Thurston Moore, chief guitarrorist and pioneering deconstructionist of planetary soundage, has reigned over three radical art-rock and experimental-defining decades during his self-proclaimed “Sonic Life” quest. As co-founder of the monumentally crucial Amerindie and New York City institution Sonic Youth, along with solo ventures under his own name and up to his recent jaunt as leader of Chelsea Light Moving, Moore’s revolutionizing of both the DIY underground spectrum and the major label pantheon has posited itself as a life-changer of the highest order.
It was by way of Moore’s former band did the organic pairing and nascent rapport with drummer colossus John Moloney manifest. Sonic Youth, ever the tastemaker godheads and champions of the obscurists, requested the presence of its then-Massachusetts brethren, alien avant-psych collective Sunburned Hand of the Man—for whom Moloney mans the drum kit—as tour mates. Thus the Moore/Moloney behemoth was birthed.
While their holy union has spanned rock-oriented efforts like 2007’s Trees Outside The Academy (Ecstatic Peace!) and last year’s Chelsea Light Moving (Matador), it’s their free-minded improvisational freakouts—stellar regions regularly navigated by Moore, as evidenced by myriad experimental collaborations with Mats Gustafson, Nels Cline, John Zorn and Tom Surgal, just to name a smattering—that have transcended minds and melted faces. Since 2012, the unhinged combo of Moore/Moloney (under the moniker Caught on Tape, the name swiped from a Raymond Pettibon drawing) have pounded out a firebreathing trifecta of free-improv crime scenes in the form of super-limited LP’s, Caught on Tape, Acting The Maggot and Banjaxed Blues, via Feeding Tube Records.
For their latest spiritual odyssey, Moloney and Moore—in his triumphant return to the Northern Spy imprint after 2013’s Record Store Day exclusive The Only Way To Go Is Straight Through with fellow guitar luminary, Loren Connors—deliver the volcanic and violent maelstrom, Full Bleed. But unlike the helter-skelter out-jazz of Caught on Tape (“Full bore savage highway stuff, the mind exploding with wall melting emotion,” says Moore/Moloney about that platter), a set captured during a European junket and split into two untitled marathons, Full Bleed collects nine Herculean sludgefeasts dripping of gnarly metal-damaged heaviosity and punk-jazz skronk-splattered fury, transmitted in an alien language only this duo can convey. “They became songs as they were played,” Moore/Moloney explain about their writing process. “Composed on the fiery tongue, like how all real cool improv needs to be experienced.” And as far as assigning actual names to the songs? “We titled them to identify them as distinct ‘songs’ because that is what they need to be to survive in this fucked landscape of politician dung patrol. They became snakes.”
Snakes, infuckingdeed. With the pulverizing thumps ‘n’ thwacks and cymbal-crashing annihilation Moloney inflicts on the skins melted to Moore’s hefty metallic wasteoid licks and jazzmongering fuckery heard on opening salvo “Age Limit,” the title track and “Dispute,” it’s apparent Full Bleed is a distinct beast thick with black metal riffer vibes, sans corpsepaint. Earlier this year, Moore made his first foray into that maligned genre, a movement stained by violence and homophobia, with the short-lived Twilight. That hatred omnipresent in black metal’s landscape doesn’t go unnoticed by Moore/Moloney. “Black Metal is music made by pussies of the lowest order,”
they explain. “And we felt it was necessary to investigate this aberrant anti-music behaviour. We feel like the sound and attitude of black metal is a loss of self, life, light and desire in a way where it becomes so negative that a whole new bliss arrives where we become super pussy.”
Despite the “super pussy”ness, Full Bleed penetrates a stratosphere of brutal heaviness and spazzcore jazz traversed by Moore and his fellow figureheads in yesteryear downtown NYC at defunct experimental/jazz hubs, The Knitting Factory, Tonic and The Cooler. Pedal-hopping, apocalyptic doom metal torture (“Full Bleed”), mangled avant-jazz noise noodlage (“Self-Rule”) and tasty SY-like space rock jammage (“Arguing with a Balloon”) portends two dudes on a mission of absolute devastation. Recorded at Sonelab in Easthampton, Massachusetts with oft-engineering cohort Justin Pizzoferatto and cover art courtesy of Moloney, Full Bleed is the heaviest of spasmodic bliss from two kindred bohemian noise spirits.
A tour in support of Full Bleed may transpire. Or not. “John and I, whether in Caught on Tape, or in any of our other side projects ALWAYS tour,” says Moore. “We are soldiers of the road, warriors of the wing – buses, vans, cars, trains, bicycles — we get to gigs and we plug in whether we are expected to or not. We just may play again in support of this LP if we can find the minutes where the universe allows us to be in the same room at the same time.”