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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Sonic Youth
Goo [Deluxe Edition]
Geffen

Rating: 9/10 ?


December 13, 2005
Two years after Sonic Youth's Dirty got the deluxe treatment it deserved, Goo emerges from the vaults and is upgraded for a new generation of sonic prospectors. The addition of outtakes, B-sides and material never before released is indeed what makes this 2xCD set appealing to the diehard fans who bought the follow-up to Daydream Nation in its heyday.

Retrospectively, Goo, originally released in the summer of 1990, was extremely important for at least a couple of reasons: a) it hinted at the direction the New Yorkers were heading in, both musically and as a cohesive art ensemble, and b) it pulverized all scepticism that inevitably blossomed after they had signed with a major label. (Before moving on, let's just thank everyone involved for keeping the original Raymond Pettibon artwork intact.)

In the liner notes for this expanded edition, music writer Byron Coley recalls: "A college student named Debbie told me… 'When I was 12 years old someone gave me a copy of Goo. It's the only thing that saved me from being a teenybopper." In a time when it was the rock star, and not the DJ, who could save your life, the guitar/bass and drum slugfest that occurs throughout the course of this album is tentatively provocative and rather inspiring, to say the least. Anyone expecting a softened detour in Sonic Youth's path, after Daydream Nation broke its way to the masses, must certainly have felt really confused with tracks like "Mildred Pierce" and "Disappearer", the latter a song about UFOs. Some even dismissed it as mere artistic filler before pointing to an overall artistic failure circa Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. But Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley are still here to prove them all wrong.

The real highlight of this record remains Kim Gordon's collaboration with Public Enemy's Chuck D on "Kool Thing". Her vocal mannerisms defy any sort of categorization when assisted by the always ferocious and poignant presence of the storied MC. But, for the purists, there's also the clean, Chuck-less version of "Kool Thing" on Disc Two. Of course Goo would never be the same without "Mary-Christ", a song about dating Jesus' mother, which gets all the exposure it deserves on both discs of the release; or "Tunic (Song For Karen)", a tribute to the lead singer for the Carpenters, who died of heart failure brought on by anorexia nervosa, in the early 80s - a song also featured on side two as an 8-track demo, along with other revisited luminaries like "My Friend Goo" and "Cinderella's Big Score".

As it is normally the rule when these expanded records come out, the tracks featured on side two strip the original album to its barest essentials and all manner of studio-induced glimmer goes out the window. Those not connected to the Sonic Youth galaxy - and therefore a thousand light-years away from the genesis of everything interesting - will now have the chance to pull the plug twice on this album. All others - meaning those who understand that these songs aren't supposed to be sung in the bath and who despise self-pitying arguments about a certain taste in music - will delve into the lethargic moan of Moore, and the incontinent emotion enclosed in Gordon's voice.

As an addendum, those who understand will know how it feels like to be one of the first to put their hands on valuable material such as "That's All I Know (Right Now)" and "I Know There's an Answer" - amazingly-crafted covers of the Neon Boys and the Beach Boys songs, respectively - as well as the instrumentals "Can Song" and "Isaac", and the essential "Dr. Benway's House", which was Sonic Youth's contribution to William Burroughs' Dead City Radio. Some will argue that this deluxe edition flattens Goo's primal scream into a commercial item, full of extras, and overexposes its fundamental truth (the inclusion of a six-minute, promotion-only interview may also be regarded as a marketing appetizer per se). But I would say that the least we can do for Sonic Youth is to sacrifice our philosophical argumentation on the altar of their music, updated or otherwise.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes

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