Sonic Youth Daydream Nation

Sonic Youth Daydream Nation

Much has been made about this landmark album by Sonic Youth, and the band wisely offer more context than frills on this excellent reissue. As the stars aligned and underground American experimental rock gained a greater audience in the late ’80s, Sonic Youth were at the peak of their powers, creating one of the most influential records of the century. If this isn’t apparent on the record, insightful liner notes and photographs light the path. Hiring hip-hop producer Nick Sansano (Public Enemy) to work on Daydream Nation, the band fostered a feeling out process where no one involved quite knew what was going on yet all were eager to explore. The buzz over songs like "Teen Age Riot,” "The Sprawl” and "Hey Joni” amongst indie media outlets upon Daydream’s release meant that Sonic Youth reached more listeners than ever and, as a result, the record influenced countless fledgling art-punk bands. Almost 20 years later, the freshness of the NYC quartet’s material is still evident; with this remastered version, you can almost hear the ground breaking under the guitar experimentation of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, the thunderous rhythms of Steve Shelley and the steadfast melodies of Kim Gordon on bass. Because the band entered the studio with 14 songs, a solo demo of "Eric’s Trip” is the only "outtake,” per se. Instead, the band offer a whole disc of live versions of Daydream songs culled from U.S. and European stops in 1988 and 1989, plus a quartet of studio covers, including the Beatles’ "Within You Without You” and Mudhoney’s "Touch Me, I’m Sick.” The covers are certainly cool but the live songs infuse the already kinetic studio versions with beauty and might, offering a rare perspective on Sonic Youth at an important, transitional period for them and indie rock. (Geffen)