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Friday, 01 November 2013 17:10

Charting the Music: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, 'Last Night on Earth'

Charting the Music: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust, 'Last Night on Earth' facebook.com/pages/Lee-Ranaldo-Official/158711314207687
Written by Travis Dettmann
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"Last Night on Earth" skillfully combines alternative tunings and dissonance along with the singer-songwriter formula. Uniting noise fiends and Deadheads alike, here is Lee Ranaldo and the Dust.

Currently on his 10th solo effort, Lee Ranaldo rocks with more energy than ever before, this time with the Dust. "Last Night on Earth" isn't a hint at calling it quits; it is simply foreshadowing how cold and lonely you may feel after the album has ended.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #1 Adult Album Alternative and #2 CMJ Top 30 for the week of October 29, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: Matador Records released "Last Night on Earth" on October 8, 2013; it was collectively produced by Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, Alan Licht and Ted Young.

Can be heard on: The Space Parlour with Nick Acquisto, Gold Soundz with Chris Bay and Mystery Train with Tim Rakel.

RIYL: Sonic Youth meets Grateful Dead with a tinge of Neil Young.

Hometown: Long Island, N.Y. and Midland, Mich.

Standout tracks: Opening with the jammer "Lecce, Leaving," Ranaldo and crew exercise their musical abilities to their fullest potential. The title track "Last Night on Earth" could easily be a late night/early morning set closer at Bonnaroo. The entrancing guitar work on "Ambulancer" loops in listeners with some echoes of Sonic Youth.

About the artists: Born February 3, 1956, Lee M. Ranaldo grew up in Glen Cove, N.Y. In 1981, he joined Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon as a member of Sonic Youth. Four years later, Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert was replaced by Michigan native Steve Shelley after subletting Moore and Gordon's apartment while Sonic Youth on tour. Since 2011, Sonic Youth has been on an indefinite hiatus, leaving the members to disperse into their solo careers. Post-Youth, Ranaldo called upon the chops of Shelley and fellow Text of Light member Alan Licht for his solo record "Between the Times and the Tides" in 2012. With the addition of bassist Tim Luntzel, the Dust has been in full swing ever since.

Play it while: Conveniently enjoying the beauty of a bright cityscape from a safe distance.

Awards and accolades: In 2012, Lee Ranaldo's "Between the Time and the Tides" peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard "Top Heatseekers" chart. Sonic Youth's final studio release "The Eternal" topped at No. 3 on the "Top Independent Albums" chart in 2009. Ranaldo ranked No. 33 on Rolling Stone's "Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list in 2004.

What do the critics say: "After the relative modesty of 'Between the Times,' Ranaldo opted for a much bigger sounding record with 'Last Night on Earth,' recruiting a crack band including former Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelley along with Alan Licht and Tim Lüntzel with the intent of giving this collection of songs a more expansive feel. The band is more than up to the task, making 'Last Night on Earth' a far more invigorating listen than its predecessor. Ranaldo also seems far more committed to making a classic-sounding record this time around, as he and Licht coax out guitar tones that could easily be attributed to everyone from Bob Weir to Jimmy Page." Kevin Korber, PopMatters.

KDHX coverage: Lee Ranaldo and the Dust stopped by KDHX for an in-studio performance on October 21, 2013.

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