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WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY
In high school, I had a friend whom everyone called Sonic Tom. He wore a wavy mop-top and a jean jacket expertly self-illustrated with the cover of Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising. While I went for emocore’s deadpan earnestness, Sonic Tom expounded on the virtues of the Youth’s art-school vagaries. The songwriting trio of guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo (whose self-sabotaged six-strings sounded alternately like ringing wind chimes and sputtering car engines) and bassist Kim Gordon (whose voice was equal parts porn-star groan and beat-poet drawl) made scary music that oozed with mysterious sounds of N.Y.C. at 3 a.m. For me, in 1986, it was out with the Outcry records and in with EVOL’s classic headfuck “Expressway to Yr. Skull” and Sonic Tom’s Bad Moon Rising favorite, “Death Valley ’69,” a creepshow duet with Lydia Lunch. But soon after the 1988 gem Daydream Nation, Sonic simply became Tom to everyone but me. By 1990, Sonic Youth was no longer enigmatic; Goo was a bonafide alterna-rock hit, ushering in the likes of Nirvana. My contacts with both Sonics went from infrequent to none; I haven’t talked to Tom since well before 1994’s Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, and I completely skipped 1995’s Washing Machine. Sonic Youth has just released A Thousand Leaves. It’s pretty good, though not enough to ring up Tom—it’s probably best that the jean jacket stays hanging in the closet. With Pelt and Rake at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday & Thursday, May 6 & 7, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 393-0930. (Christopher Porter)