected and unprecedented amount of success, suddenly vaulting the entire Seattle grunge scene onto the world’s radar. The direct result was the rise of alternative rock to become the new mainstream, and hold steadfast for the better part of a decade.
The band met a tragic end after frontman Kurt Cobain’s untimely death in 1994, but the legacy Nirvana left behind cannot be understated. Hailed as “The voice of a generation” by numerous publications, Nirvana’s breakthrough helped popularize Generation-X, slacker culture, and alternative music, forever changing the musical landscape.
About our pick:
In 1996, the surviving members of Nirvana released From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a compilation of recordings taken from shows they played across the globe between the years 1989 to 1994.   It received positive critical reception, and is often considered the angsty and energetic antithesis to their most popular live album, MTV Unplugged in New York. The album’s title refers to the Wishkah River in Aberdeen, Washington, where Cobain spent time in his youth.
I’ve long been a fan of Nirvana, and I’m excited to delve into this album. Many of the songs will be familiar to me, but I’m eager to hear the difference a live recording makes. Cobain himself was very critical of how polished and cleaned up their studio albums sounded, so being able to hear the songs as he intended them to be heard is gonna be a real trip.
Enjoy From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah!
Listen to our review of this album here.

Frank Sinatra: Sinatra at the Sands

Confession – I like Frank Sinatra. While selecting a live album I was really torn. I listened to some really great live albums (see them at the bottom) and was leaning towards a rock album. I then got to looking at Rolling Stone’s list of best live albums of all time and saw this one, Sinatra at the Sands. The songs themselves weren’t the big draw, rather that he was backed by Count Basie’s orchestra and legendary Quincy Jones conducted the concert. Wow – talk about a ton of huge music names on one album.
Then I got to listening and Frank’s personality really comes through – what a live album should be. This sticks out as a wonderful time capsule of an artist and time period.
sinatra-drinkingPlease listen to my audio above revealing my selection of this great album and why I picked it. Enjoy!
Album Link on iTunes
Album Link on Amazon
Album Wikipedia page
Other Albums Considered this Month

Listen to our review of this album here.

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

As we have just completed a  rotation through our group again, we have now decided to do a round of live albums. We are also expanding our musical reviews by moving to audio reviews. This is a much better format and I am sure all our friends are just dying to hear our sweet voices. Ha ha.
johnny-cash-eating-cake-in-a-bush-highAt any rate, as I get to choose first I am very excited to choose the incomparable Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. To be specific I am choosing Side 1 of the Legacy Edition of the album. I get into many amazing details about this album. Listen below and learn why I picked this cool album. If that’s not cool enough, what about this photo…. amiright…?
Spotify Album Link
iTunes Album Link
At Folsom Prison Wikipedia Page

Tears for Fears: Songs from the Big Chair

If you’ve tuned in to a couple reviews, you’ll see I rate many albums by how inclined I am to add it to my morning shower karaoke. I’ve also managed to hide it for over a year, but I’m also deeply addicted to 80s music, particularly from either the UK or Australia. I can fight it no longer. I’m Broken. I have to Shout the name of this band that has me Head Over Heels. Ladies and gentlmen, I give you Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears.
tears-for-fears-songs-from-the-big-chairWhen first looking it up, I didn’t expect the album to have only 8 tracks, and for half of them to be singles. It made me all the more curious how the entire thing would come together. Will the new songs weave my favourite singles in to a greater story previously unknown? What emotional journey might await?
Numerous music magazines list this as not only one of the top albums of the 80s, but on their “must listen to before you die” lists, so I’m very hopeful. It’s the second studio album by the band, and normally I’d be a little leery of a sophomore slump, but considering the #1 chart rankings for both the album and singles across multiple countries, I think we’ll be ok.
So feather that hair and get ready to belt out some old favourites while hopefully meeting some new ones! My only regret is that the song with the greatest <https://youtu.be/u1ZvPSpLxCg?t=2m15s> is off a different album. (That’s right Michael Jackson, I said it.)
Songs from the Big Chair on Wikipedia
Album link on iTunes
Official Tears for Fears website
More awesome 80s dancing