Courtesy Matador Records
Sonic Youth home
When GenXers in the States were still learning how to identify guitar sounds, Sonic Youth was breaking them. This solidly cool group started defining do-it-yourself music making in the early Eighties, finding ways to combine garage rock with dissonant noise pop. Not exactly followers of any particular sound, Sonic Youth instead delights through innovation. Their 16 discs resonate with followers of punk, fierce grrrl rock, grunge and indie, combining Patti Smith influences with John Cage and Joni Mitchell ones, heavy pop rock with the far out. And actually, probably anybody could feel something tingly from their breakthrough single ‘Teen Age Riot’ (from the 1988 album Daydream Nation). Be ready for something hard and angsty, but totally work-out-able.
There’s no threat to Sonic Youth’s place at the table of American alternative-rock royalty and co-founders Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have unconquerable, deep-seated rock power. Gordon’s ferocious, even confrontational, raspy wails and guitar and bass thrashings inspire a fearful joy: submit or be destroyed. Moore seems somehow gentler, but maybe it’s just his potato-y features, because he can really tear it up on guitar, vocals, what-have-you. In point of fact, Moore first brought his group some well-deserved attention after he smashed the band’s equipment to smithereens on a London stage in 1984.
Sonic Youth have certainly tamed down a bit in the last 30 years. Gordon and Moore now have a daughter and live in a small New England town where they play benefit concerts for local schools. They even made a cameo on the Gilmore Girls once. But, again, don’t be deceived. Clearly, the couple are as responsible as parents as they are creative as musicians. Which is to say, expect some gut-wrenching rock, alternative tunings and guitar feedback in-between a good melody or catchy bridge when they play at Razzmatazz on April 18th. This show will, no doubt, bring joy to Americans homesick for their homeland’s ‘edge’. The rest of Barcelona, steel yourself for something wild.
Sonic Youth; Razzmatazz; April 18th, 2010; €39