Twenty-eight years ago today, downtown NYC noisemakers Sonic Youth released Daydream Nation, the album many consider to be their magnum opus, their defining statement, the record in their canon that spawned a generation of followers. It was one of the first albums of the pre-alternative era to be chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. It’s the album that 16-year-old me rushed to buy at the Lollapalooza 1995 merch table after having my mind blown by their night-closing performance. I still have that CD on my shelves somewhere.
Twenty-one years ago today, Sonic Youth was not particularly interested in thinking about Daydream Nation, as they had a very worthy new release to celebrate at a very new music venue. On October 18th, 1995, the band headlined the first-ever concert at the brand-new Electric Factory in Callowhill. Their ninth long-player, Washing Machine, had just appeared on shelves, and it was an expansive and psychedelic collection of songs that thrillingly blended punk dissonance, ambient melody and occasional pop hooks. Opening the show was Dirty Three — the instrumental project of The Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis, who was quite intoxicated and explained that songs were about bike seats not fitting correctly — and local psych luminaries Bardo Pond, which left a powerful impression on me as well. Continue reading →