January 18, 2022

Sonic Youth - "In & Out"

The legendary Sonic Youth have announced a new album of old material dating from 2000-2010 and have shared the previously unreleased track "In & Out." 

While there seems to be no plans for a reunion any time soon (Lee Renaldo states he has no desire to relearn old songs), fans of Sonic Youth can still rejoice over new(ish) songs from the band. In March, the band will release a collection of rarities recorded during their final decade as a band and today we're getting the first taste with the song "In & Out." From the release's Bandcamp page, "'In & Out' quietly resembles Can in a cave with dripping stalactites of Kim’s wordless tone rumble and was recorded at a soundcheck in Pomona California and their home Hoboken turf in 2010." This is the jammy side of Sonic Youth that wasn't always so prominent in other singles and was more of a trait that was loved by die-hard fans over their career. Here, Gordon's vocals aren't lyrics, but rather another instrument that adds a lot more texture to their already grungy sound. While it's not from the band's most regarded period, the track still offers more of a light into what they were recording during their final decade and perhaps can shine more insight into the era that also featured Jim O'Rourke and Mark Ibold joining the band. Thurston claimed the band had more in common with jam bands than many give credit for and how they should've ended up on tour with Phish during the '90s. This was also not long after Sonic Youth had opened for Neil Young in the early '90s and perhaps mingled a bit more with a crowd that was more open to extended jams and it also wasn't long after that Neil also thought he should tour with Phish. Pioneers of no-wave and grunge, Sonic Youth probably hit their peak in the '90s as the kings and queen of alternative in the wake of Nirvana and were still the underground heroes many desired. I'm not sure "In & Out" will convert any Phish fans or Deadheads into the more droning spirals and extreme feedback of SY in their final moments, but it's a fun thought to kick around while the whirling hiss and garbled tones buzz around your speakers.

In​/​Out​/​In is out March 11 via Three Lobed Recordings.

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