2012 album from Yoko Ono and 1/2 of Sonic Youth. This is NYC avant garde convergence at its finest. The idea of a meeting between Yoko, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore is so perfect, so obvious, the only shock is that it didn't happen earlier. Recorded in 2011 at Manhattan's Sear Sound, the album features lead vocals by Yoko, with backing vocals and guitars by Kim and Thurston. It's a wild collision of song-form, poetics, free-rock and classic glossolalic ecstasy. Yoko has not allowed herself to sound this raw since the earliest recordings of the Plastic Ono Band. There's a remarkably empathic and comfortable quality to the sound. The three communicate as though they'd been playing together forever.
This excellent Columbia album was recorded less than a year after Dexter Gordon's well-publicized tour of the United States following a dozen years spent living in Europe. With assistance from such other major players as trumpeters Woody Shaw and Benny Bailey, vibraphonist Bobby Gordon sounds in superlative form on Woody Shaw's "The Moontrame," four standards and his own "Fried Bananas." In addition to the original program (which features Dexter with an all-star tentet), the 1997 CD reissue adds two 1979 features for vocalese singer Eddie Jefferson ("Diggin' It" and "It's Only a Paper Moon") which were originally released on Gordon's Great Encounters; trumpeter Shaw and trombonist Curtis Fuller co-star with Gordon. An excellent acquisition.
Deluxe Edition 2 CD set features 35 tracks including b-sides and previously unreleased versions. Sonic Youth's second major-label album, produced and mixed by Butch Vig and Andy Wallace (a team that had helped turn Nirvana's NEVERMIND multi-platinum) was not the barefaced bid for mainstream acceptance that surly underground souls grumbled about in the pages of fanzines. While Vig and Wallace give guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, bassist Kim Gordon, and phenomenal drummer Steve Shelley a wide-screen panorama for their bizarrely-tuned assaults, DIRTY is probably Sonic Youth's most uncompromising album since 1985's BAD MOON RISING–particularly in the lyrical department. Dropping the deliberate obscurantism, Philip K. Dick references, and smart-alecky snottiness, Sonic Youth brackets a slew of pointed political attacks ("Youth Against Fascism," "Swimsuit Issue," and the Jesse Helms-bashing "Chapel Hill") with two passionate tributes to the band members' murdered friend, Joe Cole ("100%" and "JC"). That DIRTY is Sonic Youth's most commercial-sounding album makes it that much more subversive.