‘NYC Ghosts & Flowers,’ Sonic Youth’s 12th album, was shaped by several things. Since releasing their major-label debut 10 years before in 1990, the band had streamlined its sound, knocked it back around to its artsy/noisy origins and finally settled someplace in between. But they were getting antsy. But most of all, ‘NYC Ghosts & Flowers’’ brutal, abrasive sound was a result of the group’s gear being stolen during a 1999 tour. They had to make the best with what they had laying around, what they purchased as replacements and what they could borrow.
By the time Sonic Youth released their 10th album on May 12, 1998, the honeymoon was over between the veteran NYC noise band, its deep-pocket record company, modern-rock radio and fans. After a brief fling with alt-rock radio at the start of the ‘90s – right after they signed with the same record company that would make Nirvana super-huge – the group began growing restless with their relative mainstream success. So they pulled back on 1994’s ‘Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,’ a half-compromise that sounded like one.
After all the buzz surrounding Sonic Youth when they released their landmark album ‘Daydream Nation’ in 1988, it was no surprise that they were soon scooped up by a major label. They made two pretty good but not quite spectacular albums for DGC (the same Geffen Records subsidiary that signed Sonic Youth pals Nirvana around the same time): 1990’s ‘Goo’ and 1992’s ‘Dirty.’ They even scored a pair of Top 10 modern-rock hits – sorta shocking, considering the band’s rep for artsy, unstructured noise tamed by, of all things, distorted feedback.
We're not going to say "we told you so," because, well, we never went on the record to express our personal opinion on this subject, but privately, we had our sneaking suspicions that the breakup of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon in late 2011 was caused by infidelity on the part of the former. Turns out we were right, and that a "starstruck woman" from the indie community, as Gordon puts it, also played a role.
Capturing the ambiance of the fresh young noise rockers in their toddler days, this 1985 live set opens with trademark scratchy feedback, before Kim Gordon’s haunting, progressively urgent vocals overpower Steve Shelley's slow thudding drums and the hollow, clean, single-string-plucking progression on ‘Hallowe’en.’
Among the crowd chatter at the intimate venue, you can actually hear someone say, “I don’t know that much about them.”
Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio are among the musicians, comedians and other entertainers lined up to perform Nov. 15 in New York City as part of a telethon to raise money for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Chloe Sevigny is a well-known actress these days with a starring role in 'Big Love' under her belt, but back in 1992, she was little more than an aspiring downtown New York City "It girl" with an internship at Sassy magazine to her credit
No band is an island. The best songwriters tend to be sponge-like soaker-uppers of music, film, fine art, literature and other forms of culture, be they popular or obscure, and these influences often find their way into the music, helping listeners branch out and develop new interests
Didn't happen to catch Sonic Youth on their 1985 U.S. tour backing their spooky sophomore full-length album, 'Bad Moon Rising?' Neither did we. No matter, because SY have announced a Nov. 14 release date for 'Smart Bar - Chicago 1985,' a 14-track live album documenting the trek's Aug. 11 stop in the Windy City. 'Chicago 1985' will be issued digitally, on CD and on vinyl as a double-LP with (with download card for the digital version).
When Kim Gordon isn't playing bass with Sonic Youth, one of her favorite hobbies is fashion -- wearing, collecting and even designing high-end, vintage and couture fashion. And now Gordon is doing a little fall cleaning by auctioning off a selection of designer clothes from her closet over at the Mercy's Vintage website. The stash includes outfits she wore onstage and in various Sonic Youth videos.