When David Berman returned suddenly after a self-imposed, decade-long exile, it was cause for celebration. Seeing the world through Berman’s – by turns – caustic, witty, scholarly, devastating, absurd, and wry lens was sorely missed and missing from independent music at large. His suicide merely weeks after his re-emergence only exacerbated the bleakness of the stark poetry in Purple Mountains’ astonishing debut. His songwriting had reached a new level of hook-laden laconicism and resignation, but the heartache and hopelessness that bubbled at the surface turned out to be far too real. Berman tosses off references that may send you to the research room one moment while uncovering a previously unnoticed universal truth the next. He was the poet of a generation of over-educated misanthropes, and he will be missed. This final album will long stand the test of time and fits alongside the best of his Silver Jews canon.
Also when you’ve been in a relationship for a really long time and that comes to an end … you know, so my identity was so tied up with Sonic Youth and my relationship and my marriage and so now it’s also like, who am I? It’s a little bit of, like, going back to the beginning. I mean, I basically feel like I’ve been the same person since I was little, but you know, it does make you really kind of search for who you really are.
Gordon has just completed an album with Bill Nace for a project called Body/Head. Matador Records will release the experimental guitar album on September 10th. Gordon is also at work on her memoirs.
Even though the band is being coy about its future after the marital break-up of guitarist Thurston Moore and bassist Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth has released plans for a vintage live set due out November 14, 2012. Sonic Youth’s Smart Bar – Chicago 1985 will be released via the band’s own Goofin’ imprint on double vinyl gatefold LP with download card as well as the requisite CD and digital versions. Gerard Cosloy of Matador Records will write the liner notes for the set comprised of material from the band’s summer 1985 tour in support of the then newly released Bad Moon Rising. A few early version of songs from EVOL make appearances along with live rarity “Kat ‘N’ Hat.”
On a gratuitous personal anecdotal tangent, while I was in New York City for CMJ in 1995 1994 (Thanks, Brian), I dropped by Subterranean Records to shop around. I happened to be flipping through the Sonic Youth section and picked up an original copy of Bad Moon Rising. A towering figure behind me said, “man, I think that’s a bit too pricey.” I turned around to see Thurston Moore and Mike Watt standing there laughing. I laughed nervously, too, but you know what? I bought the shit out of that overpriced copy of Bad Moon Rising anyway.
Sonic Youth – Smart Bar – Chicago 1985
2- Death Valley ’69
3- Intro/Brave Men Run(In My Family)
4- I Love Her All The Time
5- Ghost Bitch
6- I’m Insane
7- Kat ‘N’ Hat
8- Brother James
9- Kill Yr Idols
10- Secret Girl
12- The Burning Spear
13- Expressway To Yr Skull
14- Making The Nature Scene
After issuing a joint statement announcing an end to their 27-year marriage via their record company, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon essentially gave Sonic Youth an expiration date (because being in a band with your ex probably wouldn’t pan out too well). It’s hard to imagine a world without Sonic Youth. The band has been around longer than I’ve been aware of music. Good music, anyway. Even though Sonic Youth isn’t one of the immediate bands on the tip of my tongue if you ask me some of my all-time favorites, there is no doubt it ranks very high. I think I’ve seen Sonic Youth live at least seven times since 1992. I own every single one of the band’s full-length albums. I’m pretty sure that makes Sonic Youth one of my favorite bands, even if I’ve taken it for granted. This video is part one of three of the band’s (possibly final) set in Sao Paolo, Brazil. No official statement regarding Sonic Youth’s future has been issued, and, likewise, there are no details as to why Moore and Gordon are breaking their union. They will continue to share a daughter, so why not a band?
Hard to believe that Kim and Thurston from Sonic Youth have a daughter old enough to start her own punk band. When I first read the news clip over at Pitchfork, I was trying to do the math to figure out how old she must be by now, and it just made me feel old. Big Nils is her band, hailing from Northampton, Mass. And judging by my own teenage output, Coco Gordon is on track for greatness by comparison. Her band’s debut is on sale for $5 over at Bandcamp.
So, The Sonic Youths were on Gossip Girl last night. It was so weird and uncomfortable. Worlds colliding and all that. And Kim Gordon officiated Rufus and Lily’s wedding? It made me cringe in places I don’t even understand. And an acoustic version of “Star Power” is not what the doctor ordered. I know Kim Gordon isn’t the best singer in the world but Jesus Lord. Videogum has an in-depth recap. I laughed out loud too many times to count. Don’t forget to read the comments. Oh, and if you don’t watch Gossip Girl, then the recap might look to you something like this: 01011000111010000011110101010110010101.
Matador has just released the first mp3 from Sonic Youth’s highly anticipated new record, The Eternal, due out June 9. It’s an aggressive showcase of the classic Sonic Youth sound with Kim Gordon’s patented yelp over a shower of surging yet oddly tuned (of course) guitars. Easily the band at its most powerful and rocking. Having followed its own non-linear muse for decades, Sonic Youth seems hungry for its darker punk roots. An odd but welcome direction to be sure. Very much looking forward to the new record.