Wall of noise: Thurston Moore brings his new band and a new album to SOhO

Thurston Moore, second from right, and his band, from left, Deb Googe, Steve Shelley and James Sedwards Matador Records photo
Thurston Moore, second from right, and his band, from left, Deb Googe, Steve Shelley and James Sedwards
Matador Records photo

Thurston Moore is tireless. Since the end of his marriage to Kim Gordon and by extension the end of Sonic Youth, he’s just as busy as he ever was, forming and disbanding experimental bands, guest appearing on several records, including a black metal band’s, and working on a new album that just came out, “The Best Day.” He’s touring with the band that made that album, which includes Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums, Nought’s James Sedwards on guitar, and Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine on bass, and they’ll be coming to SOhO on Thursday, along with another classic ’90s band, Sebadoh.

For those surprised by the acoustic chamber music of 2010’s Beck-produced “Demolished Thoughts,” this is a return to the explorations of drone, Krautrock repetition and noise of Mr. Moore’s other works.

“By the end of that (‘Demolished Thoughts’) tour, I was getting really burnt out on that style of playing,” he says. “I felt like tossing the 12-string acoustic out the van window!”

His touring band put down their acoustic instruments too, and plugged in electric ones instead and produced their “Chelsea Light Moving” record in two days. He toured with that, and then moved to London after the divorce.

“I was just waiting for time to go by to get in that songwriting place,” he says. “So this new record is really identified with my time living in England.”

He calls the music on this record “amped up noise rock,” and he’ll be playing that at SOhO, but also tracks off of “Psychic Hearts,” his 1995 solo debut that has many fans, especially among other musicians.

He’s been exploring the free improv scene, playing gigs with John Russell and John Zorn, and during summer he teaches writing workshops focused on poetry and where poetry fits in to today’s society.

The new band came together “like magic,” he said. Deb Googe was a friend of guitarist James Sedwards.

“She was gung ho,” he says. “She came in and immediately it was so cool. Suddenly here she is playing in this solo band and playing with Steve Shelley! Listening to the playback, I knew right away it was going to be supercool.”

The band recorded five of the album’s eight songs, with Mr. Moore recording the rest himself. They range from the grunge-influenced “Germ Burn” to the eleven-minute crusher “Forevermore.”

“It was almost the first song on the album,” he says. “My idea about how songs exist, there’s no rules anymore. You don’t have to write for radio or MTV anymore, not that I ever did that anyway. The song is this exposition of Gothic imagery that leads into this expression of love. I wanted to spend time with it, and not make it this quick statement. I wanted it to be a droning, obsessive statement, and that’s a bit like my own personality.”

Mr. Moore wrote the songs for “The Best Day” in a “solitary place,” but now he’s loving this band so much he wants to write for this group of musicians.

Lastly, he talked about his brief stint guesting on black metal group Twilight’s last (and final) album, where Mr. Moore provides a falsetto harmony to the usual vocal growl of the genre, along with squealing feedback over the band’s metal machine. What did he learn about black metal having done that?

“Nothing!” he laughs. “I was already well versed in the genre. For years I researched the nether regions of the genre, searching out really cult, cassette-only releases, and the most disturbed playing going on. But I liked these loose ideas of what a song could be, or what a guitar sound could be. That was all intriguing to me.”

For an artist who loves to collaborate and cross genres, Mr. Moore likes the parochial and insular world of black metal, even when they exclude outsiders … like himself.

“When I was curating All Tomorrow’s Parties many years ago, I wanted to get Black Witchery to play, a super sinister black metal band from Florida,” he says. “But it didn’t matter what the money was, they said, ‘We will not play any show that isn’t a black metal show.’ And that was all there was to it. They were like, ‘Lose this number.’ I thought it was great! It’s amazing to me.”

Thurston Moore
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St.
Cost: $20
Information: (805) 962-7776, www.sohosb.com

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