First, let me restate the utter confusion experienced this morning when the official Sonic Youth Twitter, a hilarious thing in and of itself, alerted the world to a new “audio sample” of the band’s upcoming Matador release The Eternal at Newsweek.com. (Quick request: SY’s ghost Twit–short url next time, please?) Naïveté perhaps, all things considered, to be surprised that a Newsweek blogger would be the one to land an “exclusive” preview, but good on Vox Pop for having the forethought to ask.
So now we have a two-and-a-half-minute band-made micro-mix, an album trailer of sorts, and it’s absolutely excellent. The streaming “mélange” functions as a toy kaleidoscope of Sonic Youth’s essential qualities: dark noise squalls, wobbly electro-saw wafts, thunder-punch segues. Kim’s all over the place on The Eternal, it seems, her gutter-junkie aggro-wail interspersed with her best breathy-succubus sigh singing; we also have words from Lee Ranaldo. Admittedly, there are a couple of clunky metaphorical jabs here that perhaps suffer from lack of context: “Leaky lifeboat/Called to shore” is ho-hum, if I’m hearing it correctly; and Mary Timony should be only non-cartoon allowed to deliver a line like, “Who shot the poison arrow?” But let’s be clear, any criticism is born out of caution–the preview sounds tremendous. Especially the three call-and-response seconds of “Anti-Orgasm”? Take that “Moist Vagina.”