Monday, July 13, 2009

No Winner's Blues

The first song on the album Experimental Jet Set Trash and No Star is called "No Winner's Blues."

How weird would it have been to have bought this album in 1993, took it home, played it, and found out that there is an acoustic song opening the record?? It's not just solo acoustic, its a very Thurston-ized solo acoustic song.

A very low-end heavy acoustic guitar rings with Thurston singing pressed up against a cheap micro-phone. The song is short but gets the point across. It almost sounds like a Lou Barlow four track rambling. "Burn out your eyes don't act surprised." I still feel that many of his lyrics are made up and edited on the spot. This tunes sounds as if Thurston was just searching for words that sounded "cool" together. The song ends with the mic falling on the floor. It's a loud boom! This is not an indication of where things are going because by this time, the band has figured out a thing or two do not want to repeat themselves from massive grunge influenced recpord they had made before. "No Winner's Blues" drips of melody and could have been more, but why ruin a good thing? Noise and feedback would have killed this little gem.

Has this ever been played live? Probably not.

One of the few songs that is in a somewhat standard tuning.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Nashville, Tn 7-11-2009 @ The War Memorial


Sacred Trickster
No Way
Calming The Snake
Silver Rocket
Leaky Life Boat
Malibu Gas Station
The Sprawl
Poison Arrow
Walkin Blue
Massage The History
White Cross
Shadow of a Doubt
Pacific Coast Highway
What We Know
Death Valley '69

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skip Tracer

My favorite Lee Renaldo song is on the album Washing Machine and is called "Skip Tracer."

Lee returns to the use of his "talking" singing voice. Many of his songs are very poetic and sound like poetry put to music, this song is no different, only it has a melody that creeps out every now and then.

I like this song because it really "moves." Even though the opening riff is played for the first part of the song over and over, its Lee's intense lyrics that keep the song moving. The song builds and builds, but its brought down for a quiet moment "where are you now?....borrow and never returned, emotions, books, and outlooks on life" There isn't much of an eruption on the finish, but the band ends more of an emotional crash rather than a noise crash. I have always felt this song may have some deeper meaning than the fallin rock star it depicts, but then again, maybe thats what it is about.

"Skip Tracer" is one of the longest lasting Lee Renaldo songs. Of all the songs he has contributed or sang, this one has managed to get played on every tour since it's release. Of all the songs on Washing Machine, this one is the only song that ever gets played live anymore. This may have something to do with the 1999 equipment theft, but you never know, just another mystery yet to be solved.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sacred Trickster

The first song on the newest Sonic Youth album The Eternal is called "Sacred Trickster."

Quite possibly one of the best Sonic openers since....well...since....Daydream Nation!!

"Sacred Trickster" is one of the most "punk rock" songs on the Sonic Youth catalog and it rings in at about two minutes. The track is very reminiscent of the material on Dirty and features some syncopated guitar scratching that was used alot by the band on Goo and Dirty.

This song is tuned to DDAF#AD. Although Lee is playing in DDDDAA. Might have to try that one!

The Eternal represents a return to form for Sonic Youth. The record is full of very "classic" sounds, almost as if they were trying to revisit every era of the band.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Love You Golden Blue

The second to last song on the album Nurse is called "I Love You Golden Blue."

The album Nurse came as a surprise to me. I had no idea the band was working on a new record, even when I got a sneak peek at some new tunes in at a show in June 2003. In 2004, I was very oblivious to many things around me and the fact that a new Sonic Youth album was coming in May, I was all the more happier, and it made the summer of 2004 even more memorable.

A promo copy of Nurse came to the WTMS radio station sometime in April or March. A freind of mine at the station was kind enough to burn me a copy a month before it's release and the last track was "I Love You Golden Blue." To my surprise on the release date in May, "I Love You Golden Blue" was the second to last song, followed by "Peace Attack." Other promo versions of the album had "I Love You Golden Blue" as the first song. Strange huh?

Oddly enough, when the band spent May through October on tour for the record, "I Love You Golden Blue" was the set opener. This song features Lee on the organ, which he would eventually do in the live set.

Like many Sonic songs, I think this one is about death. Or the death of a friend.

This is a strange kind of song. It features a sound scape opener for a good 2 minutes before any guitar comes in. The entire song acts like a soundscape and sounds like something that could have been on the NYC Ghosts and Flowers album. Nonetheless, it falls into a category of forgotton songs that only really existed to compliment the time period. It would be weird if they started doing this one again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style

The fourth song on the album Murray Street is called "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style."

This has got to be one of the weirdest titles in the Sonic Youth catalog, but strangely enough they actual use this line in the lyrics of the song. Pretty damn creative if you ask me.

I realy don't know what this one is about. It is one of my favorites from this era and it's a shame it never made it past the 2003 tour. I often wonder if it's another one of Thurston's songs filled with nothing but gibberish and slang words. I'm sure the title was just something that spilled out of his mouth at one point and it became cemented into the songs fate. Or maybe Thurston is a bonified genius.

Most of this album was done in two different tunings. On this track, Thurston is playing in CGDGCD while Lee is playing in GGDGGA. This features some great tunings. Around this time, Thurston was usually playing the top two strings ringing open while riffing on the bottom four. Lee has a similar technique in his playing as well. But what strikes me about this tuning is the noise factor. This song breaks into noise after the two main (and rather wordy) verses end. Apparently there is a trumpet and saxophone on this song, but I can't tell. Please bring this back!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cool Videos!

Here is a really cool video from 2003!
The abnd is playing "Catholic Block" from Sister but the video has it labeled as "Plastic Sun"

Here is Empty Page from the same show:

Plastic Sun

The second to last song on Murrary Street is called "Plastic Sun."

In the early part of 2002  Sonic fans got a small preview of the upcoming Murrary Street album via  "Plastic Sun" was given away as a free download when the song was released as a promo in the wrong pitch. The free download features a few different lyrics and a different bass line. I used to have it, I should go look for it...

:::45 minutes later::::::

Ok. Can't find it, but I still have a few other places to look.

Plastic Sun reminds me of older Sonic Youth. Almost as if this song could have appeared on Confusion Is Sex or even Bad Moon Rising. There is no real chord progression and the song is driven by a thumping bass line along with Thurston and Lee doing all the guitars on drumsticks. Sounds pretty old school to me. Even the syncopated drum line with the lyrics "i hate you and your greasy friends" fits the scheme of the 1983 era of the band.

This song was debuted at the 2002 All Tomorrow's Parties. It has not been played since 2005. That's a shame because it's one of my favorites from the last few records.