sonic youth

The contents of this page relate to sonic youth.

Buffalo Tom: Three Easy Pieces (New West/Elite)

Buffalo Tom: Three Easy Pieces (New West/Elite)

I well remember one night at dusk, somewhere in the American mid-west, driving a long and empty road as Buffalo Tom's melancholy classic Tail Lights Fade to Black came on the radio. I lifted my foot off the accelerator and enjoyed the perfect moment. And then two days later on a faster and more demanding road another of their more edgy...

The Quick and the Dead: Heartbreak 365 (Cosmic Federation)

The Quick and the Dead: Heartbreak 365 (Cosmic Federation)

Elsewhere always has a warm place in its heart for young band full of energy, ideas (if not always original) and enthusiastic execution. And this Auckland three-piece has all those. While I might hear 60s garageband pop-rock, the Clash and Chris Knox -- and a worrying lurch into prog-psychedelia on She Knows -- that doesn't change the fact...

SONIC YOUTH'S THURSTON MOORE INTERVIEWED (1990): Corporate greed and the politics of music

SONIC YOUTH'S THURSTON MOORE INTERVIEWED (1990): Corporate greed and the politics of music

So, here’s a poser. What’s the link between The Carpenters’ vapid saccharine pop and the abrasive guitar pop grind of Sonic Youth? The correct answer, of course, is “who cares?” There is a link, however. In the same week as Sonic Youth’s Goo album -- which includes Tunic (Song For Karen) – was...

GOODBYE 20th CENTURY: SONIC YOUTH AND THE RISE OF THE ALTERNATIVE NATION by DAVID BROWNE

GOODBYE 20th CENTURY: SONIC YOUTH AND THE RISE OF THE ALTERNATIVE NATION by DAVID BROWNE

When posting Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation (1988) as an Essential Elsewhere album last year, I noted that it was as emblematic of its time as the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s. But, as with The Velvet Underground’s influential debut album, it also stood diametrically opposed to the prevailing mood of its period. If this...

NIRVANA, IN THE MONEY (1992): Number one, with a bullet

NIRVANA, IN THE MONEY (1992): Number one, with a bullet

The front cover of the business section of the New York Times isn’t the kind of place you expect to read about rock musicians...especially not a somewhat scruffy bunch of torn-denim, straggle-hair alternative rockers like Nirvana. But a couple of weeks ago there they were. Money talks – and it was positively screaming when...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador)

Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth recently noted that they were the Grateful Dead or Rolling Stones of their generation. He meant it seemed they had been around a very, very long time and were still out there doing it. And they are. This is, depending on how you are counting, at least their 16th studio album (which sort of puts them around...

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Pearl Jam: Back Spacer (Universal)

Just as some would have you believe there were "Beatles fans" Vs "Stones fans" back in the day (usually by old people styling themselves Stones fans to appear cooler than they actually were at school), so too there was that weird schism set up between Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Nirvana were, of course, "authentic"...

J. MASCIS INTERVIEWED, AND CONCERT REVIEW (2003): No time for talking

J. MASCIS INTERVIEWED, AND CONCERT REVIEW (2003): No time for talking

J. Mascis is the Silent Bob of rock. Look at any of the few interviews on the internet and you can see large blocks of type (the question) followed by a paltry line or two (the closed answer which seldom allows for a follow-up). Mascis, once of Dinosaur Jr and now out on a solo career with the occasional band The Fog, is a man of...

LOU BARLOW INTERVIEWED (2003): Dinosaur walking again

LOU BARLOW INTERVIEWED (2003): Dinosaur walking again

As a cruel ploy it was also kind of funny. When guitarist J. Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow in Dinosaur Jr got to the point that they couldn't even talk to each other, the end was inevitable. They'd had a good few years, but in 1989 Mascis told Barlow he was breaking up the band. The following day he reformed it -- without Barlow. Barlow...

Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures (Sony)

Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures (Sony)

This will be brief for a couple of reasons: this genuine supergroup of Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) has already been given wide-exposure, and that in this instance Elsewhere has been running a bit late. (Got waylaid by a Guy Clark album or somesuch) So the short...

Grant Hart: Hot Wax (Fuse/Southbound)

Grant Hart: Hot Wax (Fuse/Southbound)

Because of the sporadic and sometimes wayward nature of his career after the break-up of Husker Du in '87, it was always going to be hard to predict what this album under their former drummer/singer Hart's own name would come off like. It isn't easy in the sense that it doesn't gives its gifts up readily, and its slightly scattergun nature...

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Some people just aren't that smart. At least that's what I thought about Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic when he tossed his bass high in the air at an MTV awards show and failed to catch it on its way back down. It hit him on the nose (see clip below) and he was felled in a pool of blood. Rock'n'roll, huh? I met some people who were in...

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

When I saw the BRMC in their early days at the Troubadour in LA I came away convinced they were, if not the future of rock'n'roll, then they would have at least a lot of interesting noises to make until the future arrived. They roared and rocked, swapped instruments, played psychedelicised rock'n'roll with references to a few other marginal...

How to Kill: Like Angels (Failsafe)

How to Kill: Like Angels (Failsafe)

If the band name, the album cover, titles like And Death Shall Have Dominion and the black on black postcards within don't give you the clue, then I shall flip all the cards and tell you: this four-piece from Christchurch delve into the dark stuff . . . but not in some kind of death-metal/horror-kitschy way at all. These guys are a wall of...

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (1975)

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (1975)

Metal Machine Music is the Lou Reed album that even many Lou fans haven't heard -- or did hear and said, "Never again". Many who bought this double album at the time (which now fetches absurd prices on-line) returned it because not only does Reed not sing on it, but it has no songs (there are four pieces, each around 16 minutes...

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

Soundgarden: Telephantism (Universal)

Once they hit their stride around the time of Badmotorfinger in '91, Soundgarden out of Seattle had shaken out the ragged semi-punk and yelping metal for a much more dense and intense attack. Material like Jesus Christ Pose (here in a searing, seven minute live version of deconstructed noise) was a quantum leap from the noise they were...

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The little-known Vaselines out of Scotland got their sudden time in the spotlight when Nirvana covered a couple of their songs, notably Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam on their MTV Unplugged session. By that time ('93) the Vaselines - formed around Eugene Kelly and  Frances McKee -- had already broken up but they'd reformed to open...

The Dead C: Patience (Badabing)

The Dead C: Patience (Badabing)

As with a previous Dead C album posted at Elsewhere (Secret Earth), this will be -- for most I would guess -- and endurance test rather than an album. This time out though the four tracks (16 minutes, one and half, five and 14 respectively) are all instrumentals -- the drone vocals were something of a hinderance on Secret Earth -- and the...

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

DAVE GROHL INTERVIEWED (1995): Post-grunge fun

Through the swing doors, down the stairs, then hard right. Follow the corridor, then left, right and left again, then . . . umm. You’re in a scene from This Is Spinal Tap. Where, in this maze of corridors under the BBC Studios in Maida Vale, London, is Studio Four where the Foo Fighters are recording? But another labyrinthine...

Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (Sony)

Foo Fighters: Wasting Light (Sony)

There were those who said grunge died when it was adopted by fashion designers, but that presumes those who were into the music actually cared what happened on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris. Certainly the death of Kurt Cobain in '94 dealt the noisy, often angst-filled music a serious blow but none of the bands swept along in the...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

The solo projects and collaborations of Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) have certainly covered a lot of musical landscapes from visceral guitar noise to . . . Well, to this which is mostly gentle, dreamy singer-songwriter work with acoustic guitar, harp, violin and producer Beck on synths, vocals and bass. To a great extent -- because of...

Nirvana: Nevermind, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Nirvana: Nevermind, Deluxe Edition (Universal)

Recently, for an impending publication, I was relistening to hundreds of albums, many of them considered classics. Some had aged very badly, others sounded more interesting (and influential) after the passages of years . . . and rare ones sounded as thrilling now as they did at the time. Shorn of the detritus of hype, grunge fashion,...

Sonic Youth: Hits are for Squares (Geffen)

Sonic Youth: Hits are for Squares (Geffen)

Smart move under a great title. Not a "greatest hits" (has there been even one?) or even a "best of", but a selection of their favourite SY tracks chosen by the likes of longtime fans Radiohead, Eddie Vedder, film maker Gus Van Sandt, actress Catherine Keener, Beck and others. That piques interest on a number of levels --...

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Back at the dawn of time -- for two periods in 1980 and 1981 to be precise -- I had a programme on Radio Pacific on Saturday evening, sandwiched between the Rugger Buggers sports show and, of all people, Hollywood gossip David Hartnell. It was all free-format music (not a term used in radio these days, it means you could play what you liked)...

Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (1988)

Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation (1988)

There are some albums (such as Sgt Peppers) which so crystallise their period that you cannot imagine that era without them. Then there are others (The Velvet Underground's debut) which appear to stand so diametrically opposed to the prevailings movement of their time that it is usually only in retrospect their impact and importance can be truly...

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