Murray Street is latest (as of 2002) full-length Sonic Youth album. It is supposedly the second of a planned trio of NYC-themed releases. Recorded in the band's studio, just a stone's throw from Ground Zero. The first LP to feature noted Chicago omnimusician and former Gastr Del Sol member Jim O'Rourke as a full-on fifth member.

Track Listing:

The Empty Page
Disconnection Notice
Rain On Tin
Karen Revisited
Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
Plastic Sun
Sympathy for the Strawberry

Notes on the LP by Byron Coley:

SONIC YOUTH Murray Street
Kim Gordon
Thurston Moore
Jim O'Rourke
Lee Ranaldo
Steve Shelley

with auxiliary help from:
Don Dietrich: saxophone
Jim Sauter: saxophone

Murray Street is Sonic Youth’s 16th album since they came together in 1981. Many wise owls will note that it has something of a “new” “rock” sound, utilizing material that was worked out in live shows during 2001, and incorporating the textures of recent (overt) avant garde explorations into a ragingly populist framework. Others just ask, “Zep, the Dead or Sparks? Who’s on top now?” *

Murray Street is (ostensibly) named after the location of Sonic Youth’s studio, in which recording of this album was begun in August, 2001. Following the events of September 11, and the cordoning off the area where their instruments and master tapes were, the band laid low for a while. Sessions began again as soon as it was legally possible. Everything was dusty, but otherwise okay. *

Murray Street is the first (though hopefully not the last) major label album to feature the massed saxophone work of Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich, best known as two-thirds of America’s most exquisite power trio, Borbetomagus. They play on “Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style”, and if, back in the ‘80s, you would have postulated that this event would have come to pass, somebody would have surely spit in yr eye. *

Murray Street is the first full Sonic Youth album to include the all-out collaboration (writing, playing, dancing and producing) of Jim O’Rourke. *


.--Byron Coley/Deerfield MA/2002


Comments on the new LP by Thurston, in Making Music zine:

MM; What would you say to someone picking up the guitar for the first time?
T; Make love to it. Turn on the amp to overdrive and hug into it, and feel it, and improvise a new world of action. That is the best way to learn initially and to see if it is indeed something you must pursue.

MM; Guitar of the moment and why?
T; A black Fender Jazzmaster from the late 60s which i use for most of the newer SY tunes. It fits my fucked up, string bean-like body in a way no other electric guitar can. I feel like i'm holding a rock 'n' roll banana.

MM; Tuning of the moment and why?
T; 6th string:Z, 5th string:R, 4th string Q, 3rd string:T, 2nd string:Y, 1st string:X. This is a tuning ive been experimenting with lately which i find expands my frontal lobe systems like no other portal-inducing sound-thrush yet encountered.

MM; Murray St is very focussed and glides effortlessly. What did u want to achieve that was different this time around?
T; we wanted to make a cool rock 'n' roll record. It was easy: we just turned on the love.

MM; To what extent is distortion a short cut to power and energy?
T; It is deceptive in the sense that it increases power and energy, but it is only a different dynamic. Loud and soft are only metaphors. The quietest moments are deafening

MM; what advice would u give to up and coming musicians with regard to avoiding exploitative deals?
T; If yr ambition is to be a pop star then yr best bet is to write a song called "my future bride, kylie", and plaster the record's forthcoming release announcement all over London but never really release the record. Do many interviews about it coming out soon and how its a masterpiece of pop nirvana.

MM; Did u know there's a dominatrix in Pensacola, Florida, who uses the SY album washing machine in her professional sessions? apparently the lyrics and guitars are ideal for spanking!
T; Kinky

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