Thurston Moore
Trees Outside the Academy

Ecstatic Peace
Reviewed by: Dan Weiss
Reviewed on: 2007-09-18

Posted 09/18/2007 - 09:38:21 AM by cwperry:
 7:1 odds there will even be another SY studio album.
Posted 09/18/2007 - 01:40:28 PM by cwperry:
 That said, I am excited about this new "song-oriented" solo album from Moore; 12 years is a long time.
Posted 09/18/2007 - 02:43:19 PM by grandbanks:
 I haven't gotten to hear this yet, so I can't comment on the success of it (entirely possible it is a dud, though I liked p.hearts alright, especially the last track), but gotta say a couple of things. In general, when lambasting someone, it helps to not just aim well but to hit the target. Unless you are implying that Don Flemming is a guitar God, the Dim Stars reference is a dud. Just saying. Keep it simple, just say "fumbles another all-star collaboration" or something. Where did Amy Phillips end up anyway? Oh, right ...
Posted 09/18/2007 - 02:44:44 PM by grandbanks:
 I'll go 4:3 (does that make sense? not usually a betting man)
Posted 09/18/2007 - 09:21:03 PM by DanWeiss:
 Listen guys, I'm utterly shocked at how much I disliked this...I love every "song-oriented" thing SY's ever done (and I liked Psychic Hearts). Melody's always been his friend....until now. CW, do you know something I don't know? Those guys have been churning 'em out at a steady pace for a real while, I can't imagine a sudden disinterest in rocking. They've always had periods where they jerk off on side projects for a bit, like 1995 thru the first three SYRs.
Posted 09/19/2007 - 06:16:29 AM by Brooon:
 It's a decent record, I think, C+ for me. That vocal hook from "Honest James" has been stuck in my head for a month.
Posted 09/20/2007 - 02:09:48 PM by grandbanks:
 I think CW has a similar sentiment to my own: the last Geffen releases had a whiff of finality to them. Hopefully not, if they put out five more records that underwhelmed me like Sonic Nurse let's say, it wouldn't really effect me, as they have fulfilled their side of the bargain with me and then some. Odds are, though, that a couple of them would be pretty great, who knows. To me it just seems like Kim is probably gonna cut it off soon, and here's my theory: most of the shit since Washing Machine seems geared towards making Kim happy. The switch to guitar, Jim was brought in to free her up to do what she wants, Ibold was brought on tour to minimise her bass duties, etc. etc. The D.Nation thing changes my mind a little, as I can't imagine they would do it and then bow out at the height of the renewed zeitgeist, but it would also make sense in the cliched going out on top sense. But then you think about how few bands have ever really been able to do that (not counting bands that are recognised as doing such posthumoulsy) and it makes even more sense. My vote is for longevity. As I have said before, they are in uncharted territory as far as keeping a band together and keeping it interesting (and relatively consistent), so I would love to be able to seem them live every couple of years into middle age. Why not? Also, Dan, I think your review is good. I'm going to listen to this on the weekend and form my own opinion, but your thoughts seem totally valid. My only beef is the forced name dropping. You seem interested in detail, otherwise you wouldn't have carted out a piece on reevaluating NYC Ghosts & Flowers. R. Hell is noted for many things, but his guitar prowess is certainly not it. Just weakens an otherwise solid review.
Posted 09/24/2007 - 05:38:07 PM by cwperry:
 SY lifespan aside, I adore this album. It's not a profoundly important album, and I'd probably give it a B-, but I adore it. The instrumentation is such a breath of fresh air. I love Thurston's electric playing and noise jams, but it is fascinating to hear a record by him that's propelled half the time by acoustic guitar, not to mention violin and bongos! It wouldn't be so amazing coming from your average folkie, but Moore's sultry voice and his playing style make for a very compelling atmosphere here. Another thing that I like about this album is the quiet dignity present on several tracks. This is not to suggest the album should be compared to a Leonard Cohen album or something. It's just that Moore is often such a durned goofball that it is inherently interesting to hear him do muted, straightforward tracks like the ones peppering the album. Of course he can't resist a couple of noise moments, and freaky instrumentals make up another song or two. Then there's the wacky tape of him at age thirteen. At any rate, this album is far sweeter and humanistic than the art-damaged skronk of Psychic Hearts, which I also like. Moore turns 50 next year, and he continues to contribute valuable tunes. Trees Outside the Academy is no earth-shattering album of the year--but albums don't have to be profound and groundbreaking to be enjoyable. Even the photo booklet is enjoyable. I hope that in another 12 years he puts out a third solo "songs" record that is as endearing as this one.
Posted 09/24/2007 - 05:38:24 PM by cwperry:
 Plus, it was cheap--$8.99 new! Yowza!
Posted 09/25/2007 - 02:49:50 PM by cwperry:
 I'm continuing to think about this album. Regarding the author's comment "Again he fumbles a meeting with a guitar god," I wonder what exactly is expected every time two heavyweights play together--should they produce a legendary album of the century or not bother? Should they produce the lost volume of the Traveling Wilburys? Moore and Mascis are friends, and nothing is wrong with them playing together with minor results. I cannot see how this--or Dim Stars--counts as a "fumble[d] meeting." You want to talk about fumbled meetings, go over to the comments box for the 2007 Who "reunion" album. Trees Outside the Academy is what an old Rolling Stone review I once read calls a "small album"--a solo record from a person in a band most people don't know about--recorded with friends. That it has so many enjoyable tunes is just gravy. Moore's noise recordings seem to generate automatic credibility, and I don't understand that; does something being close to "jazz" make it academic or otherwise automatically worthy of being taken seriously? With pop form, especially if recorded by a scene veteran, if something isn't pure gold it seems to get dogged an awful lot. I don't consider this one of the best albums of the year overall, but it's a serious contender for what I call "Best Inconsequential Album of the Year." It ain't gonna reinvent music, but it's more enjoyable than the latest pap from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or whatever other flavor-of-the-minute is out there.
Posted 09/25/2007 - 02:54:42 PM by cwperry:
 And one last comment, unless someone wants to continue a dialogue: Psychic Hearts was released on Geffen in 1995; I don't see how it had a "limited run." It may have gone out of print at one point, but so did Daydream Nation once upon a time. If it had sold a zillion copies it wouldn't have gone out of print. That's different than being a limited edition.