Prog Primer: Intro to Sonic Youth

Have you ever wanted to get into a band, but you feel intimidated by their discographies? Prog Primer was created to help you, the listener, get a sense of where to start.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard Sonic Youth. They’ve been around for several decades, and their discographies have been celebrated by rock journalists and folks “in the know”. But in many ways, Sonic Youth was highly anomalous. They wrote songs with unusual song structures, sometimes even clocking at 20 minutes. They experimented with tunings and instrument modification. Their themes could be philosophical, unusual, and disturbing. They were far more “out there” than they get credit for, despite appearing on MTV and David Letterman. Dr. Scott Whiddon, a musician and professor, came on the podcast to talk about his favorite band, Sonic Youth, and the impression they made on his life. He also curated a playlist of some of Sonic Youth’s more representative tracks, along with some of his favorites. Check it out below.

From Scott: It was a joy talking with Thomas about one of my favorite bands of all time. The thing about a playlist for a band with a 30 year career is that much gets left out; for every recommendation noted here, there could be 5 others, if not more. For now, perhaps it’s best just to see these as starting points — mere places in a conversation that could begin and end anywhere.

To quote SY, quoting the inimitable Hair Police, “Let’s see who’s here and who’s not.”

Check out Scott Whiddon’s writing and music at

Are you an expert on a band or an artist who would like to be interviewed for Prog Primer? Let me know at

Intro music intro provided by Advent Horizon. (Song: “Invasion Theorem”)

Outro music provided by Avandra (Song: “Threshold of Evolution”)

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