Indie rock royalty Sonic Youth have been the subject of DIY music culture for decades. In Stevie Chick’s captivating insight, utilising interviews with the band and the people closest to them, he recalls the creation of the band and its resilience throughout decades against mainstream culture.
Former Melody Maker journalist and founder of Loose Lips Sink Ships magazine, Stevie Chick marvellously unravels the band’s tangled and complex history, bringing their story to life with exclusive images and deep research.
Emerging from the experimental no wave scene in New York in the 1980s before becoming the pinnacle band of the American noise rock scene, Sonic Youth’s story is truly rich and fascinating to read. Without them, the independent and DIY guitar music community that followed would not have come into being, such as Nirvana who released Nevermind on a major label in 1991, arguably the year that ‘punk broke’.
Sonic Youth’s meticulously explored inspirations, through decades of guitar music such as hard-core, punk and noise, pioneered the no wave scene. The scene explored what noise could be, leading the way for an array of bands to explore the same DIY and artistic outlook into what guitar music was and have the potential to be. Bands of legendary status such as Nirvana, Pavement and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs receive their fair attention in the story, piecing together the dense network of musicians that Sonic Youth were involved with. It is largely evident that the band’s ethos was and continues to be immensely inspiring to those around them as well as their followers.
Exclusive photographs from the young band to some of rock’s music’s most important figures from Kurt Cobain, Siouxsie Sioux and Kathleen Hanna which work magically to bring the band’s story and music scenes to life.
At times the book appears to resemble a history of American alternative music, as Chick tours you around the scenes, showcasing Sonic Youth’s heavy influence on it. The cultural histories of New York, birth of no wave and noise rock and the rise of alternative rock into the mainstream the 1990s are confidently delved into.
In Psychic Confusion, Stevie Chick confirms and concretes Sonic Youth’s royal status in Underground music. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in alternative music as well as the history of alternative American culture.