Yes, this thing is still on.


I’ve been listening a lot — and by a lot, I mean it’s been on frequent shuffle for five consecutive days now — to Sonic Youth’s new album, Rather Ripped. You can listen to it here (scroll down), and I hope you will; it’s much more inspired and self-restrained and bigger and catchier than what they’ve been attempting for the past decade, and it has reminded me for the millionth time not to give up on bands you thought had lost their spark. In particular, I would urge you to sample these tracks, in order of their excellence: “Jams Run Free,” “Incinerate,” “Pink Steam,” and “Reena.” I will leave you to judge them for yourself.

Thanks to the power of a PC (don’t smite me for saying that, Jesus!) at my temporary office job, where sports trivia flies through the air like gnats on a muggy summer evening in Michigan, I’ve been able to subscribe to the Rhapsody music service, and it’s granted me access to bands I’ve been meaning to check out for a long time, but have been either too cheap or too impatient to sample. The good news is that I am now heavily invested in Silkworm and Unwound. Not sure how I missed out on them, but it’s no secret among my friends that I am always late to the party, rarely hearing, upon its release, the music that might have saved my life. And at least a few of these songs might have saved my life. I’ll even go so far to say — although further study is certainly needed — that Silkworm’s “Tarnished Angel” is the best song of the 1990s written by a band I never actually heard during that decade. (They were on Matador! I’m disgusted with myself!) As for the Fugazi-meets-Slint noise issued by Unwound, all I will say is it flat-out rocks, especially the track “Hexenzsene.” A decade too late again, it seems.

Here’s the opening line from “Tarnished Angel.” It just may sum up my Friday night:

I thank God for relentless thirst
A quart of liquor can’t speak unless you drink it first.

I forgot my book! Subway boredom!