Penetrating skulls since 1981, Sonic Youth needs no approval. This collective group of individuals stem beyond the coattails of post punk: their unorthodox tendencies and uncompromising experimental style have dry humped the dimensions of music as a whole.
Of course, its never been about making music comfortable: it was a statement and an attitude behind the music that separated the circles from the squares. Being part of a scene that was more centered on the ideology than the formulation of a proper song wasn't something for everybody. No wave was off key, questionable and sometimes painful; it stripped music to primitive sounds and encouraged an open and conceptually minded approach.
For a movement that began as an ear bleeding blast to the preconceived monkey bands of the late 1970s, the long standing impact of the no wave is remarkable. EG- The new age revival. Noise bands have since resurfaced all over the place as well as groups like Black Dice, Liars and Holy Fuck who take on similar experimental get-ups. Although new stuff doesn't register the same shock value, its still interesting to see a break from the usual and exploration within our digital landfill of a world.
Seasons change, babies loose purity, the polar bear population declines -- Sonic Youth... still doing what they do. Just about 30 years of making music and maintained such great artistic integrity. [what is that] The band has always pushed priority on the experimental value within music with vigor hearts; boundaries are deeper, darker, delusional and open for discussion. Ultimately, this is why Sonic Youth rules.
The new album, The Eternal, is a serge of many sounds: it seems to bridge formalities between psychedelia, easy listening and distorted instrumentals into one appropriately disheveled package. Hits of old school Sonic blend within this fusion in the best of ways.
As their 16th studio album, the band is past the point of needing to impress. Realistically, they could release an album of dirty cat calls and get away with it. But check it: The Eternal is not a dirty cat call. The playlist is unpredictable and across the spectrum: heavy/light, slow/fast, happy/sad, controlled/plastered, girl/boy. It takes the listener on a 60 minute time trip that embodies the fluidity of a real life journey. Utilizing this album throughout your own day to day activities will likely make you a more interesting person. (On an extreme side note: I'm thinking a sequel to 1967's The Graduate where Ben and Elaine's runaway love takes a turn for the worst. Sonic Youth replacing the Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack would make for an interesting viewing. Hmm...)
This album embodies so much of what Sonic Youth is about, and with a refined wisdom. Kim's taunting whispers in Massage the History. Classic guitar banters in Walkin' Blue. Poison Arrow's undeniable evocation of a Lou Reed classic. Washing Machine revival in Calming the Snake. There is a light, happy-go-lucky appeal to Antenna... and some pissed off noise jams in Anti Orgasm. ETC ETC ETC. The Eternal is a spontaneous dose of old school Sonic and new time tales.
Calming the Snake
Massage the History
What We Know