Various Artists

Confuse Yr Idols: A Tribute to Sonic Youth

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Sonic Youth's mind-blowing legacy as both sonic adventurers and literate, sick-talented songwriters can't be accurately covered in the space of one disc. Narnack Records obviously understands this. Instead of issuing just-another-tribute or a detailed but kinda boring career survey, the NYC imprint celebrates Sonic Youth's spirit with an appreciation by and for those already in the know. In other words, it's as wildly inventive and weirdly cracked as the band it fetes. Confuse Yr Idols clicks into gear with a squelchy, psycho-ecstasy version of "Death Valley '69" (courtesy of Racebannon) that should scare off any casual listeners wandering in from SY's flirtations with reality. For that matter, "Kool Thing" -- arguably its most recognizable song -- here is handled by indie rock collagists Tub Ring. The re-version cuts between punk discordance, lounge music, and what might be a party metal influence; best is the famous Kim Gordon/Chuck D breakdown, handled as a conversation between Chuck and a robot. Word up. Still, it's not all insanity. New Grenada is more straightforward with their run through "Eric's Trip," and Elf Power's "Kotton Krown" keeps the coed harmony, but loses the whining dissonance in favor of acoustic guitars and an Eastern-tinged breakdown. New York trio Parts & Labor conducts a full-on amplification of "Sugar Kane," from feedback to melody to percussion. Mike Langlie recasts Goo's "Cinderella's Big Score" in the damaged childhood image of his Twink toy piano project; no one has ever made the line "Go upstairs at once and help your sisters" sound creepier. In Stationary Odyssey's hands, "Dirty Boots" becomes an inky dream of ambient texture and spidery guitar; Aaron Turner sounds a bit like Thurston Moore, but at his most detached. After rolling through a strange, nearly hip-hop version of the Confusion Is Sex nugget "Making the Nature Scene," Confuse Yr Idols concludes with another view of "Death Valley," this one from the vantage point of the Boredoms' Yoshimi. Performing as Saicobab on a mixture of keys and treated vocals and supported by a sitar, he builds to a ragga fervor before dropping into the original's strident, she-devil on wheels chord progression. Innovative and experimental, and yet entirely visceral, it's a perfect representation of what Sonic Youth has brought to contemporary music.

blue highlight denotes track pick