Posts Tagged ‘Hits Are For Squares’
Less a greatest hits, more a celebrity mix tape, this does seem somehow more appropriate for a band like Sonic Youth as single success does not equate to the esteem with which they are held or the importance of their place in alternative rock history.
Originally released via Starbucks back in 2008, this now receives a full commercial release and with the band’s future hanging somewhat in the balance due to the rift between Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, it serves as a pseudo ‘Greatest Hits’.
With musical heavyweights like Eddie Vedder, Flea, Radiohead and The Flaming Lips all picking tunes, not to mention Hollywood darlings Gus Van Sant and Diablo Cody, the list of celebs is impressive and serves to enforce the bands impact on their musical peers and a generation of acts that followed them.
The album focuses heavily on the late 80s/early 90s heyday with the exception of ‘Stones’ and ‘Rain On Tin’ everything here is from a pre-noughties album. This does however offer up some classic slabs of alt. rock in the form of ‘Bull In The Heather’ with scratchy guitars mixed with the disconnected and disenchanted vocals of Kim Gordon followed by the squalling guitars of ‘100%’ with Thurston Moore’s vocals oozing indie chic.
One of the highlights of the album is ‘Sugar Kane’, as sweet as the title suggests, vintage Sonic Youth with a slacker groove (chosen by Beck) whilst ‘Kool Thing’ is more frantic with Chuck D guesting on vocals alongside Gordon. Both tracks embody the seemingly effortless cool the band has always emanated.
Also present is the bands’ take on the Carpenters’ ‘Superstar’ (which was itself a cover I know), handled with a gentle, ethereal touch and Moore’s take on the female vocal adds a slightly sinister edge. Chosen by Chloe Sevigny, star of ‘American Psycho’ and the brilliant ‘Big Love’ series the lesser known ‘World Looks Red’ gets a welcome inclusion, take from 1983s ‘Confusion Is Sex’ this is less accessible than say ‘Teenage Riot’ but has a raw, visceral energy sounding like The Jesus And Mary Chain covering The Pixies.
The exclusive ‘incentive’ track ‘Slow Revolution’ tacked onto the end undulates with a sedate psychedelic shimmer, Gordon’s vocals barely audible amidst the swirl. Not essential listening but atmospheric.
This collection, whilst offering little for the avid fan does serve as a solid introduction to those who are only vaguely au fait with Sonic Youth. Sitting the more well-known tracks alongside the more obscure does give an interesting insight into a fascinating, vital and inventive band.
For more info on Sonic Youth, check out their official website HERE.
’1991: THE YEAR THAT PUNK BROKE’ – AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME ON DVD
Featuring Sonic Youth, Nirvana, The Ramones, Dinosaur Jr., Babes In Toyland, and Gumball.
Sonic Youth’s Hits Are For Squares, previously available only through limited outlets, will be released on October 31st 2011, through Universal Music Group.
A collection of songs from Sonic Youth’s career curated by a diverse group of artists, actors, directors and musicians whose own progressive and unconventional style is akin to the freestyle expression of Sonic Youth’s
music. The artisans handpicked by Sonic Youth include Catherine Keener, Beck, Mike D, Radiohead, Portia De Rossi, Diablo Cody, Allison Anders, Dave Eggers and Mike Watt, Eddie Vedder, Michelle Williams, Flea, Gus Van Sant, David Cross, Chloe Sevigny, and The Flaming Lips.
Also included is the track “Slow Revolution” written and recorded for the original release. Hits Are For Squares includes a wide range of songs
spanning the majority of Sonic Youth’s recorded works showing the diverse impact and influence they continue to have on the arts community.
1. Bull in the Heather (selected by Catherine Keener)
2. 100% (selected by Mike D)
3. Sugar Kane (selected by Beck)
4. Kool Thing (selected by Radiohead)
5. Disappearer (selected by Portia de Rossi)
6. Superstar (selected by Diablo Cody)
7. Stones (selected by Allison Anders)
8. Tuff Gnarl (selected by Dave Eggers and Mike Watt)
9. Teenage Riot (selected by Eddie Vedder)
10. Shadow of a Doubt (selected by Michelle Williams)
11. Rain on Tin (selected by Flea)
12. Tom Violence (selected by Gus Van Sant)
13. Mary-Christ (selected by David Cross)
14. World Looks Red (selected by Chloe Sevigny)
15. Expressway to yr Skull (selected by The Flaming Lips)
16. Slow Revolution (new track, exclusive to this compilation
2011 marks the 20th Anniversary of 1991: The Year Punk Broke, a pivotal film centered on the lives and experiences of avant-garde music pioneers Sonic Youth during their 1991 European festival tour. The film documents their headline tour as they introduced a new breed of bands who were on the verge of taking on the world and forever changing the course of music.
For the first time, 1991: The Year Punk Broke will finally make its debut on DVD on October 31st, 2011 (Universal Music Group). All footage has been fully restored with audio re-synced and remastered in uncompressed PCM stereo under the supervision of Sonic Youth. 1991: The Year Punk Broke, not only captures Sonic Youth’s raw and powerful live performances of songs such as “Dirty Boots,” “Teenage Riot,” “Kool Thing” and “Schizophrenia,” it offers a unique and rare behind-the-scenes look at daily life on the road.
Filmed a month prior to the release of their breakthrough album Nevermind, 1991: The Year Punk Broke also includes footage of Nirvana unknowingly on the cusp of leading a massive cultural movement as they performed anthems such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Polly” and “Negative Creep”. Also featured is Dinosaur Jr.’s thundering live versions of “Freak Scene” and “The Wagon” and Babes In Toyland’s brutal performance of “Dustcake Boy” as well as an appearance from legendary punk forefathers The Ramones as they blast through their 1977 classic “Commando”. 1991: The Year Punk Broke is also packed with 65 minutes of bonus material, including the previously unreleased featurette “(This Is Known As) The Blues Scale” featuring over 40 minutes of additional live footage of Sonic Youth performing “White Kross”, “Eric’s Trip,” “Chapel Hill” and “Inhuman,” plus a rare Nirvana performance of “In Bloom”. Other extras include live rough cuts of “Mote” and “Flower”, the original movie trailer, and “Broken Punk” — a 2003 panel discussion Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley and Lee Ranaldo, Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and Filmmaker Dave Markey.
Just as Woodstock captured the pinnacle of the 60s counter-culture movement in cinema, 1991: The Year Punk Broke prolifically documents a new generation of artists that once again grew tired of the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle and ripped apart this force-fed formula, stripping it down
completely and rebuilding from the ground up with its own DIY ethics and creating a scene all their own. With screeching feedback and a wall of
sound, Sonic Youth lead the charge, straight through the superficial rock world of the 80s, marking the beginning of the year punk finally broke into
the mainstream, giving credence and legitimacy to all those artists who helped pave the way before them.