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Sonic Youth

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Friday, 08 December 2006
NEWS

Pretty strange that just as Sonic Youth's time at Geffen comes to an end, they also are riding strong on the energy of two back to back great albums (Sonic Nurse and Rather Ripped). The Sonic Youth devotee might chime in right here and say that they've yet to release a bad album, and while that is technically true, they haven't been this consistently "interesting" (key word) in years. So, as part of their label departure, and probably tied into some contractual, obligatory statement within, out spits The B-Sides and Rarities, the first of its kind for the group. This is definitely preferably to a Sonic Youth greatest hits (which just doesn't work, see Screaming Fields of Sonic Love for an uneven overview of their '80s output). There is a thematic element at work here, wherein the tracks (mostly post '95) reflect their "wanting to blur the lines between composition and improvisation." What does this mean for you, dear listener? This means that we are talking about the Youth making largely vocal-free kraut-noise with Mr. Jim O'Rourke in tow, cranking out those oddly-tuned blasts of melodic guitar leads, and expanding and contracting clouds of distortion and hiss behind them. If it suffers, it's only because Rather Ripped was a reminder of how dead-on effective they are when they work in short, sharp shocks. That said, "Loop Cat" is one of the group's most haunted, spectral outings and a 25 minute version of "The Diamond Sea" gives you the time to space out on their droning jams, then make a sandwich, and then space out some more.

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