Beck and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore Team Up on Demolished Thoughts

Dopplegangers and brothers in arms, Thurston Moore brings in pal Beck to produce his new solo album Demolished Thoughts in stores May 24.

By , Contributor
Is this really an idea whose time has come, as some reviewers purport?

We mean Beck producing Thurston Moore's fourth solo album (and first for Matador Records), Demolished Thoughts, due out on May 24. Why? Because the twosome look so much alike, notwithstanding the ten-inch height disparity? Nah, it couldn't be that. Or could it?  But narcissism can only take you so far. Look at what happened to Mick and Bianca.

But what we do know is they have been pals since 1994 when Moore famously interviewed the diminutive (and then relatively normal) artist for MTV's 120 Minutes.

What we don't know is why Moore changed the title of the album from the previously announced "Benediction," the first and best track on the disc. "Benediction" is both a caress and a covert manual for navigating the often tumultuous waters of the long married, but this song - and the whole album, really - makes one wonder as to what is going on in the Moore/Gordon household given the personal nature of the lyrics. There are notable comparisons to Beck's 2002 Sea Change album, which marked his breakup from his designer girlfriend Leigh Limon.

But then Moore's wife since 1984, bassist Kim Gordon, did perform at his curated concert series at The Stone, New York's experimental music space, last month as "Kim Gordon with Guest " - the guest turning out to be Yoko Ono, so if that's any indication, things are pretty peachy. Well, if we're talking Yoko, make that an apple.

As for Beck, not only was he behind the boards, but he also sings backgrounds on a few tracks on Demolished Thoughts. (If you listen closely you can figure out which ones; he just looks like Moore, he doesn't sound like him.) What is really astonishing is his genius as an arranger and how deft and inventive his touch was with longtime Moore stalwarts harpist Mary Lattimore's (who logged in time with Kurt Vile) and violinist Samara Lubelski's parts.

"He really put them through their paces," Moore told the Philadelphia Weekly last December. But given that Beck's father is David Campbell, the iconic conductor, arranger and composer (who most recently created song arrangements, dance arrangements, underscoring and orchestrations for the beleaguered Broadway musical Spider-Man:Turn Off the Dark), it shouldn't come as a surprise.

The real surprise is how sonically gorgeous and revelatory this 47-minute disc is, and how much of Moore's usually austere heart is invested in it. You can hear for yourself at NPR, where it is streaming free.

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Jaan Uhelszki was one of the founding editors at Detroit’s legendary Creem magazine. Since that time, her work has appeared in USA Today, Uncut, Rolling Stone, Spin, NME, Relix, and Guitar World. She is the only journalist to have ever performed in full makeup with Kiss. Luckily she only had to put…

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