Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Music is full of paths not explored, and it's occasionally fun to think about what if's. Among my favorites are what if David Gedge hadn't found that Pavement single [I received a comment indicating that he didn' was one of the other Wedding Present folk -- MB 1/1/04], what if the Daughters of Albion had released more than one album, what if VS-880's had existed when Linda Smith started recording, what if Beat Happening hadn't ruined music for our entire generation and so on.

One really big one is what if Sonic Youth had made a less drastic change between their self-titled ep and Kill Yr Idols/Confusion is Sex. When I bought the Sonic Youth ep, I think in '87, it was a huge disappointment to me, as it probably was to many young fans who discovered the band post-Confusion. But as years and years and years go by (and it annoyingly remains out of print) I'm finding that the ep is becoming, if not my favorite release by Sonic Youth, at least the one I reach for most often. Sure it's not groundbreaking in the same way that their next few albums would be, but it's got a nice rigid formalism that sits well with current musical trends: it sounds very "now," surprisingly. And, because it lacks the pop-culture references that pervade much of the rest of their work, it hasn't dated conceptually. The recording quality is great, and I'll honestly take Richard Edson (or almost anyone else) over Steve Shelley as a drummer. Yes, Kim does look awfully dowdy on the cover, but that's not enough reason to keep it on the shelf. And it still commands a decent price on eBay, so someone still wants it. They ought to just reissue it as a limited edition or something.

I guess at some point Sonic Youth had to decide if they were going to be downtown composers or a rawk band, and they chose the latter. Had they not, would Nirvana have ever broken big? Would Kim Fowley be even less well known? Would Sassy magazine have been less sassy? The mind boggles. Here's the last track from the ep, The Good and The Bad, which really gets hypnotic at a certain point. And here's I Dreamed I Dream, which is the only song that I liked when I first bought the ep.

Hey, the guy from Flying Saucer Attack has a newish album (a collaboration) out!! I didn't know that. It's so hard to keep track of everything. MP3 (not full length) samples can be found via the link.

A request: can anyone provide me with a link to a Sasha Frere-Jones review of Liz Phair's newest? [He finally did post an explanation of sorts on his weblog for ranking this #1 of the year, but it basically amounted to 1. lists are political and 2. he listened to it a lot, partly due to his wife liking it. Sigh. -- MB 1/31/03]

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