How would you classify Sonic Youth?

edited August 2009 in Rock Pop
I've been working to reclassify my music to be more precise, so if I'm, for example, in a hardcore mood I can just randomize that genre and hear Black Flag, The Minutemen, et al.

Sonic Youth is causing me problems though. Post Punk and Art Rock don't really work for me. While they developed at the same time as the aforementioned hardcore, they certainly don't fit there, and while they influenced genres like shoegaze they aren't that either.

Any ideas?



  • Noise-rock. Also see: JAMC; MBV; Raveonettes; No Age.
  • I like Noise-rock. Thanks Daniel!

    Artcore is also clever, but I have no idea what else would go there, so it would be Sonic Youth's own genre, which kind of defeats the purpose. :)

  • velvet underground would be artcore.

    bjork too.
  • Hmmm...that makes good sense. Now I need to make a decision.

  • Oh man oh man oh man this is all rock and roll
  • I consider Sonic Youth high-order (pop) artists, but not artcore. VU maybe, but mostly because of the pretensions, not the music (which did have stabbing shots of noise, but seems to me to be very different from SY).
  • You guys are so much smarter than I am it's not even funny.

  • Some Björk, maybe. But I would hardly consider Debut or Post to be such. They're practically dance/pop albums. But I agree that intent would be a big part of labeling anyone artcore - ideally they would have no discernible sense of humor.

    I have to rethink some of my classifications, too. I was using noise/rock for the more aggressive bands like Lightning Bolt and Boris, but maybe it's time that the word "experimental" creeps into my vocabulary.
  • I don't think your going to be able to give a 30 year-old band like Sonic Youth an individual genre tag that will do them justice. I'd say '"experimental rock/post-punk."

    Noise-Rock is one that I haven't really nailed down for myself yet. I normally think of bands like Big Black, Lightning Bolt, Hella, Boredoms, Jesus Lizard, Royal Trux, and Unsane. Aggressive is a good term, but I was thinking of terms like abrasive, penetrating, and overwhelming. Wouldn't throw a band like My Bloody Valentine into that fold since they tend to employ noise and feedback to create a more pleasant and blissful atmosphere, some would say "noise pop" as they are a much more melodic band.

    As for Artcore... it's time we stopped tagging the word "core" to genre names. To me "core" has always meant "no bullshit, no baggage, just the straight goods" which not something art (or Bjork for that matter) would typically deliver. Besides, the stuff that should be called artcore already as a genre name and it's electro-acoustic.
  • Surely your files aren't one-tag only? Can't you give it all the genres that you think apply? That way something that spans two genres will come up in a search for either.
  • too global v. too narrow will always be the devil to wrestle - it's not as easy as putting your files in a directory called "singles" or "albums".

    come now 'viper - what's going to happen when baroquecore becomes the rage at your sunday morning house of worship???
  • @Televiper: I don't think your going to be able to give a 30 year-old band like Sonic Youth an individual genre tag that will do them justice.

    Too true. There are two artists whose tag is simply their name: Sonic Youth, and The Fall. No need to say anything more, or less.
Sign In or Register to comment.