30 days : day 6

sonic youth evol

Day six. An album that changed the way I thought about music…

This is a big one. And I’m sure there are a few that could fall into this place, like the first album that made me want to play music, the first album that made me realize music was actually there, the albums that brought me into different genres, away from the safety of rock and roll …  but honestly the first album that comes to mind is by Sonic Youth.

I heard this band, really, for the first time, in 1986 – and yeah, they changed the way I thought about music.

#30daysofalbums #sonicyouth #evol #mochalouder30lp

1986 was a pivotal year for me in so many ways – the year of sex, drugs, and rock and roll … and while I was falling hard for that rock music, playing in my first band in Vancouver (Canada, eh?), I was experimenting a little with the Velvet Underground, but not really in a hard way. I was touching on the Talking Heads and Depeche Mode, testing the waters with the Cure and the Bad Seeds, and many of my discoveries opened me up to new forms and sounds, it was when I was hanging out with a friend after school or on a weekend  or instead of school … and he placed the needle on a record … and I heard the strains of “Tom Violence” … and I was lost.

I was found.

This was the third LP by Sonic Youth, and I’d heard the name, but hadn’t really listened. This changed all that. I flew into obsession, and let my ears move over what they had done, what they had been inspired by, what they had, already, inspired. I found Can, I found John Zorn and Television and Wire. I found Dinosaur and the Butthole Surfers. I found Sonic Youth, and for a few years, we were in love.

The love, the lust, the noise, the dynamics, the emotions, the poetics, the twist of rock into a world that was new.

“Secret Girl” seduced me, “Starpower” excited me, “Shadow of a Doubt” thrilled me. This band made music that was on an “Expressway to My Skull” and it made me realize there was more to what I listened to and more that I needed to listen to.

Following that album, I would place Sister as my actual favorite, and I was such a Music Cool Snob in those late 80’s that when Daydream Nation came out in 1988 I decided that Sonic Youth had gone too mainstream for me and moved in to a different direction. I know appreciate that album, but never as much as I appreciate Sister and Evol.

For making me hear a new world, for changing the way I thought about music.

I was, for all intents and purposes, a sonic youth.