Marilyn Manson: Mechanical Animals

Marilyn Manson: Mechanical Animals
Alain DuPuis, June 2019

Marilyn Manson is a band that has long been misunderstood, and largely by design. I will never forget when Antichrist Superstar came out in the mid 90’s and caused a minor moral panic. Who was this weirdo group fronted by an angry, satanic, cat-murdering, rib-removing maniac musician?! Even my parents knew who Marilyn Manson was. The clever marketing almost backfired when the band ended up being disallowed from playing shows in certain cities. I never admitted as much to my rather conservative religious parents, but I LOVED that shit. It’s been years since I visited any Marilyn Manson content, so I figured it was time to dust off the old CD player.

Now, on to the review. Mechanical Animals came out in 1998, the third release for the group. On the cover of the album, an androgenous nude(?) Marilyn Manson (real name Brian Warner) stood there like some weird alien. Did that generate a lot of hype? Yep, you bet it did. It also reinforced the notion that he is a brilliant frontman, willing to deliver his vocals flamboyantly, and unafraid.

Mechanical Animals debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, the group’s first album to do so, which meant like it or not, they were a band you had to take seriously.

I chose this album because I think it will probably serve as a good entry point for people who only know of the negative press and the hype. This album came with a number of great singles such as Dope Show, and Rock is Dead, but there are songs that never hit the radio that I think are worthy of a listen.

Check back in a month to see what the other guys thought of Mechanical Animals, and dont forget to leave us a comment, a Tweet, a like on Facebook. Hell, we even reply to emails.

Mechanical Animals Wiki

Mechanical Animals on iTunes

Mechanical Animals on Spotify

Fun fact:

Mechanical Animals is the middle of three concept albums that take the listener on a journey through the mind of “The Worm”, the main protagonist in the plot line, and a semi-autobiographical representation of Manson himself. He is a flawed and tragic anti-hero and self-realized sage that tries to save the world only to find the world doesn’t want to be saved. This consumes him with rage and disgust and transforms him into the destructive and oppressive Antichrist Superstar. The weird thing about this concept is that it’s meant to be played in reverse order, starting with the 1999 album Holy Wood and ending with Antichrist Superstar.

Florence + the Machine: Lungs


Florence + the Machine: Lungs
Scott Gregory, May 2019

Hello all you Sonic Collectivists and welcome to our pick for May, 2019. I’m Scott G, and I clearly remember the very first time I heard this month’s artist. In 2010, Florence and the Machine appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, singing Dog Days Are Over and You Got the Love, and I was like “OH.MY.GOD. Who is this woman?” One of the biggest compliments I think I can give a musician is “I’ve never heard anything like this before” and that was certainly the case here.

The songs she sang were off the groups recently released album “Lungs” and after a couple plays, I settled into the habit of pulling the singles out and adding them to my play lists and not really thinking of the album as a whole. Well, the time’s come to do what the collective does best and dig in and experience the album as a whole. Reading up, it sounded like Florence had a very long, very winding road to land to the sound she landed on for this debut album. I’m going to be watching for whether this represents a culmination of those effort, or does she sound like she’s still exploring even within the bounds of the album.

Some picks really polarize the group, and I’m very curious how this will go with them and you. Does that “wow” factor hold up now that there’s been a decade of listening to her and imitators work in this space, or are these albums’ dog days over and it’s all old hat. Check back with us at the end of the month to see what the group thinks “Lungs” by Florence and the Machine, and be sure to share your thoughts with us as well. This has been Scott G on behalf of the Sonic Collective, see you then.

Lungs on Spotify
Lungs on Apple Music
Lungs Wikipedia page
Florence and the Machine website

Massive Attack: Mezzanine


Massive Attack: Mezzanine
Scott Coates, April 2019

I’ve been listening to a fair bit of funky, jazzy, electronica lately: The Brand New Heavies, Chemical Brothers, Morcheeba and a few others. While thinking of similar bands, Massive Attack came to mind. I’d listened to their Blue Lines release a few times but hadn’t listened to this month’s pick, Mezzanine. Upon giving it a listen I realized there are a lot of tracks that I’ve heard before, namely Angel which was on the Snatch soundtrack and Safe from Harm which was featured on The Insider soundtrack. Some of my mixed chillout albums also have Massive Attack tracks on them. 

Mezzanine is the third studio album by the Bristol, England, released on 20 April 1998. It took a long time to make and band members pushed themselves in various new directions, often finishing songs, then tearing them apart and almost starting again from scratch. It features many samples, ranging from Isaac Hayes to The Cure. In 2003, the album was ranked number 412 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It faired very well in the UK, entering the charts at #1 but didn’t do as well in North America, peaking at 51 in Canada and 60 in the US.

This is a potentially dark exploration, but one I’m looking forward to and I hope you enjoy doing so as well. Settle in to a relaxing spot and give it a roll.

Links
Mezzanine on Spotify

Mezzanine on Apple Music

Mezzanine Wikipedia page

Massive Attack website

Massive Attack fan page

Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City


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.

Links
Wikipedia
iTunes
Spotify

Fleetwood Mac: Rumors

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 WayDreams, 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

ABBA: Arrival


ABBA: Arrival
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.
Links
Wikipedia – ABBA
Wikipedia – ABBA  Arrival Album
iTunes – ABBA, Arrival 
Spotify – ABBA, Arival

Blink-182: The Mark, Tom and Travis Show


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


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
iTunes
Amazon

The Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East


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
Kiss: Alive!
Bob Seger: ‘Live’ Bullet
Wikipedia Page
On iTunes
On Amazon

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense


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