Hive Five: Thurston Moore’s Other Sonic Sides

Thurston Moore performs in Castellon de la Plana, Spain, January 2011. Photo: Jordi Vidal/Redferns

This week marks the release of Demolished Thoughts, Thurston Moore‘s latest offering outside Sonic Youth. But we don’t have to tell you, the man likes to make noise. Prolifically. A quick scan over his body of work seems to indicate he’ll join anything that strikes his fancy at the time, but here’s a five-point bulletin of the many sides of Thurston Moore outside that long shadow of Sonic Youth.

1. The Coachmen

Moore’s first band from 1979, the Coachmen were in the thick of punk’s boom years and were already moving towards a less pop-based take on the nihilistic movement. [Listen to "Stay in My Room" here.]

2. The Backbeat Band

The Backbeat Band was a Beatles supercoverband composed of Moore, Soul Asylum‘s Dave Pirner, Dave Grohl, Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs, R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills, and Don Fleming from Gumball. The band was assembled to soundtrack the movie Backbeat, a fictionalized look at the Beatles’ time in Hamburg, which starred Steven Dorff, effecting a horrible fake accent. An odd, but nevertheless interesting career move for Thurston — and demonstrates he’s not afraid to go a bit commercial when the time calls for it. [Listen to "Money" here.]

3. Male Slut

Much of Moore’s genius lies within his talents at redirecting the current of popular music in front of him, which he does with Male Slut, his guitar-thrash band from 1994. [Listen to "Hang Out" here.]

4. Glenn Branca‘s “Symphony no.  2, pt. 1″

The infamous experimenter Glenn Branca enlisted Moore and ten other guitarists to perform his “Symphony,” a long look at the affective possibilities of guitar ambiance and trash can collisions. And Moore, a longtime propoent of the New York downtown jazz scene, blends in effortlessly. [Listen to "Symphony No. 2, Pt 1 here.]

5. Ecstatic Peace! Rap

Thurston Moore owns a record label called Ecstatic Peace! but it’s not just a bunch of number crunching and spread sheets — he’s clearly a funny dude as we see in this short promotional film called Rap Damage: In Search of the Hip Hop Rabbit. [Watch here.]

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