May 8, 1994 |
Since Sonic Youth's beginnings more than a decade ago, the New York noise quartet has been banging out arty dissonance and distortion that's influenced a generation of offbeat guitar bands. On its 10th album, the band comes in somewhere between the experimental clamor of its early days and the poppier feel of its last two major-label albums. It's a clever balance that's both grating and gorgeous.
November 13, 1995 |
Playing at the stately Wiltern Theatre on Saturday, Sonic Youth was bound to reveal sounds usually lost at its more usual venues, such as the previous night's echoing Hollywood Palladium and Lollapalooza '95's outdoor amphitheaters. But maybe the most unexpected sounds were the shouts of "sit down!" from a few audience members aimed at standing fans. Stately doesn't have to mean sedate, and most of the audience, heeding bassist Kim Gordon's exhortations, remained upright.
July 26, 2000 |
Too often in rock, artists who have clocked more than two decades as performers settle into a creative torpor, killing time with repeated exhumations of their past glory. New York's Sonic Youth takes the opposite tack, obstinately refusing to tidy up its noisy rock for easy consumption, even as it's leaned closer to conventional pop song forms over the past decade.
March 2, 1994 |
Several dozen women and a few men made protest music outside the Grammy Awards ceremony Tuesday night, complaining about the elimination of a prize category for best female solo rock vocal. As limousines lined up to drop off celebrities at Radio City Music Hall across the street and klieg lights swept the cold night sky, the protesters marched, danced, beat drums and a gong and chanted. "Meat Loaf again?" said one of the signs they carried.
March 17, 1994 |
Sonic Youth's master opus is an ambitious, 70-minute album that thrusts the listener into a dream world as accessible as it is corrosive and haunting. This quartet from New York City hadn't always exhibited such a gift for bitingly original rock 'n' roll soundscapes. When it first kicked up its heels in the early '80s, it was known primarily as a bunch of noise disciples with a handful of limited ideas.
March 4, 2013 |
Thurston Moore's new band Chelsea Light Moving is named after the avant-garde composer Philip Glass' pre-fame moving company, and that's a pretty good metaphor for the band's sound: high-minded musicians doing some dumb, brawny lifting. The band's self-titled debut comes after a gentler acoustic solo album and what appears to be a long hiatus for Sonic Youth (Moore is separating from his wife and band co-founder Kim Gordon). So it makes sense that his next move is this low-stakes, punky project whose album sounds like it was written in an afternoon - in both good and bad ways.
November 15, 2012 |
Given the still-bracing excellence of the band's music, it's never a bad time to turn one's thoughts to Bikini Kill, the pioneering riot grrrl group that blazed a trail out of Olympia, Wash., in the early 1990s. Yet this year serves as the 20th anniversary of Bikini Kill's self-titled debut EP, and to mark the occasion our friends at SPIN have published a probing oral history of the band by Jessica Hopper, who spoke with the group's members as well as with peers such as Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.
May 3, 1993 |
Bikini Kill--the leaders of the new hard-core feminist riot grrrl movement--made its most prominent Los Angeles appearance Friday night at the sold-out Hollywood Palladium. And it was every bit as confrontational as expected. Appearing midway through the four-hour Rock for Choice benefit, lead singer Kathleen Hanna came onstage clad in a dress with the words "Kill Me" printed across the chest.
September 24, 1995 |
SONIC YOUTH "Washing Machine" Geffen / DGC * * * It hard to tell whether alternative rock pioneer Sonic Youth is gradually becoming more accessible or whether the musical climate around the group is finally catching up. On its inception in the early '80s, the New York band's anti-melody and grating feedback approach proved nearly unlistenable. Now Sonic Youth is scoring MTV hits and rocking Lollapaloozans. It's the pop music equivalent of Andy Warhol prints hitting the mall.