Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Recording Review/Tour/Video)

Thurston Moore

Demolished Thoughts

Matador Records

Those expecting Thurston Moore’s solo record Demolished Thoughts to sound like his work with Sonic Youth –  experimental noise rock – will doubtless be surprised. The LP falls into Moore’s song-propelled, rather than improv-oriented, catalog. But it’s the arrangements that are game-changing.

The instrumentation is quite different from SY’s, with an emphasis on acoustic guitars and even strings. Moore explores this “softer” palette enthusiastically, but he never loses his conceptual edge. There’s still a dysfunctional tinge to the lyrics. What’s more, many of ths songs exhibit a druggy post-psych folk ambience: Moore attributes this to his observations of the college age alterna-hippy set in his hometown – Northhampton, Massachussetts (He even dedicates the video below to these fair minded NoHo inhabitants).

Whatever the influence, Demolished Thoughts is a pleasant surprise, one that suggests that Moore’s music contains yet more previously unexplored multitudes.
Thurston Moore plays the Pitchfork Festival tonight. You can check out his other tour dates, and a video for the album cut “Circulation” below.

Thurston Moore Tour Dates

7/15 Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
7/16 High Noon, Madison, WI
7/18 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theatre #
7/21 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #
7/23 Portland, OR – Alladin Theatre #
7/26 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall #
7/28 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/29 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour #
7/30 San Diego, CA – Casbah #

# w/ Kurt Vile

Strand of Oaks featured on eMusic & Pitchfork (video)

If you read 17 dots, the eMusic blog, with any degree of frequency, chances are you’ve heard of Strand of Oaks (Tim Showalter). His second album was an eMusic selects title.

Strand of Oaks clearly has other friends in the music blogosphere. His latest video is featured this week on Pitchforktv. Check out an embed below.

Sure, 17 dots’ posts can sometimes feel like long form commercials for its parent site. But that’s nothing new, and nothing to get too disturbed about. During the heyday of brick and mortar record stores, Tower Records’ Pulse filled this role; but it also was often a good read.

Just making this comparison reminds me of what we’ve lost with the folding of a number of record sellers. While I greatly appreciate the convenience of online vendors, they haven’t replaced the experience of browsing – of digging through the bins and finding something unexpected. I’m grateful that several indie record sellers – Princeton Record Exchange, Vintage Vinyl, Other Music, Academy Records – have managed to weather the storm thus far.

Of the digital vendors, I’ve come closest to the interactivity of the live browsing experience with two: Insound and eMusic. eMusic isn’t a perfect model. I’m no great fan of their new pricing scheme – cash instead of credits – and wish that they’d let you rollover your cash at the end of the month instead of having to scramble to finish off your allotment.

But the site is an important foil for some of its bigger competitors. In particular, eMusic has been doing a good job highlighting artists who might not get noticed in more mainstream venues. Indeed, showing off artists like Showalter instead of bubblegum divas is one of the best reasons to favor eMusic over big box vendors. If that’s 17 dots’ role in the digital marketplace, I’m willing to abide its occasional commercial-like content.

ABCs Updated

An Indie Rock Alphabet Book: A Paste Reader for Kids and Their Parents
By Caren Kelleher
Createspace, 62 pages
ISBN-10: 1440491321
 Indie Rock Alphabet
 According to author Caren Kelleher, “C” is for Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. Thus An Indie Rock Alphabet Book proceeds from A to Z, name-checking indie notables in wry verse.
In a volatile publishing market, Paste is one of the few glossies that has managed to broaden its approach without diluting its quality, successfully co-opting the ‘indie smarty’ demographic without alienating the mainstream. The magazine has expanded its web presence, added occasional DVD offerings to its usual fare of cover mount CD samplers, and offered an online ‘VIP’ downloads club. Now, like Pitchfork, Paste is making a foray into book publishing.  
Mixing generous doses of insider humor with a trendy design layout, Indie Rock Alphabet is both a quick read and a fun conversation starter. Like Pitchfork 500, it is best accompanied by music – an alphabetical mixtape might be an excellent tie-on for Paste’s website. Designed as a children’s book that will also delight more chronologically advanced readers, Indie Rock Alphabet is a clever addition to Paste Magazine’s expanding list of projects.