With the fate of Sonic Youth up in the air, founding guitarist Lee Ranaldo has found steady ground with his group The Dust, featuring fellow SY orphan Steve Shelley on drums, along with guitarist Alan Licht and bassist Tim Lüntzel.
Ranaldo began recording his 10th album, Last Night on Earth, during a period of disaster-induced isolation when Hurricane Sandy hit his New York City home. As he explains to KEXP DJ Stevie Zoom, the building he lived in lost electricity for a week, and around him neighborhoods were flooded under 15 to 20 feet of water. "It was post-apocalyptic," he says.
By candlelight, Ranaldo would spend his evenings strumming an acoustic guitar. As the region emerged from the destruction, he emerged with a batch of songs that he took to Shelley, then Licht, Nels Cline, John Medeski and others. "Songs are like a jigsaw puzzle," he says, "and you work at putting all the pieces in place till you get it just right." Watch the pieces fall into place in this live session.
You can check out Lee Ranaldo's full session video, featuring three more songs, on KEXP's YouTube channel.