Oct 31, 2012

1989, a number, another summer...

"Sonic Youth may have started out determined to sound like no other band; its early clanging dirges were as rootless as anything in 1980's rock. Now, with its new catchiness, Sonic Youth has only become that much more dangerous." New York Times review of Goo (1990)

Half-way through the book, Sonic Youth's course is set for a post-Daydream Nation-success romance with a major label. ...Blast First records is a distant dream, it's 1989, the quartet brave meetings with label executives, and SST still owes the band money...  In this particular nug of Browne's 2009 book, we get an itemized catalogue of the dinner meetings with the fat cats who were playing on SY's prophesied stardom. On the one hand, SY were playing gigs at venues like the Ritz (Studio 54's old digs), selling over a thousand tickets, with 2,000 dollar guarantees - their biggest yet. But the reason why, at the dawn of the 90s, Sonic Youth looked like the top of the pre-fame crop was because the game had drastically changed. By '89, once-independent bands like the  Feelies, Husker Du, the Replacements, Green River, Minutemen, and R.E.M. had signed contracts with A&M and Warner as independent college radio-fodder labels were reducing their steam around the country. The unobvious choice of SY must be due to some marketing quant's compounding of Led Zeppelin's sales figures with hair metal and the question, What's next? (hint: rhymes with Urbana)

Video of Sonic Youth playing a no-vocals early? Ineffable Me jam (1997?). Sound ist auch gut!

Other SY news: Goofin' Records release Nov. 13: Smart Bar, Chicago 1985 live performance 4-track recording, double-LP from the Bad Moon Rising tour feat. newbie drummer Steve!

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