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Sonic Youth

Earlier this week, Matador released The Sonik Youth’s 16th album The Eternal. You’ve probably heard it, and if you enjoyed it you should know that the band (now with 100% Mark Ibold) will take it cross-country this summer (tour dates after the jump). One setlist fixture is sure to be Kim-sung Eternal opener “Sacred Trickster,” which the band road tested in two intimate NYC venues this week: Apple Store SoHo (Tuesday) and Ed Sullivan Theater (Wednesday). We’ve got photos of the former, video of the latter, and an MP3 for your iPhone 3GS.

Their sixth time on the program since making this TV debut in ’92:

Oh yeah, that Radiohead comment? Here’s Ms. Gordon discussing In Rainbows in The Guardian.

“I don’t really think they did it by themselves. They did a marketing ploy by themselves and then got someone else to put it out. It seemed really community-oriented, but it wasn’t catered towards their musician brothers and sisters, who don’t sell as many records as them. It makes everyone else look bad for not offering their music for whatever.”

She’s not the first musician sister to bitch about the Radiohead treatment this year. Those bullies.

Here’s where you can see Sonic Youth this summer, but it’ll cost you.

6/27 Chicago, IL @ The Vic w/Entrance
6/28 CHicago, IL @ The Vic
6/29 Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Theater w/Entrance
6/30 Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall w/Entrance
7/02 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory w/Entrance
7/03 New York, NY @United Palace w/Entrance
7/06 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club w/Endless Boogie
7/07 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club w/Entrance
7/08 Richmond, VA @ The National w/Entrance
7/10 Knoxville, TN @ Bijou Theater w/Entrance
7/11 Nashville, TN @ War Memorial w/Entrance
7/12 Birmingham, AL @ Sloss Furnace w/Entrance
7/13 Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse w/Entrance
7/15 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues w/Awesome Color
7/16 Tulsa, OK @ Cains Ballroom w/Awesome Color
7/17 St. Louis, MO @ Fair Saint Louis w/Awesome Color
7/18 Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club w/Awesome Color
7/20 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
7/21 Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
7/23 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory w/Awesome Color
7/24 Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory w/Awesome Color
7/25 Seattle, WA @ Capitol Hill Block Party
7/26 Burnaby, BC @ Virgin Festival BC
7/28 Portland, OR @ Roseland w/Awesome Color
7/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ Twilight COncert Series w/Awesome Color
7/31 Denver, CO @ Ogden w/Awesome Color
8/02 Oakland, CA @ Fox w/Awesome Color

Comments (63)
  1. Ughh, I love you, Kim Gordon, but don’t make me choose between SY and Radiohead.

  2. Eddie Murphy  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    I hope Kim’s comments do not lead to a comment brawl on this “leave a comment” feature

    • Sorry, Eddie, but I’m going to take a stab at voicing an opinion on this issue – the idea that Radiohead’s “ploy” wasn’t “catered” to their musical brethen seems like grasping for straws – that’s like saying it’s Radiohead’s own fault they became critically acclaimed and reasonably well received in record sales, etc…where as Sonic Youth have long gained the critical acclaim, but it hasn’t necessarily translated to record sales, etc….why Kim Gordon thinks SY and other bands look bad because of something Radiohead did is also highly odd – are any of us, upon hearing news of any band’s new album release, immediately taking to the blogs to bitch and moan why this band or that band isn’t releasing in a ‘radiohead’ model?

      Jeff Tweedy has long stood up for musicians making a fair amount for what they do – hence the VW commercials, etc…but he also agrees to let the new album stream, in its entirety, probably a full month before release, most likely knowing it will then make the rounds, thereby reducing sales.

      The Eternal leaked, it was prematurely evaluated, many of us heard it – but never once did I sit there and think to myself – gee, Sonic Youth, you really look bad because you didn’t go the Radiohead route…it all sounds like a complete wash and making an argument for the sake of nothing at all..well, not “nothing” because that would be like downloading In Rainbows for no donation at all…kind of like how I downloaded The Eternal from a blog…only difference was the blog didn’t give me the option to donate..go figure.

  3. Mouthful of Cinnamon  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Fuck yes, Mark Ibold.

  4. Good point Kim–most music fans are retarded are incapable of comprehending why all bands can’t feasibly follow the “In Rainbows” release method. In fact I’ve stopped listening to music all together that isn’t offered for free.

  5. Madder  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    WTF Stereogum, that’s not dissing Radiohead at all. I see what you do wanting to start a bitch fight here or there c’mon. This is very unfair to SY and Radiohead. And then you compare Radiohead to Miley Cyrus. Two of the greatest bands of our generation reduced to “she said he said” comments on a stupid ass blog. Great Stereogum, stay classy!

    • lecture  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

      Thank you! This comment is one of the more innocuous things Stereogum has chosen to blow out of proportion. Is someone paying them to start comment wars here? Taking somebody’s legitimate opinion and taking it out of context for nothing other than cheap gossip? Maybe there’s some shadowy figure instructing them to pit fans against each other until we all go and blow up the internet. Great. I’ll give them one comment this time because it probably ought to be said.

  6. I don’t know, I don’t feel like there’s anything that biting here. All she’s saying is that Radiohead are lucky to be in a place where they can afford to give away albums without worrying about it, and that just because other bands can’t afford to do that financially doesn’t mean they are any less devoted to their fanbase.

    Also, Mark Ibold is the shit.

    • understood  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

      it’s not really a biting commentary, that’s true, but saying “its not catered to the musician brothers and sisters, who don’t sell as many records as them. It makes everyone else look bad for not offering their music for whatever.” is hardly the same as saying “gee, radiohead sure is lucky to give away albums for whatever!”

      P.S. Ms. Gordon – selling CDs exclusively at Starbucks and taking over for a week are “marketing ploys” too. Sorry yours isn’t working out so great for your band.

      • I’m forced to agree about the ‘brother musicians’ bit, it’s not as though every musician is part of some elitist club and it’s an asinine thing to say. I just don’t think her core point is very inflammatory, even though it’s couched in accusatory (not to mention confusing!) language.

  7. When I get older, i wanna look as good as Kim Gordon! She’s awesome. Look at those legs in that short dress in Letterman! :D

    Also, people are stirring a storm in a shallow glass of water with this Radiohead thing. Bottom line is she’s telling it like it is. Not many people sell as many records and sell out every single stadium show like them, so they can’t afford to basically give their life’s work away.

    And she’s expressing herself like an intelligent adult, unafraid to admit they are not as big as Radiohead, unlike say Robert Smith.

  8. tired of posers on top  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    mark ibold and kim gordon = the two lamest hangers-on in indie-rock history.

  9. WHOA! I had never seen that old video. That’s crazy. How come bands don’t go to Late Night and do that anymore.

    I really like the one where they performed “Bull in a Heather”.

    Sonic Youth can still teach the kids how to be cool, Fact.

  10. TC  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    If you’re in a band and would like more press coverage, answer any question concerning Radiohead. Apparently it’s a can’t miss talking point for broadening the scope of your buzz.

  11. Bruce Rudermentary  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    fk a snc yth. trap doors.

  12. reverbtank  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Man, everytime I see the old Late Night footage with bands playing with Paul Shaffer and ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Band’, it slays me. Especially during this era. Search for The Pixies and especially Dinosaur Jr – “Someone answer the phone!”

  13. Kim Gordon has nothing to worry about. Sonic Youth are gods, and have been around forever, influenced so many and all that, but marketing has never really been SY’s strong suit. Radiohead is also on their way to becoming gods, but in a completely separate world than that of SY.

    Also, Ibold: fuck yes!

    • How can you make claims that “so and so is a god” and yet still sound so tame and boring?
      If you’re going to talk shit, friggin do it.

  14. DOOD  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Kim Gordon has voiced stupid opinions before.. this is one of them.

  15. Liam  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    is it just me, or did Thurston give Letterman the cold shoulder at the end of that clip?

  16. that 100% clip is amazin’ – All of you should check out Entrance Band- get to shows
    early – there album is coming soon – and rumor has it – it smokes. Perhaps Radiohead
    can offer Entrance record for free and pick up the tab?

  17. Sam  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Kim Gordon kind of makes me feel uncomfortable these days, but I will always think Mark Ibold is utterly adorable and awesome.

  18. I feel like I’m a beacon of stupidity/irrational reactions wherever I go, not to mention I’m very much unfamiliar with the substantial core Sonic Youth discography, but even I don’t mind Kim Gordon’s “other side of the coin” opinion. Wish it wasn’t as accusatory as it sounds and I don’t particularly agree with it (mainly because she’s completely ignoring Radiohead’s preface that the pay-what-you-want model was an experiment of sorts), but it’s not the worst thing in the world.

  19. So much for respecting RH’s right to do what they want with their music. I paid $6 to download “In Rainbows”. I doubt I’d pay $.06 to download “The Eternal”, not that it isn’t valuable to someone else. I’d say there’s a good reason why RH’s catalog is a much easier sell. This isn’t a judgement on the artistic value of either. Rather, it’s just the realities of the marketplace.

  20. not_sold  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Kim Gordon Suxxxxx.

  21. In Rainbows has really made talking shit about Radiohead the new black. Kim’s main point was fairly mild, but essentially saying that Radiohead were being selfish and are making non-world famous bands look bad in comparison just makes her sound jealous and rather uninformed. First of all, the idea that anyone would actually think, “What do you mean I have to pay for the new Sonic Youth album when I could choose my price for Radiohead’s last album?!?” is ridiculous. Secondly, I’m kind of sick of people playing into the myths surrounding In Rainbows rather than looking at the facts. The things Radiohead themselves have said regarding their intentions with In Rainbows are very different than what Kim Gordon (and a lot of other people) seems to think. Call me crazy, but I’m inclined to believe Radiohead.

    Also, didn’t In Rainbows happen nearly two years ago now? You would never know it, from all the attention it’s still receiving. News flash, haters: if you don’t like it, talking about it more isn’t going to make it go away faster.

  22. meh  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    maybe it didn’t do any favors for their “musician brothers,” but it catered to the fans just fine. besides, releasing in rainbows traditionally wouldn’t have really helped any musician brothers either, just record execs.

    does kim really think SY fans are stupid enough to hold it against them that they don’t have the financial freedom of the biggest band in the world? i love SY (and radiohead), but until they figure out a new sustainable model for the music industry (other than putting out starbucks comps), don’t hate on folks who are at least pushing the conversation forward.

  23. beancup  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    fuck, Kim Gordon sure knows how to ruin a good song. anyone know where i can find an instrumental version of sacred trickster?

  24. The things in the night  |   Posted on Jun 11th, 2009 0

    Haha a band trying to get it back, ‘dissing’ a band that never lost it. Nice way to get come coverage on the back of someone else, because you just don’t cut it anymore. Ironic Spike Jonze, Jason Lee have better careers these days from staring in the 100% video.

    Sonic were good once but are just cashing in on their status now…. haven’t moved on or progressed, even Dinosaur JR have stopped playing on the 90s any more and do new stuff.

    Radiohead continue to push themselves Sonic suck where we first saw them.

    • Someone that listens to music from other years too  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

      “Radiohead continue to push themselves Sonic suck where we first saw them. ”

      Please point me to your blog. I would like to read more musical evaluations of this caliber.

  25. There’s artists out there like Radiohead and Trent Reznor that are fed up with the current doomed state of the record industry, and they’re trying different things to change it. Gordon should stop bitching and try something that works for HER band.

  26. Windsorphil  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

    Of course Radiohead owe everyone a living don’t they. Just publicity grabbing. Shame, I though SY would have been beyond that…

  27. Alright fine. I’ll do it:

    Sonic Youth < Radiohead

  28. My god!! I love you Kim but what is your problem! Radiohead isn’t trying to insult people by releasing their music in an awesome way!

  29. yoboy  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

    I can’t believe that nobody has “outed” Radiohead for their marketing plan of “pay what you want.” It was the greatest scam.

    Radiohead claim “indie” but in fact the band had the plan all along to release the album via Sony, which they did.

    Thanks Sonic Youth

  30. Perhaps she just jealous because Jonny Greenwood composes for the Beeb and Thurston Moore just plays out of tune.

  31. Manhattan  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

    …they made me feel like I was trying to restore a Model-T!…the worst part was having to look at the poster for that bullshit ,machine made ,tone deaf demographic#21 movie…not that I don’t like Maya Rudolph…

  32. Public Pervert  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

    I’m going to start recycling lest I make my non-recycling brethern look bad.

  33. Andrew  |   Posted on Jun 12th, 2009 0

    Hey — where’s the Los Angeles dates on that tour list? Here I live in like the 2nd biggest city in the country and I can’t see Sonic Youth on their tour? Sigh.

  34. Kim has always talked shit, no offense to everybody worshiping the Youth, who I do enjoy. But come on Radiohead got huge for a reason – good songs that touched something in people, said something about the world – beyond the art-rocking which I love SY for.

  35. jjazznola  |   Posted on Jun 13th, 2009 0

    I love both bands. Been listening to SY since the early 80′s. Don’t really care what mucicians in general have to say though. They are mostly full of shit. It’s all about the music.

  36. bs  |   Posted on Jun 13th, 2009 0

    what i got from kg’s comments was that by releasing free music, radiohead seemed to be screwing the smaller acts that rely on selling music to make any sort of living

    once one gives it away for free, everyone else is expected–eventually–to follow the example, and in this scenario, hardly anyone is able to follow what radiohead did

    it’s not about making people look bad or dissing one another

  37. Sonic Youth has the right to speak out their mind. I love both Radiohead and Sonic Youth so I’ll stay neutral on this one.

    We luv u Kim!

  38. gary b  |   Posted on Jun 13th, 2009 0

    i love sonic youth, but kims vocals have ruined more great songs than anyone i can think of.

  39. Kim Gordon is the ultimate boner murderer.

  40. guyinblack  |   Posted on Jun 15th, 2009 0

    the fact is, just like Radiohead, that SY did leak their album themselves… first to thousands of folks who did Matador’s Buy Early Get Now. difference being, everyone of those people bought the album from a record store. it’s a much more novel and interesting than just putting the album up for free on a website. and it also got the album to REAL fans, first.

  41. radio zero  |   Posted on Jun 15th, 2009 0

    now i say something….

  42. 7/24 Knitting Factory, Spokane not New York. I would like to see them fly across the country twice in 24 hr period.

  43. eughgh  |   Posted on Jun 15th, 2009 0

    This is so irritating. I am not a Radiohead fanatic (though I do love many of their albums), but let me reply with Thom Yorke’s own words:

    “The only reason we could even get away with this, the only reason anyone even gives a shit, is the fact that we?ve gone through the whole mill of the business in the first place. It?s not supposed to be amodel for anything else. It was simply a response to a situation. We?reout of contract. We have our own studio. We have this new server. What the hell else would we do? This was the obvious thing.

    ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>But it only works for us because of where we are.”

    Not to mention this union business:

    Kim Gordon .. jsut..

  44. Think about it  |   Posted on Jun 16th, 2009 0

    Radiohead punished people who download music. “The radiohead model” released a lower quality version for “pay what you want” online PURPOSELY so that when the band released a high quality version with MORE TRACKS on it people would have to buy that. Radiohead’s manager said this himself, it was a marketing ploy. “The Radiohead model” isn’t even close to the future of music when all of us already expect to get something for free. It is still thriving off a broken system of record sales (which don’t mean anything anymore). The fact that Radiohead makes good music has nothing to do with what Kim is talking about. In fact, both of them seem pretty removed from the actual issue, which is how do you market a product to an audience that already expects to get it fast, free, and in massive quantities? According to Radiohead’s manager: “If we didn’t believe that when people hear the music they will want to buy the CD then we wouldn’t do what we are doing.” If they really cared about starting some revolution, they would have put the online version up at the same quality as the cd release.

  45. THATS the ‘diss?!’ you fucking idiots…slight mini comment critique/opinion does not =dissing ya cunts, thanks for wasting 30 seconds of me puff haha.

  46. royale  |   Posted on Jun 19th, 2009 0

    i’m not sorry, but radiohead are terrible

    that’s a fact by the way

    there is absolutely zero exciting about them

    SY are gettin on….but they still excite

  47. Sonic Youth and Radiohead are two of my favorite bands. However, I agree with Gordon’s comment. I don’t think it was a stab at Radiohead, not because it’s true, but because it’s just how it is. Both bands are mature enough to not get in a tiff over something so matter-of-fact.

  48. jonah  |   Posted on Jun 21st, 2009 0

    Jesus fucking christ, it’s been over a fucking year since In Rainbows was released.

    When will musicians fucking stop finding it’s model a relevant thing to bitch about at random?

  49. Yes, the model worked for Radiohead, as they said, because they have been in the business for quite a while, and have written songs many people love.
    Alas, free or not, remember, they can do that, but still made over $8 million on the box set releases alone (included in the ‘free’ downloads). Not to mention they still debuted at #1 on Billboard even after ‘giving their album away for free.’
    Finally, bands don’t usually make money selling cds, but on touring. Ask any indie band if you want to.

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