Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

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Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by SadFuzz » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:13 am

Washing Machine by Sonic Youth is 25 years old today.
Would be lying if i said it was my favourite of their records but i still love it a lot and has some of their coolest songs i.e skip tracer, the title track, little trouble girl and the diamond sea.
Coincidentally wearing my washing machine tee today.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:34 am

I liked the track "The Diamond Sea" so much when it came out (and still do).

This album was recorded at the old Easley-McCain in Memphis, which was previously called American East and Onyx. In the American East/Onyx days, it was mostly used as a demo studio for Chips Moman's operation (this would've been around '67-72).

When Doug Easley moved in there in the early 90s, I was just barely old enough to be interested in the local music scene as a pre-teen.

On one record, the Grifters put the phone number to Easley-McCain in the liner notes(!) and it seemed like almost overnight it became a trendy place for national indie bands to record.

There was a pretty serious fire in 2005, and I think that was the end of Easley-McCain (certainly at that location at least). I think it has been repaired and is under different ownership now... or at least was being called "American" again a few years ago (no affiliation with Moman or any of the original American Studios personnel).

Onyx was, I believe, the first studio in Memphis that was actually purpose-built from the ground up to be a recording studio. By all accounts, it wasn't really as spectacular acoustically as everyone had hoped. There are even a couple of echo chambers that I don't think anyone's really that enthused about (I've never worked there, so wouldn't know firsthand).

The new Ardent was built ground-up just a few years later (in '71) and was (and is!) much more successful in most ways (acoustically, technically, commercially, etc).

But it's hard to deny that Easley-McCain is where all the cool shit was happening in the 90s recording-wise in Memphis. They were doing Panther Burns, SY, Grifters, etc. while Ardent was recording Gin Blossoms or whatever.

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by soggy mittens » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:52 pm

wonderful album, for me it is the last album of Sonic Youth that I love all the way through, after A Thousand Leaves I lost a lot of interest in their newer stuff and went from diehard fan to I-prefer-your-old-stuff kinda fan. I remember looking through old boxes a few months ago and finding the receipt for washing machine from 1995, I almost threw it out but stuffed it back in the box.
Also I came across an article earlier this year that one of the guys on the cover died a few years ago. r.i.p. I vaguely remember reading that the cover photo was meant to have their faces but because they were underage and they never got their names they couldn't ask them for permission and had to crop the image.
If OSG has tort me anything...

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:52 pm

soggy mittens wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:52 pm
wonderful album, for me it is the last album of Sonic Youth that I love all the way through, after A Thousand Leaves I lost a lot of interest in their newer stuff and went from diehard fan to I-prefer-your-old-stuff kinda fan. I remember looking through old boxes a few months ago and finding the receipt for washing machine from 1995, I almost threw it out but stuffed it back in the box.
Also I came across an article earlier this year that one of the guys on the cover died a few years ago. r.i.p. I vaguely remember reading that the cover photo was meant to have their faces but because they were underage and they never got their names they couldn't ask them for permission and had to crop the image.
I'm just barely old enough to remember Kurt Loder on MTV News showing that photo and announcing that SY wanted to find the kids to get clearance, with contact info

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by SadFuzz » Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:03 am

Thats super cool about the studio, i didn't know much about the recording of it.
Murray Street is the last album by them i properly love.

I initially didn't like the diamond sea cos i thought the noise section was too long and they should've finished it by going back to the verse but i love it now.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by tune_link » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:13 am

I love this record. I've heard a lot of people comment that Murray Street is the last SY record that they like. For me it's Sonic Nurse but I think both Rather Ripped and The Eternal have songs that are good even if I don't like those albums very much. The one thing I will say is that Washing Machine is the first of that era of SY really to my ears. It's easier to see how the same band made Washing Machine - The Eternal than say reconciling any of those records with Evol, Sister, Confusion is Sex, etc. I tend to think of SY in three phases now that they're a finite thing - the first phase is the self titled EP - Bad Moon Rising, the second phase for me would be Evol - Experimental Jet Set (I think of this as the rock star phase...when they released pretty much all of the songs that are the most well known, signed to a major, appeared in The Year Punk Broke, were in heavy rotation on MTV), the final phase is that "older sounding" mature SY stuff where the guitar tones are noticeably mellower and they focus more on writing songs than on being musically inventive (not that "Diamond Sea" or say "A Contre Le Sexisme" aren't pretty wild sounding at times)....you can really tell that they love album rock like Fleetwood Mac or Grateful Dead from the albums in this period. Anyway, longtime SY fan, just my personal take, etc.


Also "Diamond Sea" does have a radio edit that is really great. As much as I love noise and their freakout jamming, I totally prefer the short 5 minute version of that song on record unless I'm just in the mood to spend 20 minutes with it.

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by SadFuzz » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am

I think a thousand leaves is really underappreciated in their discography, it has some incredible songs. Wildflower Soul and Hoarfrost alone sell that album.
But yeah you've articulated SY's music well there.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by tune_link » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:50 am

SadFuzz wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am
I think a thousand leaves is really underappreciated in their discography, it has some incredible songs. Wildflower Soul and Hoarfrost alone sell that album.
But yeah you've articulated SY's music well there.
I fully agree on A Thousand Leaves. From that period it is hands down my fav SY album. I love the album art and especially its color scheme.

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by SadFuzz » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:01 pm

I love most of their albums, they have such a rich catalogue. If i had to pick a favourite it would honestly be Bad Moon Rising, i think it shares some of its DNA with Leaves.

I'll definitely need to listen to Washing Machine more, i don't give it its due.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by invisible man » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:02 am

Diamond Sea released so many endorphins, seratonin, etc.. in my adolescent mind. One of their best albums.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by sa1126 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:14 am

Ahh yes I remember this record well. Nothing like being 15 wanting to buy a ludwig phase 2 even though I had no money.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by SignoftheDragon » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:11 pm

Y'all are NERDS.





.





.




.




My kind of nerds.
I'm definitely more of a 'Classic Youth' kinda guy- I basically gave up on them after Goo as far as throwing my money at them, but I was glad to let the kids have some SY for themselves. Sister will always be in my Top 5 Albums of All Time Forever. I remember Cruising the streets with my brothers (before I could drive) in our VW bug blasting Confusion Is Sex and EVOL with the windows rolled down. I'm sure it gave people here in Utah nightmares- just as it would now give me if I heard that noise blasting from a car. We certainly didn't pick up any girls with that strategy- Not that there would have been room in the bug...

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by BoringPostcards » Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:08 am

SadFuzz wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am
I think a thousand leaves is really underappreciated in their discography, it has some incredible songs. Wildflower Soul and Hoarfrost alone sell that album.
But yeah you've articulated SY's music well there.
Agreed. At first listen, it is very different from all their previous work. It also has a ton of experimental sections and noisy parts.
Hoarfrost and Karen Koltrane are amazing songs. Hits of Sunshine is a great tune as well.
It suffers the same fate as NYC Ghosts n Flowers and Experimental Jetset Trash and No Star, in that it came out in a transitional phase for the band, where they explored a lot of new territory.
Bad Moon Rising is somewhat of another example of this, however it's not underrated like the others.
I like every album up until The Eternal. I think it was too obvious they were out of steam and had too much interpersonal troubles.
I love Rather Ripped. There are some solid songs on there. Turquoise Boy, Jams Run Free, Pink Steam, and Incinerate are all good songs.
Nurse was better, and there are moments on Rather Ripped, where you hear them start to recycle a lot of motifs, especially Thurston's songs.
I was always a fan of Lee and Kim's output over Thurston's, although he sings on a good number of their more well known songs.
A lot of Thurston lead songs were penned by Kim, and some of Kim's were originally Thurston's, such as Doctor's Orders.
Back in the day, I burned off three discs. Each had songs exclusive to each member.
The Lee disc was the best overall album, although there are many long noisy sections to deal with. The Kim album was 50% chaos and 50% pure beauty. Thurston's is the most accessible.
Lee's songs stand out, because most were ready made by him from start to finish, whereas the bulk of their other work resulted from jam sessions and experimenting with splicing tape.
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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by tune_link » Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:34 am

BoringPostcards wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:08 am
SadFuzz wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am
I think a thousand leaves is really underappreciated in their discography, it has some incredible songs. Wildflower Soul and Hoarfrost alone sell that album.
But yeah you've articulated SY's music well there.
Agreed. At first listen, it is very different from all their previous work. It also has a ton of experimental sections and noisy parts.
Hoarfrost and Karen Koltrane are amazing songs. Hits of Sunshine is a great tune as well.
It suffers the same fate as NYC Ghosts n Flowers and Experimental Jetset Trash and No Star, in that it came out in a transitional phase for the band, where they explored a lot of new territory.
Bad Moon Rising is somewhat of another example of this, however it's not underrated like the others.
I like every album up until The Eternal. I think it was too obvious they were out of steam and had too much interpersonal troubles.
I love Rather Ripped. There are some solid songs on there. Turquoise Boy, Jams Run Free, Pink Steam, and Incinerate are all good songs.
Nurse was better, and there are moments on Rather Ripped, where you hear them start to recycle a lot of motifs, especially Thurston's songs.
I was always a fan of Lee and Kim's output over Thurston's, although he sings on a good number of their more well known songs.
A lot of Thurston lead songs were penned by Kim, and some of Kim's were originally Thurston's, such as Doctor's Orders.
Back in the day, I burned off three discs. Each had songs exclusive to each member.
The Lee disc was the best overall album, although there are many long noisy sections to deal with. The Kim album was 50% chaos and 50% pure beauty. Thurston's is the most accessible.
Lee's songs stand out, because most were ready made by him from start to finish, whereas the bulk of their other work resulted from jam sessions and experimenting with splicing tape.
Yeah, allllll of this. As a SY lifer fan, I will say that The Eternal and NYC Ghosts are my least favorite albums. I think NYC Ghosts has more to do with me not liking beat poetry and them putting a few tracks of it on there. The Eternal has at least one absolute Ranaldo banger on it - "What We Know." I've also always loved Lee and Kim and it irks me a little when people talk about the band as if Thurston is the main singer or something.
I'm a big big fan of Experimental Jet Set though and feel that it has gotten a real raw deal over the years. Some of me wonders if that's just the product of it coming between Dirty and Washing Machine, off the back of their commercial zenith (being on MTV all the time) and people expecting them to go full Nirvana at that point and just be a pop/rock band of that ilk. I have friends that draw the line in many different places - "I don't like anything after Dirty" or "Murray Street was their last great gasp" kind of stuff. I can definitely see that point about recycled motifs in Thurston's songwriting after the Murray Street era. A friend put it best once saying that Murray Street was the last time SY was an experimental band and that they were still a good band, but that after that they were just another rock band. I feel like we see that even with regard to them discussing influences on the last few albums where they pivot to talking about Fleetwood Mac and Blondie in many interviews (Tusk and Parallel Lines respectively) as reference points for their material.

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Re: Happy 25th SY's Washing Machine

Post by BoringPostcards » Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:26 pm

tune_link wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:34 am
BoringPostcards wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:08 am
SadFuzz wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:18 am
I think a thousand leaves is really underappreciated in their discography, it has some incredible songs. Wildflower Soul and Hoarfrost alone sell that album.
But yeah you've articulated SY's music well there.
Agreed. At first listen, it is very different from all their previous work. It also has a ton of experimental sections and noisy parts.
Hoarfrost and Karen Koltrane are amazing songs. Hits of Sunshine is a great tune as well.
It suffers the same fate as NYC Ghosts n Flowers and Experimental Jetset Trash and No Star, in that it came out in a transitional phase for the band, where they explored a lot of new territory.
Bad Moon Rising is somewhat of another example of this, however it's not underrated like the others.
I like every album up until The Eternal. I think it was too obvious they were out of steam and had too much interpersonal troubles.
I love Rather Ripped. There are some solid songs on there. Turquoise Boy, Jams Run Free, Pink Steam, and Incinerate are all good songs.
Nurse was better, and there are moments on Rather Ripped, where you hear them start to recycle a lot of motifs, especially Thurston's songs.
I was always a fan of Lee and Kim's output over Thurston's, although he sings on a good number of their more well known songs.
A lot of Thurston lead songs were penned by Kim, and some of Kim's were originally Thurston's, such as Doctor's Orders.
Back in the day, I burned off three discs. Each had songs exclusive to each member.
The Lee disc was the best overall album, although there are many long noisy sections to deal with. The Kim album was 50% chaos and 50% pure beauty. Thurston's is the most accessible.
Lee's songs stand out, because most were ready made by him from start to finish, whereas the bulk of their other work resulted from jam sessions and experimenting with splicing tape.
Yeah, allllll of this. As a SY lifer fan, I will say that The Eternal and NYC Ghosts are my least favorite albums. I think NYC Ghosts has more to do with me not liking beat poetry and them putting a few tracks of it on there. The Eternal has at least one absolute Ranaldo banger on it - "What We Know." I've also always loved Lee and Kim and it irks me a little when people talk about the band as if Thurston is the main singer or something.
I'm a big big fan of Experimental Jet Set though and feel that it has gotten a real raw deal over the years. Some of me wonders if that's just the product of it coming between Dirty and Washing Machine, off the back of their commercial zenith (being on MTV all the time) and people expecting them to go full Nirvana at that point and just be a pop/rock band of that ilk. I have friends that draw the line in many different places - "I don't like anything after Dirty" or "Murray Street was their last great gasp" kind of stuff. I can definitely see that point about recycled motifs in Thurston's songwriting after the Murray Street era. A friend put it best once saying that Murray Street was the last time SY was an experimental band and that they were still a good band, but that after that they were just another rock band. I feel like we see that even with regard to them discussing influences on the last few albums where they pivot to talking about Fleetwood Mac and Blondie in many interviews (Tusk and Parallel Lines respectively) as reference points for their material.
Jim O'Rourke reinvigorated them, and they started to stale after he went back to his solo career.
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