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Sonic Youth Dig Through Vaults

First reissue due this summer, tour film also on the way

May 22, 2002 12:00 AM ET

In addition to the release of their new album, Murray Street, next month, Sonic Youth have begun work on a trio of reissues, the first of which, Dirty, is scheduled for release this summer. The band has been pouring through unreleased demos and songs for the series, which will see Dirty, Daydream Nation and Goo remastered and reissued with new liner notes and a bonus CD of new material.

"It's pretty much together," singer-guitarist Thurston Moore says of the new Dirty. "We weren't too interested in putting live stuff on there; it would take forever to go through it. But there's lots of sort of weird stuff that we had on eight-track tape, like demos of us working out songs. And there's a couple of pieces that never came to fruition during the songwriting of that record that we discovered that we thought were kind of interesting. And there are all the B-sides that sort of existed around then. They'll be fully loaded, that's for sure."

The band members have been sifting through video for a tour movie compiled from footage during its 1986 tour behind EVOL. They have also asked fans with audiotapes from four shows during that tour to lend them to the project. "It's really ninety-nine percent there," Moore says. "We've tinkered with it through the years and then it'll go on the shelf for months on end. In a way it's a great sort of companion film to [Michael Azerrad's indie rock book] Our Band Could Be Your Life era. It's completely different dynamic at work. None of us had the responsibility of parenthood -- we were completely destitute, across the board and we were just free as the squirrels." Moore hopes the film will be released by year's end.

Sonic Youth have European and U.S. tour dates lined up through the summer and hope to release another new album on their independent SYR label by year's end. The album will consist of a session recorded with French chanteuse Brigitte Fontaine in Paris two years ago. Moore says that the band is still trying to get clearance from Fontaine's French label, before releasing the recording, which will be accompanied by a DVD that includes a live performance with Sonic Youth and Fontaine.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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