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30 Years of Thurston Moore

by Dan Weiss

30 Years of Thurston Moore


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One could argue that no rock musician has ever paced themselves as well as Thurston Moore, who just released his first album with a new band, Chelsea Light Moving, and it doesn't at all sound weary of the 30 noise-damaged years that lead up to it. Best known as Sonic Youth's co-leader, feedback architect and Kurt Cobain talent scout, the guitar anti-hero has always appeared bohemian cool without ever seeming cold; he's actually rather goofy, with his lanky frame and shaggy hair obscuring his face as he wrings something new from his six-string.

Compiling a playlist of his greatest moments was almost too easy -- not only are there a ton of them, but his style has remained so similar-yet-evolving for so long that a track like 1987's S.Y. jam "Tuff Gnarl" segues perfectly into his 2011 solo track "Circulation" despite the fact that it's a murky electric band flowing into a lush acoustic ensemble. His presence has graced everything from R.E.M.'s "Crush With Eyeliner" (allegedly about Courtney Love) to a DJ Spooky meditation I believe was once referred to as "illbient." His Sonic Youth highlights are plentiful and grand: "Sunday," "Schizophrenia," "Incinerate, "100%," "Catholic Block," "Free City Rhymes." But he's also possibly the world's most underrated balladeer, between the croonable "Unmade Bed," "Benediction," "Do You Believe in Rapture?", "Never Day" and "Winner's Blues." But "Ono Soul" salutes his one true allegiance, one that's served him and anyone remotely interested in alternative rock for three decades: "I bow to the queen of noise."

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