Thurston Moore

Trees Outside the Academy (Ecstatic Peace!)

Phases & Stages

Thurston Moore

Trees Outside the Academy (Ecstatic Peace!)

Psychic Hearts, Thurston Moore's 1995 solo debut, was the epitome of what "indie rock" sounded like right then, and it didn't stray far from what Sonic Youth was doing at the time, either. SY's Rather Ripped flexed some much-needed muscle last year, but the Massachusetts axeman's second solo album finds him in a contemplative mood. It's Moore at his most poetic, especially traversing the vocal valleys of "Silver>Blue." Samara Lubelski's violin and Youthful drumming courtesy of Steve Shelley, along with Moore's acoustic guitar, make Trees the seasonal opposite of Hearts. There's still clamor; it just happens between songs. The rest is honest to goodness pop, from crystalline opener "Frozen Gtr" to the pastoral duet "Honest James." The title track cues up most Sonic, Moore choosing its midsong breakdown, featuring a ripping solo by J Mascis, to remind us he still makes noise, even if Trees is his soft-rock album. (Sonic Youth rips Stubb's Friday, Oct. 5.)

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