Billboard Music Awards

Sonic Youth's 'Hits' Heading To Starbucks

In a recent interview, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore mentioned that the band needed to record a new song for a Starbucks compilation. Within minutes of his remarks hitting the Internet, chat ro

In a recent interview, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore mentioned that the band needed to record a new song for a Starbucks compilation. Within minutes of his remarks hitting the Internet, chat rooms and fan sites were awash in cries of "foul" and "sellouts."

For many, the idea of the ultimate indie art band getting into bed with the ultimate mainstream lifestyle brand was pure blasphemy. "I never thought of it as being more radical than recording for Universal Music," Moore tells Billboard. "They're both corporations that have ties to things that people find sort of problematic."

The compilation in question, "Hits Are for Squares," is a co-release by Starbucks Entertainment and Universal Special Markets. Scheduled for release early next year, it will be sold at select Starbucks locations in eight U.S. markets (including New York, Chicago and Seattle) as well as online at hearmusic.com.

In addition to one new, exclusive track, the limited-edition CD features Sonic Youth songs, handpicked by Chloe Sevigny, Dave Eggers, Michelle Williams and other enthusiasts. Participants will also each write a few words, explaining their selections, for the liner notes.

"I guess, for some, Sonic Youth represents something that they don't really equate with Starbucks," Moore says. "But I kind of like the absurdity of it. Sonic Youth has always, in a way, made itself available to the super mainstream."

"In a way, Sonic Youth has a branded name," he continues. "People know the name, but not necessarily our music, which might be a little too outsider for some. And when they do hear a little something, it doesn't tell the whole story. I thought it would be interesting to have a CD available in a store like Starbucks where the casual consumer can sort of have access to [our music] more readily."

Sonic Youth has yet to record its own contribution to the compilation, but was recently in the studio recording an unidentified Bob Dylan cover that may be used in Todd Haynes' upcoming film "I'm Not There."

Moore is also looking ahead to the Sept. 18 release of a new solo album, "Trees Outside the Academy," which he will support with some live shows.

"Hopefully, I'll get together the group that plays on the record, including Steve Shelley," he says. "Samara Lubelski from Brooklyn plays the electric violin, which acts as a second instrument on almost every track. J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. plays some killer guitar all over the record. And I play all the acoustic guitar and bass on it. It's a pretty heavy song-based record."