Synopses & Reviews
Sonic Youth's distinctive, uncompromising sounds have provided a map for innumerable musicians who followed, from '90s groundbreakers like Nirvana and Pavement to current faves like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. More than perhaps any other act, Sonic Youth has brought fringe art to the mainstream, helping spawn an alternative arts scene that prospers to this day: a world of punk rock, underground films and comics, experimental music, conceptual art, contemporary classical compositions, and even fashion. In Goodbye 20th Century, David Browne tells the full glorious story of the Velvet Underground of their generation, an account based on extensive research, fresh interviews with the band and those who have worked with them (from Glenn Branca and Lydia Lunch to Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze), and unprecedented access to unreleased recordings and documents. This is a richly detailed portrait of an iconic band and the times they helped create.
"An expressway to the soul of the influential band."andmdash;Vanity Fair
"As much a chronicle of the combustion of music and popular culture Sonic Youth helped ignite as it is an earnest portrait of the band and examination of their workand#133;Browne's book will suck you inand#133;He fleshes out the personalities and occasional tensions behind the bandand#8217;s deadpan image."andmdash;Los Angeles Times
"The whole scene in you-are-there detail."andmdash;New York Post
"A rollicking, epic biographyand#133;Browne cannily opts to tell, in a crisp, novelistic style, the compelling story of the cultural tornado of galleries, rock clubs and unique personalities (Lydia Lunch, Kurt Cobain and Chloand#235; Sevigny, to name a few) Sonic Youth swirled around in, the band's ongoing fight to maintain the purity of their vision, and above all, their shared passion for new ideas and sounds."andmdash;Salon
"For almost 30 years, Sonic Youth has been one of the most influential and innovative bands in the rock topographyand#133;a much-deserved biography."andmdash;Rolling Stone
"He goads the band...into uncharacteristic chattiness."andmdash;Village Voice
"[Browne] found a neat narrative to work with, charting the group's determinedly paced journey from under-populated gigs in the arty early-'80s downtown scene to its brush with alt-rock fame in the mid '90s to its current status as an inspiration to a nation of young experimentalists."
andmdash;Time Out New York
"David Browne's thorough chronicle cuts through the formidable Sonic Youth mystique, not only getting down to the nuts and bolts of this long-running machine but finally locating all the ways that Sonic Youth has altered the course of high culture, low culture, and everything in between."
andmdash;Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991
"Sonic Youth were so outlandishly ahead of the curve that we're only beginning to understand their warped brilliance now, so it's a stroke of good fortune that we get to revisit the fascinating story of SY with David Browne, one of the finest cultural journalists in America. This is a monumental book. It's thorough, riveting, revealing, and exquisitely written, and it takes its place alongside Timothy White's Catch a Fire and David Hajdu's Positively 4th Street as one of the truly essential volumes of pop-music history."andmdashJeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking
Rising from the drug-infested streets of and#8217;80s New York City, the incomparable Sonic Youth recorded some of the most important albums in alternative music history and influenced an entire generation of indie rockers.
They helped spawn an alternative arts scene of underground films and comics, conceptual art, experimental music, even fashion. More than perhaps any band of their time, they brought art previously considered and#147;fringeand#8221; into the mainstreamand#151;and irrevocably altered the cultural zeitgeist.
Based on extensive research, exclusive band interviews, and unprecedented access to unreleased recordings and documents, Goodbye 20th Century is the definitive biography of the Velvet Underground of their generation.
About the Author
David Browne is the author of two books and a contributor to the New York Times, the New Republic, and Spin, among other publications. He lives in New York City.