Sonic Youth have always been a band unafraid to stand up for what they believe in, with a big ‘ol middle finger, to boot. Case in point: the band’s 1992 barn burner “Youth Against Fascism,” off its classic album Dirty. The song is just as prescient now as it was back then, with singer Thurston Moore railing against the KKK, fascist twerps, and the utter disgust over Clarence Thomas’ appointment to the Supreme Court, despite Anita Hill testifying that he sexually harassed her. Fugazi‘s Ian MacKaye plays guitar on the track.
All those themes—and the anger that radiates from every line—are still relevant, unfortunately. Though he didn’t include any lyrics, local cellist Gordon Withers, who plays with J Robbins Band and BELLS≥, still manages to get across the same message on a pair of just-released Sonic Youth covers. If you’re singing along, just swap out the line “I believe Anita Hill/ The judge will rot in hell” with “I believe Christine Blasey Ford/ Kavanaugh can not be confirmed.” All proceeds from song sales will benefit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
In addition to “Youth Against Fascism,” Withers also covers “Protect Me You,” from Sonic Youth’s 1983 debut Confusion Is Sex. Both are melodic, haunting, and altogether beautiful reimaginings of two punk classics. Give it a spin.