Sonic Youth (the legendary New York band Motorbooty magazine once called “definitely sonic, if no longer youthful”) is planning to perform special shows in seven cities this summer, at which they’ll play their 1988 album Daydream Nation in its entirety, reports Pitchfork. Besides the fact it’s kind of like The Beatles saying they’re reuniting and playing all of Revolver, there are at least three more reasons this is cool:
1. Bringin’ it back. This album came out 19 years ago! I (thank God) and most people I know were barely out of our New Wave diapers at that point. Could we have been expected to cut English class and go to New York to see Sonic Youth perform these songs? No we could not. So, now we get our chance.
2. Slow on the uptake. More than almost any band, Sonic Youth makes music that rewards repeated listenings over time. My first exposure to der Yoof was seeing “Shadow of a Doubt,” an uncharateristically pretty song, on MTV’s “120 Minutes” back in 1986. I bought the album (EVOL), but my poor 15-year-old ears weren’t really ready for the rest of it. It was only a couple years later (after some stoned viewings of the full-length video to 1990’s Goo) that I went back and realized how great the other albums were. As life goes by and, ahem, “takes its crazy toll” (I’m quoting them), Daydream Nation means different things to me.
3. Well-adjusted. While Sonic Youth has, in the past few years, delved into obscure, avant-garde experimentalism, their latest album, Rather Ripped, proved they don’t mind sounding like the band they were 15 years ago, either. Unlike, say, Radiohead, whose neurotic relationship with their own musical past means you won’t ever see them perform “Creep,” Thurston, Kim & crew seem to like their old songs. At the “Ain’t No Picnic” festival outside of LA in 1999, all the band’s gear was stolen, including their uniquely tuned guitars. But instead of cancelling, they borrowed Sleater-Kinney’s gear and performed a set of “classics,” which turned out to be one of the highlights of my concert-going life (snif). You know that these performances will be anything but perfunctory.
Hooray, Sonic Youth. Tour dates are here.