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A Thousand Leaves [LP]

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Sonic Youth 10/7/2016

Review

Truth be told, the grunge era never quite fit Sonic Youth. They may have been at the peak of their popularity, but they had traded their experimentalism for sheer, bracing noise. It may have sounded good, but ultimately Dirty didn't have the cerebral impact of Sister, largely because it was tied to an admittedly effective backbeat. Beginning with Washing Machine, Sonic Youth returned to more adventurous territory, and in 1997, they released a series of EPs that illustrated their bond with such post-rock groups as Tortoise and Gastr del Sol. Those EPs, as well as the epic Washing Machine closer, "The Diamond Sea," provide the foundation for A Thousand Leaves, the band's most challenging and satisfying record in years. The blasts of dissonance that characterized their SST masterworks have been replaced, by and large, by winding, intricate improvisations. There's a surprising warmth to the subdued guitars of Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Kim Gordon, which keeps the lengthy songs captivating. Both Moore and Ranaldo concentrate on quiet material, which almost makes Gordon's noisy politicized rants sound a little out of place, but her best moments ("French Tickler," "Heather Angel") have unsettling, unpredictable twists and turns that greatly contribute to the success of A Thousand Leaves. It may be their most cerebral album in ages, but that only makes it all the more engaging. [A Thousand Leaves was re-released on LP in 2016.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Contre le Sexisme Sonic Youth null:null
  3. 2 Sunday Sonic Youth null:null
  4. 3 Female Mechanic Now On Duty Sonic Youth null:null
  5. 4 Wildflower Soul Sonic Youth null:null
  6. 5 Hoarfrost Sonic Youth null:null
  7. 6 French Tickler Sonic Youth null:null
  8. 7 Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg) Sonic Youth null:null
  9. 8 Karen Koltrane Sonic Youth null:null
  10. 9 The Ineffable Me Sonic Youth null:null
  11. 10 Snare, Girl Sonic Youth null:null
  12. 11 Heather Angel Sonic Youth null:null

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