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Sonic Youth

Murray Street

Geffen Records

Sonic Youth have built Murray Street for the road. The band is riding the US leg of a truly worldwide tour and has, in true "classic rock" style, been playing every song off the new album in its live shows. Word on the street is that Murray Street is even hotter live, and the street is never wrong. And while the recent avant-garde obsessions of the SYR series are still apparent, they've been placed in a finely arranged pop framework that stretches just seven numbers over the course of the new LP. Clearly this is a perfect road-trip record. The guitars go on and on, fattened out by the assistance of "the new guy," Jim O'Rourke. You can put on some distance and get seriously lost.

The m.o. this time out is songs first, noise second. Most numbers have the big man, Thurston Moore, right up front, putting down his thing, once with Barbetomagus. Two songs feature Kim Gordon's typically hazy vocals --- the quirky "Plastic Sun" and the ethereal "Sympathy for the Strawberry." And Lee Ranaldo's "Karen Revisited" is an amazing number. Over an intricate three-part guitar introduction, Ranaldo's vocals pull the whole performance together and throw the band into a whole new trajectory.

--- Dave Cross



Respect Sextet

(respectacle.)

This self-released limited-edition CDR reveals just how far this Eastman student-led group has come in its relatively short time together. It also reveals how today's Eastman students are finding their influences in places far removed from the conservatory. Touchpoints here revolve mostly around AACM Chicago jazz (the Art Ensemble leaves its indelible impression all over "sechs," a wonderful demonstration of Respect's improvising) and just about anything on Okka Disc.

            But there's plenty here to lend Respect Sextet its fair share of individuality. The accordion that introduces "cartel" sounds a bit too far afield until it becomes the piece's melodic backbone. Other shots of adventurous instrumentation keep things interesting as the group veers from deep rhythmic workouts to open drones and hilarious vaudeville.

            Like any decent jazz sextet, Respect is capable of sounding like many different bands on the same record. It goes without saying that we're lucky to have them in our own backyard.

            For info on this CD or upcoming performances, consult www.respectsextet.com.

--- Chad Oliveiri

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