June 12-18, 2006




June 13, 2006

sick of looking at the new promo photo - here's a 1985classic you may recognize

Sonic Youth, Tall Firs - CBGB $25

The much-anticipated Sonic Youth pop album Rather Ripped is finally here and blaring out of coffee house and record store speakers all over town. Everyone is always thrilled when a noise band offers up something sweet and tuneful – which is evident from both the anticipation and reception of this thing. Critics and fans know they’re supposed to respect Sonic Youth but would much rather hear something from their realm of familiarity than a John Cage cover - and that's why indie rock is, was, and remains more so today than ever, a microcosm of the mainstream. Sonic Youth knows this better than anyone and has been one of the rare few bands that continues to perk the interest of both adventurous and less adventurous listeners. Starting with the Evol's smoothness in comparison to previous efforts, moving on to the tuneful standouts of Daydream Nation, and then to the deliberate pop art of the first SY record I didn’t buy, Goo, Sonic Youth has continued to win over college rock fans and alienate noise freaks, and flip the process on its head - bringing each side back into the fold. Whereas Goodbye 20th Century, an audio avant garde museum featuring the compositions of John Cage, Steve Reich, and Yoko Ono, is their most pronounced departure from conventional structures, Rather Ripped is their most extreme foray into melodic conventionality. This new one also shows how much they’ve grown as musicians and arrangers over time. You even have some serious attempts at singing here and there. But don’t get me wrong – it’s still very much a Sonic Youth record – employing their trademark gestures on every song. I still don't know what to make of it.

Though I saw Sonic Youth a number of times over the years when I lived in Texas, the only show I’ve witnessed in my eight years in New York has been their surprise opening set at a US Maple around the turn of the century. So I have no idea what to expect. Since this is a give-‘em-what they want album, I wouldn’t doubt that they do a career retrospective consisting of “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Teenage Riot,” and other favorites alongside a heavy dose of the new stuff. Though I know it’s impossible, if I had my wish, they’d perform the entirety of either Goodbye 20th Century or Confusion is Sex for all of the indie yuppies on a night off from Webster Hall.

Which leads me to the most important factor - tonight has been sold out since two minutes after tickets went on sale. Advance ticket shows used to be all about the most determined fans willing to camp out or pay an outrageous scalper price. This time it’s all about the most organized individual with the fastest internet hookup. Either way, as in the old days, you’ll probably be able to find a few scalper tickets, or, if you’re one of the savvy and resourceful few, you will find other ways....

Local spooky avant-folkies Tall Firs, who are currently recording for Thurston's Ecstatic Peace imprint, open...


Here are some media files courtesy of Sonic Youth:

Inhuman (live) MOV
I Wanna Be Your Dog (night music, live) MOV - bizarre and highly recommended fusion!
Shadow of a Doubt MOV - their Kevin Kerslake classic
Death Valley '69 MOV - another classic - Richard Kern! Lung Leg!
Brother James (live) MOV
Beauty Lies in the Eye MOV
Addicted to Love MOV - Ciccone Youth!
MacBeth MOV
Teenage Riot MOV - find John Spencer
Silver Rocket MOV
Silver Rocket (live) MOV - another Night Music song w/Don Flemming
Candle MOV
A Thousand Leaves EPK MOV
Piano Piece #13 - avant hammering for Nam June Paik (RIP

Live in Irvine, CA 11/3/1990
- "White Kross" MP3
- "Eric's Trip" MP3
- "Cinderella's Big Score" MP3
- "Dirty Boots" MP3
- "The Bedroom" MP3
- "Mary-Christ" MP3
"Made In The USA" outtake (1986) MP3
"Free City Rhymes" alternate take (2000) MP3
A Thousand Leaves Sessions (1998)
- The Drummer is Fine part 1 MP3
- The Drummer is Fine part 2 MP3
- The Drummer is Fine part 3 MP3
"3-Sectional Love Seat" (2001) MP3
"Fire Engine" (2003) MP3
"Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui" exerpt (2005) MP3

Tall Firs, "The Woods" MP3
Tall Firs, "Buddy/Baby" MP3

Sonic Youth Home Page
Saucerlike: Sonic Youth Fan Page
Tall Firs Home Page


Tuesday June 13
Bronx is Burning, Sin Destroyers - Black Betty FREE
Eels, Smoosh - World Financial Center Plaza FREE
Eystek, Picastro, Bird Names, Corridors – Cake Shop ( $6
Jim Pugliese's "And Then There Was Song" – The Stone 10 PM $10
Lotte Anker, Sylvie Courvoisier & Ikue Mori – Tonic 10 PM $10
Radiohead , The Black Keys - Madison Square Garden Theater $54
Slavic Soul Party - Barbes $10
Tiptons Sax Quartet – Tonic 8 PM $10
Zeena Parkins – The Stone 8 PM $10







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© New York Night Train , 2006