May 28, 2011

Playlist Week of 5-28-11

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

* J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2SACD)
* J.S. Bach: Trio Sonatas (London Baroque/Medlam) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* J.S. Bach: Sonatas For Viola Da Gamba (Pandolfo/Alessandrini) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op. 5 (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker Hi-Fi (Verve CD)
* Sun Ra: The Antique Blacks (Saturn/Art Yard CD)
* Sun Ra: Sub-Underground (Saturn LP>CDR)
* Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Boston) 2005 (d.1) (New Braxton House FLAC>2CDR)
* Kip Hanrahan: Vertical’s Currency (American Clave/Pangaea CD)†/‡
* Material: Hallucination Engine (Axiom/Island CD)
* The Disco Box (selections) (Rhino 4CD)
* Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball (Elektra CD)†/‡
* Grateful Dead: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA 8-30-80 (set 2) (SBD CDR)†
* Grateful Dead: Formerly The Warlocks: Hampton, VA 1989 (d.1-4) (GDP/Rhino 6CD)
* U2: The Unforgettable Fire (Deluxe Edition) (Island 2CD)†/‡
* U2: The Joshua Tree (Deluxe Edition) (d.1) (Island 2CD)†/‡
* Sonic Youth: Simon Werner A Disparu (Soundtrack) (SYR-9 LP)
* Thurston Moore: Psychic Hearts (Geffen 2LP)
* Thurston Moore: Trees Outside The Academy (Ecstatic Peace CD)
* Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador 2LP/CD)
* Thurston Moore: 12 String Meditations For Jack Rose (Thin Wrist/Vin Du Select Qualitite LP)
* The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin (Warner Bros. CD)†/‡
* Robert Pollard: Moses On A Snail (GBV, Inc. CD)†/‡
* Circus Devils: Sgt. Disco (Happy Jack Rock Records 2LP)
* Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino CD)†/‡
* Panda Bear: Tomboy (Paw Tracks CD)
* Broken Bells: Broken Bells (Columbia CD)†/‡
* Fleet Foxes: Sun Giant (Sub Pop CDEP)
* Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop CD)
* Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop 2LP)



Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore may no longer be so youthful (he turns 53 on July 25) and you might conclude from his latest solo album, Demolished Thoughts, he has mellowed with age. But that’s OK because it’s an unselfconsciously beautiful record—the kind of record a younger Moore could have never dreamed of making. Known for his noisy electric guitar playing, he sticks to acoustic instruments here, including spare accompaniment from Samara Lubelski on violin, Mary Lattimore on harp (!), Bram Inscore on bass and Joey Waronker on percussion. This is similar to the approach taken on 2007’s Trees Outside The Academy, but while that one still retained some punk rock heaviness (thanks, no doubt, to the presence of Sonic Youth’s drummer, Steve Shelley, and Dinosaur Jr.’s, J. Mascis on lead guitar), Demolished Thoughts just floats on air. To that end, Beck Hansen was brought in produce and his sweet string arrangements and deft recording skills give these dreamy, ethereal songs a pure-pop glow reminiscent of his own Sea Change or Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left (two of the most gorgeous albums ever made). If nothing else, this album is definitely chill.

At first, it seemed a little derivative of what had come before: More Trees Outside The Academy, if you will. But the super-relaxed mood and luscious sound quality made me want to play it over and over and doing so revealed subtleties I had initially overlooked in a rush to judgment. For example, “Orchard Street” sounds alarmingly similar to any number of latter-day Sonic Youth songs, but a simple, tasty riff inserted between the verses and a swelling, swirling coda laden with billowing strings, glistening harp and ghostly howling go a long way to redeem it. Likewise, “Mina Loy” is constructed around an angular chord sequence that sounds vaguely familiar but Beck’s production choices, including Morricone-esque whistling and gauzy violins, give the song a windblown, Spaghetti Western feel that is perfectly charming. But there are also signs of growth: Moore’s acoustic guitar playing has matured, delivering a surprisingly bluesy solo on the opening “Benediction” and executing intricate cross-picking patterns on the penultimate “Space.” Meanwhile, his 6-and-12-string strumming is rich and full-toned throughout—aided, in part, by Beck’s meticulous recording. And while Moore’s lyrics are only obliquely self-referential, his laconic crooning has never sounded more nakedly sincere, revealing an emotional depth previously hidden by a veil of irony. The album sounds like a very personal, perfectly pitched statement, making some of the rehashed musical material more forgivable.

The limited edition LP (mastered by Bob Ludwig) generously spreads the album across two (blue) vinyl discs for exceptional sound quality and the deluxe gatefold packaging houses full-color inner sleeves along with a copy of the CD booklet containing lyrics and additional artwork—well done, Matador! Also included is a download card for a free MP3 copy of the album, a nice bonus if you’re so inclined (personally, I prefer the compact disc for my digital needs). Demolished Thoughts may be an imperfect masterpiece, but it is certainly a richly rewarding listen. Check it out—you can download free MP3s of “Benediction” and “Circulation” here.


Andrei said...

Hello, Rodger!
I have sent a message to your e-mail about some bootlegs I have for trading. Check it.

Comment for blog:

My recent list:

Jerry Garcia: All Good Things [Rhino 6CD]
The Band: The Last Wltz [Rhino 4CD]
Bob Dylan: John Wesley Harding [Mono CD]
David Bowie: Station To Station [CD]
David Bowie: Low [CD]
Henry Cow: Leg End (Original Mix) [CD]

Sam said...

Running a day late on my comment! Oh well, Memorial day was pool 'n' cookout day, martinis and tonics, canasta and Beatles.

Here's my list for last week:

Playlist 2011-05-30

*Ravi Shankar: The Sounds of India
*Stockhausen, Karlhleinz: Pierre Boulez/Florent Boffard (Paris 1998) CDR
*Anthony Braxton: Orchestra (Los Angeles) 1992
*Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: 2010-09-10 Firehouse 12, New Haven CT (CDR) selections
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2009-07-23 Nashville (selections)
*Trevor Dunn Trio Convulsant: 2004-10-14 Hemlock Tavern, SF (CDR)
*Joe Harriott Quintet: Free Form
*Leo Smith: Budding of a Rose
*Sun Ra: Voice of the Eternal Tomorrow
*Sun Ra & His Omniversal Pioneers Arkestra: 1983-07-02 Knitterfeld, Austria (CDR)
*Sun Ra Arkestra: 1984-06-24 Bonn, Germany (CDR)
*Sun Ra Arkestra: 1984-07-28 Beauchamps, France (CDR)
*Sun Ra and His Arkestra: 1984-10-11 Ruthie's Inn, Berkeley, CA (CDR)
*Sun Ra and His American Destiny-Changing Arkestra: 1984-10-28 Old Post Office, Washington DC (CDR)
*Sun Ra: 1988-01-31 Knitting Factory, NYC (CDR)
*Beatles: Sgt. Pepper (2009 mono remaster)
*Jeff Beck Group: Rough and Ready
*Climax Golden Twins: Imperial Household Orchestra
*Dark Carpet: Let's Make a Deal (CDR compilation)
*Firesign Theatre: Everything You Know Is Wrong
*Grateful Dead: 1977-05-25 Richmond VA (CDR) selections
*Grateful Dead: 1978-10-21 Winterland (CDR) 2nd set
*Jimi Hendrix: 51st Anniversary (The Story of Life...) (boot CDR) discs 2, 3
*Robert Pollard: Crickets: The Best of The Fading Captain Series (disc 2)
*Martha Reeves & the Vandellas: Live Wire (disc 2)
*Utopia: Deface the Music

Reading List 2011-05-30:

*Campbell, Eddie. Alec: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus) (started)
*Martin, George R.R. Game of Thrones (reread/started)
*Meyerowitz, Rick. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (started)
*Hernandez, Gilbert. Fear of Comics (finished)
*Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (transl. Malcolm C. Lyons) Vol. 1 (in progress)
*Ebert, Roger. The Great Movies II (in progress)
*Gifford, Don, and Robert J. Seldman. Ulysses Annotated, rev. and expanded ed. (in progress)
*Joyce, James. Ulysses (reread/in progress)
*Phillips, Arthur. The Tragedy of Arthur (in progress)
*Segar, E.C. The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye Vol. 8 (Dailies 1932-1933) (in progress)
*Sim, Dave. Cerebus, Vol. 1 (in progress)