M83: Hurry up, we’re dreaming

Hi all you people out there in Collective land. It’s me, Scott G, here to present our pick for November 2020, which is also the last of the double album round. As you know, Alain picked our last band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. This was right up my alley because I’ve spent a lot of time with 80s and 90s Brit synth and pop.

I was really torn on what to pick for this round. Looking through a bunch of top-10 lists there were a lot of great options. I was leaning heavily towards Bruce Springsteen’s The River, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd…lots of solid, safe picks.

But stretching out into top 50 lists, the band M83 caught my eye. First, because the name was unusual, and as far as I could tell I’d never even heard of them before. Their double album’s from 2011 and is called Hurry up, we’re dreaming.

Coming off a Brit synth pop from the 80s, I thought it’d be cool to pair it with some more synth from 30 years later and across the channel. Will there be cultural differences we can detect in the album? Will there be an evolution we can trace back? How will it feel coming off an overtly sexually charged album into something more atmospheric?

Their sixth studio album, coming in at a tight 73 minutes, I’m really hoping for a  polished and deeply immersive double record. I don’t usually listen to a lot of ambient music, and I hope this is as new and interesting for you all as it will be for me.

So with that, let’s start our journey together with the Sonic Collective’s November, 2020 pick: M83’s 2011 double album, Hurry up, we’re dreaming. See you at the end month.

 

Links

Apple music

Spotify

Wikipedia  

Other albums considered

The River – Bruce Springsteen

Generation Terrorists – Manic Street Preachers

Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth

Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Welcome to the Pleasuredome

FGTH - Welcome to the Pleasuredome

Welcome to the Pleasuredome is the debut studio album from the British synth-pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Released in October of 1984, Pleasuredome hit #1 in the UK and European charts, eventually reaching triple platinum status in their home country, moving more than 900,000 units. The album found success all over the world as well, reaching the tops of many international charts.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland

 

This month’s selection is by Scott Coates.

 

Electric Ladyland was the the third and final studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the final studio album released in Hendrix’s lifetime before his death in 1970. It was also the only record from the band produced by Hendrix himself and the only Experience album mixed entirely in stereo. Mono was still the go-to method back then.

It was recorded at several studios in the US and UK between July 1967 and January 1968, and released on October 16, 1968. It was the Experience’s most commercially successful release and their only number one album. There were several covers as well, one featured 19 nude women on the inside cover, which did not see wide release.

Recording sessions were said to have been very chaotic, more resembling a party, with friends and guest musicians popping in and out. This caused at least one producer to leave the project and saw people such as Traffic’s Steve Winwood play bass and organ on ‘Voodoo Chile’.

Fifty-years after his death, Hendrix is still regarded as one of the ultimate guitar gods and we’ll take this month to learn why. Enjoy the journey ahead!

Links

Electric Ladyland – Wikipedia

Apple 

Spotify

Amazon

Other Albums Considered

Sign o’ the Times – Prince

Tommy – The Who

Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin

Exile on Main Street – The Rolling Stones

Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Hi there Collectivists. Collectivi? Collectovers? What’s up! This is Scott G from The Sonic Collective announcing our pick for July, 2020. This one was really hard for me. We’ve had a rap/hip hop theme going this round, and the guys have picked some amazing and diverse albums. I wanted to bring something equally interesting and diverse to the group but what?

There’s a period of time called “The Golden Age of Hip Hop” that spans from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. Our previous picks, including Afrika Bambataa, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Dr. Dre all come from this period of time. I was about 21 coming out of that stretch of time, and I’m sure it had a deeply formative effect on my musical tastes and maybe even my world view.

So I knew I wanted to pick something just out of this pocket, preferably a female artist or group, and something more on the funky or soul side of the rap/hip hop spectrum. I also lean towards artists whose singles I’ve enjoyed, but have never gone much deeper on them.

My choice came to me when I was watching a show about the stand-up comedian Dave Chapelle. One of the things I admire about him was his willingness to walk away from fame and fortune to maintain his personal and creative integrity. The world was ready to anoint him a king if he played ball, and he said, “see ya!”

There’s another artist who was presented a crown that upped and walked away. She had acclaimed roles in multiple movies, multi-million unit selling albums, grammys, and a world ready to throw all the dollars at her. Lauryn Hill said no.

But before she said no. Before all the fallout from the disbanding of the Fugees and stresses of stardom led her to leave the public eye, Lauryn dropped one of the greatest rap albums of all time on us.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, her one and only studio album came out in 1998 to rave reviews. They equally compliment her beautiful singing voice, excellent rapping and deep and honest lyrics.

Until now I’d never listened to anything other than the singles from the album. With this pick, we get one of the queens of rap and neo-soul into the mix with what some consider one of the top-ten overall albums of the 90s. I think that could be an accurate assessment if the rest of the album lives up to the singles.

So join us this month as we enjoy Lauryn’s infusion of rap, hip hop and neo-soul, inspiring a generation of rappers and women in general, as she lays her story on us at the Sonic Collective’s July pick: 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and be sure to check in with us at the end of the month to hear the crew’s thoughts and to share yours with us as well. See you then.

Links

Apple music

Spotify

Wikipedia  

Other albums considered:

Illmatic – Nas

The Score – Fugees

CrazySexyCool – TLC

A Tribe Called Quest: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

Released on April 10, 1990, it was the group’s debut album. From Queens, New York, A Tribe Called Quest formed a friendship with hip-hop act Jungle Brothers, both groups formed a collective called Native Tongues, which also included De La Soul. They played with beats, technology and built their skills in the rap world.

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Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man

PHOTO: MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

 

Darren Scott, April 2020

Our four Sonic Collective members decided it would be fun to pick a random genre of music that we could use as a guide for a round of album selections. Member Scott Coates spun virtual wheel like a champ and in the end the winning genre was ‘Hip Hop’.

As I (Darren) get to kick off the round I was really excited. I love my Soul, Funk, Hip Hop and Rap. As a huge fan I wanted to do something different. I decided to go back to the artists that influenced the Hip Hop and Rap genre. Listen to my selection audio and find out what lead me to select Gil Scott-Heron. Hey, we can always use more of the name ‘Scott’ in our group! Ha ha.

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man Wikipedia

Rapping History on Wikipedia

On Spotify:

Other artists I though about picking this month were:

Pigmeat Markham, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, DJ Kool Herc and A Tribe Called Quest (My favourite!)

Jeff Buckley: Grace

 

Scott Gregory, March 2020

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Sonic Collective. I’m Scott G and it’s my pleasure to bring you the pick for March, 2020.

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to make this selection. Maybe it’s because the Album never really saw the staggering commercial success many of our other picks did in North America. Maybe it’s the fact the artist only completed one studio album before his untimely death in 1997.

Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album Grace had a lasting impact on some of the greatest rock artists of all time. Jimmy Page is quoted as saying it was one of his favourite albums of the decade, and other artists such as Robert Plant, Chris Cornel, Bob Dylan and David Bowie also spoke highly of Buckley and the album. Rolling Stone listed it at number 303 of their 500 Greatest Albums of all Time.

Buckley is an incredibly gifted guitarist and vocalist, and his eclectic taste in music led to a rich variety of influences that trace shadows across the entire album. His cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen has since gone up the charts several times, and is an absolutely haunting hour of music.

It’s one of my favourite albums of all time, and I’m overdue sharing this love with you. I wonder, how many of the guys didn’t discover Jeff until after he was already gone, or maybe they still haven’t really ever checked him out? We’ll see. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and I look forward to you joining us at the end of the month when The Sonic Collective comes back together and shares our thoughts on March 2020’s pick: Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album Grace.

Spotify

Apple Music 

Wikipedia

Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique

Scott Coates, January 2020

Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique 

I was super close to choosing an album by The Police or Willie Nelson this month, then read/listened to a post, Hear Every Sample on the Beastie Boys’ Acclaimed Album, Paul’s Boutique–and Discover Where They Came From, which got me thinking back to this album.

Disclosure, I own every Beastie Boys album but have not listened to Paul’s in its entirety in many years, so this will be rediscovering known territory. They spent US$250,000 on sample licensing, but this would simply not be possible today as fees have gone way up, making a modern-day Paul’s virtually impossible. 

Released on July 25, 1989 by Capitol Records, it was recorded over two years at a Los Angeles apartment. This was the highly anticipated follow-up to the Beastie’s debut album Licensed to Ill and expectations were beyond high. It was produced with the Dust Brothers, who broke new ground utilizing multi-layered sampling, drawing on 105 songs. 

Paul’s Boutique debuted to less than favorable reviews and fans didn’t know what to think. It peaked at just #24 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and quickly found its way to the discount bins (where I bought my original CD copy). It turns out Paul’s was way ahead of its time, and as the decades passed, people came to realize it as a masterpiece.

Put on some kick-ass headphones or turn up a quality hi-fi and digest Paul’s Boutique.

Links
‎Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys on iTunes – Apple Music

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique – Amazon.com Music

Paul’s Boutique on Spotify:

 


Also Considered this Month:

Willie Nelson: Shotgun Willie

The Police: Ghost in the Machine

Iggy and The Stooges: Raw Power

(Top image credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

Darren Scott, December 2019

As we reached the 5th birthday of The Sonic Collective it was great to celebrate and reflect upon all the great music we had gone back to listen to. We have definitely discovered that the really great bands of the past do span the test of time and their songs sound great. 

It is always difficult to make a selection as there are so many worthy bands, but I decided that it would be a downright travesty if we let Iggy Pop and the Stooges wait another second to be added to our show. 

Listen to my selection reasoning above and please join us as we rediscover the Godfather of punk, Iggy Pop. Will this music still stand up 46 years later? Wow, 46 years!

Personally, I can’t wait to dive back in to Iggy Pop. If you want to join us on an amazing journey that involves drugs, sex, David Bowie’s friendship, and the definition of a cheaply run studio session, I know you won’t be disappointed.

I give you Raw Power by Iggy and The Stooges.

Article about Raw Power from Louder (With awesome photos!)

Wikipedia Page

Spotify

Def Leppard: Hysteria

def leppard band photo

Scott Gregory, November 2019

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on

Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone

Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp

Demolition woman, can I be your man?

 

Despite similar hairstyles in the 80s, Def Leppard and Celine Dion are worlds apart when it comes to love ballads, but if you caught from last month’s review I already had hair metal on the mind, this pick might not be as big a surprise for you.

 

Not only did Def Leppard help form the vanguard of the 80s British heavy metal scene, they were at ground zero for the creation of the MTV generation. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hit their teens back then not running into these guys on TV or radio weekly if not daily.  And if you worked in a mall with piped-in music, god help you.

 

I was tempted to go with Pyromania from 1983, but so much happened to the band between then and when their next album, Hysteria, released in 1987. I eventually went with Hysteria because it’s really the first album with their crystalized sound, and seemed to excite and piss off fans in equal parts. It introduces the new electronic elements needed to accommodate drummer Rick Allen losing his arm in a car crash, and Mutt Lange really went all out in the production of a locked down, masterfully crafted album.

 

They say the intention was to create a similar to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, where every song could be a single, and the fact seven of the twelve tracks actually did chart shows how successful they were in this goal. Rolling stone ranks the album in their top 500 of all time, and the top hair metal album of all time.

 

So step inside, walk this way, you and me babe, hey hey. Join the Sonic Collective this November in head banging to Def Leppard’s 1987 album Hysteria. Rock on dudes and dudettes.

 

Def Leppard, Hysteria

Spotify

Apple Music 

Wikipedia

Def Leppard doing a perfect cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus