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Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth

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Album Review

Sonic Youth's formative first EP, released in 1982 on Glenn Branca's Neutral label and reissued several times thereafter, resembles a fusion of no wave and an early Factory band. A couple tracks ("The Burning Spear," "I Don't Want to Push It") match the best of Confusion Is Sex, steeped in death disco and minimalist scratchings. Thurston Moore yelps, Kim Gordon rambles, and the guitars go plink-plink-plink. Tumbling and tinny tribal drums are provided by Richard Edson, also of Konk, who became a standout character actor (Stranger Than Paradise, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, etc.). [The 2006 Geffen reissue arrived with remastered sound, early live recordings, and extensive liner notes by Branca, Edson, and Byron Coley. Though not nearly as lavish as the Goo and Dirty reissues, it's a fitting way to honor the band's first release.]

Biography

Formed: 1981 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sonic Youth were one of the most unlikely success stories of underground American rock in the '80s. Where contemporaries R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü were fairly conventional in terms of song structure and melody, Sonic Youth began their career by abandoning any pretense of traditional rock & roll conventions. Borrowing heavily from the free-form noise experimentalism of the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, and melding it with a performance art aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk avant-garde,...
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