Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Other Side Of Sonic Youth (14 tracks 2010)

With roots in Hardcore Punk and No Wave, and a fascination with experimental music of all colours, Sonic Youth have always managed to inject pop sensibilities into the cacophonous racket they're so good at making. As early as 1988 and the release of Ciccone Youth's classic "Whitey Album" this duality was crystal clear, offering up cover versions of Robert Palmer and Madonna one minute while referencing John Cage with a 1:03 track of pure silence the next. Even by the time the band reached their commercial zenith and signed to Geffen in 1990 they held on to an uncompromising edge - hunt down footage of 'Drunk Butterfly' performed on the BBC's now defunct Late Show to get an idea of just how demented and righteous pop music can get. For this 14 track selection, however, we've plowed through the outer edges of their catalogue, focusing on often instrumental and improvisational work as well as recordings made by Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo under their own names and as part of separate outfits. Of course, the band are involved with so many projects, labels and performances it's virtually impossible to know where to start even with this seemingly narrow remit, so we've stuck to material from their own SYR, Sonic Death, Ecstatic Peace and Goofin imprints alongside selected solo and collaborative recordings providing an insight into the creative, fearless and vital body of work outside the 9-5 of Sonic Youth.

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