January 4, 2014 |
If Sonic Youth, the still-reigning overlords of avant-garde rock, have indeed split for good, and will never again perform as a unit, it's tragic. The one bright side might be the progress of Lee Ranaldo, one of the Youth's guitarists, writers, and singers. Ranaldo has developed into a composer of luscious melodies and pensive, insightful lyrics, along with becoming a vocalist in full command of range and emotion. The proof is 2013's Last Night on Earth , his first album with his new band the Dust, featuring Youth drummer Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht, and bassist Tim Lüntzel.
February 25, 2013
Various Artists Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys (Anti- ***1/2) It goes without saying that the double disc Son of Rogues Gallery , a 36-song compendium featuring Keith Richards and Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Courtney Love, Johnny Depp, Macy Gray, Dr. John, and many others, is a rambling, shambling affair. The sequel to 2006's Rogues Galley , the current seafaring collection once again has Philadelphia-raised longtime Saturday Night Live musical director and professional eclecticist Hal Willner acting as the musical captain of the ship.
December 14, 2012 |
THUGS IN PHILLY steal everything from cash to copper. Wednesday night, they stole a famous guitar allegedly worth $20,000. Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore reported on the band's Facebook page Thursday that someone had pinched his 1960 Fender Jazzmaster around midnight from the Best Western hotel on 22nd Street near Hamilton. "It's Thurston's iconic Sonic Youth black Jazzmaster with all the stickers on its body," according to the Facebook post. "A police report has been filed.
November 19, 2012 |
It's fitting that Toronto power trio METZ got their big break by leveling crowds at the annual CMJ Music Marathon conference last month in New York. These historians of hardcore do things the old-fashioned way, evidently unbelieving in just about everything that's happened to music since the advent of the Internet. Most of their discography is 7-inch singles. If they use a computer to record their music, you couldn't tell. Signed to Sub Pop, they most resemble the clamorous rock godheads that once anchored that label's seminal roster and singles club of the late '80s and early '90s: Sonic Youth at their most punk, Mudhoney at their primal grungiest, Nirvana circa anything but Nevermind . METZ's Friday-night appearance at the tiny Kung Fu Necktie dive in Fishtown corroborated their anachronistic appeal.
September 10, 2012 |
Sometimes, when a performer hasn't soundchecked properly or is careless, the audience gets subjected to a moment of screeching feedback that's startling, wince-inducing, and occasionally painful. In the mid-'80s, Glasgow's Jesus & Mary Chain made an aesthetic of those moments, combining them with Beach Boys melodies, Velvet Underground drones, and disdainful detachment, and at Union Transfer Saturday night, those screeches, between songs or within them, were ubiquitous. And marvelous.
August 27, 2011
Music Thurston Moore. The feedback and noise that are Sonic Youth's hallmarks are nowhere to be found on Demolished Thoughts, Thurston Moore's newest solo album. Produced by Beck, it's a quietly intense collection of acoustic songs, sometimes dreamy, sometimes ominous, but always engrossing. These are thoughtful and precise tunes, orchestrated with violin and harp and Moore's unusual tunings and chord changes. One can imagine "Circulation" amped into a Sonic Youth rocker, but that's an exception: These Thoughts, many of which are love songs, are more ruminative than raucous.
August 26, 2011
Red Baraat In the world of Red Baraat, the nine-piece Brooklyn band, "D & B" stands not for "Drum 'n' Bass" or "Dave & Buster's," but "Dhol and Brass. " "Dhol" would be the double-sided barrel drum beaten by leader Sunny Jain; "brass" refers to the full horn section that provides the New Orleans-style marching band element in the wholly unique, boisterous blend of Indian bhangra beats and horn-happy dance-party funk. "Chaal Baby," the title track to the band's 2010 debut album, can be heard in the promo ads for the new season of the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
April 22, 2011 |
The British indie rock band Yuck were one of the breakout acts at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, last month. But lead singer Daniel Blumberg, the 21-year-old Londoner who stood to the far left of the capacious outdoor venue Stubb's during SXSW and sheepishly noted that the NPR Music showcase was the biggest gig of his group's young life, would prefer that the group not be known as a "buzz band. " "It is nice, when people talk about the band," says the guitarist, songwriter, and visual artist, who will be releasing a set of solo piano songs under the rubric Oupa in June.
March 25, 2011 |
What's not to love about Hey Rosetta!, the polished alt-pop rockers from St. John's, Newfoundland? They boast a yearning, ultra-sincere lead singer who sounds like a mash-up of Chris Martin, Paul Simon and Brandon Flowers. And they crank earnest anthems loud and gracefully, with warming violin and cello players you can actually hear in the mix (take a hint, Arcade Fire). Oh, and Hey Rosetta! makes equally vivid videos. (Check out the charming, ballet-themed "Yer Spring" at YouTube.) Hailed as one of the "must see" attractions of the recent Austin, Texas, SXSW music soiree - and now they're here in our own back yard.