Review by Heather Phares

As Sonic Youth‘s members explored their individual careers during the band’s hiatus, it was fascinating to hear their projects develop. Between the Times and the Tides allowed Lee Ranaldo‘s more pastoral, mystical side to flourish, and it’s in even fuller flower on Last Night on Earth. This is also the debut of Ranaldo‘s group the Dust, and while two of the group’s key players, Alan Licht and Steve Shelley, appeared on his previous album, these songs feel like the work of a full-fledged band. Ranaldo and company sound more confident; where he tried a little bit of everything on Between the Times and the Tides, here he and his band concentrate on expansive songs filled with shimmering melodies and epic solos. “Lecce, Leaving” begins the album by defining this approach, with quickly shifting tempos and subtly changing moods that flow over elaborate buildups and breakdowns before drifting to a close; “The Rising Tide”‘s psychedelia is so expansive that it flirts with acid rock. It was always assumed that Thurston Moore was Sonic Youth‘s main classic rock fan, but Ranaldo‘s solo work also shows an affinity for the sounds of the ’60s and ’70s. “Key/Hole”‘s sweet, breezy melody could be avant-garde soft rock as it moves from tender to tempestuous, while the lyrics’ clever parallel rhyming structure is a reminder of what an accomplished songwriter Ranaldo is. Throughout Last Night on Earth, he and the Dust achieve an alchemy where experimental rock, classic rock, and even hints of prog sound made for each other. All of this is especially true of “Ambulancer,” one of the album’s more urgent tracks. While its searing guitar work has roots inRanaldo‘s Sonic Youth days, its acoustic flourishes feel more modern as well as timeless. Last Night on Earth leaves room for a few tangents, such as the pretty chamber pop vignette “Late Descent #2,” that end up heightening the album’s rainy-day moodiness. If possible, these songs have even more of a feeling of moving on and letting go than Ranaldo‘s debut did; the 12-minute album closer “Blackt Out” is at once mournful and exhilarated as it ponders being freed from a longtime lover. An album in the old-school sense, with expansive tracks and detours that still add up to a cohesive whole,Last Night on Earth offers more proof that Ranaldo‘s music is just as satisfying, if not more so, on its own as it was as part of one of alternative rock’s supergroups.


by Geoffrey Smith II, San Jose, CA 121013

by Geoffrey Smith II, San Jose, CA 121013


“A solo record works best when you feel like you’re opening a window into somebody’s life, experiencing the things they’re going through or thinking about, places they’re seeing, through their eyes. At its best, you find a universality in it.”

– Lee Ranaldo

On October 8, 2013 (October 7 in the UK and Europe), Matador Records released ‘Last Night On Earth’,  the new album from Lee Ranaldo and The Dust (drummer Steve Shelley, guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Lüntzel). Expanding on the groundwork laid down on 2012′s ‘Between The Times & The Tides’,  ‘Last Night’  — while certainly darker in tone & lyrical content than its immediate predecessor, is the sort of dizzying electric guitar clinic that ranks amongst the best from any era.  After an exhaustive stretch of domestic and international touring (with more to come — see below) Lee & The Dust have formed a powerhouse unit, and we’re confident the results of these Echo Canyon West sessions will impress & inspire for months to come, if not far longer.  Here, below, an initial sample in the album’s “Lecce, Leaving” :

ORDER ‘Last Night On Earth’ on double LP or single CD from the Matador Store

ORDER ‘Last Night On Earth’ from iTunes

Lee & the Dust in studio session with WNYC’s John Schaefer (August 2013)

Last Night On Earth, Gatefold-photo by Cody Ranaldo.

LR&Dust by John Von Pamer July 2013

The Dust in Padova 2013 by Lorenzo Scaldaferro

Metz 2013 by Claire Willemann

The Dust in Bilbao 2013 by Photo Cowbell

The Dust by Matias Corral, Paris 2014

The Dust, New Year’s Day, 2013, St Marks Church by Ted Roeder

The Dust, New Year’s Day, 2013, St Marks Church by Ted Roeder

Tim Luntzel

Santiago 2013 by Javier Valenzuela

Santiago 2013 by Javier Valenzuela

Santiago 2013 by Javier Valenzuela

Alan Licht

Tim Luntzel

Alan Licht by AF Cortes

Steve Shelley by AF Cortes

The Dust in Padova 2013 by Lorenzo Scaldaferro

Padova 2013 by Lorenzo Scaldaferro

Italy 2014 by Francesca Sara Cauli

15 Responses to LAST NIGHT ON EARTH ALBUM – OCT 2013

  1. Napo Camassa says:

    It’s “Lecce,leaving”related to a town in Italy region Puglia?
    An answer will be appreciated with full text if any
    Many Thanks from London UK
    Napo Camassa III aka Zenlo the Cometh

  2. Igor Ammanah says:

    Lecce because it is the home of one of the most important international programs of residence on the new sound! Soundres!

  3. echocanyon says:

    Yes, Napo, it’s about Lecce in Puglia, and correct, Igor, Leah and I did the SoundRes program 2 summers ago and that’s where the song was perfected. There are images from our performance there under the “Performance” tab on my site…

  4. JLM says:

    Please come to Texas!!!!! Austin, preferably. I loved the first record and can’t wait for this one.

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  8. Kai says:

    After buying the album I tried to get the digital copy. Unfortunately, I received the following message:
    Error: The requested address ‘/files/’ was not found on this server.
    Any Ideas?

  9. echocanyon says:

    I’m investigating this–sorry for the hassle…

  10. Przemek_KRK says:

    Thanks for “Lecce,leaving” song. I listened it last night in the radio in my car. Even though it is middle of autumn in Europe, the song made me feel like it was the hottest summer night. Well done!

    BTW, could I kindly ask for lyrics please?

  11. Samantha Montgomery says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable, I love this record. It’s all I am listening to at the moment!!!!! Can’t wait to see you in San Francisco next month!!!

  12. Barry Jones says:

    Hey Lee – I caught the show at the ATP End Of An Era Festival in not-so-sunny England and was completely knocked out. Thanks for saying hello afterwards! The album is sensational too!

    Come back soon!

  13. Ivan Suro says:

    We are extremely excited for tomorrow’s show in Brooklyn’s Union Pool. I have been listening to you play with Sonic Youth for over 20 years. Now I will finally get to hear your songs first hand. BTW Last Night On Earth is simply brilliant.

  14. Rob Roper says:

    I bought “Last Night on Earth” recently, and really like it. Good songwriting, and great guitar sounds. Hope you bring the band to Denver soon, I’d love to see you live.

  15. KB1000 says:

    You guys are alright, one day when vermont is less pretentious you should come by.

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