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Sunday, 8 August 2010

I Feel Like More Than Just A Number

Back in the late 80s there was a brief rash of tribute albums. Usually British and US indie/alternative acts recorded covers by a 60s artist, with mixed results. There was a Byrds one, a Hendrix one and a couple of Velvets ones (which included an pre-fame Nirvana cover). The best/only good one was The Bridge- a Tribute to Neil Young. As well as the song featured here it had Nick Cave, The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Loop, Soul Asylum and Psychic TV (who did a Balaeric cover of Only Love Can Break Your Heart before St Etienne did). This song may have been the pick of the bunch though- Sonic Youth doing Computer Age.

Typically contrary and wilfully obscure, given all of Neil Young's back catalogue to have a go at Sonic Youth chose to tackle a song from Trans, Neil's massively uncommercial, completely misunderstood and (to his rock audience) bizarre synth and vocoder album from 1982. Not known at the time Trans came out of Neil attempting to communicate with his disabled son using the vocoder. Neil also frequently tried to sidestep either his audience or record company or both. With Trans he did that with knobs on.

Coming off the back of their 1988 sprawling classic Daydream Nation Sonic Youth take a synthy/vocoder song and do what would have happened if Neil had recorded it with Crazy Horse- turn the guitars and amps up and kick the living daylights out of it.

Computer Age.mp3

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