Sonic Youth, Ciccone Youth, and Thurston Moore

Record review

Reissues & Box Sets

Sonic Youth

(Geffen)

Ciccone Youth

The Whitey Album (Geffen)

Thurston Moore

Psychic Hearts (Geffen)

"There were fresh faces everywhere, alive, young, and full of ideas and dreams. We wanted to fuck it up, do something new, do something old in a brand-new way, at decibels that scorched your eardrums." Sonic Youth's original drummer, Richard Edson, lines SY's remastered first release (March 1982) inside out. The eponymous EP is unmistakable, eclipsed by opener "The Burning Spear," imploding in layers of tribal dance beats, electric wah-wah, and defiant exuberance. Sweetened by an early rendition of "Where the Red Fern Grows," soon to become "I Dreamed a Dream," Sonic Youth is like meeting Thurston and Kim's parents: the spring from which the matured genetics flow. SY's alter ego, Ciccone Youth, is a different story. The Whitey Album is nothing if not drug-induced, a silly stupor bouncing around a studio singing Madonna's "Burnin' Up" with Mike Watt (who writes the curt liner notes), and rapping Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love." J Mascis takes some heat on "Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening to Neu," but whether that pedigree lifts the what-the-fuckness off this 1988 electronic experiment is hard to say. It's a Day-Glo acid trip – clear as a bell and surreal as Dalí. Flash forward to New Year's Day 1995. Now we're talking rock stars. Thurston Moore goes solo with Psychic Hearts and holds his own alongside Washing Machine. More avant-pop ("Ono Soul," "Pretty Bad") than experimental freak-out, the remastered Psychic Hearts is a cold drink of water, if a bit monotonous come closer "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars." At the end of the day, Sonic Youth is a complete chapter of rock history. It's a coming-of-age story for aging music lovers, and all we need is a lovingly remastered diary. No bells and whistles, please.

(Sonic Youth) ***.5

(The Whitey Album) **

(Psychic Hearts) ***

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