BCB 100 - Sonic Youth

Do we know what we like? We even talk about it!
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Owen
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Postby Owen » 27 Jun 2006, 00:04

lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:I dont think it's some emperors new clothes trick, and yes i do think the fans do really like them. But penk's still right


I don't see how you can agree with both of those.


Actually i see your point. I dont explicitly think the fans are being conned, i guess if you analyse it that just means i think the fans like some shit music. But i suppose thats implicit in your response to any band you think are crap.

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Postby lemon » 27 Jun 2006, 00:17

Owen wrote:
lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:I dont think it's some emperors new clothes trick, and yes i do think the fans do really like them. But penk's still right


I don't see how you can agree with both of those.


Actually i see your point. I dont explicitly think the fans are being conned, i guess if you analyse it that just means i think the fans like some shit music. But i suppose thats implicit in your response to any band you think are crap.


Yeah, I'm fine with penk saying they're shit in general, but it's his particular brand of "they're shit" that I'm having issues with. Stuff like...

The only thing I don't get about them is why so many other people don't realise that they're just an incredibly ordinary band with delusions of grandeur.


The answer is, because I don't think that. I think they're a great band who enjoy making rock music, and it's not something where I've got it wrong, I simply share a different opinion.

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Postby Leg of lamb » 27 Jun 2006, 00:37

Sonic Youth are one of the few bands who make me lose myself a bit in their music. It's mesmeric, snotty, a bit unhealthy but very cool. Daydream Nation is as much of a dabble as I need to have in their universe but it's a huge achievement. They're a shit-hot and inspired band even if it doesn't suit your aesthetic.
Brother Spoon wrote:I would probably enjoy this record more if it came to me in a brown paper bag filled with manure, instead of this richly illustrated disgrace to my eyes.

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PENK
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Postby PENK » 27 Jun 2006, 00:41

lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:
lemon wrote:
Owen wrote:I dont think it's some emperors new clothes trick, and yes i do think the fans do really like them. But penk's still right


I don't see how you can agree with both of those.


Actually i see your point. I dont explicitly think the fans are being conned, i guess if you analyse it that just means i think the fans like some shit music. But i suppose thats implicit in your response to any band you think are crap.


Yeah, I'm fine with penk saying they're shit in general, but it's his particular brand of "they're shit" that I'm having issues with. Stuff like...

The only thing I don't get about them is why so many other people don't realise that they're just an incredibly ordinary band with delusions of grandeur.


The answer is, because I don't think that. I think they're a great band who enjoy making rock music, and it's not something where I've got it wrong, I simply share a different opinion.


I don't know how you want me to put it to be honest.
They're rubbish and I don't know why people like them.
Better?
Darkness_Fish wrote:One slight disappointment was that there turns out to be two cinemas in Bolton

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Postby lemon » 27 Jun 2006, 00:48

Penk wrote:I don't know how you want me to put it to be honest.
They're rubbish and I don't know why people like them.
Better?


Much.

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Postby Magilla » 27 Jun 2006, 01:36

I love Sonic Youth, I truly think they're one of the best bands of the past 25 years.
Regardless of if you like their music or not they're a band that has yet to make a truly bad album, which is superb achievement in itself.
Look at their contemporaries: Nick Cave, for example, has been around for about as long and even long-term Cave fans such as myself will admit that Nocturama is a real lemon.

Also, the hoary old complaint that "they can't play melodies and tunes" is complete nonsense. In reality, Sonic Youth are completely capable of doing so, it's just that they choose not to. Listen to 'Little Trouble Girl' from Washing Machine, for example - it's like '60s girl-group song for god's sake.
Technically, Sonic Youth are completely competent musicians, but they choose to play in an unconventional manner.

To make that complaint is to miss the point, it's not what Sonic Youth are about. What they are about is great art, skronky noise, weird tunings, strange arrangements, tumultuous rhythms, blasting guitars, etc and they do it very, very, very well.

Their music is truly innovative, passionate and original, qualities sadly lacking in far too many other current bands, IMHO.
"U2 routinely spent a year in the studio...I have a theory: if you put four monkeys in the studio for a year with Lanois and Eno and Lillywhite, they would make a pretty good record, too."

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Postby Mike Boom » 27 Jun 2006, 01:47

Its all about the guitars with Sonic Youth - if your not in love with the noise of an electric guitar and the different noises you can make with it your not going to like them. To say they can't be melodic is wrong, you may not hear the melody because your not paying attention or havent given the music the time it takes, but the melody's are there. The riffs are not un-imaginative, they are often extremely complex often using a combination of different tunings and a array of effects pedals. They are an awesome live band and have the ability to recreate the complex layers of sound they make in the studio on stage live. To say they are dull and poseurs is short sighted at best. Some peoples idea of a "proper" song is a little more imaginative than others.

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 27 Jun 2006, 02:04

But with all due respect you guys...if it takes that much explanation, something's missing in terms of immediacy.

I won't argue that they don't have ideas, or that a context doesn't exist in which they can be appreciated. I just don't care. I don't want to have to read the manual. Not enough reward in it.

I'm glad Sonic Youth exists for those of you who need them. But for my part, I wish I had the power to wish them and their ilk into the cornfield.

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Still Baron
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Postby Still Baron » 27 Jun 2006, 02:05

Noise can be beautiful. And often is.
Jimbo wrote:But there is hope for pessimism.

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 27 Jun 2006, 02:07

Baron The Lesser wrote:Noise can be beautiful. And often is.


Image

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Still Baron
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Postby Still Baron » 27 Jun 2006, 02:10

Davey The Fat Boy wrote:
Baron The Lesser wrote:Noise can be beautiful. And often is.


Image


Though I would be happy to be proven wrong, it's not a concept that I would entrust to either Neil Diamond or Robbie Robertson.
Jimbo wrote:But there is hope for pessimism.

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Postby & » 27 Jun 2006, 02:13

Davey The Fat Boy wrote:Image


A low point for both. Not least because since when does the producer get to put his name on the front cover? Back to the studio, slave!
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Still Baron
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Postby Still Baron » 27 Jun 2006, 02:14

angshu wrote:since when does the producer get to put his name on the front cover?


When he's Robbie "Scarf" Robertson. A wanker.
Jimbo wrote:But there is hope for pessimism.

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Postby & » 27 Jun 2006, 02:16

Baron The Lesser wrote:
angshu wrote:since when does the producer get to put his name on the front cover?


When he's Robbie "Scarf" Robertson. A wanker.


Brilliant guitarist. Brilliant songwriter. Utter cunt.
"You're a rude and ignorant individual and I hope you get no sleep tonight." - Sir John Coan

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Still Baron
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Postby Still Baron » 27 Jun 2006, 02:17

angshu wrote:
Baron The Lesser wrote:
angshu wrote:since when does the producer get to put his name on the front cover?


When he's Robbie "Scarf" Robertson. A wanker.


Brilliant guitarist. Brilliant songwriter. Utter cunt.


Precisely.
Jimbo wrote:But there is hope for pessimism.

take5_d_shorterer wrote:If John Bonham simply didn't listen to enough Tommy Johnson or Blind Willie Mctell, that's his doing.

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Postby Geezee » 27 Jun 2006, 09:27

i'd hazard to say that people who do not appreciate sonic youth really are fucked up in the brain. and the stubborness, zero tolerance stance of their position makes me think you are all Nazi worshippers.
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Postby Tactful Cactus » 27 Jun 2006, 10:59

angshu wrote:since when does the producer get to put his name on the front cover?


When the producer is a well established musician while the artiste is a relative unknowner. I agree, its probably an egotistical thing to do, but his association with the album probably did Neil some favours.

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Postby PENK » 27 Jun 2006, 11:24

lemon wrote:
Penk wrote:I don't know how you want me to put it to be honest.
They're rubbish and I don't know why people like them.
Better?


Much.


But that's exactly what I was saying before except without an explanation! :P

Magilla wrote:Also, the hoary old complaint that "they can't play melodies and tunes" is complete nonsense. In reality, Sonic Youth are completely capable of doing so, it's just that they choose not to. Listen to 'Little Trouble Girl' from Washing Machine, for example - it's like '60s girl-group song for god's sake.
Technically, Sonic Youth are completely competent musicians, but they choose to play in an unconventional manner.


I think people have missed my point a little. I wasn't claiming that they couldn't play melodies, because they often do. It's just that the ones they do play are poor. Limp, obvious and directionless. Whether or not that's the central focus of their songs is irrelevant, because a lack of ability in that department does invalidate the rest of what they do - it means that they're automatically going to be less convincing. They're making a lot of noise because they can't write songs, basically. And as I've said their more experimental material just doesn't have the ring of conviction about it; it sounds like they're going through the motions, paying more attention to the way they come across than to the direction the music is going in.

Magilla wrote:To make that complaint is to miss the point, it's not what Sonic Youth are about. What they are about is great art, skronky noise, weird tunings, strange arrangements, tumultuous rhythms, blasting guitars, etc and they do it very, very, very well.

Their music is truly innovative, passionate and original, qualities sadly lacking in far too many other current bands, IMHO.


Doesn't necessarily mean it's any good, though. Just because a band were the first to do something doesn't mean they were the best at it. I'd contest that Sonic Youth's other failings negate their worth as innovators, that while they may have come up with the idea it was other bands who made the most effective use of it.

Mike Boom wrote:Its all about the guitars with Sonic Youth - if your not in love with the noise of an electric guitar and the different noises you can make with it your not going to like them. To say they can't be melodic is wrong, you may not hear the melody because your not paying attention or havent given the music the time it takes, but the melody's are there. The riffs are not un-imaginative, they are often extremely complex often using a combination of different tunings and a array of effects pedals. They are an awesome live band and have the ability to recreate the complex layers of sound they make in the studio on stage live. To say they are dull and poseurs is short sighted at best. Some peoples idea of a "proper" song is a little more imaginative than others.


Hence my own use of inverted commas when talking about 'proper' songs. I like plenty of bands who do similar things to Sonic Youth. But that's because they're good at what they do.
And the riffs are unimaginative. They all sound like ten million other crap indie/shoegaze bands.

G-Z wrote:i'd hazard to say that people who do not appreciate sonic youth really are fucked up in the brain. and the stubborness, zero tolerance stance of their position makes me think you are all Nazi worshippers.


Fuck off and come back when you actually have something to contribute.
Darkness_Fish wrote:One slight disappointment was that there turns out to be two cinemas in Bolton

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Clay Davis
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Postby Clay Davis » 27 Jun 2006, 12:05

and here I was thinking us Radiohead fans were the most obsessive about their favourite band....

Anyway, fair play to you, Penk. We obviously think you're missing out with Sonic Youth but you're sure you're not.... No one is gonna win.
Sheeeiiiit

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Geezee
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Postby Geezee » 27 Jun 2006, 12:45

Penk wrote:
G-Z wrote:i'd hazard to say that people who do not appreciate sonic youth really are fucked up in the brain. and the stubborness, zero tolerance stance of their position makes me think you are all Nazi worshippers.


Fuck off and come back when you actually have something to contribute.


i already have contributed my friend, and am astounded at the poor level of criticism levelled against sonic youth. and apparently if it takes so many words to describe how great they are then that proves they are not, so i prefer to be brief. but, as i said previously, they are an incredibly obnoxious, pretentious band, and if you don't like guitar music it's probably not your thing. but recognising a band's flaws does not in any need to detract from enjoyment of the music, and nor am i forcing anyone to enjoy it...but there's so much nonsense being talked about here as facts that you'd almost think we were on the Mojo boards.

if we are talking about 'facts', then, as incontrovertible, objective facts, i think you can say about sonic youth:

innovative: there was no wave, heavy guitar music before, but SY brought it to new levels. their tunings, layers and texture are highly innovative to the point of ground-breaking. the theft of their guitars is one of the great tragedies of modern music!

melodic: you may not like some of the melodies, but so much of their stuff is pure pop (catholic block, sunday, dirty boots, my friend goo). 'simple' and 'obvious' melodies is nonsensical given the above, and certainly i've never heard them rip anyone off. this isn't Am to C to F to G.

limited vocal capacity/lyrics: only really lee ranaldo knows how to sing, but the three singers know how to interact very well. their lyrics are often awful, but i find very few artists that intrigue me lyrically anyway.

influence: they have raised the profile of countless bands, both new and old, and are largely responsible for the regeneration of artists like sun ra and loads of jazz artists, in addition to the obvious 'grunge' influence. of course this was a kiss of death for many people, but SY are possibly the most influential band in art (in the most general possible way to use the term) that i can think of.
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