Published May 15, 2020Sonic Youth have been building out their Bandcamp archive at a steady pace since launching in late March, and two more efforts have been added today.
The band have uploaded 1987 EP Master-Dik and Live at All Tomorrow's Parties 2000, the latter of which marks "first live performance in 2000 and their last as a quartet for some time." You can stream both in the players below.
Context for each addition comes courtesy of detailed liner notes from the band and Lee Ranaldo. Here are Ranaldo's reflections on Master-Dik:
A slight hiccup in our production? This is the infamous EP that Blast First label head Paul Smith begged us not to release. It has long been reviled or misunderstood by many! The song itself, Master-Dik — possibly a play on words related to Masterdisk, where we mastered our albums in those days — first saw light of day in a different version as a bonus track on the Sister CD when it came out. That was the 'non-beatbox version' (meaning Steve was playing the drums). The version on this EP has full beatbox in effect. J Mascis even puts in an appearance on lead guitar! In essence, although this track was recorded during and associated with the Sister era, it actual looked ahead to the making of the Ciccone Youth Whitey Album about 18 months later. It was the first appearance by the Royal Tuff Titty, who at one point even declares "We're Ciccone!"
Following Beat on the Brat, Side 2 journeys thru a sonic wonderland of 14 selections (or is it 15? 13?), beginning with an except from a live Radio Suisse broadcast as we goofed around with Beatles and George Benson covers (you kinda had to be there) and a bunch of other soundscapes, rehearsal takes and sound effects, including one of my favorite tracks from this period, 'Our Backyard' (not kidding). We were playing with 'scope, expanding and contracting in new and different ways. In any case, love it or hate it, we went ahead and released it over Paul's objections, and, defying predictions, it didn't derail our career. The Peter Anderson photos with the spray paint spiral behind became emblematic of this period and were widely seen at the time.
And here is the band on Live at All Tomorrow's Parties:
Sonic Youth's first live performance in 2000 and their last as a quartet for some time was a predominately instrumental set at the very first All Tomorrows Parties Festival. Curated by Mogwai, the event took place at Camber Sands Holiday Village in East Sussex, UK, a somewhat charmingly dilapidated summer camp (non-Brits: think Tommy's Holiday Camp). SY opened with a brand new 23-minute sonic assault, "J'Accuse Ted Hughes" (then titled "New Drone" and later to appear as side 1 of SYR 7) and the band performed the bulk of the soon-to-be released "NYC Ghosts & Flowers". "Free City Rhymes" and "Renegade Princess" were played instrumentally. Kim sang "Nevermind" and "Side2Side", Lee sang "NYC Ghosts & Flowers". The encore was "Lightnin" and "Sunday". This was the gig that spawned the fabled NME headline "Goodbye 20th Century, Goodbye Talent"!
Last year, the band's Kim Gordon released her debut solo album No Home Record.