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  • Sister (180 Gram LP)
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Sister (180 Gram LP)

57 customer reviews

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Vinyl, December 14, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

'EVOL' was a major leap forward for Sonic Youth, but 'Sister' is a masterpiece, demonstrating the group's rapidly evolving musicality. More than ever before, Sonic Youth's songs sound like actual songs, and their collages of noise, distortion, and alternate tunings are now used to provide texture and depth to the music, which is original, complex, and rewarding. Not only is there the full-throttle roar of 'Tuff Gnarl,' but there are shimmering layers of ambient harmonics and dissonance that are as haunting and challenging as any of their barrages of feedback. Furthermore, 'Sister' has a warm sound, which lures the listeners into music that's defiantly arty but never indulgent.

Product Details

  • Vinyl (December 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Original Recordings Group
  • ASIN: B003V9J6PM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,459 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Eyes and Teeth on December 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Sonic Youth is one of the more influential and revered bands of the last 20 years. They are rightfully known as the Godfathers of Indie Rock. I can think of no other band that has been consistently putting out quality music for as long as Sonic Youth. Some bands manage to string together 2 or 3 good albums, but then tend to fade into obscurity, break-up, or start to suck. Amazingly, Sonic Youth have yet to succumb to any of those fates. They have had the occasional slump (the mid-to-late 90's), yet they are still here- producing worthwhile, quality albums. In my mind, their creative peak was the late 80's; when they put out the amazing trilogy of `Evol', `Sister', and `Daydream Nation'. I love this band and own every single one of their albums. That being said, `Sister' is my favorite.

`Sister' was initially released on SST records in 1987, and in my mind stands as the quintessential Sonic Youth release. There is a mythic, mystical undercurrent pulling the listener thru this delicious album. It is hard to quantify and explain. The guitar interplay of Thurston and Lee is something special- at times beautifully melodic, dissonant, violent, loving, and ethereal. These songs really speak to me.

This awesome work open with `Schizophrenia' (you really need to hear this song live sometime). I like how both Kim and Thurston share vocals on this track- something they should do more often, which they do in fact numerous times on `Sister'. Lyrically this is one of Sonic Youth's finest efforts, which should be no surprise to anyone when they realize that the Youth were heavily into Philip K. Dick at the time this album was written. Feelings of insanity, isolation, loneliness, chaos, and love pervade `Sister'- for these were all themes with which Dick was intimately familiar.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Brad Stewart on May 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
i think this is actually a BETTER introduction than Daydream Nation. it's more concice of an album (1/2 of the running time of DN) and just as adventerous. the first song alone contains more mind-bending guitar effects than most bands touch on in an album, or most guitarists can even play. this was alternative back when the word was understood to mean something. unflinching and uncompromising, one of the touchstone albums of the 80's. influential on a good many bands. when you hear this you feel a real sense of inspiration and empowerment. Daydream Nation is probably more brilliant, but more of a chore for just one sitting. this is the best Sonic Youth album to cut your teeth on. then be prepared, Daydream Nation is their peak. (though this is still my favorite!)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. McKone on February 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard about this album when I read a dated New Music Express review in Windhoek, Namibia in late 1988. Having been in the bowels of Africa since 1986, I had never heard of SY. I picked up a cassette of "Sister" on my way back to the USA in '89 via London. The songs schizophrenia, tuff gnarl and PCH blew me away.... visceral music that just went to my center. I listen to these songs 20 years on and they still get under my skin. That, in itself, says a lot.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By cynic-youth on August 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Sister is one of the best go-between albums in the SY catalog. Like Washing Machine, Goo, and the SYR EP's, this album is a collection of excellent experimental rock that is not only a snapshot of the band's carreer at that time; it is also a transitional record that documents the period between EVOL and the formation of Daydream Nation. "Sister" is, to some extent, a concept album, like every other in the SY catalog. However, one of its greatest strengths lies in breaking out of this mold. It showcases gut-wrenching rock music, conceptual art pieces that slash and buzz and drone like an embryonic Daydream Nation, or a spacier Goo. It manages to encompass art and rock without sacrificing either. Rockers like "Stereo Sanctity" and "Tuff Gnarl" contain propulsive rock rhythms that secretly house eviscerating sonics; likewise, the Kim song "Beauty Lies" has an atmospheric swirl nudged along by modest beats. Sister's greatest moments come in intense moments of passion where anything can happen. Surprise is its greatest weapon. While listening, you'll hear a drum break out of nowhere, a full-stop that screams into a swirl of noise, a drop-out that pushes a feverish improv to the forefront. These are the moments of sonic paradise. Savor them well.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ethan J. Sawyer on October 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
One thing i love about Sonic Youth is how successfully they can polorize people. People can just outright hate their music and write it off forever, and, adversely, people can love their music and be totally put off by some other wilder stuff just as someone can be put off by some of their commercail stuff. This is the album that highlights the fact that this was the golden age of Sonic Youth. The 80's spawned 5 flawless albums from the band, culminating with Daydream Nation.

Sister is one of my rotating SY favorites (Daybream, BMR, Evol and Goo are all there as is the horror captured within Confusion is Sex) and is the Sonic Youth album that people should hear first (along with Daydream Natio). It conveys the sound of EVOL, which is the band realizing that they can find the gray area of their choatic, destroy everything side and their softer, beat poetry love sound, into one cohesive whole. The songs on Sister speak for themselves, on one hand, with noticable SY classics such as Schizophrenia, Catholic Block (an awesome one-two punch that kickstarts the album), Stereo Sanctity, PCH, and Kotton Krown. But one the other hand, certain tracks grown on you beautifully like the awesome cover of Hot Wire My Heart and my personal favorite track of the album, Master-Dik.

The albums nuances show themselves in the little details. I'm a huge fan of Phillip K. Dick and the lyrics of this album are wonderfully inspired by him (my favorite example: "I can't get laid 'cuz everyone is dead" on Stereo Sanctity). SY are known just as much for their loudmouthed praising of avant garde geniouses like Dick, as well as artists like Raymond Pettibon and movements like the No-wave scene and the SST scene (which helped them get on the label), as much as for their music itself.
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