A Week in Rock

After seven years of searching, Sonic Youth has recovered a whole passel of gear that was stolen from them in Southern California way back in 1999. The customized and valuable instruments and other tools of the noise-mongering trade were presented to the band by a mysterious fan who claimed that a family member had been responsible for the pilfering. The return of the instruments coincides with several other goings-on of interest in Sonic Youth-land. Following up the Goo reissue of this fall, the group expects a reissue of their 1982 EP and the Ciccone Youth Whitey Album early next year, along with Thusrston Moore’s solo album Psychic Hearts.


Kim Gordon finished work on a movie she was collaborating in, and two of the other band members have art shows going on in New York. And, with work on their last Geffen release, tentatively titled Sonic Life, beginning as well, it makes one wonder just where these dynamic forty-somethings get the energy to perform all these feats. Maybe it’s the excitement of getting their gear back, or they have a top 40 hit up their sleeve.


Rumor has it that the Pixies might be gearing up to release a brand new record. Or maybe not. Although huge success has greeted their triumphant reunion, their live recordings and an appearance on a Warren Zevon tribute album, an entire summer of hinting about the sunny prospects for an album still bears no fruit. New songs have been written, and there’s loads of money in the bank from enormo-dome tours last summer. (The Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend? That’s not very alternative-college rock at all.) According to a Billboard interview with Frank Black, the group fears that their legacy could be tarnished if the album they released was sub-par. Hey, guys, how about a little self-confidence? And anyways, doesn’t it seem like being rejectedfor the “Shrek 2” soundtrack would have tarnished the Pixies’ legacy already?


The Dead Kennedys, who have reunited without the participation of original lead singer and songwriter Jello Biafra, dropped themselves from an upcoming show and threw a fit after learning that one of the event sponsors was Coors. In a fit of self-righteous posturing and long-obsolete “punk rock ethics,” the group decided that the Waking The Dead concert was too tainted to perform, releasing statements bemoaning the politics involved that prevented them from playing.


Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray explained to fans that "Dead Kennedys have always been wary of corporate sponsorship and steer clear of lending our name to promote a product. Because we were not alerted to the ultra-conservative, right-wing sponsor for this event, we could not see a reason to go ahead and perform at this show in good conscience."


They also stated that they "hope to serve as an example to the punk rock community that certain ideals shouldn’t be sacrificed," which is too bad since the “punk rock community” now consists of either people at the mall or some patched, studded jean jacket fashion hipsters, who have already proved that “punk ethics” are now just some inane slogan and skull-and-crossbones on some crappy shirt at Target. Luckily for fans, however, the lineup for the Waking the Dead concert still includes Flipper, the Germs, and Marky Ramone. See? Politics can’t stop you from getting your kicks.


Portland experimental collective Jackie-O Motherfucker has been almost as hard at work as Sonic Youth. The group is releasing a new record on ATP Recordings, entitled Flags of the Sacred Harp, along with a big-time U.S. tour. On top of that are re-releases and a live double vinyl in a limited run of 500. Now, I usually don’t go for this kind of freaky free jazz, but this band’s weird 10-minute Americana songs are plenty for you Grateful Dead types to get freaky and free, or whatever it is you do. Now that they have bulk re-issues from All Tomorrows Parties, a music festival, which ought to make it easier on you. But they won’t be playing a Portland date so you’ll just have to make do with the albums.