Eternally cool

Still sonic after all of these years

Still sonic after all of these years

I can’t really provide any new information about Sonic Youth. I can, however, give you the following shocking and utterly appealing revelation.

Sonic Youth has been making music for almost 30 years. But it is slightly inaccurate to say that the band has remained relevant for that entire span of time. That is because Sonic Youth’s music itself is a barometer of what it relevant. Anyone who doubts this needs only to reference the number of musicians, endless reams of nameless performers and artists, who have moved from wherever to New York City to become, in various ways and paces, like Sonic Youth.

Here’s a couple other things to tell you, even though they are hardly original:

1) Their newest album, The Eternal, hits the stores today.

2) The album is on the Matador label. Although The Eternal is Sonic Youth’s first release on that label, the band’s kinship with Matador dates back to when the label’s co-president, Gerard Cosloy, put out some of their earliest work on his label at the time, Homestead. Also, the band’s recent addition to the lineup, Mark Ibold, used to play the bass for Pavement, a Matador fixture. Guitarist Lee Ranaldo commented about the full-circle nature of that trajectory in the band’s recent interview in The Guardian. Seriously, read the article. There’s lots of revelatory content.

3) It may sound incongruous, but The Eternal sounds more like a Sonic Youth album than Sonic Youth has sounded in the past several years (and I really liked Murray Street). This is their signature brand of noise –  rough, growling with reverb and distortion, but spooling out with such tight control that it is almost organic in its artistry. This is the kind of album that a devout Sonic Youth fan could present to a newer listener and declare, without question, that not only is the band still as groundbreaking as they were in the past couple decades, but they will likely continue to be that way for 30 years more.

Sonic Youth will play at the Roseland on Tuesday, July 28. Awesome Color will also play.

  • Sonic Youth ~ The Eternal ~ Matador

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