Published Oct 03, 2014If one were to read all the recent headlines about Thurston Moore — the ones that describe him as a cheating, midlife crisis having hater of black metal fans — one could surmise that the Sonic Youth co-founder was in an emotional and professional downward spiral. In reality, Moore is being more creative than he has been in years. As Moore tells Exclaim!, it's all thanks to a new band, a new album and the city that inspired it.
"I have a nice little flat in London and I love it," he says about his recent relocation to the English capital. "I do some playing with these people and there are poets who live there from different ages who are important to me… to connect with certain poets, like Tom Raworth and Lee Harwood and others, that's really wonderful."
As previously reported, the punk rock poet's new album, The Best Day, is out on October 21 through Matador Records. Moore's first solo foray since 2011's Beck-produced acoustic guitar odyssey Demolished Thoughts, The Best Day finds the no wave veteran returning to his roots by creating a chaotic, groove-heavy rock album made up of complementary guitar patterns and lumbering solos.
The guitar god's return to form is thanks in large part to James Sedwards (Nøught), a British guitarist he met soon after moving to England in early 2013.
"I always say he goes from Led Zeppelin to the Fall," Moore says of the six-stringer he affectionately refers to as "Shredwards." "Those were his two favourite bands — Led Zeppelin and the Fall — and those two bands do not go together. That's kind of like fire and water right there. But it's like everything in-between sort of touches those two bands."
It was Sedwards' musical virtuosity and "correlative" approach while playing with Moore that initially bonded the two guitarists. Soon, the pair were opening for the likes of Dylan Carlson (of Earth fame), Glenn Branca and his former bandmate Lee Ranaldo, who asked Moore to open for him and his backing band the Dust while in London. "That's where Steve [Shelley, Sonic Youth's drummer] heard us and offered his services."
Now all they needed was a bassist. They found one in Debbie Googe, whom Sedwards suggested they contact after realizing My Bloody Valentine's tour responsibilities would soon be coming to a close.
"All of a sudden there was this four-piece band. For me, it was a complete gift," Moore says. "I was afraid I was going to be getting these young musicians from London who had this anxiety of trying to make it work, and I didn't want to have to get it to this place where I had to try to rope them into my aesthetic."
Thankfully, The Best Day feels far from forced. Clocking in at just over 50 minutes, the eight-song album finds Moore and his half-British band delivering shred-heavy slacker rock ("Speak to the Wind"), hypnotic post-punk (11-minute epic "Forevermore," "Detonation") and classic rock riffs ("Germs Burn," the title track).
And while future work with previous collaborator John Moloney as part of their on-again, off-again Caught on Tape series, as well as a recording with Norwegian/Swedish jazz trio the Thing, is just around the corner, Moore admits he couldn't be more content with his current band.
"I mean, the record is The Best Day," he says, "but really it's like 'The Best Band.' I actually should have called the record The Best Band."
Thurston Moore and co. are currently on tour with Sebadoh and play Vancouver's Biltmore venue tonight (October 3).
You can see all the other U.S. dates here and pre-order his new album through Matador Records' online store here.