REVIEW: Thurston Moore’s “The Best Day”

Thurston Moore photo ThurstonMoore_cover_zps56a9f624.jpg Is it me or does Thurston Moore sound happy on his new album? Is that why he calls it The Best Day (Matador)? He doesn’t sound festive as if he’s ready to put on some beads and dance throughout New Orleans during Mardi Gras but it just sounds like someone who is ready to party a bit. The lyrics are not as harsh as previous efforts and yet the poetry and metaphors he uses still has the same kind of textures he has always been known for. Plus, you begin an album with an eight minute song only to go into an eleven minute one, that’s a full side of music at the beginning of an album.

Regardless of what his mood is, The Best Way just sounds like the kind of project Moore fans have been waiting for since the days of Sonic Youth, and while he has been loved for exploring different sounds and textures throughout his career, these songs sound like he’s an all new man willing to rock out in a ballsy manner while retaining the perception of the integrity people pour all over him. Normally, his previous music has been compared to other Sonic Youth albums but this could be compared to anything from Wilco to Weezer, all without sarcasm. It may sound odd to say what Moore had created is a fun album, as it may make people wonder what the hell happened, but it just sounds incredibly good, something a wide range of people can and should appreciate. I’m not saying he’s going to jam with John Mayer anytime soon but whatever he calls this phase he’s in, I’m glad he was able to capture it.

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REVIEW: John Zorn & Thurston Moore’s “@”

 photo ZornMoore_cover_zps403c03e8.jpg The downtown New York music scene has shown brilliance for years, and two of its geniuses have now created a unique album together. @ (Tzadik) is John Zorn and Thurston Moore entering a room, coming together, opening the microphones to see what happens. Everything is improvisational (or most of it) so there is a “take it as it comes” approach to it. Zorn will play the sax, bite the reed, then suck, smoke, beat, choke, startle, squeeze and tickle his instrument, and that may be during the first two minutes of a track. Moore will do his Moore doodle thing and play what comes to him. Anyone who has followed Moore’s more adventurous works knows that this isn’t the first time he has made music like this where the structure of the piece lacks structure, but has some sense of construction, even if there isn’t a blueprint. There are times when it sounds as if they are complimenting each other, reacting to what the other does, and I guess for the most part that’s what they’re both doing, just to see what one draws from the other. What I like is how it sounds as if this was recorded in two different rooms during two different times and someone said “okay, let’s piece this together and release it as a an album. It has our names on it, it will sell a handful of copies on that basis alone.” What also works is when there’s deliberate magic to create a song, which comes through in “Her Sheets”. Then in a track like “Strange Neighbor” we hear the metaphorical strangeness of two people in two different worlds, the only thing holding them back is the wall or yard between them, as Moore’s guitar turns into percussion and sheets of metal. One could also say that “Her Sheets”, placed directly in the middle of the album (as song 4 of 7), could be the wall, or the space between friends and what Zorn and Moore are exploring the dimensions and color of that wall before the wall falls, if at all. There are times when what Zorn plays sounds, to me at least, Indian, or considering his roots, perhaps Jewish or Middle Eastern. I just imagined the sound of Kadri Gopalnath within, but as interpreted by Zorn for a moment. @ is not meant to be loved by everyone but then again, if you’re aware of who Zorn and Moore are, then you’re already halfway there.

I will say this: if you are a producer who is looking to sample unusual sounds and tones, or a weird drone or two, there are a few moments here that would be perfect for it. Of course, if you’re going to sample from them, ask for permission first or do some serious filtering.

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SOME STUFFS: 3rd Annual Spy Music Festival on its way in September

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With summer about six weeks before wrapping up, there is still time to head outside and enjoy some music at a festival. If you’ve paid attention to the artists I’ve posted here, many of them are not only on tour but are using festivals as a means to get their music across, as is the custom. Those in or within/around New York City will be able to enjoy the Spy Music Festival happening in early September, created by Northern Spy Records.

It’s the 3rd time the festival has been put together, and it will be held on two different days at two different venues: you can head to the Spectrum in Manhattan on September 7th, while September 8th will be in Brooklyn at 285 Kent. Along with bands, there will be sets from some of the top and upcoming DJ’s, along with giveaways throughout the two-day fest. This is the current lineup:

September 7… Manhattan, NY (Spectrum; 121 Ludlow, $10)
Driphouse (7:00)
Diamond Terrifier (7:50)
Loren Connors & Suzanne Langille (8:40)
ODO (FORMA) (9:30)
Charles Gayle Trio (10:20)

September 8… Brooklyn, NY (285 Kent; $10)
PC Worship (7:00)
Ava Luna (7:45)
Seaven Teares (8:30)
NYMPH (9:15)
Caught on Tape (Thurston Moore & John Moloney) (10:00)
Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band (10:45)
Aa (aka Big A Little a) (11:30)

RSVP for the September 7th show can be had by going here. Tickets for September 8th are available here, while RSVP for the 8th show may be viewed there.

RECORD CRACK: Thurston Moore & Loren Connors to offer album for Record Store Day

Thurston Moore & Loren Connors photo ThurstonLoren_cover_zpsc988eb26.jpg The Only Way To Go Is Straight Through (Northern Spy) is a collaborative album by Thurston Moore and Loren Connors that comes from live recordings they did together last year at two shows in New York City. The album consists of them just playing what comes to them, and there are no proper titles for each piece, both running over 20 minutes. In fact, here is the track listing:

Side A
Manhattan, NY – The Stone – July 14th, 2012 (21:15)

Side B
Brooklyn, NY – Public Assembly – October 17th, 2012 (22:59)

Fairly simple. Also simple is the fact that this record is being pressed up for Record Store Day and will be only available at select stores. What “select stores” means, I’m not sure. I don’t know if Moore, Connors and/or Northern Spy Records determine where the records go, but regardless of the answer, only 3000 copies are being pressed. Not only that, but the record will only be sold on Record Store Day (April 20, 2013) and that’s it. You’ll have to deal with high priced record collectors on eBay, and you know the deal about that. If you see the album at your neighborhood record store on Record Store Day, pick it up and if not for yourself, perhaps for a fan who might find it of use.

REVIEW: Thurston Moore’s “Demolished Thoughts”

Photobucket Being a Sonic Youth fan means putting faith in anything and everything that they do. You don’t *have* to like it of course, but it means that you are someone who is fairly open to a wide range of styles anyway, and being open means they’re music is open to interpretation. Case in point: the new solo album by guitarist/vocalist Thurston Moore.

Demolished Thoughts has been promoted a bit as a more delicate side of his music, as if it was an acoustic/folk album. In a way it is, but I also consider this to be a more stylized demo, as in “these could’ve been demos for future songs meant to be taken towards a more electric/distorted place, but I’ll leave them as is.” A lot of times, those primitive tracks often reveal things in a song and composition that listeners might overlook when hearing them behind walls of noise. This cuts the sonic crap (pun sarcastically intended) and shows Moore to be as delicate and poetic as he’s ever been, as someone who could be a hero but is too busy scanning his back issues of Sassy in order to adorn himself with such worship. While I wouldn’t mind hearing these songs taken in a more louder fashion, I like it as is. I’d prefer to hear these songs embraced by singers who one would normally not think of as being Sonic Youth-friendly. Give this to Jennifer Hudson or Jennifer Nettles, hell give some congas to Jenny Craig.

In truth, nothing I will say will change the mind of SY fans, and I’m a longtime SY fan so let me at least say that if you have shied away from this because others have said it’s different, then don’t. SY have been always been “different” and will be “different” to someone, and really you were never the kind of person who wanted sameness out of them anyway. A great album, and one that may open your close-minded friends to Moore and his discography.

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SOME STUFFS: Sonic Youth are indie again, new album finished

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After many celebrated years with the Geffen/DGC ohana, Sonic Youth have been released from the John Black chains (Days Of Our Lives fans take note) and are once again completely independent. The group will be releasing their new album, The Eternal, on June 9th through Matador Records, to be available as a 2LP set, compact disc, and in digital (no word yet if lossless will be an option. Here is the confirmed track listing:

1. Sacred Trickster
2. Anti-Orgasm
3. Leaky Lifeboat(for Gregory Corso)
4. Antenna
5. What We Know
6. Calming The Snake
7. Poison Arrow
8. Malibu Gas Station
9. Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
10. No Way
11. Walkin’ Blue
12. Massage The History

The band and Matador will be offering “extras” when the album is available to pre-order.

On top of this, Sonic Youth and Beck are releasing a split 7″ on April 18th to honor this year’s Record Store Day.