November 6, 2014
This was Sonic Youth’s second EP originally released in 1987, the same year they released ‘Sister’ and right before they put out ‘Daydream Nation’. It apparently took influence from NY hip-hop, but a lot of the tracks are the discordant and experimental guitars that defined their early sound. I found this in a record shop in Brooklyn.
Jay Reatard / Sonik-Youth
Hang Them All / No Garage
This was a split release in 2009 for Record Store Day. They also released a similar 7” in a white cover that was a split between themselves and Beck. It’s an early instrumental version of the song ‘Anti-Orgasm’ from their final album The Eternal. I think it’s interesting to hear how the song developed. I got bought this as a present.
This is the seventh release on Sonic Youth Recordings released in 2008. I can’t even remember where I got this. The band released nine LPs under their SYR label including collaborations with Mats Gustafsson and Jim O’Rourke. The A-side of this particular record is a sprawling twenty-odd minute experimentation in noise and churning guitar with occasional confrontation from Gordon.
Flower / Halloween
(Blast First, 1986)
I think I found this one in Germany. It’s the single Flower/Halloween, released in 1985. It’s dark and unsettling and pretty lo-fi, recorded back when Bob Bert was still the drummer in Sonic Youth. My copy is pretty beat up. The back art is a naked woman with cut up phrases like, “Support the power of woman,” or, “Use the power of man.” These two tracks were later included as bonus tracks on the CD release of Bad Moon Rising.
Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father
(New Musical Express, 1988)
This is probably the weirdest Sonic Youth record I own. I found it in a secondhand record store in Melbourne. It’s a Beatles tribute compilation organized by NME in 1988 in aid of Childline UK. Other artists on the 12” include Wet Wet Wet, The Fall, and The Triffids. Sonic Youth cover ‘Within You Without You’. It’s a fairly close take on the original, just with psych guitars swapped in for that Eastern influence.
This is the most expensive Sonic Youth record I ever bought. I found it in Auckland a few years ago. It’s an original pressing of their debut LP, Confusion Is Sex (although I do count Sonic Youth as their debut album, even if it’s technically an EP). It’s an incredible record of progressive, brave and menacing guitars and includes the likes of ‘Shaking Hell’, ‘She’s In A Bad Mood’, and ‘Freezer Burn/ I Wanna Be Your Dog’
Hits Are For Squares
(Starbucks Entertainment, 2010)
Until it was re-released for Record Store Day in 2010 this was apparently and somewhat hilariously one of the rarest Sonic Youth records. Compiled in 2008 for Starbucks Music, the band enlisted their peers (Mike D, Gus Van Sant, David Cross) to pick their favourite track from the band’s expansive back-catalogue. However, I believe the Starbucks Music series came to an end before the release, making this album really hard to come by. I can’t remember where I read that, but I’m glad they put it out on 12”. I missed this on the day of release but found a copy a year later in Toronto.
Whore’s Moaning: Oz ’93 Tour Edition
This is another Record Store Day release from 2011 that I picked up on the day from Spillers in Cardiff. It’s a re-release of the EP they put out in 1993 to coincide with their Australian/New Zealand dates. The EP is named, Whore’s Moaning, a take on Nirvana’s Hormoaning. I love the documentary 1991:The Year Punk Broke. This EP features radio edits, an instrumental, and a cover of Alice Cooper’s Is It My Body.
Happiness Is A Warm Gun…
(Bad Fuck, 1991)
This is a bootleg compilation that I found in Berlin. It mixes live tracks with demos and radio edits. Apparently it was released in 1991. While it’s all fairly early material, I just love the breadth that they had after a decade of making music. And Kim Gordon is beyond cool.
This is my favourite Sonic Youth album. I spotted the boxset a few years ago when I was record shopping with my gran in West Wales and she bought me it as a Christmas present. It’s four records and art inlays. The album was released in 1992 and contains hits like ‘100%’, ‘Sugar Kane’, and my all time favourite ‘Drunken Butterfly’. It’s just that perfect balance of challenge, experimentation, accessibility, and aggression.