Sonic Youth: Classic or Dud/S&D?

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I distinctly remember some fairly recent SY discussion, but the archives reveal no CoD thread so here goes. My opinion? Well, to be honest, I've only heard Daydream Nation but the delirious greatness of that album is enough for me to proclaim them as undeniably classic. Any other band that can produce an album full of "anthems in a vacuum" that shimmer, melt and reform with riffs and melodies that crawl out of nightmare guitar-torture chasms gets my vote. What the hell, why not a SY Search and Destroy, too?

Mitch Lastnamewithheld, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Classic ever since Daydream Nation. Though I'm hardly ever in the right mood to play their stuff when I do I binge on it like crack. Search: Sister/Dirty/Goo/NYC Ghosts & Flowers.

scott, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

'Experimental Jet Set' I like too, but a large part of its appeal is in the way it smoulders along and then dramatically explodes and then repeats the trick. This is fine but music that's based around drama tends not to stand up to repeated playing, given that dramatic (and the same can be said for comedic) effectiveness is dependant on not knowing what's about to happen next. In other words I don't think drama or comedy should ever be the dominant qualities in a piece of music. Haven't found that problem with any of their other albums though.

scott, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Am I the only person that thinks Daydream Nation is pretention, overblown, overbearing and about 20 minutes too long? It's one of my least favourite SY albums. My opinion (and filter that through my dronerock beautiful-noisenik arse) is:

Search: Bad Moon Rising, Evol (****), Sister (***** - if I had another star, it would get 6 stars, it is that classic!!!), Goo, and about 15 to 20 minutes of Dirty

Destroy: Daydream Nation, the rest of Dirty and everything else that followed up until about NYC Ghosts & Flowers, which basically scrapes by with a ***

I do actually *love* a great deal of Sonic Youth's eirie, spacey, alien, wonky, warped, blissful music. However, also DESTROY: the *entire* NYC Sonic Youth Cult Of Art and all the pretentious jazzwankers who hang out at the Cooler wishing they could be Lee Renaldo. You're not. Now shave off the chin-rag and go home.

Oh, GAWD, why didn't I think of Sonic Youth back in the "Love the band, hate the image" thread?

masonic boom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Am I the only person that thinks Daydream Nation is pretention, overblown, overbearing and about 20 minutes too long?

No, it's a sentiment I've seen expressed a fair bit, but I'd disagree with it myself.

On Sonic Youth, I'm pretty much a spouter of the conventional indie- rock wisdom. Evol/Sister/Daydream Nation : five star classic. Dirty/Goo : grand poppier stuff but with loss experimental edge. Post- Dirty: good bits very good but the more self-consciously experimental bits don't rock enough to match up to the pop stuff. Pre-Evol: interesting, but don't listen to it that much.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

No, Kate you're not - your description of DN is spot-on. AND I agree with you on 'Sister' - definitely the best - Schizophrenia, Catholic Block, Pipeline/Kill Time, and especially Cotton Crown and White Cross are fantastic. It seems like their whole sound, vision and attitood all came together in such a sharp focus on this album. EVOL nearly gets there, but afterwards DN blurs it out too much.

The other album I REALLY like is 'Dirty'. SY diehards may not agree, and it does feel like a step towards the 'mainstream', which is what I really like about it, I guess. Search for "Theresa's Sound World", but it's all great.

I lost interest after Dirty - I always intend to pick up some of the 90's albums cheap, and never do.

Destroy : Bad Moon Rising and the awful Death Valley '69.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Death Valley 69? Oh come ON! Classic! Utter classic! A duet between two of the most TUNELESS singers of our time! Thurston Moore *and* Lydia Lunch! Come on! I'd like to see Nick Cave and Kylie do some of *that*! years ahead of its time!

masonic boom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

the thing about sonic youth is, all their records only have one really great song, and the rest are kind of, well, ok. but this doesn't stop their records being ace.

daydream nation was the last good record though, goo was ok, but i think their time was over by 90. i like all that confusion=sex era stuff though, although i figure i'd like it more without kim gordon's voice on there...

gareth, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"all the pretentious jazzwankers who hang out at the Cooler wishing they could be Lee Renaldo" = totally totally me (except obviously when I'm wishing I cd be Tamzin Outhwaite or whatever), yet I never "got round" to buying any of their "experimental 90s albs" till the NYC art-wank Ono/Olivieros cover versions compilation. Which = grate, btw.

"NYC Sonic Youth Cult Of Art": to be fair, this shd be "Cult of the NYC Sonic Youth Cult Of Art", cuz to them — as opposed to their disciples? — it's like "Madonna, George Maciunas, Meat Puppets? it's all rock'n'roll to me"

mark s, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

The problem is that the newer work is treated as poor because it has nothing *new* to say, or rather, little new to say. The problem is that the newer work is in many respects superior, just slightly so, and so all the old SY hands yawn and act blase. If you were just discovering SY, and got Thousand Leaves, say, first (I'll leave out NYG&F because I consider it a fairly atrocious attempt to "dumb down" back to their fanbase) or Washing Machine, or even Experimental Jet Set Trash, now wouldn't you consider THAT yer favorite album? Because Experimental Jet Set is mine, for just that reason. Sister comes a close second. Best song is The Sprawl from DN though, which has uniquely good lyrics (as does most of DN, actually) and this incredible emotional resonance with me.

If anyonae but SY had produced Silver Sessions, they would have been brilliant. As it is, avoid them. DV69 is indeed great, with Lunch at the height of her spotty powers.

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

SY one of those bands which in popfascist mode I always thought should put out a best-of which would become their best album, but that they never would do this. Then they did, and it's not as good as some of their proper albums. Curses foiled again!

They're the worlds most overground underground band, bless 'em. Classic I suppose. Daydream Nation is great precisely because the sprawl dilutes the attitude until wimps like me don't want to slap them any more. For the 'real thing' I'd take Bad Moon Rising just for "Brave Men Run (In My Family)". EVOL and Sister are good, yeah yeah, never actually listen to them though. After DN they almost turn into a singles band for a bit - "Dirty Boots" is mainstream and ace, "Kool Thing" is apalling, "100%" and "Youth Against Fascism" are the brilliant sound of them trying SO HARD to sell out, and then they didn't manage it and I've kind of lost track now.

Tom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

See, Tom, that's what I liked about Goo, even though it was *slated* by many "old skool SY fans" of the time. It was the sound of them *trying* desperately to sell out, but still not quite getting it right, and in the process, they created something which was very pop, yet at the same time very twisted and not quite right. Dirty saw them trying to "do grunge" which, even though they helped invent the genre, had already turned into something inherantly uninteresting in the hands of the Pearl Sham MTV massive.

masonic boom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

This thread is so depressing for me because I am thee person who can't separate Sonic Youth's image from their music and I thought maybe some smart person would be able to explain to me what's going on there, why isn't it OK for smarmy bourgeois people to make dark experimental music (ok maybe they're not even but I'm *talking* image). It makes me feel like I must be bitter or something not to get them and I'm sure that if I heard someone else do their music I'd be much more compassionate. Am I against community? I ask, because they are the sine qua non community band. This is my first problem.

I like songs like 'Silver Rocket' but the fact is, I don't believe Sonic Youth. Don't they make the kind of music you should be driven to by DESPERATION? And does anyone really believe they are desperate?

Maryann, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Search - Daydream Nation Destroy: The rest

hmmm, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Not quite a classic because I rarely (maybe once a year, if that) ever want to listen to them, but I do agree with that first post that when I start listening to them I get momentarily hooked, as if I just bought Washing Machine (which I still love, though no one else seems to) after hearing the radio edit of "Diamond Sea" back in, '95 was it? I was a late-comer but I went back and bought the reissued back catalog, and back then I liked the old stuff way better because I was indie rock and the old stuff is always better. Especially if it was on SST, which I kind of hate now, but anyway...Recent listening has caused me to reasses their output, which I will now organize in Search and Destroy fashion:

Search: "Brave Men Run", Daydream Nation, "Dirty Boots", Dirty, Washing Machine

Destroy: most of EVOL and Goo (to me, both the epitome of generic indie rock of their respective eras), Lydia Lunch, Lee's vox

larms, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

They peaked with Goo and have never been as good. WHy are they still around? SHouldn't they have gon e the way of the Pixies? Gad I hate when an Idea gets old.

-- Mike Hanley, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Despite all the disappointments since, SY were one of the few bands that really rocked my world in the mid eighties. But Daydream Nation was the beginning of the end, and I was always mildly irritated by the indie hordes who went out and bought that LP, never to realise that the 2 *classic* SY LPs were Evol & Sister. How about the Whitey Album, by Ciccone Youth (from 86? 87?) - There are some great tunes on there too (G-Force; Into the Groovey; ...). Or was I the only person who bought that LP?

Anybody seen SY live recently? I last saw them in the mid 90s and they were remarkably good ... Couldn't believe the number of people who walked out on them during the prolonged squalls of white noise & feedback. And does anyone remember the South Bank Show that was split between Daydream Nation era SY, & Spillane era John Zorn - Now *that* was entertainment ... I'm still pissed off at myself for taping over it 14 years ago.

BTW, who was their greatest drummer? Bob Bert or Steve Shelley?

I.M.Belong, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

ICA show 1982, Bert's last — he was, er, "re-auditioning" for his own job (and in fact failed the audition) — was the GREATEST SHOW I HAVE EVER SEEN EVER: like watching (and hearing) the entire matter of the universe transform its total geometry (er, which obviously I saw on John Craven's Newsround a few weeks before, so can compare, ahem). SS is obviously the more Buddy Miles- ish drummer they always wanted, but I think he makes things too easy for them.

mark s, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Used to enjoy Ciccone Youth hugely but it got lost.

If I'm anything to go by, the indie hordes knew full well that EVOL and Sister were meant to be "the *classic*" albums and avoided them for just that reason. How punky of us.

Tom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Maryanne- DESPERATION?!?!? Where did you get that from? Since when was avante guarde art noise dronerock the sound of desperation? More like the sound of the bourgousie (I cannot spell that word) escaping their upper middle class Connecticut trust fund roots. (Not that I hold that against them or anything...)

Or is this a continuation of the fallacy that punke rocke somehow equals the GENUINE WORKING CLASS MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE?

The most cutting edge music comes not from desperation, but from boredom. A good deal of Sonic Youth- like the two movements they helped inspire (shoegazing in the UK and grunge in the US) - had far less to do with desperation, than longing for transcendance from boredom.

And oh yes, Ciccone Youth kick ass. Especially the video- which I bet really was recorded in one of those Boardwalk "Star In Your Own Video!" type places so common in the late 80s...

masonic boom, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Being a unbearded Brit I've no idea abt the insufferability or otherwise of "all the pretentious jazzwankers who hang out at the Cooler wishing they could be Lee Renaldo" but one of the (many) things I like abt SY is that they're musicians who remain enthusiasts/collectors/propagandists - people like US, sorf of. Example: the Sonny Sharrock name-dropping on the 'Master-Dik' ep led me to search out some Sharrock albs ('Guitar' and 'Ask The Ages') that are now amongst my favourite recs - thanks Thurston! An INCLUSIVE dream of non-cool hipsterdom.

SEARCH: I'm ever-so undiscriminating abt my SY recs - like 'em all, pretty much - but I'd put in a special word for Lee Ranaldo's contributions: the group's leading experimentalist turns out to be their most conventionally romantic/moving songwriter! And I dig his singing more than Thurston or Kim's.

DESTROY: If pushed, the first alb and ' Washing Machine', the latter a sort of compromise between the pseudo-blues of 'Experimental Jet Set' (their most underrated alb) and the post-rock sprawl of 'Thousand Leaves'. And much as I like some of his discs, am puzzled as to why Jim O'Rourke has now become the fifth member of SY, and playing bass of all things. Saying that I'm looking forward to the upcoming SY/JO 'modern classical' gig at the RFH - just to see HOW they go abt it, if nothing else - and I've read somewhere that on the night they're going to be joined by John Zorn and Anthony Braxton - can this be true?

Andrew L, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Ah, Sonic Youth. Remind me to throttle people who say that the newest albums are the best. This includes the bandmembers themselves. I see Sterling's point, but I still think the later stuff is, generally speaking, one huge load of 'eh.' I freely proclaim both _DN_ and to a lesser extent _Goo_ as being the period where they got everything right -- the earlier stuff is scattershot and I'd rather listen to the Swans anyway, the later stuff is either bad pop/rock or coasting on myths in order to top up the pension funds and support the kids. Also, based on the bands Thurston signed to DGC, he's got a phenomenonally tin ear. Cell and St. Johnny, I ask you.

I tend to think that when it came to fried, weird punk/Krautrock/whatever music, Trumans Water's first few albums make for better listening these days than the bulk of SY's material. Feels fresher, somehow.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Ciccone Youth sounds like an italian pornstar

hmm, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink sounds like a fake e-mail :P

I never got into Sonic Youth because I hated all the people I knew who liked them, and because I hated what little I heard from them. I've heard a bit more lately, and file them firmly in the category of bands whose appeal I can understand, but that I'm still not very interested in. The guitar "wash" is so lethargic and half-assed, without any real intensity. Maybe I'll appreciate them when I'm thirty. Maybe it's one of those things where "you just had to be there". Maybe not.

Dave M., Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

dud, i've never heard a song i liked. they always seem to lack something, they get the cool sounds and forget the tune, get the tune and sing like cows, etc...also they make teeny-bopper videos even though they are all like 73. destroy lee renaldo's poetry notebook.

keith, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Masonic Boom - thanks for your reply. Good response. I can definitely see that the romantic idea of art as the expression of suffering is largely discredited. I think this is why Sonic Youth make me anxious; if I don't like them, does this mean that I'm maladjusted?

But do you really think Sonic Youth even seem bored? Most of their songs sound like they're supposed to be 'intense' and those that reflect a kind of ennui, such as Teenage Riot, seem just as contrived as their contrived intensity. There's no foothold - they always seem to be able to maintain control - in fact, they seem to have to maintain control even when they DON'T want to. Therefore, no possibility of identification with them. Too closed. Agree with Dave M. above.

Maryann, Wednesday, 6 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Silver Session! I love that album.

Kodanshi, Thursday, 7 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

people should use the html capacities of this board more creatively. bring on the blinking rainbow text and embedded midi files.

ethan, Thursday, 7 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

scene from a new year's party:

"have you ever been listening to _washing machine_ and felt you were in the presence of a superior being?"

"when i was 17, man, all the time."

i feel only pity for all those who do not believe and more for those who are too cool to still believe.

sundar subramanian, Friday, 8 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Key phrase: "when i was 17, man, all the time."

When I was 17, playing Sister would result in the feeling of being in the presence of a higher power. So how can something like Washing Machine affect me?

masonic boom, Friday, 8 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

A Thousand Leaves is heaven's doorbell. Granted, not everyone's into doorbells...

Wesley, Sunday, 10 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Tuneless bunch of Duds. Their abominable and embarrassing set at ATP2000 was one of the worst I've ever had the pleasure to witness.

the pinefox, Sunday, 10 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

because it's just beautiful, kate. the melodies are heavenly, the guitars come together so gently and then explode, the sentiments are so sweet, lee ranaldo actually comes through every time. it doesn't sound at all like a rehash of sister to me. and that's just it, say what you will, sy have made an effort to say something new with every record, especially compared to any other band. sure, i meant the irony -- sy pretty much traffic in adolescent thrills. but what else is rock music good for?

make no mistake, they redefined the guitar. they didn't simply dumb down branca for rock audiences (which someone could argue the velvets did re lamonte young), they added their own signature with new prepared guitar textures and tunings and ecstatic dissonant climaxes. they went from the post-pil jamming on the first ep to the mix of hardcore punk and no wave and dark noise on the first album to the industrial grind/shimmer of bad moon rising to the blissful intimate genderfuck of evol (generic??? want to argue that case?) to the rock-from-another-planet of sister. vocals and lyrics added a twisted but relevant dimension. and that's just the 80s.

ignoring daydream nation, which i've discussed elsewhere (read that thread, kate?), they continued to signify when they went mainstream. despite their numerous obvious errors, they continued to make inspiring work. dirty is not at all a watering down of any of their ideas. the instrumental breaks are constructed entirely differently than in their other work. the noise is used entirely in the service of abrasive, challenging songs. and how it is used! they have continued to display moments of genius in their post- washing machine work. they have unfortunately released a glut of product in recent years, only some of it as exciting as their best work. yet to simply dismiss the band, as it has become fashionable to do in indie circles (cf smiths backlash in uk), is just absurd. the best parts of goodbye 20th century are truly great.

pinefox: if it was anything like their montreal set last summer, it must have been divine. could you explain exactly what you dislike about public enemy, sonic youth, and iron maiden? anything beyond "tunelessness?" i am genuinely curious. i'm not even sure that tunefulness is the primary appeal of "to here knows when" or even "suffer little children."

sundar subramanian, Sunday, 10 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I'm glad Sundar drunkenly stepped in and said something I had been thinking about, but which I hadn't put in a form I wanted to post. In the Sonic Youth I've heard I hear them doing different things, album to album, and usually doing them well, so it irks me slightly to hear so many people cut off the band's output after whatever point.

Josh, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

Yes, I know there may be difficulties in parsing that. Try.

Josh, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

On second thought, it's a beautiful piece of prose.

Josh, Monday, 11 June 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
I'm currently listening to Experimental Jet Set for the first time in years. It's the first Sonic Youth record I ever heard -- the first song I ever heard was "Bull in the Heather" -- and it sounds so beautiful right now. I love that there are so many quiet moments on this record -- but pretty stuff, not pretentious spoken word or nothin'. Thurston even plays an acoustic on the first track! AMG gives it two stars -- underrated, I say.

jaymc (jaymc), Monday, 22 September 2003 03:01 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I just wish that album didn't have "Bull in the Heather" as a lead single. Really always rubbed me the wrong way, one of Kim Gordon's worst moments. And trust me, she's had plenty of great ones! But the way she delivers the chorus...really eh.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 22 September 2003 03:10 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Hey, as long as this is coming up again, I've become more and more convinced that the first ep is due for a critical reappraisal, especially since its influences are much more "now" than they were when it came out. Fantastic sound, Kim is restrained, cool tension and release. If they put it out today, it'd get filed under post-rock for sure. It doesn't redefine guitar rock, like what came next, but it sounds awfully good these days and really deserves a re-release.

dlp9001, Monday, 22 September 2003 03:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's really crazy that the self-titled EP got left behind in the whole onslaught of DGC reissues in the 90's...I remember them talking a few years ago about the idea of re-releasing it on Smells Like, but that never came to be. it's a pretty good record, kind of different from where the went w/ Confusion Is Sex, and I still can't get over the fact that Ferris Beuller's parking attendant played the drums.

Al (sitcom), Monday, 22 September 2003 05:07 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

DN was my fave for several years, but lately I've been listening mostly to Dirty, which rocks like a muthaf@&#$^.

o. nate (onate), Monday, 22 September 2003 12:51 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Experimental Jet Set is way underrated; it's my favorite album of theirs after Sister. I like the first 3-4 songs on Daydream Nation, but then I always turn it off.

My Sonic Youth Top Five:

1. Sister
2. Bad Moon Rising
3. "Kool Thing" (only really great if you read the Kim Gordon profile of LL Cool J for Spin, which inspired it)
4. Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
5. Goodbye 20th Century

I'm actually shocked nobody brought up that last one, whether pro or con. I think it's fantastic, really beautiful in parts and really ugly/beautiful in others. Much better than any "regular" album they've put out since Goo.

Phil Freeman (Phil Freeman), Monday, 22 September 2003 12:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

hmm, I'm surprised by the lack of love for 'Murray Street', which IMO is their best post-Sister album..

Oh and Phil, do you know where I can find that LL profile?

Fabrice (Fabfunk), Monday, 22 September 2003 13:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Wish I did. Run a Google search; maybe some psycho SY fan has scanned it.

Phil Freeman (Phil Freeman), Monday, 22 September 2003 13:41 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i usually start DN at side two, and then play side three
"Hey Joni" would have to be one of my favourite songs, and it used to be at the bedinning of side three

george gosset (gegoss), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Fabrice- there is plenty of love for 'murray street' (i do think its one of their very very best though I like everything I've heard, even NYC ghosts and flowers, which I hated at first...but then again i haven't heard all of their recs). There are other SY threads but i don't think george pulled them up (how very naughty of him).

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I bought Murray Street solely because the horn players from Borbetomagus appear on one track. What a waste of $15.

Phil Freeman (Phil Freeman), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:37 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

still the best live rock band out there, especially w/ the new o'rourke-ified lineup.

dan (dan), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:41 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

'Murray street' definetely grew on me and its a good companion to 'sister'.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:47 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'll put in a good word for Silver Session for Jason Knuth. I guess it's the outlier release among outliers - maybe their version of Metal Machine Music? Thurston's liner notes:

we didn't really know jason knuth -- its possible we had met him, or had been in the same room as him, but we didn't recal... we heard about his passing on the internet -- a flurry of grievous and surprised reaction -- people were asking us if we were aware of how much he identified and championed our music -- as music director for kusf he seemingly used sy as a standard for playlisting -- indeed at his memorial his friends played 'the diamond sea' in acknowledgment of his enthusiasm towards us -- he was affectionately referred to as 'sonic knuth' in nyc, so far from the sf community, we were touched and more than intrigued. we learned jason was a vibrant, well loved guy on the music scene w/ a completely genuine exhuberance towards art & music. his demeanor obviously shroued a complex inner life which led to suicide. what jason's feelings were towards his own human existence we may never know but we do know he will be missed by many as a companion. sonic youth wanted to make some gesture towards him as well as focus on suicide prevention. proceeds from this cd will help fund the san francisco suicide prevention hotline (415-781-0550). it is manufactured and distributed by revolver, a company with close and personal associations with jason.

a note on the music: silver sessions were taken from an evening when sy had to do vocal overdubs for 'a thousand leaves' -- the band upstairs was hammering out some funky metal overdrive and we couldn't "sing" properly (?!) -- we decided to fight fire with molten lava and turned every amp we owned on to 10+ and leaned as many guitars and basses we could plug in against them and they roared/HOWLED like airplanes burning over the pacific -- we could only enter the playing room with hands pressed hard against our ears and even then it was physically stunning -- we ran a sick outmoded beatbox through the p.a. and it blew out horrendous distorted pulsations. Of course we recorded the whole thing and a few months later we mixed it down into sections, ultra-processing it to a wholly other "piece" -- in a way, it's my favorite record of ours -- I hope jason digs it. --- keep on keep on keep on --- thurston/sonic youth/nyc 1998.

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 7 October 2018 02:02 (one week ago) Permalink

That’s a cool story; but it also would have been cool if they had gone upstairs and jammed with the funk-metallers, and recorded that.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Sunday, 7 October 2018 02:40 (one week ago) Permalink

I love Silver Sessions and need to spend more time with it, I know some other ILXors are big fans as well (Raymond Cummings?)

sleeve, Sunday, 7 October 2018 03:36 (one week ago) Permalink

silver sessions is great. friend from long ago was obsessed w/ that one

macropuente (map), Sunday, 7 October 2018 04:04 (one week ago) Permalink

also — there's a ben stiller "swimsuit issue" parody?!

In "The Grungies"!

2:41 or so

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 7 October 2018 04:58 (one week ago) Permalink

sleeve is correct - Silver Sessions is one of my favorite SY releases.

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 7 October 2018 10:27 (one week ago) Permalink

(I'd never seen that Grungies episode - yikes!)

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 7 October 2018 10:31 (one week ago) Permalink

Lol, thanks for that. I even like the parody version!

The nexus of the crisis (Sund4r), Sunday, 7 October 2018 12:33 (one week ago) Permalink

“NYC G&F” is really good shit; and it seems like one of their least “Sonic Youth”-y albums, in a way. I read they made it after all their regular gear was stolen? Pretty great results from a “fresh approach borne out of necessity” (if that’s indeed what happened)...

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Sunday, 7 October 2018 19:42 (one week ago) Permalink

I was gonna bring up the gear theft (during the Thousand Leaves tour) as another marker between eras.

Ubering With The King (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 7 October 2018 19:53 (one week ago) Permalink

Wild story

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Sunday, 7 October 2018 20:30 (one week ago) Permalink

I seem to recall they didn't cancel any shows, and in fact did a multi-gig stand with rented gear in Austin right after.

Ubering With The King (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 7 October 2018 20:51 (one week ago) Permalink

I saw them the day after it happened, they were fantastic.

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Sunday, 7 October 2018 21:02 (one week ago) Permalink

It happened between 7/2/99 in Berkeley & a festival in Orange County, CA on 7/4/99.

I saw their last show with their OG vintage gear (check this setlist):

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 8 October 2018 03:17 (one week ago) Permalink

I was also at that first show with borrowed equipment.

The festival was called "This Ain't No Picnic." Lineup:

At the Drive‐In
Guided by Voices
Mike Watt (who, if I remember correctly, did not take the opportunity to play "This Ain't No Picnic")
Rocket From the Crypt
Sonic Youth
Sunny Day Real Estate
The Apples in Stereo
The Get Up Kids
The Promise Ring
Will Oldham

It was my first exposure to Boredoms. Ran right out and bought Super AE.

Hideous Lump, Monday, 8 October 2018 04:11 (one week ago) Permalink

Yup, was at that very show/festival.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 8 October 2018 04:48 (one week ago) Permalink

I’m mistaken in that case. I saw them shortly thereafter at Bumbershoot in 99, they were still playing with borrowed gear. In any event, they managed to sound like themselves, and put on a fantastic show at 11am.

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:14 (one week ago) Permalink

I saw that show also! Very improvisational, in the big arena. Some kid in front of us said to his friend "I thought you said their songs had words, man"

sleeve, Monday, 8 October 2018 20:21 (one week ago) Permalink

they closed with "She Is Not Alone" iirc

sleeve, Monday, 8 October 2018 20:21 (one week ago) Permalink

I just listened to "The Destroyed Room" collection... that's some serious minor-key atmospherics right there!

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:33 (one week ago) Permalink

"beautiful plateau" from that one is an all-time fave SY instrumental — i named this playlist after it:

tylerw, Monday, 8 October 2018 20:37 (one week ago) Permalink

Thx, will give this playlist a listen^

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 20:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Of the early albums, I think EVOL is the clear winner for me. There's something about its dark, ominous, echo-ey sound, with vocals that sound like they're being intoned from halfway across the room...

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 21:31 (one week ago) Permalink

"Expressway to Yr. Skull" sounds like 5 or 6 different songs to me (in a good way) -- none of which I can identify. It probably influenced all of them, whatever they are.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:07 (one week ago) Permalink

something about its dark, ominous, echo-ey sound

I don't know, I really think they benefited from the warmer sound, especially two albums later.

timellison, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:09 (one week ago) Permalink

I mean, I won't deny that Daydream Nation is a klassic; but I've owned it over 20 years, and have only listened to it all the way through a handful of times (at the beginning). Sometimes I'll start listening; go "yeah!" at Track 1; and then lose interest a few tracks later. It's just not my "style," I guess.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:16 (one week ago) Permalink

if you don't like listening to it so much, then it's not a classic for you, imo. no shame in that! i feel the same way about tons of "classic" albums (and there are a million threads about that, i think, so no need to list which ones)

1-800-CALL-ATT (Karl Malone), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:18 (one week ago) Permalink

it's not a klassic if you don't like it. fight the canon!!!!

(i love dn)

brimstead, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:22 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm the same way about Daydream Nation. I do like it, there are loads of good songs on it, but I like Sister & Evol and probably Bad Moon Rising more to listen to as albums (which tbh I basically never do, I've always been into individual songs more than albums and that just got more easy to do with mp3s)

Colonel Poo, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:23 (one week ago) Permalink

i'm into daydream nation as an album. a couple of the songs work magnificently on their own as a hit it and quit it sampling - teenage riot and 'cross the breeze come to mind first - but most of album gains additional power in the context of the endless lurching between pretty ambience, noise, and pop. and a song like "hyperstation" just deserves to be heard as a climax to an epic journey (i was always meh about Eliminator Jr as the actual closer)

1-800-CALL-ATT (Karl Malone), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:31 (one week ago) Permalink

eliminator jr has a secret track vibe

brimstead, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:35 (one week ago) Permalink

I forgot I like "Candle" a lot, too...

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:42 (one week ago) Permalink

teenage riot has to be one of the most praised songs of all time so i'm sure this is commonly expressed, but it might win the award for longest song that feels like the shortest song. almost 7 minutes and it just flies by

1-800-CALL-ATT (Karl Malone), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:43 (one week ago) Permalink

Man, The Eternal is really not good.

I take no pleasure in passing that judgment on their final album, but... the dropoff is remarkable.

Some of the grooves are OK, but the lyrics and vocal melodies are really bad, and the songs don’t go anywhere.

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 01:04 (one week ago) Permalink

It's been a while since I played The Eternal. I think there was maybe one song I liked, but otherwise it's the SY album I like least (or second least since I'm no fan of NYCG&F).

Groove(box) Denied (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 01:24 (one week ago) Permalink

I liked "Antenna" but barely remember anything else from it.

The nexus of the crisis (Sund4r), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 01:38 (one week ago) Permalink

I like pretty much every other album they ever did so it might just click if I give it another try.

The nexus of the crisis (Sund4r), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 01:39 (one week ago) Permalink

I like "The Eternal"! 'Massage The History' is my fave tune off it

. (Michael B), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 09:11 (one week ago) Permalink

I also like The Eternal but then I like all their "official" albums so...

Colonel Poo, Tuesday, 9 October 2018 09:43 (one week ago) Permalink

My read was that the album was a strategic "let's make a real Sonic Youth album"... kind of their version of the "we wanted to get back to the sound of 5 people playing in a room" mentality. It ended up being a little too overdetermined in my view. Still I'd agree that Antenna & Massage the History were high points that equaled anything else they'd done. It's a shame that their personal drama got in the way of being able to cut another LP with that lineup to see if there was anything there. I'm sure the people running Matador probably felt the same way.

Scam jam, thank you ma’am (Sparkle Motion), Friday, 12 October 2018 03:39 (four days ago) Permalink

"Expressway to Yr. Skull" sounds like 5 or 6 different songs to me (in a good way) -- none of which I can identify. It probably influenced all of them, whatever they are.

― brush ’em like crazy (morrisp)

here's one

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Friday, 12 October 2018 06:13 (four days ago) Permalink

Some of these long jams on Murray St. kinda sound like Television, huh? Television, mixed with a little late VU...

brush ’em like crazy (morrisp), Saturday, 13 October 2018 00:35 (three days ago) Permalink

I heard a Chelsea Light Moving song the other day and it was way sicker than I expected. Real sludge/punk/metal riffage thrown in with the pretty noodling.

The bits I’ve heard of Body/Head also really good. Latter day SY is kind of a snooze imo, unfortunately delayed my interest in checking out their other projects.

circa1916, Saturday, 13 October 2018 01:43 (three days ago) Permalink

the new Body/Head is superb if a bit on the harrowing/intense side, smoldering ruins of sound

sleeve, Saturday, 13 October 2018 03:32 (three days ago) Permalink

way more digestible & immediate than the debut 2LP, they really got it dialed in on The Switch (new LP)

sleeve, Saturday, 13 October 2018 03:33 (three days ago) Permalink

i hated that CLM album when I listened to it. maybe i'll give it another shot.

akm, Saturday, 13 October 2018 06:46 (three days ago) Permalink

Yeah, can’t speak for the album, but Alighted was what I caught and it pleasantly surprised me.

circa1916, Saturday, 13 October 2018 06:58 (three days ago) Permalink

Calling out tylerw's Beautiful Plateaus playlist linked above. Great selection. Thanks.

Pyschocandles, Saturday, 13 October 2018 20:25 (three days ago) Permalink

Lee Ranaldo's working with Elektron samplers, and a drum machine. Maybe he'll put out some interesting, more avant garde sort of material.

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Saturday, 13 October 2018 21:45 (three days ago) Permalink

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