EARLY WORD: Confusion Is Next


The Thurston Moore Band plays Boot N’ Saddle
on 10/25 in support of the just-out The Best Day.

PITCHFORK: The Best Day is not the first music Thurston Moore has released since becoming the most famous—and, in some circles, most reviled—divorcé in American indie-rock. It is, however, the first time he’s released a song-oriented album under his own name since his highly publicized split from long-time wife/bandmate Kim Gordon. And given that Moore’s traditionally used these solo albums to explore more intimate, emotionally resonant songcraft than Sonic Youth’s gnarled guitar jams normally accommodate, it’s not totally unreasonable to expect he’d use this opportunity to reflect upon the recent upheaval in his personal life in a more poetic way than contentious interview sound-bites allow. But with Sonic Youth officially on indefinite—or is it infinite?—hiatus, The Best Day proves to be not so much a revelatory, introspective antidote to Moore’s best-known band as a serviceable, equally high-voltage substitute for it. The album may not approach the metal-meltdown extremes of last year’s one-off with Chelsea Light Moving, but it does leave the drumstick-scraped guitars and humming amplifiers plugged in, displacing the acoustic quietude of 2007’s Trees Outside the Academy and 2011’s Demolished Thoughts with a distinctly Sonic Youth-ian discord. MOORE

SALON: The centerpiece of Thurston Moore’s fourth solo album, “The Best Day,” is an 11-minute pagan guitar jam featuring some of the boldest lyrics the man has ever written: “You draw a circle around the holy fortress,” he sings. “Animals they sing and adore you.” With its tensely churning guitars and occultic imagery, “Forevermore” summons Tolkein and Crowley and even Hammer Horror icon Christopher Lee to show the weird and world-conjuring power of romantic desire. In other words, it’s a love song—or at least Moore’s version of a love song. Any treacle or schmaltz or heart-on-sleeve professions of devotions are elbowed aside by noisy guitars and an engagement with weird corners of pop history from Zeppelin to “The Wicker Man.” Last year Moore moved to London—specifically, to a small village on the city’s outskirts called Stoke Newington—after more than 30 years in New York, where he served as an avatar of the city’s boho sensibilities. Whether that move was motivated by the need for a change of scenery or by the dissolution of his marriage to Sonic Youth bassist/singer Kim Gordon is largely beside point. What matters is that the transatlantic relocation has given Moore a whole new underground to explore. He’s part expat, part anthropologist. Just as “Low” was David Bowie’s Berlin album, “The Best Day” is Moore’s Stoke Newington album, a collection of songs defined by the particulars of locale. MOORE

NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Probably some of the anger directed at Moore comes from the fact that many fans idolize Gordon, and hoped that whatever the couple had was too groovy to fail. Online, Prinz became a target. “I’m so defensive about her and my relationship,” Moore admits. “The character assassination of Eva—who I fell in love with—I felt very sore about.” He becomes subdued. “Me, I get it”—he’s a rock star and fair game. “But she is this beautiful feminist intellectual, and there are all these feminist intellectuals who are attacking this other woman, and I was like, Wait a minute. They have the wrong number on this.” On The Best Day, he sings—I assume to or about Prinz—“Animals they sing and adore you?/?Intuitions flash before you?…?/That’s why I love you for evermore.” “The record is just me at 56 years old having a change-of-life scenario, madly in love, trying to deal with my responsibilities as an adult,” he says. “It’s hard to be an adult playing rock and roll.” The point seems to be that he’s found something with her that he needed. “People keep saying how—” and he pauses. “When I say people, I mean my mother. She keeps saying, You’re so happy and open in the last few years. And I am happy and open. That’s all there is to it.” MOORE