Sonic Youth delivered a late shock in 2011 when co-founders Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon split up after 27 years of marriage. The band's future remains uncertain, but in the meantime the group's other core members, guitarist Lee Ranaldo (below) and drummer Steve Shelley, are busying themselves with various side projects. In March, Ranaldo will release a solo album, Between the Times & the Tides, and last week he unveiled the first track from the record. The mid-tempo, guitar churning "Off the Wall" is available at ind.pn/ylLKDo. Meanwhile, Shelley has been drumming up noise with Chicago rock band Disappears. "Replicate", the first track of droning garage rock from their upcoming LP, Pre Language, is at ind.pn/zcAL1Y.
A Garden of delights
Another New York institution that came to an end last year was James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem. Murphy wrapped up his much-loved dance-punk-funk band with a sell-out three-hour gig at Madison Square Garden in April. On Sunday a film documenting the run up to and performance of that last show will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It's not clear when the film, Shut Up and Play the Hits, will make it to the UK, but for now you can enjoy the elegant trailer screening at shutupandplaythehits.com.
Nifty new wave from across the channel
A young band worth keeping an eye out for is the Parisian trio Air Bag One. That they sing in English and are rather stylish will invite inevitable comparisons with Phoenix, though their brand of moody pop-rock draws rather more on new wave textures than their forebears. They play gigs in Brighton and Bristol at the end of the month and have recorded a four-track EP which will arrive later in the year. At vimeo.com/ airbagone are several videos of the band, three of which form part of a nicely shot series called "Three Kids in a Row".
To hell with the critics...
In an interesting move, and indeed, a sign of the times, US music magazine Spin is doing away with the traditional album reviews format and instead plans to publish some 1,500 reviews of music releases – albums, EPs, mixtapes, tracks on Bandcamp and beyond – from its editors and writers on Twitter, through the handle @SPINReviews. The magazine argues that the "imperious edict" from its music critic is less essential now, given that an album will have been leaked or streamed online, so the audience can readily listen to it for free and make up their own minds without the help of a reviewer. However, they haven't entirely given up on the old format and will still publish 20 long-form reviews a month.