Released: 18/11/22 (delayed from 04/11/22)
The first complete Sonic Youth album is one of Thurston Moore’s favourites. Originally slated to be a 7” to follow up their self-titled debut, Sonic Youth’s Confusion Is Sex blossomed into the band’s first album: a brain-bludgeoning, completely fried endeavor of dissonance and disarray, a perfect soundtrack for running from a chain-wielding gang near the SIN Club. This was the sound of 1983 New York City, nothing like the jangly roots of college radio rock starting to formulate in Athens, Georgia. It sounded like no one else on Earth, for that matter. The raw, Wharton Tiers 8-track production is dark, the Kim Gordon- scrawled cover figure art of Thurston Moore is dark, Lee Ranaldo’s back cover photo-collage and Catherine Ceresole’s crumpled-xeroxed images that adorned the inside are dark. It’s an album that moves Sonic Youth forward from their first EP almost by devolving backwards into true ugly, lo-fi primitivity.
The bareboned arsenal of junkpile guitars and implementation of alternate tunings was growing, and so were the songs that matched the individual attributes of each instrument: certain ones groan and growl a specific way that the band started to realize itself could become the compositional germ of a song. Herein is the threshold of a new explosion of the band’s creativity, replacing the comparatively cleaner buzz of the Sonic Youth EP with guitars that spew fractured, uglier chunks of sound everywhere, held down by menacing minimalist basslines (actually played by Thurston on half of this LP, and for the only time ever on “Protect Me You) and the brutal-yet-controlled metronomic drumming of Jim Sclavunos, augmented with replacement drummer Bob Bert’s notable bashing on Making the Nature Scene and of I Wanna Be Your Dog.