Silver Rockets/Kool Things—20 Years of Sonic Youth | Chicago Reader

Silver Rockets/Kool Things—20 Years of Sonic Youth

Another installment in the deification of Sonic Youth, the hipper-than-thou NYC punk band that has prolonged its natural life span by hooking into the Manhattan art scene and dabbling in avant-garde music. In standard TV rockumentary fashion, German video maker Christopher Dreher captures the band in concert (the opening segment was shot in Chicago at the Riviera), interviews the players and their colleagues (composer Glenn Branca, producer Wharton Tiers), and illustrates their commentary with clips from the band's music videos. He clearly shows how the esoteric rockers' breadth of vision has allowed them to produce interesting work well into their 40s, but he also suffers from fan's myopia: at one point drummer Steve Shelley declares that Sonic Youth carried on as usual after signing a major-label deal with Geffen Records, but no hint of irony colors the subsequent clip from Kool Thing, the band's first video for Geffen, which recast tomboy bassist Kim Gordon as a writhing sex kitten (2002, 55 min.).

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