While I was finding all of these awesome downloadable shows on NPR, I also found that there are hundreds of downloadable NPR stories about all kinds of bands. But I was especially interested in the Sonic Youth ones because, well, I’m a fan of the band, but also because it seemed so incongruous to me to hear Peter Sagal introducing a story about Sonic Youth (with noise rock in the background).
The three downloadable shows cover the period from 2006-2008. It’s no coincidence that this is the Rather Ripped period, where the band is at its most commercial. And yet it is still pretty neat to hear them play samples of the noisier music as well.
The first one, A 25-Year Experiment in Artful noise (June 12, 2006) appeared on All Things Considered. It is an interview from WHYY (but with the Peter Sagal intro!). Joel Rose asks the band about their longevity as well as the history of their sound (this is where Thurston admits that their unusual tunings were because their crappy thrift store guitars sounded very bad in normal tuning). This interview also revealed to me that Thurston and Kim were married in 1984. I knew they were an item forever, but didn’t know they were official for that long. Well done!
The interview also mentions their appearance on the beloved show The Gilmore Girls. They watched the show with their daughter, Coco and heard Sonic Youth mentioned a few times (by cool chick Lane). So they got in touch with the producers and were invited on set (I wonder if the actress who played Lane liked them as much as Lane did?). And they played a fun “troubadour” version of one of their songs on the show (with Coco on bass).
The second download, Story of a ‘Kool thing’ (June 13, 2008) is more of an interview with David Browne, whose book Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth, I have not read (although it sounds good). This interview delves into their earlier music a bit more (how cool to hear Tom Violence on an NPR show–admittedly this show is The Bryant Park Project, so it’s not quite All Things Considered). This segment is a general overview of the band’s history and of the book itself (but unlike the book, this offers snippets of music!)
The third one has a rather snarky title: “Turning ‘Sonic Youth’ Fans Into Readers” (January 27, 2009). It’s not so much about the band as it is about a book curated by Peter Wild called Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth.
It’s a brief segment which delves into the inspiration for the book and for Wild’s own story “Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style.” There’s a strangely credulous tone to the whole piece which makes it seem like they don’t really like the book. I’m curious about the book as there are a few well-recognized writers on board, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to reading it (although Amazon sells used copies for $2.50).
Hiag Akmakjian • Christopher Coake • Katherine Dunn • Mary Gaitskill • Rebecca Godfrey • Laird Hunt • Shelley Jackson • J. Robert Lennon • Samuel Ligon • Emily Maguire • Tom McCarthy • Scott Mebus • Eileen Myles • Catherine O’Flynn • Emily Carter Roiphe • Kevin Sampsell • Steven Sherrill • Matt Thorne • Rachel Trezise • Jess Walter • Peter Wild
[READ: April 18, 2011] 826 NYC Art Show Catalog
This item is always for sale pretty cheap at the McSweeney’s site. It recently was marked down to $3 so I figured I’d check it out. This is a collection of art prints. Each one is on a stocky paper just under 8 1/2″ x 11″. The prints are reproduced beautifully (there’s about an inch and a half border (making them suitable for framing). The back side of the print has a review of the print. And, most amusingly, the reviews are by 6 to 8 year olds.
The art is hard to summarize, as it covers a lot of ground. There’s a ton of different styles as well, from straight ahead photography to line and pencil drawing to painting. These artists each have one page: (more…)