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Band: Sonic Youth

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Sonic Youth?

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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Wood Goblin on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:24 am

Sonic Youth were politically active, for sure. And they were vocally feminist in an era when feminism was vilified.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby projectMalamute on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:25 am

OrthodoxEaster wrote:I don't think they were any more invested in being cool than say, the Velvet Underground.


That's a really funny statement. No more invested in being wet than say, water.

anyway...

Sonic Youth was a gateway band for me. I grew up in a vanilla suburb without an older sibling to hip me to stuff. A review of Goo in a guitar rag prompted me to buy it with no real knowledge of it's context and I liked it straight away. It was a constant in the tape deck of my friend's Ford station wagon the last couple years of high school. We thought the feedback part at the end of Mote was there just to fill the side of the cassette.

I still like that record, and the earlier stuff. Don't really listen to that often but it holds up just fine for me.

Tidbit for any Converge fans: the original aesthetic (such as it was) of that band was essentially Goo crossed with South of Heaven.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Clyde on Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:55 am

Whether they were trying to be cool-who cares? You could say the same thing about all the post-punk/no-wave/whatever bands coming out of NYC. But they were genuinely interested in the stuff that they promoted. I'll take might-be-pretentious art-school kids over the po-faced NYHC crowd any day. I agree, too, that what was considered cool caught up to them. They eventually crawled up their collective ass (man, who doesn't, though?) but everything up to Daydream Nation is gold and just about every album after that had at least something to recommend. (Even though I recognize Dirty is not on par as the earlier stuff I kind of love it.) Is putting Gerhard Richter and Mike Kelly on your album covers pretentious? I dunno, maybe, but it was also rad. It got a bunch of teenagers (myself included) interested in their art. I also appreciated that once they hit the big time they made a point to promote lesser-known bands. As for being political-they weren't Billy Bragg but they I remember them being heavily involved with Rock For Choice for example. And they recorded a few explicitly political songs, mostly not their strong suit.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby IdahoSpudBoy on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:14 pm

Crap.

Tough for me to separate the artist form the art, sometimes. I'm sure the music is fine, but I can't help but think if I were to sit in a room with Thurston and Kim, they would find me to be a small town yokel, un-worthy of conversation.

Give me the Lou Reed vibe, I guess, which prevents me from enjoying VU.

I have nothing to back this up, other than gut feelings and an old Nardwuar interview.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Clyde on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:21 pm

IdahoSpudBoy wrote:an old Nardwuar interview.


They come off as massive pricks in that.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Bernardo on Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:30 pm

God, the Narwuar interview is excruciating.

I totally get why someone would think SY make an effort to look "cool", if you put together their image around the Goo era and that horrible interview it makes an impression that is hard to shake off.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby OrthodoxEaster on Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:59 pm

As a person, though, and in quite a few other interviews, Thurston comes across as more of a big, warm, goofy fan than as some kinda rock star or aloof art dude. Way more like some hyperactive indie record store employee than say, Lou Reed.

And yeah, Sonic Youth's attempts at politics ("Youth Against Fascism" or "Swimsuit Issue," anyone?) are so fucking terrible that I think I'd deliberately erased them from my mind! The early band was also much subtler about that. I suppose that I preferred their "political" or gender-oriented songs when they were a whole lot more abstract and poetic and less obvious ("Early American," "Ghost Bitch," "PCH").

I guess I formed my opinion of SY a couple years before the Goo era and, at that time, the band occupied a very different position w/in popular rock culture.

IdahoSpudBoy wrote:Tough for me to separate the artist form the art, sometimes.


I get that. But there's a wealth of interesting art and music in history made by some truly odious people. Maybe that's the one noble act such people are capable of? Dunno. (Not that anyone in SY seems all that odious.)

Clyde wrote:Whether they were trying to be cool-who cares? You could say the same thing about all the post-punk/no-wave/whatever bands coming out of NYC. But they were genuinely interested in the stuff that they promoted.


Exactly.

projectMalamute wrote:That's a really funny statement. No more invested in being wet than say, water.


Sure, the Velvets were posing in those sunglasses and leather and trying to project an image of aloof, self-conscious artiness. At the same time, that wasn't remotely the only or even the main point of what they were doing. It wasn't just some pose; it seemed like making eccentric music came first and foremost. A lot of the imagery seemed foisted upon them by Warhol, the record company, and Reed's ego. And quite a bit of it went out the window after the first album, really. Commercially, the band was an uncool flop; the hipness was mostly retroactive. And Jesus, someone like Moe Tucker is practically the antithesis of what passes for cool in rock music, from her sense of style to her politics to her subsequent position as a working-class mother of five children.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby A Landing Craft on Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:45 pm

Redline wrote:Listen to Bad Moon Rising or the first S/T ep. It should click. Honest.


They're the only SY records I like, as well as "The World Looks Red" (the guitars almost sound beautiful on that one).

I tried many times to 'get' this band. The other stuff never worked for me. I also find Thurston Moore to be quite repulsive, shoehorning himself into everything and carrying on like a post-punk Father Yod. Lee Ranaldo seems like a nice chap.

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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby VaticanShotglass on Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:30 pm

I agree with the measured defenses of of SY on this page. I come back to them every 5 years or so. Most of their eras have something in there I dig. They were also a great gateway band back when I was a kid. The only place to buy CDs in my area were Wal-Mart and Circuit City. SY were one of the few bands I read about that I could find in such a store. Goo and Dirty, aren't my favorite albums, but I was happy to have them back then. Daydream Nation was my first by them and a long time favorite. I eventually got and loved the early stuff.

Actually, I don't own all of my favorites. A best friend and I would take turns buying the albums and dubbing them to tape. We couldn't afford them otherwise. Good times.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby noise&light on Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:39 am

The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop

Most items are gone. And cost a small fortune.

I REALLY appreciate that they list songs and include tunings that were played on the guitars. Also, they include string gauge because I imagine that lots of folks will attempt these tunings on their own.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby kerble on Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:10 pm

noise&light wrote:I REALLY appreciate that they list songs and include tunings that were played on the guitars. Also, they include string gauge because I imagine that lots of folks will attempt these tunings on their own.


good looking out! I copy and pasted all those tunings into a doc for reference later.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby jimmy two hands on Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:45 pm

Bernardo wrote:God, the Narwuar interview is excruciating.


Sonic Youth and maybe Jello Biafra are the only people who can be more annoying than Nardwar in a Nardwar interview.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby numberthirty on Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:14 pm

kerble wrote:
noise&light wrote:I REALLY appreciate that they list songs and include tunings that were played on the guitars. Also, they include string gauge because I imagine that lots of folks will attempt these tunings on their own.


good looking out! I copy and pasted all those tunings into a doc for reference later.


A quick hint from an issue of Guitar Player from years ago...

If you put a set on(along with having the guitar set up accordingly) that consists of -

- Lowest Pair: Two Standard Set "A" Strings - They replace the standard "Low E"/"A" strings.
- Middle Pair: Two Standard Set "D" Strings - They replace the standard "D"/"G" strings.
- Highest Pair: Two Standard "G" Strings - They replace the standard "B'/"High E" strings.

... you can have a set that will almost be "Universal" for those tunings.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby skoz on Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:21 pm

noise&light wrote:The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop

Most items are gone. And cost a small fortune.

I REALLY appreciate that they list songs and include tunings that were played on the guitars. Also, they include string gauge because I imagine that lots of folks will attempt these tunings on their own.


I love sonic youth but the whole 500 bucks for a collectible tube screamer/ 400 bucks for a broken frost wave thing is kinda gross.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby noise&light on Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:44 pm

skoz wrote:
noise&light wrote:The Official Sonic Youth Reverb Shop

Most items are gone. And cost a small fortune.

I REALLY appreciate that they list songs and include tunings that were played on the guitars. Also, they include string gauge because I imagine that lots of folks will attempt these tunings on their own.


I love sonic youth but the whole 500 bucks for a collectible tube screamer/ 400 bucks for a broken frost wave thing is kinda gross.


The Klon Centaur sold for $4000. Totally insane. I like that it came with a piece of tape that said, "Always On".

Steve Shelley's gear is noticeably absent, minus a few drum bags. Makes me think that he's selling his stuff to regular folks at regular prices, on Craig's list or something.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby numberthirty on Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:00 pm

Seems like I finally found the right spot to grumble about this...



Watched that video, and thought "Wow, that really does sound great for a solid state amp." Taking a look at the features, I thought "Wow, those are some really useful features!"

Then, I came across the MSRP. Fifteen hundred bucks.

:shock:
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby skoz on Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:06 pm

numberthirty wrote:Seems like I finally found the right spot to grumble about this...



Watched that video, and thought "Wow, that really does sound great for a solid state amp." Taking a look at the features, I thought "Wow, those are some really useful features!"

Then, I came across the MSRP. Fifteen hundred bucks.

:shock:


Agreed, I would have thought it would be under 5.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Andrew. on Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:09 am

DregsInTheCrowd wrote:
Andrew. wrote:Were they kinda invested in being "cool"? Kind of pretentious without much to stand for?


It's something that happened in the middle phase of their career, the early 90s, which is when Goo and Dirty and the like came out. I like those records - Sonic Youth is basically in my DNA at this point - but they aren't nearly as scary and strange as their earliest records. As noted, give the S/T and Bad Moon Rising a shot, but also Confusion is Sex (especially the back half) and EVOL. I love Sister, and Daydream Nation is a top 5 album for me, but they don't have the horror movie intensity of those four early records. And those four records are all very different from one another - disliking one doesn't necessarily mean you won't like another, so give 'em all a shot.


Thanks all for the suggestions. You say you prefer the early stuff. :lol: I'll listen around and keep an open mind. I think I always expected to like them more bc I liked the VU and whatnot and was also into alternate tunings.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Big John on Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:59 am

There is a lot of difference between the albums with Bob Bert on Drums and Pete Shelly. Not good or bad but those two have differences in approach which I think effected the nature of the end product. Once on Geffen the first bunch of albums I think were approached to appeal to a wider audience than, before that time, which succeeded but after a while I think they kind of were just doing whatever they wanted again.

I find it pretty funny the way people are intimidated by Sonic Youth and VU and diss them because they wore sunglasses were into fine art and books with big words in them.

Thurston talking about stuff or the band doing shows with certain bands in their eyes had to do with the fact that they had a bigger arena to promote things and they used it to promote lesser known bands, artists and writers which they were interested in rather than just blabbing about themselves. Hopping to hook some people up with interesting things that they could check out, you don't need to be intimidated you could just check them out and see if they are something that blows your mind.

As far as VU being dressed a certain way to be cool it is pretty laughable as if they wanted to be cool in 1967 they would have been dressing up like the Beatles and hippies instead of the opposite black and leather beat poets. So they created that look.

I think this stuff is being mis-interpreted. I know people who wear shades at the movies I am cool with that, their thing. Most of the heavy metal guys I know are kind of strategy game nerds who overcompensate by working out, wearing black leather and tattoos to look heavy. I find it funny but hey the people who don't know them are fooled and fall for the superficial image. So I get it but don't think less of them and perhaps they just understand the world better than I.
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Re: Band: Sonic Youth

Postby Anthony Flack on Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:21 pm

big john wrote:As far as VU being dressed a certain way to be cool it is pretty laughable as if they wanted to be cool in 1967 they would have been dressing up like the Beatles and hippies instead of the opposite black and leather beat poets. So they created that look.


Uhh...?

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