Ranaldo had finished work on his last album, Between the Times and the Tides, before Sonic Youth went on hiatus in the fall of 2011.
The record followed an informal period of songwriting, borne of acoustic guitar fiddling and more direct lyrics from a poet known for emotive abstraction.
His plans to record a low-key acoustic LP soon evolved and many friends (Steve Shelley, Alan Licht, Nels Cline, Jim O’Rourke, Bob Bert, John Medeski, wife/artist Leah Singer) dropped by to conjure a vaguely psychedelic pop-rock sound that served Ranaldo and SY fans well.
Lee Ranaldo | Hammer Blows
A core unit came together, getting tighter after some roadwork, and soon Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Alan Licht, and bassist Tim Lüntzel became The Dust. The band dug in at Echo Canyon West thru the winter, evolving a new set of songs with a decidedly more group dynamic.
Yet even though he was tracking new songs with the band (plus the always-welcome Medeski), Ranaldo wanted to present songs that were even more personal and adaptable to various live contexts.
Lee Ranaldo | Stranded
The songs on the latest album “Last Night On Earth” are darker, longer, and more intense than those of its predecessor, which was comparably upbeat. Despair and rage ripple through its atmosphere, but are held at bay, never quite able to touchdown. Ranaldo lives near Zucotti Park, which was HQ for NYC’s Occupy Wall Street movement.
He has visited Occupy encampments in Toronto, Sao Paulo, and wherever else he can, often bringing his kids with him so they can witness left wing, non-violent democracy in action. Unlike his last record’s “Shouts,” there is no specific tribute to OWS, but there is a yearning for some real, societal shift. “Every time I wait for the revolution to come,” Ranaldo sings on “Home Chds.” “Every night I think it’s here and then it’s gone.”
Lee Ranaldo & The Dust | Lecce, Leaving
At the same time the songs on Last Night on Earth reveal a guarded optimism. The term “hope” has been politically co- opted and devalued but it’s a key element on Last Night on Earth. Ranaldo sings of land and water and love and certainty— external life forces that can turn on us at any second—from an exploratory, inviting place of co-existence. When the world ends, we’re all in this together, and that’s a really beautiful, scary thing.
Experimental rockers the Magik Markers formed in Hartford, CT, in 2001, featuring guitarist/vocalist Elisa Ambrogio, drummer Pete Nolan, and bassist Leah Quimby. Inspired by no wave and hardcore, the Magik Markers crafted a free-rocking sound that made the most of their stream-of-consciousness approach.
Magik Markers | Risperdal
The band made CD-Rs available at its shows and eventually caught the ear of Thurston Moore, who invited the group to play on Sonic Youth’s 2004 American tour. Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label co-released the band’s album “I Trust My Guitar, Etc.” with Apostasy Recordings in 2005. the Magik Markers were prolific in 2006, releasing “The Volodor Dance” (an installment in Southern Records Latitudes series) and “A Panegyric to the Things I Do Not Understand” (on Gulcher Records).
That year, Leah Quimby left the group, and after auditioning several replacements, Ambrogio and Nolan decided to continue as a duo. On 2007’s “Boss”, the pair worked with Lee Ranaldo, who produced the album and chipped in guitar and glockenspiel parts. They moved to Drag City for 2009’s “Balf Quarry”, which found the band moving in a subdued but eclectic direction.
This event is highly recommended by Digital in Berlin! We are giving away 2 x 2 tickets. Just send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Lee Ranaldo” as the subject.
Lee Ranaldo & The Dust + Magik Markers LIVE
presented by Edition Festsaal, D/B
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 | 20:00 CET
Lido | Cuvrystrasse 7 | 10997 Berlin/Kreuzberg
matadorrecords.com/leeranaldo | dragcity.com/magik-markers | lido-berlin.de