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Thousand Leaves

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000006P0F
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,364 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Contre Le Sexisme
2. Sunday
3. Female Mechanic Now On Duty
4. Wildflower Soul
5. Hoarfrost
6. French Tickler
7. Hits Of Sunshine (For Alan Ginsberg)
8. Karen Koltrane
9. The Ineffable Me
10. Snare, Girl
11. Heather Angel

Product Description


Packed with blank beats, squalling distortion, and ear- torturing discord, Leaves is bracing and abrasive in ways rock records rarely are. Easy listening it ain't. But neither is it much fun, and that's the problem. Although the Youth can balance consonance and dissonance to striking effect ... such slyly subverted pop is scarce. Instead, what we get are dour drones and self-indulgent noise- feats. -- Entertainment Weekly

Several of the chugging mid-tempo songs sound like half-baked garage jams badly in need of editing.... [T]oo many tracks beg for the strong hooks and the sonic youthfulness that marked earlier releases. -- USA Today

Utilizing all manner of sound effects, from what seems like snatches of radio static and pumping steam pistons to dissonant guitar feedback, the band creates eerily hypnotic soundscapes over which [Kim] Gordon's vocals sound ethereal, angry or bemused, as if she's talking out loud during a bad dream. Moore's vocals, meanwhile, sound like those of Neil Young, whose disdain for traditional pop song structure he also seems to share. Some tracks are standouts ... and they demonstrate why this ... band has survived so long. -- People

The ageless Sonic Youth return with a new, yet familiar, excursion into their own particular brand of ultra-amplified, dissonant rock. The quartet's CD A Thousand Leaves evokes fond memories of yesteryear's noisy, now-classic, avant-garde approach, while retaining snippets of traditional pop elements heard on several of their previous major-label releases. As Sonic Youth's music has gained a larger audience, they've preserved doses of the crunched melody and meandering structure that has always been their trademark. The new release sounds relatively unabashed, with wandering songs like "Female Mechanic Now on Duty" spewing extended barrages of feedback and Kim Gordon's dry, unsettling scowls at the listener. Look deeper, however, and there's a quiet resonance among the racket, with tracks like "Sunday" and "Snare, Girl" making use of Thurston Moore's cooler vocal tone and jagged, cascading guitar passages. --Matthew Cooke

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Much more profound than "goo" or "dirty" this album sees Sonic Youht going with more confidence into a direction that "Washing Machine" had set the tone for. After the epic noiseworld of "Diamond Sea" you will find in here a similar world with the riffs, feedback and noise effects of of "Sunday" and "Female Mechanic ". Songs like "Wildflower soul" and "Karen Coltrane" have interesting guitars loops that follow each other beautifully."Hoarfrost" shows that Thurston can actually sing well. Kim Gordon's singing however is dreadful and the last three tracks are just bad.This is one of the things I have to criticize about "A Thousand Leaves". Another thing is that I find the album having long songs that "dwell" too much in the same level continuing but never reaching a high point.On the other hand the "Hits of Sunshine" although somewhat repetitious is stylish, trippy, not boring at all."A thousand leaves" is the outcome of a band have matured from a "teenage-riot" punk-trash band to an evolved quartet actually having made a name for themselves in creating "their" music.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't understand why some people compare A Thousand Leaves to Washing Machine, because both albums are way different. I have never really enjoyed listening to Washing Machine, it just sounded so 'empty'; there's really no other way for me to put it. When I first heard A Thousand Leaves in a store I was utterly dissapointed and made my interest in Sonic Youth shrink to zero. That wasn't permanent though; I saw them in concert last week and I decided to try out some albums I once gave up on. I got A Thousand Leaves, tried it again, and then suddenly, half into Female Mechanic Now On Duty, the album seemed to open up, reveal itself, and I was amazed.
Starting off with the weird, eerie Contre Le Sexisme, you have no idea what Sonic Youth's upto now, especially not when Sunday starts; a great, catchy tune with a pretty noise-intermezzo in the middle. Then off to Female Mechanic Now On Duty; actually a song in two parts, the first one being quite tough with Kim's retching vocals and actually pretty ugly instrumentation, where at the second part the song transforms into a pretty melody. It's certainly a song that needs time, but several listens will reward you. Wilflower Soul is a nice, 9-minute thing which builds itself up nicely. Great tune, though not as great as the dipped-in-melancholy Hoarfrost; really one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard where Lee takes the listener with him on a dream-like trip down a snowy forest. The guitars here are so pretty it's unbelievable. French Tickler. Many don't seem to get this song, though I was instantly caught by it. It revolves around a great melody (again, one of the best by SY I have ever heard) which suddenly makes place for Kim going heavy again.
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Format: Audio CD
Along with Washing Machine, A Thousand Leaves is a clear indication that Sonic Youth have transcended the barriers of punk, noise, avant-garde, etc. and have become coincident with the core of modern music and modern lyric poetry across all genres and forms. A Thousand Leaves, sporting long, autumnal, melodic meditations like Hits of Sunshine and Wildflower Soul along ennui-laden snapshots like Hoarfrost and Sunday, is a kind of symphony for the pop/rock age and is as deep and haunting as anything the classicists ever scribbled down on paper.
Now, I've heard and read any number of reviews referring to A Thousand Leaves as 'more experimental' and 'not very pop oriented' but of course these phrases are coming from the mouths of those that do not know much of the history of Sonic Youth or much of truly experimental music. Neubauten's 'Drawings of Patient O.T.' it's not -- in fact, I wouldn't refer to A Thousand Leaves as 'experimental' music in any sense of the word... But by the same token, if you're looking for hooks, hooks, hooks or the McDonald's-style music that SY cashed in with (and more power to them) during the 'grunge era' then this isn't the album for you.
If you own Sister and Daydream Nation, however, or even just Washing Machine, and listen to them all the time, unable to keep from tapping your feet and swaying just a little... Then A Thousand Leaves is another perfect Sonic Disc for you.
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Format: Audio CD
While this may be a bit too unusual in form for other fans, this is a very unique masterpeice in all aspects which seems to posess a raw and untamed sound in addition to being one of their most's truly a musical journey that can't be forgottem...
"Contre Le Sexisme": This spookfest strats it out, seeming to be a fragmented glimpse at a disturbing childhood incident, with Gordon's scratchy vocals going along at their slow pace as the other instruments slowly set the mood, and then it stops, leading into...
"Sunday": Where the adventure really strts, this grunge beauty is also the most coherent and easily accesible song on the album. All about how to spend a glorious sunday afternoon
"Female Mechanic Now On Duty": As said before, it is wandering like many tracks on this album. It seems like an aggressive girl yearning to strip down and rebuild something, but always confused how she should act: "Modern women cry, modern women don't cry."
"Wildflower Soul": Lost soul in the form of a young child racing thorugh fields and cities, singing her "child lights". Very poetic. But the dream doesn't end there...
"Hoarfrost": "We'll know when we get there", "I place my feet deep in the footsteps you made", they become the meadow. Do these string of words make sense to you?
"French Tickler": Some people don't like it because of the unusual vocal patterns. It starts out with Gordon singing about free time and how she wants to get it, then it get's harder with her screaming about having sex me thinks.
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