Fans of influential alternative act Sonic Youth may be lamenting what looks to be the band’s official split, what with the group’s core duo of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore officially separating after 27 years of marriage.
Though the two worked with the one and only Yoko Ono on a collaborative album (handily called YOKOKIMTHURSTON), Moore seems to be full steam ahead with brand new band Chelsea Light Morning, releasing new material and touring; but the rest of the group haven’t forgotten the importance of their legacy.
In an interview with BBC Radio, guitarist Lee Ranaldo revealed plans to release a whole lot of archived film and audio material in an extensive program.
Ranaldo spoke of a tour film, from 1986, that was being finished up in the editing suite for release. While audio from a 1985 live concert, capturing the band in the earlier stages of their career, is expected to be see the light of day “in the next couple of months.” Ranaldo also spoke of a collection of previously unreleased film music taken from over the years.
A reissue of 1987 album, Sister, is also expected after demos and archived material were discovered, set to be compiled together in a deluxe edition similar to the format given Sonic Youth classics like Daydream Naiton (1988) and Dirty (1992).
There’s plenty more live material as well, including a late 1980s London show in which Sonic Youth played Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” with Iggy Pop. Ranaldo says there’s audio and video of the event, and indicated he hoped there would be a live album for each period of the band’s career.
“Sometimes we’ll listen back to [our music] and barely recognize the songs,” said the guitarist, “because they’ve taken on a new character live. So we thought it would be really cool to find representative recordings from every period in our career, and make new releases that loosely correspond to different records, and let the audience see how the songs shifted or grew or expanded in a live context.”
As for the potential future of Sonic Youth, Ranaldo democratically said that there is a “longterm hold” on future recording and touring. “I’m on good terms and talking with everyone, but there’s definitely a lot of stuff shaking out right now,” he remarked of his bandmates. “It’s such a tender thing right now that none of us are even thinking along those lines.”
He calls the band’s potential disintegration “unfortunate” but remained hopeful that a “rejuvenated” lineup would be “looking to explore new avenues.” Even if nothing eventuates, at least there’s a whole bunch of juicy archive material to look forward to.