Sonic Youth, active from 1981 to 2011, paved the way for current indie rock artists by utilizing different methods of “noise rock” such as bizarre tunings and playing with a myriad of different household items to influence the overall sound. Sonic Youth played the game, gaining underground recognition and eventually signing with a major label in 1990 and headlined Lollapalooza in 1995.
The band would take this headliner money and build their own recording studio, Echo Canyon, and start their own label, SYR. This set up would ensure the group could record, produce, and release whatever music they saw fit. We see the release on In/Out/In years after the band has announced its split. The appeal of this album of five “jams” is the intimacy. The album feels like listening in on a Sonic Youth practice session. The jams range in great lengths, bringing the full length of the album to 44 minutes and some change.
This album is in no way new. These songs act as artifacts from the Sonic Youth era and during their peak were just considered mid level or unfinished. Two tracks, In & Out and Out & In, are previously released tracks, a decade apart. These tracks are synonymous with each other with complimenting melodic guitar lines, but with entirely different feels as far as mood go. The former track presents a dream-like state where we see one of the few vocal moments on the album.
The shortest, and punchiest, track, Machine, acts as a relic. Performed in 2008, it is widely acknowledged that this jam is an homage to the more vintage sound the band had in the early 90’s. Social Static acted like a dissonance cacophony and I could barely last the 11 minutes without hitting skip.
The band’s members have stated that there is very little, if any, recorded work left unreleased from Sonic Youth and are all very adamant on the band staying split. Their contributions to the rock scene in many different facets would be lackluster without the contributions from Sonic Youth. Hopefully these few tracks will introduce someone new to their music, like it did me.
Photo Credits from: https://www.spin.com/2020/06/dont-give-me-your-soul-the-oral-history-of-sonic-youths-goo/