Today's act was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City. Part of the first wave of American noise rock groups, the band carried out their interpretation of the hardcore punk ethos throughout the evolving American underground that focused more on the DIY ethic of the genre rather than its specific sound. The band experienced relative commercial success and critical acclaim throughout their existence, continuing partly into the new millennium, including signing to major label DGC in 1990 and headlining the 1995 Lollapalooza festival. The band have been praised for having "redefined what rock guitar could do", using a wide variety of unorthodox guitar tunings and preparing guitars with objects like drum sticks and screwdrivers to alter the instruments' timbre. The band is considered to be a pivotal influence on the alternative rock and indie rock movements....N'joy !
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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, Sonic Youth redefined what noise meant within rock & roll. Sonic Youth rarely rocked, though they were inspired directly by hardcore punk, post-punk, and no wave. Instead, their dissonance, feedback, and alternate tunings created a new sonic landscape, one that redefined what rock guitar could do.
The band's trio of independent late-'80s records -- EVOL, Sister, Daydream Nation -- became touchstones for a generation of indie rockers who either replicated the noise or reinterpreted it in a more palatable setting. As their career progressed, Sonic Youth grew more palatable as well, as their more free-form songs began to feel like compositions and their shorter works began to rock harder. During the '90s, most American indie bands, and many British underground bands, displayed a heavy debt to Sonic Youth, and the group itself had become a popular cult band, with each of its albums charting in the Top 100.
Such success was unthinkable when guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo formed Sonic Youth with bassist Kim Gordon in 1981. Moore had spent his childhood in Bethel, Connecticut; Ranaldo was from Long Island. Both guitarists arrived in Manhattan during the height of the New York-based post-punk no wave movement, and began performing with the avant-garde composer Glenn Branca, whose dissonant, guitar-based music provided the basis for much of Sonic Youth's early music. Moore's girlfriend Gordon had been active in the avant and no wave scenes for some time, and the pair helped stage the Noise Festival, in which the band made its live debut during the summer of 1981. At the time, Sonic Youth also featured keyboardist Anne DeMarinis and drummer Richard Edson. DeMarinis left the band shortly afterward, and the quartet recorded its eponymous debut EP, which was released on Branca's Neutral Records the following year. During 1983, Edson left the band to pursue an acting career and he was replaced by Bob Bert, who drummed on the group's debut album, Confusion Is Sex (1983). The band supported the album with its first European tour. Later that year, the group released the EP Kill Yr Idols on the German Zensor label.
Early in 1984, Moore attempted to land the band a contract with the British indie label Doublevision, but the label rejected the demos. Paul Smith, one of the owners of Doublevision, decided to form Blast First Records in order to release Sonic Youth records. Soon, he received a distribution deal from the hip U.K. indie label Rough Trade, and the band had its first label with strong distribution. During all these record label negotiations in 1984, the cassette-only live album Sonic Death: Sonic Youth Live was released on Ecstatic Peace. Bad Moon Rising, the group's first album for Blast First, was released in 1985 to strong reviews throughout the underground music press. The album was markedly different from their earlier releases -- it was the first record they made that incorporated their dissonant, feedback-drenched experimentations within relatively straightforward pop song structures. Following the release of the Death Valley '69 EP, Bert was replaced by Steve Shelley, who became the group's permanent drummer.
Bad Moon Rising had attracted significant attention throughout the American underground, including some offers from major labels. Instead, Sonic Youth decided to sign with SST, home of Hüsker Dü and Black Flag, releasing EVOL in 1986. With EVOL, the group a became fixture on college radio, and its status grew significantly with 1987's Sister, which was heavily praised by mainstream publications like Rolling Stone. The group's profile increased further with the 1988 Ciccone Youth side project The Whitey Album, which was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Madonna and other parts of mainstream pop culture.
The band's true breakthrough came later in 1988 with the double album Daydream Nation. Released on Enigma Records, it was a tour de force that was hailed as a masterpiece upon its fall release, and it generated a college radio hit with "Teenage Riot." Though the album was widely praised, Enigma suffered from poor distribution and eventually bankruptcy, which meant the album occasionally wasn't available in stores. These factors contributed heavily to the band's decision to move to the major label DGC in 1990.
Signing a contract that gave them complete creative control, as well as letting them function as pseudo-A&R reps for the label, Sonic Youth established a precedent for alternative bands moving to majors during the '90s, proving that it was possible to preserve indie credibility on a major label. Released in the fall of 1990, Goo, the band's first major-label album, boasted a more focused sound, yet it didn't abandon the group's noise aesthetics. The result was a college radio hit, and the group's first album to crack the Top 100. Neil Young invited Sonic Youth to open for him on his arena tour for Ragged Glory, and though they failed to win over much of the rocker's audience, it represented their first major incursion into the mainstream; it also helped make Young a cult figure within the alternative circles during the '90s.
For their second major-label album, Dirty, Sonic Youth attempted to replicate the sloppy, straightforward sound of grunge rockers Mudhoney and Nirvana. The band had been supporting those two Seattle-based groups for several years (and had released a split single with Mudhoney and brought Nirvana to DGC Records), and while the songs on Dirty were hardly grunge, it was more pop-oriented and accessible than earlier Sonic Youth records. Produced by Butch Vig, who also produced Nirvana's Nevermind, Dirty became an alternative hit upon its summer 1992 release, generating the modern rock hits "100%," "Youth Against Fascism," and "Sugar Kane." Sonic Youth quickly became hailed as one of the godfathers of the alternative rock that had become the most popular form of rock music in the U.S., and Dirty became a hit along with the exposure, eventually going gold.
Sonic Youth again worked with Vig for 1994's Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, which entered the U.S. charts at number 34 and the U.K. charts at number ten, making it their highest-charting album ever. The high chart position was proof of their popularity during the previous two years, as it received decidedly mixed reviews and quickly fell down the charts. Later in 1994, Moore and Gordon -- who had married several years before -- had their first child, a daughter named Coco Haley. Sonic Youth agreed to headline 1995's American Lollapalooza package tour, using the earnings to build a new studio. Following the completion of the tour, Sonic Youth released Washing Machine, which received their strongest reviews since Daydream Nation. After a series of experimental EPs issued on their own SYR label, they resurfaced in 1998 with the full-length A Thousand Leaves. NYC Ghosts & Flowers, which featured Jim O'Rourke as a producer and musician, followed in the spring of 2000. O'Rourke became a full member of the group, touring with the band and appearing on and producing 2002's Murray Street.
The five-piece Sonic Youth returned in 2004 with Sonic Nurse; one year later, however, O'Rourke departed the band to pursue a career as a film director. Late in 2005, the remaining bandmates issued SYR 6, a recording of a benefit concert for the Anthology Film Archives that Sonic Youth had played alongside percussionist Tim Barnes. Rather Ripped, a fusion of the mellow, sprawling feel of the band's previous two albums with a more stripped-down sound, was released in 2006. In 2008, the band resurrected the SYR series: J'Accuse Ted Hughes arrived that spring as a vinyl-only release, while Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth chronicled an improvised performance at 2005's Roskilde Festival. They also assembled a compilation album for Starbucks, Hits Are for Squares, featuring the previously unreleased track "Slow Revolution." Before the busy year concluded, Sonic Youth made additional headlines by leaving the Geffen label and signing with Matador, which prepared to issue the band's 16th album, The Eternal, during the following spring. The year 2010 was relatively quiet for the band, with members concentrating on individual projects like Shelley's Vampire Blues label; they also recorded the soundtrack to French director Fabrice Gobert's film Simon Werner a Disparu, which was released early in 2011. Moore and Gordon announced their impending divorce in the fall of 2011, creating doubt about the band's future past their year-end South American tour.
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By 1986, a still relatively recently formed Sonic Youth was in a time of transition. Born out of the noise of New York's thriving-in-ugliness no wave scene and ensconced in the influence of Glenn Branca's avant-garde guitar experimentalism, the band's early albums slowly morphed from the snotty abrasive clatter of its self-titled EP and spotty first proper LP Confusion Is Sex into a far darker but still somewhat inconsistent merging of haunted song sketches and foreboding noisy atmospheres on second album Bad Moon Rising. EVOL found the band in a similarly eerie mindset, but this time the dark dreaminess of songs like "Tom Violence," the tense instrumental "Death to Our Friends," and the gorgeously restrained "Shadow of a Doubt" are snapped into lockstep clarity by Steve Shelley's precise, tom-heavy drumming. Shelley, still a fresh-faced Michigan transplant to N.Y.C., joined the band on EVOL, replacing ex-Pussy Galore drummer Bob Bert, whose trash can percussion added some of the roughness to earlier Sonic Youth albums. While EVOL is still an album steeped in the noise and collage aesthetic the band grew from (most notable in the tape experiments, unexpected screams, and mesh of feedback and car-race sound effects of Lee Ranaldo's spoken word contribution "In the Kingdom #19" and the ghostly music-box loop and Kim Gordon's slithering vocals on "Secret Girls"), the songs here also represent the band's first flirtations with pop. Though gift-wrapped in jagged guitar tones and airy alternate tunings, songs like "Green Light," "Star Power," and the hypnotic bliss-out of album closer "Expressway to Yr. Skull" are built on cores of reaching melodicism and a tunefulness that borders at times on sounding playful. The addition of Shelley's propulsive drumming gave much-needed punctuation to the band's previously murky approach and connected some of the amorphous Halloween-themed textures the band was immersed in at the time to more deliberate, even traditional song structures. This affection for big, dumb, simplistic pop is driven home by their cover of Kim Fowley's unabashedly sleazy rocker "Bubblegum," included as a bonus track on early non-LP versions of the album. A product of a band finding its way between worlds, EVOL is a remarkably strong effort, and sets the stage for crystallizing ideas that would soon result in what many considered the band's finest work.
Sonic Youth - Evol ( flac 213mb)
01 Tom Violence 3:06
02 Shadow Of A Doubt 3:32
03 Starpower 4:48
04 In The Kingdom # 19 3:25
05 Green Light 3:41
06 Death To Our Friends 3:19
07 Secret Girl 2:54
08 Marilyn Moore 4:04
09 Expressway To Yr. Skull 6:56
10 Bubblegum 2:50
Sonic Youth - Evol (ogg 95mb)
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EVOL was a major leap forward for Sonic Youth, but Sister is a masterpiece, demonstrating the group's rapidly evolving musicality. More than ever before, Sonic Youth's songs sound like actual songs, and their collages of noise, distortion, and alternate tunings are now used to provide texture and depth to the music, which is original, complex, and rewarding. Not only is there the full-throttle roar of "Tuff Gnarl," but there are shimmering layers of ambient harmonics and dissonance that are as haunting and challenging as any of their barrages of feedback. Furthermore, Sister has a warm sound, which lures the listeners into music that's defiantly arty but never indulgent. It's one of the singular art rock records of the '80s, surpassed only by Sonic Youth's next album, Daydream Nation.
Sonic Youth - Sister (flac 269mb)
01 Schizophrenia 4:37
02 Catholic Block 2:25
03 Beauty Lies In The Eye 2:15
04 Stereo Sanctity 3:47
05 Pipeline/Kill Time 4:32
06 Tuff Gnarl 3:13
07 Pacific Coast Highway 4:16
08 Hot Wire My Heart 3:21
09 Cotton Crown 5:05
10 White Cross 2:48
11 Master-Dik 5:08
Sonic Youth - Sister (ogg 101mb)
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By refining the song-oriented breakthroughs of Sister and developing their fascination with noise and alternate tunings, Sonic Youth created a masterpiece of post-punk art rock with the double-album Daydream Nation. Though the self-conscious sprawl of the album might appear self-indulgent on the surface, Daydream Nation is powered by a sustained vision, one that encapsulates all of the group's quirks and strengths. Alternating between tense, hypnotic instrumental passages and furious noise explosions, the music demonstrates a range of emotions and textures, and in many ways, it's hard not to listen to the record as one long piece of shifting dynamics. But the songs themselves are remarkable, from the anti-anthem of "Teen Age Riot" and the punky "Silver Rocket" to the hazy drug dreams of "Providence" and the rolling waves of "Eric's Trip." Daydream Nation demonstrates the extent to which noise and self-conscious avant art can be incorporated into rock, and the results are nothing short of stunning.
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (flac 485mb)
01 Teen Age Riot 6:58
02 Silver Rocket 3:47
03 The Sprawl 7:42
04 'Cross The Breeze 7:00
05 Eric's Trip 3:48
06 Total Trash 7:33
07 Hey Joni 4:23
08 Providence 2:41
09 Candle 4:58
10 Rain King 4:39
11 Kissability 3:08
12 The Wonder 4:15
13 Hyperstation 7:12
14 Eliminator Jr. 2:37
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (ogg 168mb)
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