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Bad Moons, Ghosts & KooKoo Goo

Thursday, March 19

Released in 1985 Bad Moon Rising was the second full-length album from Sonic Youth. Despite the band having formed in New York City, the music on this album is focused heavily on Southern California—especially the dark underbelly of Los Angeles in the late 1960s as the counterculture’s dark side came to light. We’ll hear selections from this release as well as from Strange Angels, the 1989 release from performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. The record was remarkable for Anderson’s new attention to her voice and more traditional song structures and its wide range of guest artists, including jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin.

Friday, March 20

NYC Ghosts & Flowers is the 2000 album from Sonic Youth. Written and recorded after much of the band’s equipment was stolen in 1999, the record finds the group reconnecting with older instruments and is heavily influenced by the Beat poets of the 1960s as well as counterculture comedian Lenny Bruce. We’ll hear music from that release as well as selections from Call the Doctor, the 1996 sophomore album from Sleater-Kinney and the final to feature original drummer Lora Macfarlane.

Saturday, March 21

One of the first bands in the riot grrrl movement of the early 1990s, Bratmobile is far from a household name, still the group released three highly influential albums in its short time together, beginning with 1993’s Pottymouth, we’ll hear selections from that recording as well as Calculated, the 1994 release from Heavens To Betsy, featuring Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker.

Monday, March 23

With sessions that spanned three years Last Splash, the 1993 album from The Breeders was a breakthrough for what started as a side project for Pixies member Kim Deal. Though the band would never again match the creative or commercial heights of this recording, the album’s place in the pantheon of influential 1990s alternative rock recordings is secure. Listen for music from Last Splash on this episode of the show as well as music from Sentimental Education, the 1997 recording by Free Kitten, featuring Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

Tuesday, March 24

Released in 1995 Nemesisters was the third—and, to date, final—full-length album from the Minneapolis band Babes In Toyland. We’ll hear selections from Bricks Are Heavy, the 1992 album from L7, notable for the inclusion of the song “Pretend We’re Dead,” which was in heavy rotation on MTV throughout the early 1990s.

Wednesday, March 25

Hailing from Rhode Island, Throwing Muses can be seen as a precursor to the female-led alternative bands of the early 1990s. The band was already making albums for close to a decade by the time it released The Real Ramona in 1991, an album that saw the group gain some chart success in the UK and a broader visibility in the United States. We’ll hear selections from that album as well as from The Dirt of Luck, the 1995 album from Helium.

Thursday, March 26

Originally from Alabama, singer-songwriter Matthew Houck has been recording under the name Phosphorescent for more than a decade now. Influenced by blues, folk, and soul music, Houck has won acclaim for a series of reflective studio albums but has now issued what is becoming his most well-received album to date, a live recording made in his adopted hometown, Brooklyn, called Live at the Music Hall. Listen for selections from that as well music from the recent self-titled release from Reeves Gabrels and His Imaginary Friends.

Friday, March 27

Released in 1990, Goo was Sonic Youth’s major label-debut and one of several that showed an evolution in the band’s songwriting. Although it did not break the band open to a mass audience it did secure the group’s reputation as a highly influential act as the quartet would be responsible for attracting acts such as Nirvana, Beck, Hole and other major sellers to the DGC label c.1990-91. We’ll hear selections from this recording as well as from Pretty on the Inside, the 1991 debut album by Hole, featuring Courtney Love. The record was co-produced by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

Saturday, March 28

KooKoo is the 1981 album from Blondie frontwoman Deborah Harry. Aided by members of the band Chic, Harry was able to create an album that was influenced by many of the contemporary sounds of the day—including music that was coming out of New York City dance clubs during the era. We’ll hear selections from that album as well as music from Blondie’s 1980 album Autoamerican.

  Monday, March 30

A core member of the band Arcade Fire, Will Butler recently released the eclectic solo album Policy. Listen for selections from that as well as from Arcade Fire’s 2007 release Neon Bible.

Tuesday, March 31

Released in 1998 A Thousand Leaves marked a decline in commercial stature for Sonic Youth but the album remains the album best received by veteran critics. We’ll hear selections from that recording as well as from Pavement’s 1997 album Brighten the Corners.