Free Kitten and Sonic Youth

Free Kitten and Sonic Youth

B-
Album: Inherit
Label: Ecstatic Peace!
B-

Sonic Youth

Album: SYR7: J'Accuse Ted Hughes
Label: SYR

Neither the new album by Free Kitten, the long-running on-and-off second band of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, nor Sonic Youth's latest missive from their own experimentally minded SYR label will likely appeal to anyone who likes Sonic Youth for writing songs with weird tunings, but they're worth hearing for those who love their more outré outings. Half of them are, anyway.

Inherit is the more overtly song-like of the two, with Gordon's murmured vocals and the slow-rise guitar buzzes and hums as jammy as they are hooky. It crests nicely enough, but its casualness is sometimes just slack. The big exception is "Surf's Up," which rides buzzing, classic-rock guitar leads that eventually wash to shore somewhere different than they began.

J'Accuse Ted Hughes has a similar overall effect, though its means are different. The 23-minute title track was recorded live at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in 2001, and while it isn't bad, it also isn't especially focused. "Agnes B Musique," on the other hand, is an old studio jam (recorded with former SY member Jim O'Rourke) that showcases the band at its most frosty-pretty psychedelic—dense, relaxed, and the kind of thing SY does better than anyone.