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Sonic Youth Plan New Album, 2xCD Goo Reissue, Two Video Retrospectives in 2004

Catherine Lewis reports:
Remember that list of New Year's resolutions you hastily jotted down on the back of a bar napkin when you woke up in a hungover stupor on January 1st? Let's take a look at Sonic Youth's to-do list for 2004: New album! Expanded releases of old albums! DVD's! Solo projects! Festivals! Yeah, your list isn't looking so great now, is it?

Well, first off, Sonic Youth are in the process of writing/rehearsing/recording a new album, which is as yet untitled and should see release at Geffen's hands this summer. Hopefully this album will include recordings of some of the new songs that have been bounced around at recent shows, like the politically-themed "Peace Attack," which was a staple on their summer 2003 tour with Wilco. They are planning the release of some more SYR EP's, one of which will include the live performance of "J'Accuse Ted Hughes" from the April 2001 UK All Tomorrow's Parties, which guitarist Thurston Moore describes as "a twenty-minute dronefuck piece that pissed off every Guinness-swilling journalist awake at the time." Down with journalists! Down with journalists! Oh shit, I guess that includes us. Moving on...

Speaking of All Tomorrow's Parties, the Youth are curating one day at the ATP weekend festival in the UK this April. "Since the USA has presented such relentless bozo-scum (talking politics and reality TV here) to the rest of the world we decided to just have American bands that we think are radical/ creative play as a pronouncement of what we think is good here," Moore told Pitchfork. And while bands like Wolf Eyes, Double Leopards, and Lightning bolt are sure to please, c'mon, Thurston, reality TV ain't so bad-- just think how ATP could be enhanced by a surprise visit from honeymooners Ryan and Trista!

At some point in 2004, you can also look forward to the deluxe reissue of 1990's Goo, which will be very similar to last year's reissue of Dirty: a two-CD / four-LP release, with extensive liner notes by rock guru Byron Coley. The release will be stocked full of b-sides, oddities, and the 8-track Goo demos (which had been previously released in bootleg form, but will be presented here in much better quality, remixed "into hot sonic slash" by Jim O'Rourke). There is no release date for this yet, so it may not hit stores until later in the year.

In addition, there is a ridiculous amount of DVD action planned for this year. Look for a full-scale Geffen-era video retrospective, which will include the "Goo" video and all subsequent videos (up to and including "Empty Page" from Murray Street, plus the never-seen "Nevermind" from NYC Ghosts & Flowers). This will include commentary by Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna and filmmaker Richard Kern, among others.

Lee Ranaldo tells Pitchfork there may be other archival treasures which may see a DVD release this year, including a "still-never-released 1986 USA Evol Tour Movie which I shot and which is 95 percent finished-- there were some screenings of the ruff cut last year. Also the [Screaming Fields of Sonic Love] video, which documents our videos during the 'indie years'," which was released on VHS back in 1995. Ranaldo also hinted at the possibility of some live Sonic Youth DVD's and told us that Dave Markey, director of 1991: The Year Punk Broke, is preparing an amazing two-DVD set of that film, with loads of previously-unseen footage of the Youth, Nirvana, and others, complete with commentary from Moore and Markey. At present, there are legal difficulties with releasing the film, but hopefully those can be ironed out in time for a deluxe package later this year.

The Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon recently completed an art / record collaboration with artist Dan Graham for Germany's Bottrop Boy label. Moore has had a few poetry pieces published, in addition to editing the sixth volume of his Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal for Glass Eye Books. At the end of last year, Gordon and Jutta Koether curated a month-long exhibit, "Club in the Shadow," at the Kenny Schachter Contemporary gallery, which turned the gallery into a club for a month with performances every weekend.

Ranaldo has a few things on his plate: Atavistic just released Monsoon, the first in its Out Trios series (specifically for instrumental trio recordings)-- a live set of Ranaldo, Burma's Roger Miller, and free jazz legend William Hooker that was recorded at NYC's Knitting Factory. Ranaldo also released New Life After Fire (for Tom Thomson) on Toronto's Art Metropole Gallery's label and is working on a book of poems titled Lengths & Breaths, which will be published in April on WaterRow Press.

Ranaldo is also part of collaborative ensemble Text of Light, named after Stan Brakhage's 1974 film of that title. The group performs improvised soundtrack to silent films and features a revolving lineup including William Hooker, DJ Olive, Tim Barnes, Alan Licht, Christian Marclay, and Ulrich Kreiger. Text of Light's first releases will be a one-sided twelve-inch from Table of the Elements (part of the 10th anniversary releases for that label) and an art /record collaboration on Bottrop Boy which will includes a vinyl LP and a print by the phenomenal artist Tacita Dean.

In addition, almost all members of Sonic Youth will be playing at the No Fun Festival in Brooklyn this March (Moore and O'Rourke with the "Dream Aktion Unit," featuring Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty; Ranaldo with Miller and Hooker; and Kim Gordon solo).

.: Pitchfork Review: Sonic Youth: Dirty [Deluxe Edition]
.: Pitchfork News: Thurston Moore Makes Noise, Follows Orders
.: Sonic Youth:
.: Atavistic:
.: Originally published: 26 January 2004
.: Items mentioned above on Goo (Sonic Youth, 1990); Dirty [Deluxe Edition] (Sonic Youth, 1992; r 2003); Screaming Fields of Sonic Love VHS (Sonic Youth, 1995); Monsoon (Hooker/Miller/Ranaldo, 2003).