In the meantime, Thurston Moore has released an album of genteel, somnolence-inspiring arrangements that function essentially as ruminations on open guitar tunings; Steve Shelley is drumming with Disappears (a band that nobody would be paying attention to if Steve Shelley wasn’t drumming for them); and Lee Ranaldo is making his debut as a solo songwriter with his album “Between the Tides and the Times” on Matador Records.
This isn’t his debut album by any means, as he has released a handful of highly experimental albums including East Jesus, From Here to Infinity, and Amarillo Ramp (for Robert Smithson) that would test the fidelity of any true Sonic Youth fan. These albums are in addition to other free jazz albums that he has collaborated on.
So far we only have one song from the new album, set for release on March 20. “Off the Wall” is structured in typical verse/chorus/verse fashion with a free-wheeling easiness in the melody that sounds like it would fit perfectly on Rather Ripped. This is, oddly, quite a departure considering Ranaldo’s other works. Leave it to someone so completely left-of-center as Lee Ranaldo to release a straight ahead rock track and have it seem like a departure. The truth is that this track does sound like one of the songs that would appear on a Sonic Youth album, where Ranaldo is typically woefully underrepresented.
He’s also got some solo performances coming up, including a spot at Primavera. Check him out live if you can, as his band includes not only Steve Shelley (you know, the guy from Disappears), Nels Cline, Alan Licht and John Medeski. His tour, with M. Ward and Disappears, mostly hits up the East Coast and parts of the South and Midwest. You can check the dates here, and pre-order Between The Times and The Tides at Matador.
ETA (March 13, 2012): Lee’s album, “Between the Times and the Tides” is now streaming in its entirety on Rolling Stone.com.