Every week we will be showcasing installments from a special artist discovery series for bands playing the Austin City Limits Music Festival this October from local websites hand-picked by the ACL Festival faithful. This installment comes from Austinist featuring Sonic Youth.
Maybe you’ve never really listened to Sonic Youth. That’s perfectly understandable – they’ve yet to have a bona-fide hit (college radio notwithstanding) and their brush with major label success in the ‘90s yielded fine albums but not the celebrity that David Geffen was most likely hoping for when he signed them.
Basically, they’re an art-school band born out of the strains of avant-garde composer Glenn Branca, the toughest, weirdest moments of The White Album, and “Lost in the Supermarket” by The Clash. Or, more simply, the music they make is an unusually delightful but challenging mixture of the experimental, pop and punk. Three voices and guitar players carry the band – Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Kim Gordon, and their newest addition is Mark Ibold (Pavement) on bass. Ibold’s partner in rhythm is Steve Shelley, an excellent percussionist comfortable with both subtlety and abrasion.
Together, the band has been consistent without becoming complacent or annoyingly self-referencing for almost thirty years now. After leaving Geffen records, they partnered up with Matador and released The Eternal in 2009. Much to the delight of fans but not their surprise, the album is a step in a new and exciting direction for the band, and a telltale sign of good things to come. They’ll no doubt bring “Sacred Trickster” and more new (and old) tunes to ACL Fest Friday at 7 p.m.
Written by Paige Maguire