Goodbye 20 Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth

David Browne, Author . Da Capo $25 (422p) ISBN 978-0-306-81515-7

Anchored by the married couple of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, and propelled by democratically distributed experiments from all four group members, underground music icons Sonic Youth, as chronicled by Browne in his compulsively readable new biography, are a model for how to sustain a career in the burnout-friendly world of rock music. Browne traces each phase of the band's career with the easy, anecdotal grace of an accomplished journalist: he sketches each band member's youth and initiation into the New York music scene, provides accounts of the years of day jobs and thrifty recording sessions, and gives a play-by-play account of the band's courting by labels following the independent success of the album Daydream Nation . The book is most engaging in its middle third, an in-depth account of the band's initial struggles and successes at Geffen, their major label home for the past two decades of their career. While Browne succeeds at capturing the personalities and debates that shape the band's character, at times the author's engagement with the band's actual music is not as incisive or comprehensive as it could be. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-0-7499-5164-1
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-0-7499-2941-1
Paperback - 422 pages - 978-0-306-81603-1
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