If you need a marker that indicated the moment when the underground started moving out of their subterranean lairs and moving overground then look no further than Sonic Youth’s 1988 opus 'Daydream Nation'.

From that point you can trace the rise of US grunge and Nirvana and the move of the alternative scene into mainstream acceptance.

Conventional wisdom has the double album as the apex of Sonic Youth’s enduring career. Even the Library of Congress selected the album as part of their national recording registry that included recordings of “historical, cultural or aesthetic importance”.

It is largely a culmination of the quartet’s career to that point that displays the band’s interest in trash/pop culture, the avant-garde ideas of Glenn Branca, the influence of the New York No Wave movement as well the contrasts of white noise and the love of a good pop melody.

It’s all effectively summed up in the first track, the band’s signature tune 'Teen Age Riot' which apparently was inspired by Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis. A song that straddles its pop harmonies with experimentalism.

And the band spend the next 14 songs in pretty much the same vein. There’s the frantic gallop of 'Cross the Breeze', the dischord of 'Total Trash' and the prog rock inclinations of the closing 'Trilogy'.

Admittedly its rather sprawling but there’s not really an inch of filler to be had. It is really is one of those records that really does live up to the hype.

And now the album has been released with both additional songs and a whole extra disc of live versions of the album.

Hard to believe I know but this extra material really is worth listening to, effectively they make you start to re-appraise the original album. Plus there are a few covers such as their version of Mudhoney’s 'Touch Me I’m Sick', Captain Beefheart’s 'Electricity' and the Beatles’ 'Within You Without You'. These aren’t really essential but well worth an occasional spin.

Highly recommended.












Related Links:


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