Washing Machine (album)

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Washing Machine
Studio album by Sonic Youth
Released September 26, 1995
Recorded January–May 1995 at: Easley Studios, Memphis; Greene Street Studios, New York
Genre Alternative rock, experimental rock, noise rock
Length 68:17
Label DGC
Producer Sonic Youth, John Siket
Sonic Youth chronology
Made in USA
(1995)
Washing Machine
(1995)
SYR1: Anagrama
(1997)
Singles from Washing Machine
  1. "The Diamond Sea"
    Released: 1995
  2. "Little Trouble Girl"
    Released: May 1996

Washing Machine is the ninth studio album by American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. It was released on September 26, 1995, through record label DGC.

Background[edit]

Washing Machine was released shortly after the group concluded their stint headlining the 1995 Lollapalooza music festival.

Music[edit]

Washing Machine is the first Sonic Youth album in which Kim Gordon plays guitar, instead of bass, almost exclusively.[1]

The track "Little Trouble Girl" features vocals by Kim Gordon and Breeders/Pixies member Kim Deal along with Lorette Velvette and Melissa Dunn.[1] During the song, Gordon makes reference to the song "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" by The Shangri-Las, borrowing the words and inflection "very, very close" from the song. The video for that track was directed by noted music video and feature film director Mark Romanek. It's in a gently-paced artistic sci-fi style, with Gordon and Deal and a strange small alien creature with long fingers.

"Becuz Coda" (the unlisted track 9) was originally part of the song "Becuz", but Geffen Records felt they needed to cut the seven and a half minute track to make the album's opening more accessible.[2] "The Diamond Sea" runs approximately six minutes longer on the vinyl LP version of the album. The extra time is in the noisy coda near the end of the song. The 25-minute version was also made available on the CD single for "The Diamond Sea" and, in 2006, on the compilation The Destroyed Room: B-Sides and Rarities.

Trouser Press described the album's style as "[veering] between trance-guitar experiments and more concise statements".[3] Entertainment Weekly described it thus: "these songs unfold over even-tempered rhythms and guitars that linger rather than attack. A splatter of distortion may enter, but the effect is mostly languid and wonderfully hypnotic."[4]

Album cover[edit]

The album cover consists of a cropped polaroid shot of two unidentified fans taken at a Sonic Youth show in Amherst, Massachusetts in April 1995, during a short tour undertaken while the album was still in production; they are shown wearing T-shirts that were sold as merchandise during that tour. Visible on the left-hand shirt are signatures by Thalia Zedek and Chris Brokaw of the tour's opening band Come.[1] According to Sleevage.com, the polaroid was found on the floor of the venue, and presented to the band. DGC attempted to identify and obtain clearance from the pictured individuals via an MTV News bulletin, but as they could not be identified, their faces were cropped out for the album cover.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Sonic Youth (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley). 

No. Title Lyrics Vocals Length
1. "Becuz"   Gordon Gordon 4:43
2. "Junkie's Promise"   Moore Moore 4:02
3. "Saucer-Like"   Ranaldo Ranaldo 4:25
4. "Washing Machine"   Gordon Gordon 9:33
5. "Unwind"   Moore Moore, Ranaldo 6:02
6. "Little Trouble Girl"   Gordon Kim Deal, Gordon, Lorette Velvette, Melissa Dunn 4:29
7. "No Queen Blues"   Moore Moore 4:35
8. "Panty Lies"   Gordon Gordon 4:15
9. "Becuz Coda[*]"       2:49
10. "Skip Tracer"   Leah Singer, Ranaldo Ranaldo 3:48
11. "The Diamond Sea"   Moore Moore 19:35

^ * While unlisted and untitled on the packaging, track 9 is officially called "Becuz Coda".[6]

Release[edit]

Washing Machine peaked at No. 39 on the UK Albums Chart.[7] The record was released in Europe also in a double "special limited edition tour package": the second disc contained "Starfield Road", "Eric's Trip", "The Diamond Sea" and "Teenage Riot" live from a France Inter Radio broadcast of a September 12, 1995 Paris gig.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly A−[4]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[9]
NME 8/10[10]
Robert Christgau A−[11]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[12]
Spin 6/10[10]

Allmusic praised the album, calling it "easily their most adventurous, challenging and best record since Daydream Nation [...] Not only are the songs more immediate than most of the material on their earlier records, the sound here is warm and open, making Washing Machine their most mature and welcoming record to date. [..] Washing Machine encompasses everything that made Sonic Youth innovators, and shows that they can continue to grow, finding new paths inside their signature sound."[8]

Personnel[edit]

Technical
  • John Siket – production, recording, mixing
  • Davis McCain – engineering assistance
  • Doug Easley – engineering assistance
  • Phil Painson – engineering assistance
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Mike Mills – sleeve design and art direction
  • Lance Acord – sleeve photography

Charts[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1995 UK Albums Chart 39[7]
US Billboard 200 58[13]
Singles
Year Song Chart Position
1996 "Little Trouble Girl" UK Singles Chart 85[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "sonicyouth.com Discography – Album: Washing Machine". sonicyouth.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "sonicyouth.com Discography – Song: "Becuz Coda"". sonicyouth.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Kot, Greg; Leland, John; Sheridan, David; Robbins, Ira; Pattyn, Jay. "trouserpress.com :: Sonic Youth". trouserpress.com. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Browne, David (September 25, 1995). "Washing Machine Review". Entertainment Weekly (294). Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sonic Youth: Washing Machine » Sleevage » Music, Art, Design.". sleevage.com. June 12, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ "sonicyouth.com Discography – Song: "Becuz Coda"". sonicyouth.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Sonic Youth | Artist | Official Charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Washing Machine – Sonic Youth : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ Ali, Lorraine (September 24, 1995). "Fall Album Roundup". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Sonic Youth - Washing Machine CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Sonic Youth". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ Moon, Tom (October 19, 1995). "Washing Machine". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Washing Machine – Sonic Youth : Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 

External links[edit]