As plenty of artists have searched for ways to contribute to relief for the citizens of Ukraine, Sonic Youth have thrown their hats in the ring by sharing a live album of their April 14, 1989, performance in Kyiv (when the nation was still a part of the U.S.S.R.). All proceeds go to benefit World Central Kitchen, an organization that’s been providing meals in liberated Ukrainian cities throughout the crisis.
The recorded show was one of several the band played across Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine fresh off of the 1988 release of Daydream Nation (and side project Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album), meaning it features searing versions of then-new tracks like “Candle,” “The Sprawl” and “Silver Rocket.” The performance has been mastered by Aaron Mullan, who has also worked on previous remixes of Dirty, Daydream Nation and Goo, and the cover features a collage of pictures taken during the show by Alexej Zaika.
In a writeup attached to the album’s Bandcamp release, Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz reflected on the significance of Sonic Youth’s show in the former Soviet Union just months before the Berlin Wall fell:
That SY Kyiv show was life changing for all musicians that were there… We were already attuned to Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten, S Pistols and Discharge but these were the new vitamins we needed. I made a decision to experience NY right there. Plus my friends VV were opening so i got in free. The fact that it wasn’t shut down half way through like all other punk gigs was the doing of a Ukrainian man named Mikhailo Gorbachev, who set up the atmosphere of political “springtime” and a promise of change.
You can stream Live In Kyiv, Ukraine 1989 below (plus a 1991 Sonic Youth performance from the Paste archives), and purchase the album here. You can also revisit our recent ranking of the best Sonic Youth songs here.