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In Which I Loop Back on My Love - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
In Which I Loop Back on My Love
Well, I've listened to the new Sonic Youth album over fifty times in the past week and it more than holds up to the scrutiny. I'm a huge fan to begin with, so feel free to savor the salsa on that chip of judgment. I'm confident, though, that anyone who likes the band already will be more than satisfied. By shortening the length of their songs, they were able to include a higher percentage of peaks and valleys without losing the density of the space in between. The other quality that sets Rather Ripped apart is that it sometimes sounds like a particular musical period, but in an abstract, self-reflexive way. It's sort of like what Frederic Jameson describes in his account of the film Body Heat's postmodernism. The film isn't set in the past, but it feels that way. This effect works on Rather Ripped. Or it works for me, anyway. The best example is "The Neutral," which runs through a number of periods in rapid succession, including the simulacral 80s that Interpol and The Killers capture so well.

As an added bonus -- note the double-dipping ahead -- two of the tracks, "Jams Run Free" and "Turquoise Boy" come with a Pavement chaser, fashioning a torus knot out of history. When I first heard Slanted and Enchanted on the day of its release back in 1991, my appetite whetted by Simon Reynolds and the Spin feature on promising new bands from the previous winter, I thought, "Sonic Youth + Velvet Underground," an equation that still applies to Stockton's finest, once you sift through all the other influences. Then I saw Pavement open for Sonic Youth at the Warfield, making the similarities between the two bands even more apparent. Later, Kim, John, and I talked to original Pavement drummer Gary Young as he leaned against a chain-link fence in the Tenderloin, just around the corner from the Warfield, after attending a Sonic Youth show. He had already been fired, but didn't know it yet.

At any rate, it makes sense for Sonic Youth to repay the tribute Pavement provided them. But, since they had already done so on Experimental Jet Set Trash and No Star, the current reference refers to their own referencing of a band that referenced them. It makes my sun-addled head hurt to contemplate. Sure sounds sweet, though. Have a listen to "Jams Run Free" if you want to hear what I mean.

Tags: , ,
Current Location: 85721
Mode: pacific, if atlantic
Muse: Turquoise Boy - Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

5 comments or Leave a comment
lunarcamel From: lunarcamel Date: June 20th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
so feel free to savor the salsa on that chip of judgment

Wow. That was excellent.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 21st, 2006 01:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks! Some are decdicated to spun sugar. I prefer spun salt.
From: marcegoodman Date: June 21st, 2006 12:47 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Over fifty times - that's impressive! I broke from my usual habits and stopped at around a dozen. But inspired by your post I put it on again today and am that much more certain that this is now my favorite of their records. I am intrigued by your effort to locate its sound in time. To me, SY always sounds both out of time and utterly contemporary.

Going forward, I will no longer be able to think of "Jams Run Free" as anything other than the finest Pavement tribute ever. This connection is made literal again as Mark Ibold will be joining the band for their tour.

I was lucky enough to once hear Malkmus front Sonic Youth for a rousing version of "Expressway To your Skull" at Lollapalooza '95 at the Shoreline. SY had dedicated their performance to Jerry Garcia who had just died. In his tour diary from the summer, Lee Ranaldo suggested Pavement as the true heirs to the Dead, which might have seemed scandalous to some but I felt then as now was perfectly apt, even more so than Malkmus' beloved Creedence. SY and Pavement both share the Dead's ability to effortlessly evoke entire histories and counter-histories of music and culture.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 21st, 2006 01:40 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agreed with Ranaldo then and now. I wish Pavement were still around to prove him right. I sure hope I can find a place to see the show.
kdotdammit From: kdotdammit Date: June 22nd, 2006 05:45 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Were we at that Sonic Youth show? I still say the best Sonic Youth set I ever experienced was that rivetting non-stop symphony of beautifully orchestrated white noise that they played at the shoreline to empty seats in broad daylight. That was phenomenal.
5 comments or Leave a comment