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Trees Outside the Academy

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (414 ratings)
Trees Outside the Academy album cover
Frozen Gtr
The Shape Is In a Trance
Honest James
American Coffin
Wonderful Witches
Off Work
Never Light
Free Noise Among Friends
Trees Outside the Academy
Thurston @ 13
Album Information

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 46:07

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Wondering Sound

Review 0

Keith Cameron


Thurston, Trees Outside the Academy
2007 | Label: Ecstatic Peace / The Orchard

If the 12-year gap between Thurston Moore's first solo album and this new one suggests a life of fruitful harmony aboard the Sonic Youth mothership, then so too does the aural weft of Trees Outside the Academy. It's surely testimony to Moore's relaxed sense of his artistic self that he should have elected to make what is primarily an album of acoustic ballads, albeit serrated just under the surface by his trademark gonzoid dissonance. And… read more »

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hard to masturbate to

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Thurston makes a Nick Drake album!


Acoustic guitar and/or strings on every song! The vibe is loose and lovely, at times pensive and at times a total bliss-out. The songs are shorter and more conventionally structured than usual for him or SY. It still rocks though (after all, Steve Shelley plays on it). Surprisingly different and refreshing. Other reviewers have referenced Lloyd Cole and Van Morrison, but for me the obvious connection is Nick Drake -- especially on tracks 2-5, and the second half of track 8. All in all a really good album.

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Lyrical Turn on SY...


Never thought of Thurston as a singer-songwriter, but that's what he has brought to the table on this one. Don't get me wrong: there are touches of dissonance that will keep you in touch with the SY vibe. This is a very good record. As we all know, Moore is a unique talent. For those unfamiliar with SY, this would be a melodic way to get your feet wet. Definitely worth the download.

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Fantastic work!


Its a beautiful thing what he does with guitar tunings and picking, and it is amplified by the flowing violin parts. Really good songs, not cliched to death. I like it a lot better than the new Sonic Youth CD.

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the ole honeydripper


Fri/End is a great pop song - Thurston is channeling his inner Lloyd Cole on this one.

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I've Been Waiting


I've been waiting for this album for a long time. It seems like everything that I love about Sonic Youth filtered through a Van Morrison "Astral Weeks" lens. In many ways the songs are sweet, but the lyrics are deceptively complex and twisting. The violin is really quite loose, and I love that. The feeling of the album over all is something that I've been searching for for a long time. I love this album, and I am picky!

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One of the best of 2007


In an era of pompous rap and shitty emo bands, it is great to see some 'dinosaurs' from the 90's making great music.

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5th best album of the year


This should have been terrible - what other 50 year olds are making rock music this relevant? But it's a tour de force (possible exception of the 'experimental' final track, Thurston at 13), combining acoustic tunefulness and abstract noise - it's (steady...) fun!

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Not terrible, but...


not particularly catchy, fun, or enjoyable. Kind of reminds me of walking into a musty wood-paneled basement. Sure, it might have been a great place to hang out in when you were a teenager, but do you even want to watch tv there anymore? This feels like Thurston's attempt to channel southern butt rock through a sonic youth filter and instead of sonic bliss you get curdled milk. The strings especially kill me....too shwarmy, too obvious, too uninspired, too bleh. Still, it is Thurston, and it is great at times. I'd like to give it 2 stars, but just can't bring myself to do it. C-, at best. Fair warning: this sounds nothing like Psychic Hearts. But for fans of TM, or just plain mixtape fodder, the last track is hilarious.

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Because Steve Shelley plays the drums


eMusic has started listing artists that play on tracks on other people's albums. This is really common in the jazz and classical sections. Unfortunately, the use of these listings is not consistent. Here, they probably just did it to show the participation of another SY member.

They Say All Music Guide

“What am I going to do next for your ears to taste?” a 13-year-old Thurston Moore asks on Trees Outside the Academy’s aptly named hidden track, “Thurston @13,” on which Moore demonstrates the sound of rubber bands twanging and Lysol being sprayed in the air. Moore’s approach has gotten more sophisticated over the years, but that playful curiosity remains in his music with and without Sonic Youth. Trees Outside the Academy is Moore’s second song-based solo album; the first was 1996′s Psychic Hearts, which distilled Sonic Youth’s atonal pop leanings at the time into spare, sketchy rock that crackled with intensity. Trees feels like an extension — make that a branch — of the hypnotic calm Moore and company pursued on Rather Ripped and Sonic Nurse. However, Trees Outside the Academy goes even deeper into that meditative territory, focusing on Moore’s acoustic guitar textures and songwriting in a nimble way that underscores that this is his album. Backed by violinist Samara Lubelski and the Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums, Moore leads the trio through moody, layered songs like “Frozen Guitar,” where Lubelski’s strings sound completely organic and intrinsic to the song, even as they spar with and bleed into guest guitarist J Mascis’ fiery leads (Trees Outside the Academy was recorded at Mascis’ Bisquiteen studio with John Agnello, who also worked on Rather Ripped). Moore’s ringing guitar lends itself as well to modern-sounding acoustic music as it does to Sonic Youth’s plugged-in experimental rock, and Shelley and Lubelski are just as game; one moment, they sound like they’re playing on the back porch of a farmhouse, and the next like they’re playing in a downtown gallery. “Honest James” is an underground folk-rock singalong, with jubilant guitars and Charalambides’ Christina Carter adding gorgeous backing vocals to Moore’s laconic drawl, while “Silver Blue” is sleek, droning acoustic rock. As Trees Outside the Academy unfolds, it gets more eclectic: “Fri/End” has a melody so, well, friendly that you can almost see it wagging its tail, and pits some of Moore’s most straightforward lyrics with some of his most playful stream-of-consciousness wordplay. “Wonderful Witches + Language Meanies”‘ silly, loose-limbed rock wouldn’t fit on a Sonic Youth album, but it sounds great here, next to “Off Work”‘s skronk and “Never Day”‘s blissful pop. Though it’s only a 37-second interlude, the title of “Free Noise Among Friends” sums it up best: not only did Moore record Trees Outside the Academy with some of his closest friends, but the album’s good-natured sprawl is so appealing that it makes its listeners feel like friends, too. – Heather Phares

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