Rumors: Fleetwood Mac

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

Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?


Ashley McIsaac: Hi™ How Are You Today?
Scott Gregory
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
Itunes
Spotify
 
 

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
iTunes
Amazon

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.
Darren
Funky Kingston Album on Wikipedia

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