Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout The Stormy Weather

So we skip seamlessly from Big Youth to Sonic Youth. I’ve got several Sonic Youth records but when it comes down to it the only one I need is the opening song from their 1987 double opus Daydream Nation, an album that seemed to signpost a new big thing. Fact is, whenever I think I’m going to listen to Daydream Nation I never get any further than playing Teen Age Riot three or four times. That’s not to say that the rest of the album hasn’t got anything going for it- it has- but the rest of it isn’t Teen Age Riot. It’s Sonic Youth’s perfect moment. I can make a case for Death Valley ’69 and much of Goo (I love Dirty Boots) and some later stuff like Murray Street and also some of Ciccone Youth (they’ve got a good way with covers- their versions Neil Young’s Computer Age and the Carpenters’ Superstar are both superb). But Teen Age Riot is head and shoulders above- from it’s smoky intro with Kim Gordon intoning blankly to the riff and then Thurston’s half-spoken, half-sung vocals, a tribute to sloth king J Mascis, and the whole effortlessness, pre-slacker controlled noise of it all. US indie-punk cool.

Teen Age Riot

Of course sometimes they’re insufferable obtuse as well, noise-for-noise’s sake, music from the head rather than the heart or the loins. Record collectors and rock critics let loose in an instrument shop. I suppose I shouldn’t carp- many bands don’t make one song that’ll be remembered twenty five years after it was recorded.