Posts Tagged ‘Sonic Youth’

Though legendary noise rockers Sonic Youth have been finished since 2011, they’ve been consistently releasing archival material through Bandcamp. Two special releases, available Friday, feature shows from the band’s Washing Machine and Rather Ripped tours that benefit good causes: Fund Texas Choice and the Abortion Support Network, two organizations that have been fighting the state’s ban on abortion. “The enduring support from Lone Star state fans for SY warrants a favour returned specifically for this state’s fanbase,” the band said in a statement, “and in broader scope, Sonic Youth support a national and world community where abortion is embraced as health care and a human right.”

Lastly today, dropping on the much celebrated ‘Bandcamp Friday’, Sonic Youth have made two previously unreleased live albums available for $10 each. The albums, which are both absolutely killer, were recorded in Austin and Dallas in 1995 and 2006 respectively and are available on the S.Y. Bandcamp page. All proceeds go to Fund Texas Choice and the Abortion Support Network. 

Sonic Youth Release Two Vintage Texas Concerts

In response to alarming restrictive legislative measures against the women of Texas (and increasingly elsewhere) seminal NYC leading musical lights Sonic Youth have announced plans for new releases on their Bandcamp and store to fundraise for Fund Texas Choice ( and the Abortion Support Network ( on Friday, November 5th.

On that day, the band makes two vintage live sets available in full, from the Austin Music Hall, Austin, Texas from 1995 (on the post-Lollapallooza ‘Washing Machine’ tour), as well as a gig in Dallas at the Gypsy Tea Room (‘Rather Ripped’ tour) in 2006. These classic, previously unreleased shows go up for stream and download on November 5th, with 100% of their proceeds to support the two causes.

Also, three new Sonic t-shirt designs will be made available: two from Texan photographer/friend of the band/author of the recent ‘Texas Is the Reason’ book Pat Blashill , and a third tee featuring a variation of Richard Prince’s “Dude Ranch Nurse” artwork. The first Blashill tee features a photo from their Austin/Continental Club ’85 gig, the second features pro-femme lyrics from their song “Flower” coupled with various photos of assorted women from the 80’s Texan punk scene. Proceeds of both of these will benefit the causes as well

In its posthumous state, Sonic Youth have dedicated great energy in making previously unreleased sounds available to their fanbase. Historically, their trailblazing cross-country tours of back to the mid 80’s consolidated their independent/artistic stance with many formative Texan bands and artists, including the likes of the Butthole Surfers, Big Boys, Daniel Johnston, and Meat Joy. The enduring support from Lone Star state fans for SY warrants a favour returned specifically for this state’s fanbase, and in broader scope, Sonic Youth support a national and world community where abortion is embraced as health care and a human right.

Released November 5th, 2021

“In times like these it feels good to be able to take some action instead of being totally frustrated by the system” – Kim Gordon.

Sonic Youth have a new split-7″ with Glaswegian indie legends The Pastels featuring previously released covers of New York Dolls‘ songs. The Pastels’ cover of “Lonely Planet Boy” dates from 1987 and was originally appeared on their Comin’ Through EP, and Sonic Youth’s cover of “Personality Crisis” was originally released as a 7″ via Sassy Magazine in 1990, and later appeared on the 1993 Whores Moaning EP and the deluxe edition of “Dirty“.

The cover art for this split-7″ was designed by Annabel Wright and it’s due out November 5th via Glass Modern. Preorder yours from the North American or European store, and you can listen to both covers below.

The music we love passes from one generation to the next and the New York Dolls will always be a group to celebrate. Both Sonic Youth and The Pastels are not only fans but covered two of their most iconic songs a few years apart, in 1987 (The Pastels Lonely Planet Boy) and 1992 (Sonic Youth – Personality Crisis). Glass Modern is really thrilled to bring these two fantastic versions together in a limited edition split 7” single with Annabel Wright cover art. New York Dolls forever.

An early touchstone for The Pastels was New York Dolls amazing Old Grey Whistle Test appearance which Brian had on Beta tape along with other select choices which he liked to share as the mood took him. A few years later, in 1987, we decided to cover their broken ballad, “Lonely Planet Boy” on our Comin’ Through 12”. This of course came out on Glass Records. Glass is happily now back in business as Glass Modern and when the owner, Dave Barker, suggested we might release it as part of a New York Dolls tribute we were into the idea – particularly as he wanted to pair it with Sonic Youth’s “Personality Crisis” which we love. Unfortunately the master tape was missing, although we had the multi-track which we worked on with Paul Savage at Chem 19, going for something very close to the original. This is now coming out on November 5th as a 7” on purple vinyl with a fab Annabel Wright cover and is available on presale from Monorail Music and other reliable sources.

Glass Modern is a new imprint of Glass Records, for new recordings and a choice selection of Ltd Edition reissues on CD, Vinyl & downloads.


The solo discography of Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore is littered with limited run work released on small indie labels amid his more blue chip LPs like Psychic Hearts and Demolished Thoughts. This 1995 recording of the guitarist making a free form racket with drummer Tom Surgal, for example, was originally issued only on CD in New Zealand by Bruce Russell of The Dead C. Did this need to be brought to a larger audience by U.K. label Glass Modern on a white vinyl pressing? Maybe not but we should still celebrate it.

Moore is as great an improviser as he is a songwriter and this explosive session is all the proof you’ll need of that. He sticks to a series of ringing tones, peppered with small sprays of feedback that builds and recedes with intensity as the mood and Surgal’s drums strike him. By the end, during the closing piece “Phase II,” he’s releasing little notes and squalls while the drums take control and drive them both toward infinity. Follow them into the light, brothers and sisters.

An extract from the Glass Modern Vinyl Reissue. First time on Vinyl. Originally released on CD only in New Zealand by the Dead C’s Bruce Russel’s label Corpus Hermeticum. New Liner notes by Bruce Russel too. “A 1995 release from the famed Sonic Youth guitarist, this recording sees him paired with free jazz drummer Tom Surgal for a blistering noise set, in keeping with New Zealand noise label Corpus Hermeticum’s aesthetic. The listener should not expect the sweet psychedelic pop of his Psychic Hearts album of the same year; rather, Moore explores his interest in freeform improvisation on this live set recorded in 1994. The recording is lo-fi, but that adds to it’s candid charm, as his guitar thrashing reaches peaks of noise only hinted at in early Sonic Youth. The duo works along lines that are more akin to the Blue Humans — with whom drummer Surgal began — and also seems influenced by such underground acts as Fushitsusha and the Dead C. Moore’s guitar is so distinct, however, that many parts here could be mistaken for a live Sonic Youth recording from that band’s more heady and chaotic ’80s period”

Thurston Moore

Until recently. Of late Thurston Moore, co-founder of Sonic Youth, terroriser of Jazzmasters, walking building block of modern indie-rock, has been spending a lot of time between four walls, with a guitar in his lap and one eye on the spread of COVID-19 in his adopted hometown of London.

“I’ve loved working on guitar in the privacy of my flat, knowing that I had all these days ahead of me to do that,” he says. “But psychologically it’s a conflict. I’m in a place where I can be creative without the anxiety of having to go out and work, yet the only real revenue I have is from going out and working. I enjoy being in one place, but there’s friction because it comes with this situation where people are susceptible to getting fatally ill on such a scale that it’s almost too strange to believe.

Moore’s new solo record, “By The Fire”, is intended as a balm of sorts. Let’s not pretend that it’s prophetic or the perfect record for these imperfect times, but close to its heart it has a relevant maxim cribbed from avant-jazz musician Albert Ayler: “Music is the healing force of the universe.” Recorded pre-lockdown, with a few overdubs captured once the world had shifted, Moore can see the uncertainty and anger of the time in the manner he tailored the finished album as much as any individual song.

“The situation with the pandemic, and seeing the uprising of people’s rage in the USA because of the nefarious leadership there, informed a lot of how the record was sequenced,” he says. “The title certainly references that. I wanted it to be about people communicating in a really primal way – sitting around the fire, telling stories, but also about what fire denotes when people take to the streets. They light fires to get attention for the oppression that’s happening. Records are always made in the moment, even if the songs are part of your historical language. They’re always about what’s happening now.”

Thurston Moore’s solo material gives a better view of his conflicting tendencies, with seventh proper solo album “By the Fire” embracing both noisy, chaotic tangents and the blurry impressionistic poetry that has long been the core of his songs. The record begins with the kind of layered, intricate guitar figures and steady rock rhythms that have been Moore’s calling card since the early ’90s.

By The Fire is a literate reading of Moore’s ambitions and crutches. Backed by My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Googe on bass, guitarist James Sedwards, Jon Leidecker on electronics, lyricist Radieux Radio and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley in a drumming job-share with Jem Doulton, he weaves meditative, occasionally meandering, guitar instrumentals together with immediate, hooky indie-rock songs like “Hashish”, which sounds like a grizzled sibling of Sonic Youth’s Sunday.

“The album starts out very joyful, with proper, straight up pop-rock songs,” Moore says. “I wanted the trajectory to at least go through this period where it gets a bit more complicated. The final piece, Venus, is about sounds coming together through a structure. The guitars go through a very specific sequence of notes, and the only improvisational part is my cueing.

“It’s by feel – the high sixth string, starting on the second fret and moving all the way up to the top of the neck. Then repeat that sequence on the next lowest string. I wanted to have this piece that was all about these continuing ascensions and returns, which encapsulated what was happening musically with all these different ideas. It’s sort of like: ‘Here’s the catalogue of notes used on this record’.”

The ham-fisted grunge rock of “Cantaloupe” and fuzzy, churning push of “Breath” are also well-covered ground, sounding like they could fit in nicely in different parts of Moore’s back catalogue. Instead of presenting “Breath” as a compact rock song, however, he stretches it out into a sprawling, multi-part epic. The track turns dynamically as it moves from a lengthy gentle intro through to passionate verses, explosive instrumental sections, and breakdowns into formless squalls of feedback. This kind of dense song construction becomes the factor that sets By the Fire apart from the rest of Moore’s solo efforts. “Siren” follows the same approach, building over the course of a 12-minute run time from long, lazy stretches of chiming guitars to rolling waves of rhythmless sound. The vocals begin at just about nine minutes into the song after the completion of a full cycle of tension and release. Songs like “Locomotives” and “Venus” are similarly built, each burning on for well over ten minutes as they rise and fall through various movements. These intense full-band extrapolations are broken up by more subdued moments like “Dreamers Work,” which find Moore alone with a guitar, rambling through cloudy autumnal reflections.

Moore has been undertaking expeditions like this for 40 years. Born in Coral Gables, Florida in 1958 and largely raised in Bethel, Connecticut, he moved to New York City in the late 70s with a white Stratocaster, passed down from his older brother along with a few Hendrix moves, in hand and “Louie Louie” still ringing in his ears. And not a moment too soon, because in Thurston Moore’s world, punk rock smashed the reset button on everything.

Its arrival immediately drew a line in the sand between before and after that first power chord cleaved its way through his brain. He saw his own tall, unwieldy frame reflected back at him in the form of Joey Ramone, felt the future in the electro mayhem of Suicide. His Zappa and Zeppelin records would moulder in his mother’s basement as he sought out things that were new, newer, newest. In the city he found that on tap, roving out from his apartment amid the gonzo weirdness of the Lower East Side as punk begat new wave, no wave spat back and hardcore wind-milled into the conversation.

“The documents were just so incredible,” Moore remembers. “And you could actually buy a seven-inch and a fanzine and not suffer too much from it. Going to a guitar store was all about gawking, maybe playing it and then walking out without anything to show for it. Unless you had deep pockets, it was an excursion in window shopping. To me, the records were what I was getting my guitar education from anyway. You’d hear the first Scritti Politti seven-inch and it was just so odd, or the Slits album and how it was produced by Dennis Bovell. One after the other, from ’77 through to like ’81, it was relentless.”

By The Fire

Into this maelstrom came the avant-garde guitar orchestras moulded and manipulated by composers Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham. Moore ate up the punishing, confrontational volume of the music, studied their grand plans to build sounds that no one had heard before, and channelled these ideas of perpetual motion and experimentation into his contributions to a new band called Sonic Youth.

“I remember when the Clash first played New York after the second album,” he says. “They didn’t play CBGB or Max’s Kansas City, they played at this big place, the Palladium. Everybody in our world went to that gig. They came out and just tore the roof off the place. The next six months, they came back again. And you know what? It wasn’t the same, because so much had happened since – new ideas and records and bands. There was such an amazing amount of radical things happening that the Clash at the Palladium part two sounded a little too traditional. I was like, ‘I’m gonna go see A Certain Ratio because that’s more interesting right now.’ It was an amazing time. Our band started in the thick of that.”

On By The Fire, the instincts he honed in that anything goes world are still relevant. What has changed is the dynamic between Moore and his bandmates. He is a bandleader here in a manner that he never was during Sonic Youth’s tenure, when his interjections were only one part of the puzzle alongside those emanating from the powerful creative minds of bassist Kim Gordon and guitarist Lee Ranaldo.

Their bold brand of art-school anthemics, roiling dissonance and searing cool – which spanned 15 albums, at least five of which qualify as sacred indie-rock texts – was always a collage. Since Sonic Youth’s passing in 2011, with the acrimonious end of Moore and Gordon’s marriage at its heart, he has sought to foster collaborations that feel different.

“From the outset, Sonic Youth was a democratic concern,” he says. “As most young bands are, and should be, it was people coming together to create the sum of their parts. Sometimes it’s really magical – from the Beatles to the Pistols. Some people have stronger egos than others but it’s always about the band. The band is writing the songs as opposed to one chief songwriter. That’s what Sonic Youth always was. All the publishing, all the song writing is, ‘All songs by Sonic Youth’. It doesn’t matter who wrote the lyrics, who brought the idea in. It’s in the forum of Sonic Youth. I didn’t feel like I needed to experience that again.”

His approach isn’t pernickety, though. It’s still about the songs. “I certainly don’t dictate to Deb Googe what to play on bass,” he adds. “She’s a formidable player, and I want her to play with me because of how she writes her own lines. At first, James was playing in unison with me, but I realised I was underselling him. I can’t play lead guitar in his manner – it’s really high technique, traditional playing. He plays like that effortlessly. But for him, it’s a challenge to work in alternate tunings, and he’s risen to the occasion.

“We’ve grown into hearing each other. I think he feels a little bit more comfortable with moving away from just trying to acknowledge what I’m doing, and that comes with time, spending years together on the road. You can hear that camaraderie in these pieces. It’s quite different to the relationship I had with Lee [Ranaldo] as a guitar player. That can’t be replicated, not that I’d want to. It was too personal. Lee and I spent 30 years growing up together.”

While Moore describes Sedwards’ key influences as “equal value Led Zeppelin and the Fall”, he’s also a Sonic Youth head. And that means that he knew alternate tunings were part of the gig from minute one – the sight of Moore’s hand on a tuning peg has come to mean the same thing as another guitarist working their way into the meat of a solo. As with so many elements of that New York punk scene Sonic Youth’s fascination with tunings – and taking power drills to pickups – sprang from a place that balanced creative abandon with hard facts: their gear was pawn shop junk.

“When I first saw Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca play, I didn’t know they were playing alternate tunings,” Moore admits. “It wasn’t really until I started playing with them that I was like, ‘Okay, this guitar is all high E strings, and this one is all G strings. I see, you’re making one massive guitar.’ That was very informative and really exciting. When Sonic Youth started the first guitars we had were so cheap and horrible that they sounded terrible in traditional tunings.

“But they sounded great when you put a drumstick underneath the 12th fret to create this noded guitar where you could play either end of it. For the economics of it all, I can’t now have a dozen tunings on a record and go out and have a dozen guitars on the road. In the 90s, when we had such a high profile, Sonic Youth toured in a way that allowed us to travel with two dozen guitars, so we could write in any tuning and your tech would pass you a guitar. I don’t have that kind of comfort zone or privilege anymore.”

Sonic Youth’s guitar slingers played a huge part in making the Jazzmaster the symbol of alternative guitar cool that it remains today, and Moore and Ranaldo’s dealings with Jazzmasters began in earnest back in the mid-80s. Their sideline in modding them – ripping out electronics, sacrificing switches, and in Ranaldo’s case adding Tele Deluxe pickups to his ‘Jazzblaster’ – began immediately afterwards. Sonic Youth’s guitars quickly became good for nothing except playing Sonic Youth songs. It is one of the most symbiotic relationships between musicians and instruments in rock history.

“The charity shop guitars were just falling apart,” Moore remembers. “Their shelf-life was limited, especially with the way we were treating them. As soon as we had a little coin, I remember going up to 48th Street in Manhattan, where Manny’s Music was and all these iconic stores. We were stepping it up a bit, but not too much. Lee pointed at a Jazzmaster and went, ‘That’s the kind of guitar [Television’s] Tom Verlaine uses.’ That was a selling point right there.

“Nobody was playing Jazzmasters on the scene at that time. We got a couple for next to nothing. They were considered to be a country and western guitar, or some old fogey 50s jazz guitar. We began to modify them when we realised we were hitting these unnecessary switches. We were like, ‘Man, all we need is a toggle switch between the two pickups and a volume knob. We’ll keep the tone knob on its brightest end.’ That’s it. We started digging out all the electronics and soldering them back together again.”

In Sonic Youth’s wake, with waves also made by guitarists including J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, the Jazzmaster became an indie-rock fixture.

“It was basically a matter of economics that we chose that guitar,” Moore admits. “But the aspects of it were so intrinsic to what we were interested in. We were already noding guitars, and the fact that the Jazzmaster had all this real estate behind the bridge to work with was really good. That’s a whole other instrument right there – a real high register electric guitar string sound. I have a long reach so the Jazzmaster fits my body like no other guitar. There’s nothing else I feel as comfortable with.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that Moore and Sedwards both leaned heavily on Jazzmasters during work on By The Fire. Moore’s pre-CBS Sunburst was acquired in Sonic Youth’s final throes as a backup before stepping up when the band’s gear was stolen. “It has become what the previous Jazzmaster was,” Moore says. “In the words of Sunburned Hand of the Man founder John Moloney, ‘Excalibur!’”

Sedwards, meanwhile, plays a guitar that is essentially as old as Jazzmasters come. The gold ‘59 model also tumbled into Moore’s possession after Sonic Youth were robbed in a semi-legendary incident in Orange County, California in 1999 (several guitars from the heist have been recovered since, largely thanks to diligent fans). “It was a gift from Patti Smith in sympathy, because they had gotten ripped off as well at some point,” Moore says. “It happens to the best of us. That guitar is really cherished.

“If a Sonic Youth guitar goes on the market, completely gutted and rewired, they become these very personalised, iconic items,” he adds. “It’s a Sonic Youth guitar. Whoever ripped them off, they could take them to a guitar store and they’d probably look at them and go, ‘These guitars aren’t worth anything!’ I hope they’re starting some noise-rock groups.”

Another curio is Moore’s Sunburst Fender Electric XII. It has ties to a piece commissioned by the Barbican in London, which provides added context for By The Fire’s extended workouts while linking back to his earliest days in experimental music. Next to the sunnier side of his new record, this nebulous composition (which was released as part of Moore’s Spirit Counsel box set in 2019) recalls Branca and Chatham as much as it speaks of his place as an indie-rock sage who will always be down to get improvisational.

It underlines the fact that Moore’s guitars are often part of the music: from tunings through to the feedback screaming out of his amp. Living in London, he has collaborated with a host of experienced, daring free improv musicians, sometimes adapting his style to offer a febrile, unpredictable noise counterpoint. The experience has become part of his make up as a player.

“Knowing that you can present feedback as a spontaneous musical gesture is something that started to become a big part of Sonic Youth’s songwriting at some point,” he says. “That to me is as good as any chord run, or any blues scale. It can have a life of its own, and you’re a bit of a lion-tamer. I can actually manipulate and bend the neck and create things that way. You can engage the guitar physically with the amplifier, creating some slight bends without destroying everything.

“I don’t really know if I ever see the guitar completely as a tool. When I go to a radio station and they want me to play a song, it’s almost impossible. The song that I have is about which guitar is being played. Even if they have some hired Jazzmaster sitting on a guitar stand, the song is going to suffer because of that. It won’t sound right. I have a very personal relationship with the guitars that I play. I never see them as interchangeable.”

The album is one of the more intentional chapters of Moore’s solo work, melding his long-studied Branca-esque walls of guitar and mystical lyrical viewpoints with a new, patient approach to composition. By the Fire isn’t a drastic shift, but as Moore goes deeper into the sounds he’s been exploring for decades, he uncovers new magic.

Thurston Moore’sBy The Fire” is out on September 25 through the Daydream Library.

Thurston Moore (ex-Sonic Youth) is releasing a new album, “By the Fire”, on September 25th via Daydream Library. This week he shared a new song from it, the 12-minute long “Siren.” At first you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it’s an instrumental track, but then Moore’s vocals come in later in the song.

By the Fire also features Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine) on bass and backing vocals, Jon Leidecker (aka ‘Wobbly’ of Negativland) on electronics, James Sedwards on guitar, and Jem Doulton amd Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley alternating on drums. It is Moore’s seventh solo album and recorded in North London earlier this year, just before the COVID-19 quarantine.

Moore and Daydream Library have released this statement about the album: “By the Fire is music in flames. 2020 is our time for radical change and collective awareness and Thurston Moore has written nine songs of enlightenment, released to a world on fire. Taking a cue from Albert Ayler’s ‘music is the healing force of the universe,’ this recording offers songs as flames of rainbow energy, where the power of love becomes our call. These are love songs in a time where creativity is our dignity, our demonstration against the forces of oppression. By the Fire is a gathering, a party of peace—songs in the heat of the moment.”


Thurston Moore started Sonic Youth in 1980. Since then Thurston Moore has been at the forefront of the alternative rock scene since that particular sobriquet was first used to signify any music that challenged and defied the mainstream standard. With Sonic Youth, Moore turned on an entire generation to the value of experimentation in rock n roll.

To quote the Bandcamp description, “The slow-burn sounds of Sonic Youth’s 1986 rehearsals to score Ken Friedman’s spooky highway film Made In USA are yet another mile marker in the band’s long and varied existence, now being issued as “Spinhead Sessions” (named for the North Hollywood studio used by SST label acts like Black Flag and Painted Willie). These jams were later built upon for a full-on (and quite different) soundtrack production, but the rough sketches here find the band taking time with truly new and introspective sound worlds.

It was basically a brand new way of working for Sonic Youth, albeit a challenging one, under the auspices of major Hollywood film production overlords, routing their way into the world of soundtrack scoring. And it all comes at a key time and place.”


Recorded at Spinhead Studios, North Hollywood, CA 1986 during soundtrack rehearsals for the film “Made In USA” are yet another mile marker in the band’s long and varied existence, now being issued as the Spinhead Sessions  These jams were later built upon for a full-on (and quite different) soundtrack production, but the rough sketches here find the band taking time with truly new and introspective sound worlds. It was basically a brand new way of working for Sonic Youth, albeit a challenging one, under the auspices of major Hollywood film production overlords, routing their way into the world of soundtrack scoring. And it all comes at a key time and place.
1986 was a transformative year for the band in many ways. The gravitation to the beloved SST stable, in addition to Steve Shelley, now drumming, certainly gave Sonic Youth a renewed vigour and vocabulary. They were already an international touring machine, and gaining considerable steam with critics (even spinning the heads of detractors who had dismissed their arty downtown boho  sensibilities prior to ’86’s Evol). Their cultdom with fans had concrete roots by this point, and the influences that were swarming in the band’s orbit marked an exciting time, where almost any trajectory seemed possible, and they were going for it.
Friedman’s film worked on a relatively darker frame for a mainstream Hollywood flick; characters played by stars Chris Penn and Adrian Pasdar made a cross-country journey that started out in Centralia, Pennsylvania, a real-life, anthracite coal producing town that had to relocate all its residents due to a decades-long, inextinguishable underground fire. The Sonics passed through this haunted-looking locale on their next tour after the sessions, and are pictured on the sleeve standing amidst smouldering embers. For the sounds they made at Spinhead, this image seems a fitting mental picture. Guitar harmonics billow like smoke, heavily reverbed drumming and shimmering cymbals echo from what sounds like the bottom of a deep mine.

This newly born Spinhead Sessions release once again defines Sonic Youth in a raw and engaging state of discovery at a terrific time. Is it a missing link between the complex, crafted cavernosity of Evol and the frayed-electric powerline sizzle of Sister? Yes and no. It’s an entirely unique animal, a meditative album where you can soak in the template of tapping overtones, sedate explorations of new chords, even sounding at times like AMM trying to play the VU’s Sweet Sister Ray bootleg or something similar.
It’s trademark Sonic Youth at the core, and in an unfettered, dreamy state and time, there and gone like smoke.

The story was a dark, somewhat politically pointed road movie. We watched the film a few times and set up a rehearsal/demo situation at the now legendary (and defunct) Spinhead Studios in the San Fernando Valley. This studio was the home to a lot of music generated by the SST record label (Black Flag, Painted Willie, etc.). We found ourselves constructing spindly, twisting rhythms and quiet rushes of noise and melody. We also blasted out some straight-ahead Mac-truck rock riffs. Anything to fit the film’s “mood.”
Thurston Moore

Originally released June 17th, 2016

Sonic Youth uploaded another rarity to their ever-growing Bandcamp archive , sharing “Live In Bremen 1991”. Here’s what drummer Steve Shelley had to say about the latest release:

Live in Bremen was recorded at the Aladin Music Hall on August 27th 1991, just halfway through the 12 day European tour that would later become immortalized in The Year Punk Broke documentary directed by our friend Dave Markey. In Bremen we returned to the familiar – a smaller-sized indoor venue – after playing to gargantuan, surreal-sized audiences at the Reading Festival and Pukkelpop. The Aladin had opened in 1977 and had hosted bands such as Golden Earring, Foghat and Blue Öyster Cult, but on this night Sonic Youth, Gumball and special guests Nirvana were also on the bill. Two different bootleg SY records were released from this concert; The Mira Tapes, sourced from an audience recording and Live In Bremen, a semi-official bootleg picture disc with a Yoo-Hoo (a NJ-local chocolate beverage drink) bottle cap – supplied by the band – as the cover star.


This concert was also the source for some of the audio used for The Year Punk Broke film score and it’s subsequent short (This Is Known As) The Blues Scale. Now for the first time, and from our own audio source, the entire Sonic Youth in Bremen set (minus encore) is presented here (complete w/a tape-flip during I Love Her All The Time).

Listen to Live In Bremen 1991

This is a Fourth of July Love Transmission (with an upside down US flag = distress, but Change is coming). Thurston Moore (vox, guitar) / Deb Googe (bass) / James Sedwards (psychedelic molten lead guitar solo) / Jem Doulton (percussion). After announcing a new solo album called By The Fire a couple of weeks ago, Thurston Moore shared another track off the project on ay. “‘Cantaloupe’ is a song about the dance of romance and surrealism, where the hallucinations of wild dreams come true,” the Sonic Youth founder wrote in the Bandcamp description.

By the Fire is Moore’s latest project with the Thurston Moore Group, which features former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, and guitarist James Sedwards. The album is slated for a September. 25th release on Moore’s Daydream Library Series label.

Moore paired the album announcement with a song called “Hashish.”  He also recently released a nine-minute-long instrumental track called “Strawberry Moon,” and the politically charged “May Daze.” Sonic Youth also uploaded another rarity to their ever-growing Bandcamp archive on Friday, sharing Live In Bremen 1991.

Recorded in London by Syd Kemp and Kristian Craig Robinson at Total Refreshment Centre and mastered by Lasse Marhaug. Produced by the Daydream Library Series, a division of Ecstatic Peace Library, MMXX Special thanks to our stars: Christina Perzl, Bianca Kohl (skaters) and Ivan (cat) All rights reserved. All are born free and equal in rights. ”

Thurston Moore – guitar and vocals
James Sedwards – lead guitar
Deb Googe – bass
Jam Doulton – drums

“By The Fire” – the new full length album from Thurston Moore is due out September 25th, 2020

Sonic Youth’s summer instrumental EP, Perspectives Musicales is, at first glance, a full-blown tribute to the 20th century French avant guard. From the EP’s title, to the exquisitely, tottering pretentious song titles — “Anagrama,” “Improvisation Ajoutee,” “Tremens,” and ” Mieux: De Corrosion.” The connections don’t stop there, the vinyl is Coke can red, adding a whiff of both socialism and aesthetics (the best and most effective red-vinyl release I’ve seen since J. Geils’ 70’s album, Bloodshot.

But the connections do stop with the music. While the French avant-guard, from Celine to Sartre to Foucoult, focus on the Absurd and are always tinged with a hint of nihilism, all four of the tracks on Perspectives Musicales are melodious, if not always harmonious, celebrations, and instead of a reign of disorder, Sonic Youth creates beautiful, often exquisite order out of what seems like thin-air.

This first release since 1995’s not entirely satisfying Washing Machine is a wonderful example of what Sonic Youth does best. While cutting apart and putting back together beautiful, even poppy melodies, Moore, Gordon, Shelley and Ranaldo never sound as if they’re lost in some sort of psychedelic jam; in every step along the journey, there’s tremendous lyricism and harmony…which seem contradictory for a band whose trademarks include the meticulous musical dissection of harmonies. At their best, like on Washing Machine’s “Diamond Sea,” the results are glorious. And Perspectives Musicales, an all-instrumental effort in which all energy is focused on music and none of lyrics, is glorious. Perhaps only Genet could have appreciated music this celebratory.

The EP’s opener, the nine-minute plus “Anagrama,” sets the tone for what’s to come. Moore and Ranaldo weave around each other gently, slowing building to a peak; sometimes aggressively, sometimes downright prettily, they build droning melodies up to huge peaks and come back down again. Gordon and Shelley are working both as a rhythm section and also operate on their own level; on every song, Gordon’s bass-lines and Shelley’s drumming do as much to establish the melodic and harmonic structure of the song, and behind Renaldo and Moore, no strangers to melody themselves, that’s no small feat.


Perspectives Musicales is the first in a series of EPs Manhattan’s coolest hipsters are planning to release, according to Ranaldo. If they’re all as good as this, it’ll be a nice year indeed for Sonic Youth fans.

Originally released May 5th, 1997

Thurston Moore continues to put out previously-unreleased songs from his vault during quarantine.These previously unreleased songs appear on his Bandcamp page, and he also recently put out a new instrumental and now he announced a proper new album, “By the Fire” its first single, “Hashish” .He made the album with his former Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelley on drums, My Bloody Valentine’s Deb Googe on bass and backing vocals, and James Sedwards on guitar (all of whom are also in the Thurston Moore Group), and it also features contributions from Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker of Negativland) on electronics and Jem Doulton on drums. Thurston calls “Hasish” an ode to the narcotic of love in our shared responsibility to each other during isolation,” and it’s a relaxed yet hypnotic song that sounds like classic Thurston Moore, and is a very promising first taste of this LP.

Thurston also said:
“By The Fire” is music in flames. 2020 is our time for radical change and collective awareness and Thurston Moore has written nine songs of enlightenment, released to a world on fire. Taking a cue from Albert Ayler’s “music is the healing force of the universe”, this recording offers songs as flames of rainbow energy, where the power of love becomes our call.

These are love songs in a time where creativity is our dignity, our demonstration against the forces of oppression. By The Fire is a gathering, a party of peace — songs in the heat of the moment.

Strawberry Moon (for three guitars)
Recorded At Daydream Library 3rd June 2020 London


a celebration of the strawberry ( full ) moon vibrations – free energy for change.
released June 3rd, 2020

This next one’s a lovely acoustic instrumental called “The Lords and the Ladies” that Thurston debuted on his 2013 UK tour with legendary folk singer Michael Chapman and recorded in London in 2015.


A midweek offering to greet the summer – this song was written a year or so prior to its recording and was played on the acoustic duo tour I shared with maestro Michael Chapman throughout England. released May 20th, 2020
written and performed by Thurston Moore for eva.


A soundtrack for our usa sisters + brothers to register as voters today, if you still need to – we can change the world – free all political prisoners – insurrection for common decency – rock n roll consciousness – more to come. “By the Fire” comes out September 25th.Thurston’s Daydream Library Series label

released May 1st, 2020
thurston moore group
bass – Deb Googe
drums – Steve Shelley
guitar – James Sedwards
guitar + vocal – Thurston Moore
recorded by paul epworth at the church London
foto / true love – radieaux radio – in the wilds of oz

Thurston Moore born 25th July 1958 Coral Gables Florida , teenage years spent in Bethel Connecticut then moved to NYC 1977, joins The Coachmen plays CBGB’s, Max’s and downtown art-rock dwellings, Joins Sonic Youth 1980-2014, then Chelsea Light Moving, immigrates to great smoke London, foreva love, solo group action, further free scenes, ecstatic peace library, daydream library, animal liberation

Sonic Youth have also been in the process of putting archival material on Bandcamp (their latest, Perspectives Musicales – Live At Cat’s Cradle 2000, came out on Friday timed with Bandcamp’s as has Lee Ranaldo.