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*** Available again on 2xlp!! Sonic Youth’s eponymous debut 12-inch was recorded in late 1981 at Plaza Sound at Radio City Music Hall in NYC and originally released on composer Glenn Branca’s Neutral label. This remastered and expanded double vinyl and CD reissue includes the self-titled debut record plus live material from '81 and a track from a previously unheard studio session (and remains the only recorded document of an early line-up featuring actor Richard Edson on drums). Includes liner notes by original Sonic Youth drummer Richard Edson, Glenn Branca and Byron Coley.
The first Sonic Youth EP - originally released on Glenn Branca's Neutral imprint - sits alongside the Sonic Death cassette and the Kill Yr Idols LP as some of the group's most evocatively blasted work. Listened to with modern ears it's immediately remarkable just how fully-formed the Sonic Youth sound was, even as early as their first quartet gig - included here in its entirety on disc two. The complex interlocking webs of dissonant guitars are as distinctive as ever - even when rendered via conventional tuning - and the automatic/somnabulant delivery of the lyrics is every bit as zoned as on later tracks from Evol and Bad Moon Rising. There's still a fair bit of new wave damage in the way the bass works melodic runs around the guitars and even a hint of Velvets-via-Television in the locked combinations of chords but it's really impossible to mistake this for anyone else, even at this, supposedly nascent, stage. This great upgraded edition includes the whole of the debut LP (originally released March 1982) as well as the first gig from September 1981, a studio outtake, a gatefold sleeve with lots of great early snaps and fliers and killer sleeve notes from Byron Coley and first drummer Richard Edson who recalls leaving Sonic Youth for, uh, the "Funky-groovelectric-Afro-Latin dance and party band" Konk. They thought Sonic Youth were "squares". Doh! - David Keenan
“We wanted it to sound like PIL who we were into. It didn’t but we were lucky it came out sounding like a record. We did it in two eight-hour sessions at a studio at Radio City Music Hall called Plaza Sound. The janitor let us in the back door.” —Kim Gordon