Daydream Nation was Sonic Youth's sixth album, their first double LP, and their last for an indie label before signing with Geffen. Widely considered to be their watershed moment, Daydream Nation catapulted them into the mainstream and proved that indie bands could enjoy wide commercial success without compromising their artistic vision. The original 1988 album has been remastered under the bandOs supervision. The bonus platters begin with previously unreleased live performances from the Daydream Nation Tour. Culled from performances at CBGB in New York, The Paradiso in Amsterdam, and several other primo venues, Live Daydream includes live versions of every song on the original album. Added to that are four studio bonuses: 'Within You, Without You' (a Beatles cover from the NME-sponsored charity Beatles tribute album Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father), 'Computer Age', from the Neil Young tribute album The Bridge, 'Electricity' from the Captain Beefheart tribute album Fast And Bulbous, and a cover of Mudhoney's 'Touch Me, I'm Sick', originally released as a Sub Pop 7-inch single. Lee Ranaldo's original demo of 'Eric's Trip' concludes the album.
The essential New York rock band of the post-punk era, Sonic Youth care as much about the quasi-symphonic, microtonal art-guitar music of composers like Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca as they do about the rock-song form, and with Daydream Nation
, they struck their greatest balance between the two. The songs hover gorgeously for extended lengths, letting guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo intertwine fragile tonalities as carefully as it's possible to do at wall-shaking volume, while Moore and bassist Kim Gordon's untutored voices disaffectedly intone words that flirt with pop stupidity, high-art eloquence, and urban cool. When they bear down and rock, they do it with a blurry intensity that finds gorgeousness at the heart of discord. --Douglas Wolk