The Switch occasionally echo the woozy, fulsome intensity of early Sonic Youth, Body/Head stubbornly explore even stranger musical territory. Such convulsive tracks as “Change My Brain” and “Reverse Hard” clock in at more than 10 minutes apiece, and the duo’s occasional cryptic vocals are buried in layers of crushing guitars and avant-garde sound effects.
In their later years, Sonic Youth evolved from a fearsome collective of intense noisemakers into a relatively mellow and more typical alt-rock band. Bassist Kim Gordon’s sullenly restrained vocals and skeletal bass lines often were the most intriguing aspect of the New York group as they settled comfortably into their more pop-minded, easy-listening phase. She has returned to her roots in experimentation with Body/Head, her ongoing project with guitarist Bill Nace. While some of the selections on the duo’s new Matador Records release